As the weeks of shelter in place and social distancing march on, you’re probably finding that more and more of your social and professional life is taking place on video chat. Whether it’s FaceTiming with friends or Zooming with colleagues (or a Tinder match), we’re all seeing way more of our faces on tiny screens than ever before. If you’re feeling like your laptop camera isn’t doing you any favors, you’re not alone.
“You need a smidge more makeup than perhaps you’re used to in order for it to read on-camera,” says makeup artist Kasey Spickard. “The camera can wash you out, so you want to focus on sculpting and creating definition in the face.” To find out how to adjust your routine for a day full of Zoom calls, we asked three makeup artists and one broadcaster who’s been doing her job — and her makeup — from home during the crisis, to share their tips and tricks for looking good on-camera.
“You don’t want to look crazy shiny on videos,” says makeup artist Risa Miyamoto, “but healthy, dewy skin is what everyone wants.” To achieve that balance, she likes this oil-free foundation from Almay that’s mattifying but not too matte. “It has nice buildable coverage but is very lightweight feeling,” she says, helping your skin maintain its natural dewiness without adding any unwanted oily-looking shine.
Elizabeth Wagmeister, a senior correspondent at Variety who regularly appears on air, takes a similar approach with her foundation. She’s been using this lightweight formula from Dior for years. “I find that it gives really good coverage but is still light, which is great for TV,” she says. “The consistency feels like thick water.” It’s also one of Amber Rose’s favorites.
According to Emmy Award–winning makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor, “Under-eye concealer is the most important part of any makeup look. It makes you look like you’ve gotten rest and you’re ready for the day ahead,” which will help you stand out among 12 other tiny faces in a Zoom meeting. He’s a fan of CoverGirl’s concealer and its smooth, matte finish.
Spickard uses this concealer for buildable coverage under the eyes and on blemishes. “It’s nice and hydrating, and reads like a second skin on-camera,” he says. He says to make sure whatever concealer you use isn’t too drying to keep your skin from looking dull.
For areas where you want to add a bit more glow, Miyamoto recommends this Chanel highlighter. “It’s my absolute favorite,” she says. “The best natural ‘glow from within’ highlighter in history.” Spickard agrees that a highlighter (or bronzer if you prefer) is essential to warm up the face and create definition so you don’t look washed out on-camera.
For a super-affordable pick, Wagmeister likes this under-$10 highlighter. “It’s a product that I’ve been using for years,” she says. “It has the best pigmentation and it is so inexpensive.”
To look more “convincing and confident” during work Zoom meetings, Miyamoto suggests going for “strong, full eyebrows.” She recommends first brushing up the brows with a Glossier Boy Brow (a longtime Strategist favorite) and then using the Hourglass pencil to “draw superfine lines that imitate actual individual hairs where needed.”
Sotomayor uses this eyeshadow stick (in rose gold) on actress Heléne Yorke when he does her makeup for the Comedy Central show
The Other Two. “It adds a healthy rosy glow to your eyes but also catches light, which helps you look awake and refreshed on-camera,” he says. “You can blend it with your finger or a fluffy eye shadow brush.” Wagmeister adds that using a slightly darker eye shadow in your eyelid crease will “make you look more awake and more alive on video.”
“Biologically, we tend to be drawn to people with expressive, healthy-looking eyes,” says Sotomayor. Along with eye shadow that accentuates the eyes, he says thick lashes also convey a message of health and well-being that’ll help you shine on video. This Chanel mascara “never ever clumps,” and he likes that it requires “the least amount of work,” which sounds appealing on these lazy work-from-home days.
“A lot of people are not used to wearing color on their lips, but I will say that a bold lip of some sort makes you look instantly ‘done’ and translates very well to being on-camera,” says Wagmeister. Even if you’re used to wearing a sheer gloss or balm in the office, she recommends switching to at least a neutral shade to help you look more put-together on Zoom. She likes Revlon for its affordability and wide range of colors.
In the bright orange-red “Obsessed” shade, this Pat McGrath lipstick is Miyamoto’s pick for a fun, after-hours Zoom look. “I like pairing super-bold lips with an almost-bare face,” she says. “It’s a sophisticated look.”
For an easy two-in-one product, Sotomayor likes the lip-and-cheek colors from clean beauty brand RMS. Along with adding a pop of color, he says the shades are moisturizing, a helpful addition if your lips are feeling parched from dry indoor air. Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton became a Lip2Cheek devotee after seeing it on Hailey Bieber.
Our experts agree that natural light is always the most flattering. Sotomayor recommends directly facing a diffuse light source — like a window with a curtain over it — for lighting that hits your face symmetrically and isn’t too bright. But if you live in a basement apartment or are Zooming after sunset, you might have to fake it. Miyamoto recommends using a selfie ring light like this one, which she says is affordable and easy to use. It’s similar to the one TikTok star Loren Gray uses to film her videos. And if you’re using Zoom, don’t forget to select the “Touch Up My Appearance” feature in the video settings menu. Spickard says it “smoothes the skin, defines the eyes, and helps give you that glow.”
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