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Makeup Tips for Google Hangouts

When it comes to looking okay over a video conference, you know the basics by now. Direct, natural light is good. Lower angles are bad. Wear a shirt!! Don't wear pants (it's a power move). A smart thing to ask, though, is what should I slather all over my face to command respect even while speaking through a weirdly lit virtual reality machine?

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Research shows again and again that moderate amounts of makeup lend women an air of trustworthiness and competence in the workplace. This guide assumes that research stands for the online workplace as well. We don't wear makeup because we're vain; we wear makeup because everyone else is vain! And we like making money sometimes, too. Other times, it's just because makeup rules. Still other times, it's because we are vain. All of these are fine and good reasons to wear makeup for work reasons if that's a thing you want to do.

Working from home (or conferencing between different offices) became an option for more and more professionals around the same time that beauty vloggers began beaming their secrets through the cybernets. And yet there's a pitiful amount of instruction for actually being on camera. I spoke to seasoned beauty vlogger and professional makeup artist Wayne Goss (over FaceTime, no less!) to clear up some of the mystery.


Your meeting makeup shouldn't scream BUSINESS; it should politely, but firmly whisper businessss. The most efficient way to achieve subtle perfection is to go all in on skin.

Goss suggests focusing the majority of your energy there "because [foundation] just renders really, really well over camera." When you're conferencing in HD, "there's a misconception that you can't use that much makeup because it's going to be really visible, right? That's an absolute, total lie. In the quality we're speaking of, you could apply it with a trowel and it would still look phenomenal to me. Not so much lips and eyes, but with skin, you can just destroy it. Really just pile it on."

Your meeting makeup shouldn't scream BUSINESS; it should politely, but firmly whisper businessss.

Some say trowel method, others say build up that coverage. Start with a primer like MAC Matte or Nivea Mens Sensitive Post-Shave Balm (trust us). Work concealer, like Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, into the under eye area. Then, use a brush or a damp blender to layer on your preferred foundation.

At this point, you'll want to do everything you can to avoid That Wet Look, which is so popular out in the physical world right now. As Goss explains, "The thing to think about is that shine doesn't register that well in video, so the more matte a face is, the more beautiful it will appear."

If you're using a liquid foundation, blot the face first and then dust it with powder, focusing especially on the forehead, nose, and chin. The center of the face tends to get shiny first, which can be distracting. And if you don't blot, the powder can "cling to the foundation and look cakey." Goss says any powder, whether loose or compact, will do. Add a touch of bronzer and/or blush to give the face some dimension.

After all these steps, it might be hard to hold your head up, but what's important is that it looks gorgeous when translated into pixels. "I know [piling it on] sounds dreadful," Goss concedes, "but if you really want to go for that kind of flawless look, more is better in video."

Lips and Eyes

Pick one! The one you consider your better feature! If that's a real Sophie's choice, focus on the lips because a Hangout can wash them out. Also, swiping on some lip color is easier/faster/better in the middle of a work day than taking the time to do up your eyes, making sure they're even and that you don't look insane.

"Shine doesn't register that well in video, so the more matte a face is, the more beautiful it will appear."

In terms of lip color, go with whatever you're comfortable with, but make sure to choose a product with a texture between a matte and a gloss, like a balm. Again, shine can be distracting, and there's nothing worse when you're business speaking than a big old sloppy wet mouth. Clinique makes a great one.

As for eyes, keep it simple. For sure mascara, maybe some liner. If you're really going for it, take an brightening pencil to the inner eye area to open them all the way up.


Working off the idea that shiny equals not great on video, showering is advisable. Not having to shower might be the whole reason for working from home in the first place, though, so if that's your situation, pull hair into a loose bun. Having it out of your face means it won't cast any shadows on your face.

And that's it! As a TL;DR on the subject, Goss notes, "As long as the skin is as beautiful as you can possibly get it, everything else will just come in. You can curl your lashes and put mascara on, or just put a lip gloss on, but through the camera, it's the skin that we're going to notice. Everything else to me is kind of surplus."

Happy conferencing, and check back here in 2019 when we'll address how to beautify your hologram for business purposes.


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