On Camera Makeup Tips (Men and Women)

In the world of Skype, Facetime, and now Google Hangouts we all want to look our best, especially if we’re trying to display a professional image. And most of us get an uncomfortable dose of reality when we first see ourselves on camera. While watching a Hangout On Air (HOA) about tips on how to act on camera, the idea of makeup was brought up because (shocker!) men aren’t typically as familiar with makeup as women are. The fabulous Sandra Dee Robinson mentioned that men usually just need some translucent powder (I’ll take this moment to mention Eshiko face powder and Make Up For Ever HD powder) on their forehead, but I don’t think that really even scraped the surface of this topic.


First and foremost, matte is king of the camera. It is the most flattering and least distracting. It helps camouflage texture imperfections and looks softer and cleaner. This is why Sandra mentioned the translucent powder for men, because even men benefit from makeup… Seriously guys, turn on Sports Center, the news, a game show, or a soap opera and tell me how many shiny faces you see… and to be honest, the only time you naturally see faces that matte, is on the very young and old. Whether due to oils or stretched skin, the majority of us have some shine to contend with.

MEN:  You don’t have to put on ‘real’ makeup to remove shine. There are plenty of products out there strictly to make shine disappear. These come in the forms of mattifying gels, creams, sprays, powders, primers, and more. Simply put, you can put them on alone, or even mix them with a lotion/moisturizer and the shine goes away. Don’t know what to get? Go to Sephora.com (or Ulta.com, they’ll have cheaper options) and type ‘mattifying’ in the search bar. Don’t want to be caught dead with these products around your guy friends? Cornstarch and a powder brush (fluffy paintbrush) will work, just don’t go overboard.

One of my favorite mattifying products is Urban Decay De-Slick in a tube. I mix about a half-pea-sized amount with a moisturizer (or foundation if I want coverage) and spread and blend it with my fingers, concentrating on areas I tend to shine the most. This particular method leaves me matte all day. Urban Decay also has a De-Slick powder and spray for more or just different mattifying help.

Speaking of sprays, Skindinavia seems to be the front-runner in the mattifying spray race, with their No More Shine spray. Spray it on after makeup (or bare skin) and you’re good to go!

Now, there are some great translucent powders out there (these usually appear white or beige in the package.) The Make Up For Ever HD powder is a go-to for most (including Hollywood makeup artists). It’s silky, fool-proof to apply, and both mattifies and gives a soft-focus finish. The only caveat, is that it doesn’t do well with flash photography, but that’s another article and we’re talking video, which it’s great for. Personally I’d go for the Eshiko face powder, which is similar to the MUFE HD powder, only much better (due to it’s much smaller size at 10 nanometers) and with no photography flash-back problems (Google Nicole Kidman Powder… I promise you she was incapable of seeing the powder in person, but it doesn’t always hide from the camera… but again, different story for a different time.) I’m also going to take this moment to say the above Eshiko picture is the powder used OVER makeup, not just by itself… results may vary, blah blah blah… I’m also not sponsored by them.

There are also tons of moisturizers or primers with mattifying properties. Just because it’s a primer, doesn’t mean you have to put makeup on over them. The benefit of using a primer is that many of them are geared to also give extra help in minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines to give a soft-focus appearance. There are also acne-fighting and anti-aging mattifying primers/lotions/moisturizers that essentially can become a one-stop-shop for skincare and looking better…

A few product mentions to look at would be Shiseido – Pureness Mattifying Moisturizer, Korres – Pomegranate Mattifying Primer, Dr. Brandt Skincare – pores no more anti-aging mattifying lotion, and Peter Thomas Roth – Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel… these are only a few and if you’re looking to go matte on the cheap? Cornstarch and a powder brush. There are so many products made to make your skin matte that I couldn’t begin to list them all, so if any of you have a favorite that I missed, feel free to let me know!

I’m going to take a break on mattifying at the moment and talk about makeup that covers. Men, you’re not done reading. I promise.

MEN:  For a little overall skin tone coverage, look at Tinted Moisturizers, MAC Face and Body foundation (widely used on men and very sheer, don’t freak out!) or matte mineral foundations (you’ll need that fluffy paintbrush again). Make sure you get the right color, and make sure you blend (beyond the face and into the neck.) and top off with a powder to stay matte. Consider Make Up For Ever’s HD foundation for more coverage in an HD environment. The lady at Sephora will help you get the right color.

If you have skin issues that you’re self conscious about, consider makeup with a bit of coverage. Tinted moisturizers can even out skin tone without being detectable. They may not create the perfect complexion, but they can make redness/blemishes/blotchiness less obvious. MAC Face and Body foundation is an industry staple for men (and women). BB creams are similar to tinted moisturizers with a bit more coverage (and skin care). Make Up For Ever Face and Body is also undetectable on the skin as well and it’s waterproof. All of these (and others that fall into their categories) are rarely going to give you matte skin, but that’s why you follow up with a powder or spray, or use the mattifying creams/primers etc.

Face powders that are not translucent (often powder foundations) can give you the best of both worlds and give you that easy quick application to mattify skin with an added bonus of evening out the color with a little coverage. And often a really easy all-in-one type of powder is a matte mineral foundation. Bare Minerals and Everyday Minerals both have matte versions and when buffed into the skin, it can create a gorgeous effect with coverage that doesn’t look like makeup at all with very little time or effort. These often come in ranges like ‘fair, light, tan, etc’ so that one powder can be used on a multitude of skin tones… which in layman’s terms, means it’s easier to pick the right color.

If you want even more coverage, you can get into “real” foundations that cover more, but then you have to make sure you find the perfect color. Make Up For Ever’s HD foundation line offers a very large range of colors, feels light on the skin, provides great coverage, is practically undetectable, and even gives a matte finish. It’s not the perfect choice for everyone, but it is specifically designed for looking great on HD cameras.  There are so many foundations designed for mattifying or HD video that the best advice I can give for these if you’re interested, is hit up a Sephora/Ulta/MAC or department store makeup counter and ask someone for help. They’ll be able to direct you to the color and type that you need. Just remember, there are mattifying products to apply over non-matte foundations if that’s what you end up needing/wanting, so you don’t have to limit yourself to matte only at this point.

MEN: Concealer is that teeny-tiny jar/stick/tube of skin color stuff girls use. It’s more opaque than regular face makeup and is used for covering dark circles, blemishes, scars, and freckles our other makeup doesn’t hide. Get the right color, apply to problem area, and blend. Apply some powder over it so it doesn’t move. If you need super opaque (can’t see through) coverage for scars/tattoos/bruising, consider Dermablend brand (Ulta carries it). With really opaque products, color match is important, so if you can’t try in store, make sure you buy from someone with a great return policy.

Concealer, when used properly, can replace foundation if you just want to cover small imperfections, say those dark circles from that late night and coffee binge. No commitment to a face full of makeup, but still get that improvement if your camera is unforgiving… just, again, find the right color. Because concealers are usually more pigmented, they have a higher visibility risk in person which is why the right shade is very important.. (I’m not even going to get into the idea of corrective colors because I don’t want to overwhelm the makeup-virgins out there.) It’s also highly recommended you set concealer with a powder (translucent or your skin tone) to help blend and prevent it from migrating… Concealers can also be used to boost sheerer foundations, or just because trouble areas need more help.

Now, if you want to take it even further, you can move on to contouring and highlighting, because harsh lighting can wash you out, but that is a book in itself.

MEN: Liquid/cream products go on BEFORE any powder products. Not all face-cleansers take makeup off so consider that. They have makeup-removing wipes (sort of like baby wipes) in the skin care aisle which take the whole soap and water out of the equation… and if you use brushes, clean them. Nasty brushes can cause severe skin problems that your typical makeup can’t hide…

Other than that, stay away from overly shimmery/frosty products and invest in some eye drops to use after you put the makeup on (I say after, because makeup can irritate your eyes)

As for where to get these products, my best answer is ‘The Internet’… other than that Sephora (and it’s online store) is my go to for beauty products, as well as Ulta (which also crosses over into the drugstore brands) and then everything else is more or less private boutiques/counters/websites like MAC or Eshiko.com.

On Camera Makeup Tips (Men and Women) by

4 Responses to “On Camera Makeup Tips (Men and Women)”

  1. Thanks for the link to our Hangout on Air today with Sandra Dee where Gareth Mark asked about makeup for men on camera. Lots more to digest here than we had time to cover in the HOA!

  2. This is great information for those of us who do a lot of Hangouts and Hangouts on Air, but aren’t regular users of makeup. I appreciate the depth of coverage here, and especially the product suggestions.

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