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Successful Makeup Look for a Job Interview or Client Meeting

With so many women re-entering the job market and new grads just beginning their careers, I am constantly asked,“What's the most professional makeup look to wear on a job interview?”

I had a conversation on this very topic with Sara Baker, Head of Human Resources for a very large, international corporation. We both agreed that a lighter, more subtle look is the way to go. Going with a more subdued look allows the interviewer to concentrate on our qualifications, rather than being distracted by a flamboyant makeup or hairstyle. The only exception to this rule would be if you are applying for a job in the beauty or fashion industries, where a “wow”look may do you justice. I would also recommend the same look for meeting with clients.

So here's what I recommend:

  1. FOUNDATION: Light and smooth is the way to go here. Match your foundation to your skin's coloring, and blend down your neck (so that there will be no distracting line of demarcation, as if you are wearing a mask).

  2. CONCEALER: Use one to camouflage dark circles and lines, to give you a fresh and rested look. probably wouldn't hurt to get a good night's sleep before the interview. It may save you some of that concealer.

  3. EYE SHADOW: Eyes should be done in neutral colors. Please don't try to be too creative here. Most hiring professionals are distracted by bright or very dark colors. You'll be better off with a cream, beige, taupe, or light brown tone.

  4. EYE LINER: Apply your eye liner sparingly in the lash line to enhance your eyes. You want to create a shadow effect more than a line. Brown to very dark brown shades works best for most. Avoid black, unless your hair and skin are very dark. I recommend a pencil that you can blend or smudge. I would not recommend a liquid liner, because that will most often create too much of a dramatic effect. You want a subtle look, rather than your standout evening look.

  5. BLUSH: Blush should be a neutral color or a bronzer, so you look healthy. Keep it on the neutral side. Use matte colors. No frosts or shimmer. Save the flashy stuff for your evening look!

  6. EYE LASHES: Of course, there will be a lot of attention on your eyes during the interview. Like they say, your eyes are the windows to your soul. First, use a lash curler to give your eyes a wide open look. This will help your sense of expression. Then apply your mascara sparingly. Make sure there are no clumps and don't overdo the layers.

  7. LIP LINER: Use a lip liner to balance the shape of your lips, not accentuate them.

  8. LIPSTICK: Go for a matte lipstick shade. No frosted shades and no lip gloss. Again, go for a lighter, neutral shade. Nothing too dark, bright or flashy. You're looking for balance here, and no feature should stand out. You want your features to complement each other.

OK! Now, you're ready to ace that interview!

Before you leave for the interview, I recommend you put together a “Confidence Kit.” I always did this for my clients.

Here what goes in the bag:

❑ Mirror

❑ Powder/mineral makeup compact: for shine and a touch up

❑ Q-tips to clean up under eye smudges, and lipstick smudges, and inside the corners of your eyes ( know what can form here)

❑ Makeup sponge, in case you have streaks

❑ Lipstick & Liner

❑ Tissues

❑ Mini toothbrush and toothpaste

❑ 20 Quarters (in case of a parking meter, so you won't be stressed about getting a ticket)

❑ Mini Febreze (I know...but just in case)

❑ Your lightest scented perfume

Make sure you do a good look in the car mirror before you walk in, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression! Be sure to do a shine check. Use the powder to touch up, if necessary.


  1. Get a fresh haircut and style about a week or two prior to an interview. This way you will have learned how to control or work it! Not something you do the day before.

  2. Keep makeup application balanced and not bold.

  3. Wear a perfume scent that is light. I know many experts recommend not to wear a perfume, at all. If it worries you, leave the perfume alone. Personally, I always wear perfume. My“go to”perfume for meetings is very light. No one has ever complained, and I often get compliments!

  4. Wear good shoes: clean and current. Other women notice these things!

  5. Make sure your outfit is clean and fresh, pressed etc. and keep it simple, depending on the company or industry you're applying to.

Definite DON'Ts:

  1. NO red lipstick.

  2. NO black cat liquid eye liner.

  3. NO “in your eyes” hairstyles. Interviewers want to see your eyes.

  4. NO hair in a scrunchie. Great for the gym, but not an interview!

  5. NO stiletto heels (unless that job warrants them).

Follow these simple tips, and I'm confident you'll spend less time in the job market, and more time on the job.

Go get'em!!!

And, as always, if you have any specific questions that I haven't answered here, write us at

Have A Beautiful Day!


  • Posted on   11/03/10 at 04:00:00 AM   by Alan  | 
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Reader Comments (7)

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Matilda 09/14/17 12:17:58 PM

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Nora 02/22/18 04:29:21 PM

The key to a successful and professional look for a job interview is to keep it as clean and simple as possible. After a hrt consultation some women will realize that they don't even need makeup. Natural beauty is highly promoted these days, so why shouldn't we take advantage of our good looks at any moment?

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