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On Camera Make Up Tips For Men - How To Look And Feel Your Best

Learn what you need to do before you go on camera and how to use makeup indoors and outside plus some tips to make your skin look it's best. You can listen to episode 31 of Camera Ready With Val Brown here:

To use makeup or not to use makeup on video - that is the question... 

At least it’s one I get asked A LOT.

And my answer is: how you show up on camera is more than what you are wearing, your hair and your makeup

In this post and next week's post I am going to share my Emmy award winning secrets about makeup and hair for video I learned over three decades producing television.


During that time, I've applied makeup for hundreds and hundreds of people from all walks of life.  

Most of them had one thing in common. They didn't know how makeup could help them look their best on camera. 

And I saw the same challenges over and over.

People would show up looking washed out, shiny or fatigued or wearing way too much makeup or they didn’t shave or their hair wasn't ready for primetime. 

Something I learned pretty early on as a producer who didn't always have access to makeup team, was they just didn't know what they could do to look better.

What I really wanted was to help them look their best. So I started doing research and watched the pros and learned how to apply makeup for video so I could help my on camera guests feel confident they looked their very best.

It was actually pretty amusing to watch lots of burly guys say "no way" to make up. When I explained to them what the lights and cameras could do to make them not look good, it was amazing how fast they said yes!

And that’s why I’m sharing these tips here today, I want you to know what you can do to make sure you look your best on video, every time.

Video is here to stay, so the more you know about how to show up looking your best, the easier it will be for you to feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera.

When I started to prepare for this week's blog, I was going to create a single post on topic of makeup for video for men and women.  

When I got into it, I realized there was so much I wanted to share for both men and women, the only way to do it justice was to create two separate posts and provide tips you can both use.

This post is part one of two where I share makeup tips for men and next week I'll cover makeup for women.

Before You Ladies Decide To Quit Reading...

There's plenty of good advice that you can use in this post too! 

Lots of what I share here applies to everyone and you'll learn best practices for men so you can help that special person in your life when they are doing video.


Here's what you'll learn in this post:

  • the importance of lifestyle on how you show up on camera

  • things to consider about your hair and hair color 

  • makeup tips for indoors and outdoors

I also included some affiliate links to a few products I mention if you want to check them out as a starting place so you can research for your preferences and needs. 

So if you’re ready, let dive in.

What I want to go over today is more than make up. I also want to include some things you can do as part of your lifestyle to look great on camera period, and this is for men and women.

I’m going to start here because it’s the foundation to looking good on camera. And

because there are certain things makeup just can’t cover up. If you take good care of yourself, it will show on camera. You’ll exude health and a natural glow that makeup just can’t create.

I’ll keep the list pretty short and if you want more, you can download my makeup guide at the end of this post.

First and foremost, nothing can make you look better than a good night’s sleep. If you know you are going to be shooting videos, make sure you get plenty of rest in the nights before you are shooting. It will show.

Everyone has their own rituals for making sure they get a good night’s sleep, and there’s some simple things you can do like:

  • Avoid alcohol. Not only does it make it tough to get a good night’s sleep, it will make your face puffy, not a a good look

  • Avoid salty foods. That olive and cheese pizza may sound tasty, but you’ll be wearing it in the form of a puffy face in the morning.

  • In general, eat a healthy diet with lots of dark greens and avoid caffeine when possible. I love my coffee as much as the next person, however, too much of a good thing will dry out your skin which causes wrinkles. Everything in moderation.

  • Drink plenty of water ahead of time.

Drinking water all at once does not make up for days of dehydration. I like to pour a big pitcher of water in the morning and another one at noon. When I’ve emptied them both, I know I’ve had enough. I can also tell when I’m dehydrated because I either feel tired or hungry, even when I’ve already eaten.

A couple of other things you can do to make sure your skin looks great is to use an egg white mask to tighten your skin. Just use the white of an egg and put it on your face, don’t get it too close to your eyes because it's too drying and leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse it off with cool water. It really will give your skin a lift.

The other trick I swear by for reducing puffy eyes or dark circles is grating a cucumber and making an eye mask. Don’t just use the slices because they don’t get into the contours under your eyes. Cheesecloth is ideal, but since most of us don’t keep that in the house, just use a paper towel and roll the cucumber up like a burrito and put it over your eyes for 15 minutes. I usually flip it over at the halfway point to get all the benefits from the cucumber while it’s fresh.

The other plus from taking time to do this is you can quietly review what you are going to say and imagine yourself on camera, enthusiastic and confident, sharing your message. If you don’t have a cucumber, you can use teabags you’ve put in the refrigerator in water overnight, I usually use green tea bags. This is a great way to refresh your eyes, especially if you’ve been in front of the computer a lot.

You can also do a gentle skin scrub the night before which will add a healthy glow, just don’t scrub too hard or you’ll make your skin red.

There are also other treatments out there that will tighten the skin under your eyes temporarily and they can be effective - I have worked with makeup artists who swear by Preparation H. A word of caution though. If you use them on a continuous basis, you can actually damage the skin under your eyes because of the constant contracting and drying out of this delicate skin. Then you will make your bags even worse.

Always use a moisturizer, whether you are on camera or not. It will keep your skin looking fresh and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I shared this tip with a friend one time and his skin was looking so good and people were telling him how young he looked his wife was pretty annoyed with him ;0)

There are lots of great products out there, Clinique has some great combo moisturizers for men with built in sunblock that work well and Neutrogena has some tinted moisturizers with sun block too in various different shades you can check out at your local drugstore. It’s great if you can find something that’s oil free so it doesn’t clog your pores and add more shine.

If you are shooting outdoors, sun block is essential to protect your face from damaging rays that will age your skin! You get one face, take care of it!

Pay attention though, some sunblock can actually make your skin look white because there is zinc in it. Here's an affiliate link to a sunblock I use - a surfer turned me on to it a several years ago and I’m forever in his debt.

Let’s talk about facial hair, hair and hair color.

If you don’t wear a beard, shave. And if you do wear a beard, or the unshaved look, make sure it’s groomed. Not everyone call pull of the many days without shaving look well, and quite frankly, it can make you look older, and depending on your brand, not very professional.

Think about who is in your audience and how they perceive you. As my friend and Marketing MasterMind, Mike Kim says - is it on brand?

If you have a heavy beard, shave and make sure you have razor handy for touch ups when you start getting that five o’clock shadow.

Trim your eyebrows and make sure you don’t have any other stray facial hair that can create a distraction if the light catches it.

I also get asked about hair cut and and hair color for men. If you are going to cut and color your hair, do it a few days ahead of time so it has a chance to grow out a bit, and the color can settle.

We’ve all had cuts that we don’t like and that’s not always confidence building on video. Keep the color as close to your own natural color and if you have grey, blend the color in so it’s not solid.

As we mature, our skin tone changes and a solid color from when you were 20 years younger isn’t always going to flatter your skin tone and it doesn’t look natural.

Aim for a look that you are comfortable in and doesn’t require a trip to the salon every time you want to shoot a video. If you have some grey in your eyebrows and it bothers you, there are some great brow fillers on the market you can use for touch ups.

Okay, let’s move on to what makeup and how much to use.

And here’s the good news, it’s pretty simple once you get the basics down.

If you are indoors in a studio or using lights in your office, some powder that matches your skin tone is generally enough.

I don’t typically use foundation for men, however, if you are really pale and need a bit of color or have really uneven skin tone, you can try some, just don’t go more than a shade or two darker than your regular skin tone and take a makeup lesson so you can learn to apply it properly. I always use a sponge or brush to apply foundation to blend it in so it looks natural.

You want to make sure you don’t have a lot of extra shine on your face because it’s distracting. And if you are working under hot lights, you are going to perspire. Typically a dusting of powder on your forehead, top of head, nose, cheeks and chin will do it.

There are some great color correcting powders out there that even out your skin tone. You can go to a MAC makeup store as they specialize in products for film and video and ask for a good color correcting powder that’s right for your skin or with a makeup counter specialist at a department or cosmetics store can help you. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but don’t cheap out either.

There are also some great under eye concealers if you have dark circles that neutralize dark circles and you can blend them in with a sponge to freshen up the area under your eyes.

Believe it or not, Maybelline has one I accidentally discovered and it won’t break the bank. Here's an affiliate link if you want to check it out. It has a sponge applicator and goes on super easy, you just need to blend it in a bit with your fingers. It’s magic.

Since you are going to be doing video for your business and career, it pays to invest in a quality powder and concealer if you need it you can use every time you shoot video.

I also recommend blotting papers to touch up when you get shiny after being under the lights for awhile. They are great because they soak up the extra shine without having to put on more powder. Too much powder and you can look pasty and if it settles into the lines on your face and will age you.

Use a lip balm to keep your lips moist and free from cracks. When your lips are dry it can be hard to enunciate clearly. Use one that’s not shiny as that’s also a distraction.

If you are going to be outdoors using natural light, you can still use a bit of powder to cut the shine and even out your skin tone. Investing in a good powder that matches your natural coloring makes a big difference. If you’re not comfortable going to the makeup counter, ask your spouse or friend if they can give you a hand.

Once you’ve identified your color, you can just purchase the same color when you need a refill. If you’re serious about looking good on video, please make this investment of time and resources so you can look and feel your best in front of the camera.

Summing It Up

There are some simple things you can do to make sure your skin looks great on camera

  1. Get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and stay away from alcohol and salt for a few days ahead of your shoot.

  2. Shave ahead of time if you don’t wear a beard and if you do, take a few minutes to be sure it’s groomed and check for stray facial hairs.

  3. If you are going to get a cut and color, do that a few days ahead of time too. Experiment to find a look you are comfortable with that doesn’t require a visit to the salon every time you want to shoot video.

  4. Use an oil free moisturizer and and lip balm to keep your skin looking fresh and invest in a good powder that matches your skin to control shine and even out your skin tone. Use sun block when you’re going to be shooting out doors.

  5. Blotting paper is great to carry with you for touch ups in between takes so you don’t end up with too much powder on your face.

Okay, that’s all for today. You can download my makeup tips here.

And as always, if you have any questions about this episode or have a question you’d like answered on a future episode, please feel free to send it my way, my contact info is in the show notes.

Please be sure to come back next week when I go over make up tips for women.

Until then, remember, by paying attention to lifestyle choices, and a little bit of experimentation, you can look your best on camera, every time.

Val Brown is an Emmy Award winning television producer, story, visual and personal brand consultant, coach, and speaker. She consults and coaches high performing business professionals and entrepreneurs looking to up their game and increase their confidence and credibility on camera. Val teaches you how to use your story to support your brand in video and photos. 

p.s. I’d love to connect on social media and hear your questions and concerns about being in front of the camera.

Twitter: @valbrown08


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