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On Camera Makeup Tips For Women - How To Create A Natural Look and Feel Fabulous

Learn tips to save time and look your best on camera. Listen to Episode 32 of Camera Ready With Val Brown here:

What about makeup when I'm on camera? is the question I hear most often behind what should I wear.

And it’s a good one, because most of us don’t spend a lot of time under hot lights or in front of a lens that can change our skin tone or highlight our less than flattering attributes.

In this post I'm going to cover how your lifestyle will affect how you look on camera (yes ladies I know I covered this last week, AND it’s that important), things to know about makeup and the camera and some tips on keeping your look fresh throughout out your shoot.

Can you think of times you’ve seen someone on television and they have way too much makeup on? I can.

Just the other night I was at a networking event and I recognized the host from her picture - and said so. Her response was, "oh the one where I was wearing away too much makeup." She laughed self consciously and I really felt for her - she probably thought she looked great when she went to get her pictures done, but when they came back, she realized, that’s now how she looks every day.

And that’s what we are aiming for, a look that’s natural, easy to achieve and one where you feel amazing about how you look.

I want you to feel like it’s not a big deal to get ready to be on video, I want you to know that you can show up as you and you know how to look your best.

Think of your face as a painting where the elements are in balance with your best feature being the star of the show. Whether that’s your eyes, cheekbones or lips.

In today’s world, we’re all busy, whether we’re running our own business, leading our team or building our career. So by By learning a few basic tips, you can take the mystery out of how to you show up looking your best on camera whether you’re indoors or outdoors or taking photos for your headshots without spending a ton of time and effort on things that don’t work.

So with that in mind, let’s dive in.

First, I am going to repeat what I covered last week about lifestyle. Not in detail, but in general, what you eat, how much sleep you get and water you drink will all show up in how you look.

Depending on your lifestyle over time, it is going to show in your face. We’ve all seen examples of people who either look great or not so great for their age.

You have a choice. Take care of your skin, moisturize, use sun block, eat well, stay hydrated avoid alcohol and salt before your shoot and get plenty of sleep.

In last week’s post I shared a few of my favorite skin savers. If you'd like a complete rundown, you can download my makeup tips sheet here.

This will do more than any makeup ever will to help you look and feel your best on camera.

That said, let’s talk about what you can do to enhance your looks to compensate for lighting and camera electronics.

Today’s cameras pick up a lot more detail, so starting with a good foundation will help. When I first started in television cameras were not as sophisticated and we could get away with using more opaque foundation, today, that will make you look old and does not look natural.

The goal is to enhance your features without looking like you are wearing stage makeup.

If you don’t wear makeup at all in your day to day and are lucky to have great skin, this will give you a roadmap of what you can do to make sure you don’t look washed out on camera.

If you do regularly wear makeup, you can take these tips and blend them into your your routine.

Keep in mind, when you’re shooting indoors in a studio, you are going to want to apply your regular make up plus a bit more to make sure you don’t look washed out under studio lights.

I like to think of your face as a canvas and your makeup is layers like paint that will interact with the light whether it’s indoors or outside.

That means starting with a clean slate. Be sure your skin is clean, moisturized and if you are going to be outdoors, please make sure you use sunblock, it will protect your skin from aging in the sun. I like to put it on after my moisturize and let it soak in for awhile so my skin is not too shiny. There are lots of different sun blocks out there, find one that works for you with an SPF of at least 20.

Using a makeup primer will help you keep your makeup looking fresh longer. Which one you use is a personal choice, however, a matte finish will help to keep the shine down. Using a primer for your eye shadow will help it stay on longer and reduce the need for touch ups.

Once you have that base you can apply a foundation. I’m not a big fan of complete coverage foundation because it just doesn’t look natural and has a tendency to settle into the fine lines on your face and can really age you.

There are lots of great CC creams for color corrector or beauty balm BB creams that are moisturizers and a foundation. Some even have a built in sunblock like "IT" products. I’m not going to recommend a particular one as everyone’s skin is different. Apply with a beauty blender or brush and make sure you come down past your jaw so you don’t have two different colors of skin.

What I do recommend is you go to a store where you can have a professional help you determine the right shade for your skin they’ll do this at no charge and then check it in natural light. So many department stores are fluorescent lighting only and that means when you step outside, it’s not a good match to your skin tone. There are so many great choices today for all skin tones, take some time to find yours.

MAC stores specialize in makeup for film and video or you can go to a makeup store like Ulta and get someone to help you. Let them know you are going to be doing video and want something that won’t melt under hot lights.

Invest in a concealer, it should be a shade or two lighter than your foundation and lightweight so it doesn’t cake under your eyes. You’ll apply this on top of your foundation and blend. beauty blender sponge or brushes are the secret to natural looking makeup. Maybelline makes a great neutralizer that works really well - it has a sponge applicator and you can blend it in with your fingers for touch ups in between. Here's an affiliate link if you want to check it out.

Ok, are you still with me? You can use a bronzer to create definition, a bit under your chin and jawline can create a slimmer look on your face. Just remember, if you are outdoors, the light is a lot different so make sure you blend well to look natural. I’ve seen some pretty overdone face sculpting with makeup, and that may be okay, depending on your audience. Think in terms of who is in your audience and about the image you want to project.

Let’s be honest for a minute - women pay more attention to other women’s makeup than men do. So if you want people to pay attention to your message, you are going to want to look natural and enhance your features, not draw attention to how you apply your makeup.

The goal is to love how you feel and not feel so dependent on makeup that you won’t shoot spontaneous videos.

Let’s talk about eyes.

Eyebrows are the frame on your face so spend some time learning how to make the most of yours.

If you have very thin brows, painting on really thick brows is not going to look natural AND depending on how old you are, can really age you. There are so many great products out there today, brow fillers, powders, gels and even brow tattoos. A word of caution on the tattoos, because they are permanent, doing your due diligence before proceeding is critical.

Spend some time finding a solution that works for you.

If you do have nice brows, just make sure they are groomed and don’t over exaggerate them because they can be a scene stealer.

Eye shadow should compliment your skin tone - muted browns, eggplant and grays all work, please stay away from glitter eye shadows and really dark shades unless that’s part of your personal brand.

A makeup lesson for your eye type is super helpful. If you have hooded eyes, there are lots of easy tips to give your eyes more definition and if you have smaller eyes, there are things you can do to make them look larger.

It’s super easy to find makeup lessons on YouTube or get help from a makeup artist at the makeup counter.

The goal is to make sure you don’t look washed out and that you don’t wear too much eye makeup which can age you.

Eyelashes - use a good non clumping mascara on your top lashes and let some of it settle on your bottom lashes so you’re not as prone to flakes and smudges under your eyes. A quick crimp with an eyelash curler can lift your lashes.

If you wear false eyelashes, find a length that looks natural. One of my friend goes to a salon and has them done every few weeks and they look super natural and really make her eyes pop. Once again, try to find something that doesn’t require a ton of work every time you want to shoot a video.

I recommend using eyeliner with discretion. It really makes a difference to open up your eyes, however if you use too thick a line and it’s a really harsh line, you can actually make your eyes look smaller. I like to use a dark liner at the base of my lashes and blend it in. It provides definition and thickens your lashes without a heavy line.

There’s a theme here, you don’t have to wear a lot of makeup to look good on camera and finding a stye that works for every day and then amping it up a bit for the camera is the goal.

Use a blush that’s in synch with your skin tone - I love how there are so many options for all skin shades these days, so find one that works for you when you get your foundation.

You don’t need a ton, a nice dab on the apples of your cheeks and blend it in and upward.

If you like to use an illuminator on the top of your cheeks, I’d check it out doors and under the lights. Depending on how it’s formulated, it can actually reflect too much light and you can look like a reverse raccoon. This is also where you need to experiment.

Choose a lipstick close to your natural color. I like to have one that skews to the pink and one that’s a bit more to the brown depending on what I’m wearing and time of year.

Please stay away from shiny or shimmery lipsticks because the light will catch them and they will distract from what you are saying.

I know we all see that a lot on the news and the reason you notice it is because it reflects light. When you’re watching are you are looking at their makeup or listening to what they are saying.

Think of your face as a painting where the elements are in balance with your best feature being the star of the show. Whether that’s your eyes, cheekbones or lips.

Depending on how oily your skin is, use a dusting of finishing powder to set your makeup and control shine.

Always bring along your makeup bag for touch ups during the day.

A quick tip: I mix a small amount of glycerine (you can buy this at the drug store) and distilled water in a spray bottle to refresh my makeup without having to apply more, or you can buy already prepared makeup refreshers too.

Summing It Up

Your makeup is a personal expression of who you are, and a way to define and highlight your features. Finding your best look and a routine that works for you, your skin and brand is what this episode is all about.

  • Great looking makeup starts with a great skin care and healthy lifestyle. Plenty of water, sleep and stay away from alcohol and salty foods before your shoots will help you look your best.

  • Finding foundation, eye and lip colors that enhance your natural features takes a bit of experimentation and is well worth the investment. A trip to the makeup counter and working taking a makeup lesson is worth the effort.

  • Once your find what works, your time investment to get ready for videos is reduced and it makes it so much easier to show up on camera with confidence because you know you look your best and when you look good, you feel good and that will come through in your delivery you're ready for lights, camera, success!

Okay, that’s all for this post. Don’t forget to download your copy of my makeup tips here.

And as always, if you have questions about this episode or about being on camera, please email me and I’m happy to answer it on a future episode.

Until then, remember, by investing in a healthy lifestyle and paying attention to the basics and your brand when you’re applying makeup, you will look and feel 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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