Last year, I did the scariest thing I've ever done: I graduated from university. While it's the most amazing feeling to be finished with school (and have a kick-ass degree under my belt), I've had to face the reality of looking for, dare I say it, a career.
That means growing up, but even worse, going to job interviews—OMG. Before my first one, I obsessed not only about having flushed cheeks, a dry mouth and a racing heart, but also about picking the perfect outfit and equally perfect beauty look. Needless to say, I was NERVOUS.
The morning of the interview, I swiped on my favourite red lipstick, MAC's Ronnie Red. As I was ready about an hour too early (I am the queen of punctuality and proud of it!), I had a lot of time to sit and ponder my makeup. "Are red lips too much?" I found myself wondering. I mean, I thought I looked good. Red lips are classic, but show that I'm still fun, right?
I wasn't entirely convinced, so I did what anyone in my situation would do. I turned to Google. "Is it okay to wear red lipstick to an interview?" I typed in. The overwhelming response online was a resounded no, nuh-uh,NEVER. Feeling slightly defeated, I wiped off my crimson lips. I really wanted the job and red lips were not going to get in the way of that.
It was then that I realized I didn’t know what—or what not—to wear to an interview, makeup-wise. And there must be others out there with the same dilemma!
As it turns out, I got the job... so I guess my final beauty look wasn’t all that bad. But after pondering the issue a little deeper, I came up with some interview makeup do’s and don’ts—so you won’t have to wonder whether that navy liner was too risqué. I can't guarantee you'll get hired, but I can try and help you look better in the process.
Interview makeup tip #1: Research the company and industry
Cater your beauty look to the company and industry you're interviewing for. For example, if you're interviewing at a bank, you definitely want subtle makeup—i.e no red lips (sorry!). Corporate settings tend to be more conservative, and the more corporate you go, the more conservative you should appear. That’s especially true if you’re applying for a position where you have to represent the company to the public on a day to day basis.
If it's a corporate setting, remember to KISS. Keep it simple, stupid.
Like Candice, above, you want to be natural, put-together, and clean–exactly what employers want! Dewy skin, a swipe of mascara, and a light lip is all you need. Wouldn't you hire her?
Or her! She's definitely getting the job.
To get the look, try BB cream (I'm currently using Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector) for an even complexion that's not too heavy or cakey.
I've also been obsessing over Revlon Lash Potion for ultra-long, lifted, luscious lashes. It seriously does wonders.
For a light lip, Revlon Lip Butters are my go-to; they add just the right amount of colour but are still balmy and smooth, and keep you looking au naturel.
At a creative workplace, like a fashion magazine, you have more leeway and can probably have a little more fun with your face.
I say, keep it all natural and add a bright or bold lip. Fresh skin, simple eyes, and a pop of colour on the kisser says you're a professional, but with a little je ne sais quoi. (The je ne sais quoi that says, “Hire me! I’ll be an awesome employee and look fab all the time!”)
I've been dyingto try out a deep, wine lip this winter. The now discontinued MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme in Soulfully Rich is a plummy purple I'm planning on stealing from my sister-in-law. Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in 49 (satin blueberry) is similar:
Not into a dark lip? Try a classic red, a fun pink, or something on the brighter side that you're more comfortable with.
If you prefer to play up your eyes, do it in a light, neutral way so it's not distracting to employers. Urban Decay's latest Naked Palette is chalk-full of rose gold neutrals to work with.
Interview makeup tip #2: Less is more
Listen to Coco Chanel: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory." While we're not talking accessories—though you may want to heed the advice there, too—the less is more approach definitely applies to beauty. (Heck, it's my makeup mantra.)
Nothing is prettier than a girl who is confident in her own skin, and by wearing less makeup that’ll shine through to the big boss interviewing you, who will be impressed by your killer resume, fresh face, and the confidence you exude.
Interview makeup tip #3: Go neutral with your nails
I couldn't write this article without mentioning nail polish, obvs. Something light and neutral, like a pastel pink, can never do you wrong. It lengthens your fingers and makes your hands and nails super-profesh and clean. What more could they ask for?
Essie Nail Polish in Fiji is my go-to for a light pink:
Or Topless and Barefoot for a more neutral tone:
And I love my almond-shaped nails, so I say if you got ‘em, flaunt ‘em! I know I'd never be able to chop them off for an interview. In general, though, don't go too long. Any shape works as long as your nails are neatly filed and clean.
Interview makeup tip #4: Take your time
It takes time to be a girl (and we’re not supermodels that get primped by, like, seven people at a time). So give yourself a window of a few hours to get ready—to ensure there's no rushing around like a madman on the day of your interview.
Try and schedule it on a day where you won’t have much planned, so there’s no way you’ll stress out beforehand. I say schedule a good three hours for showering, hairstyling, dressing and makeup, with a little extra time to just sit around and calm those nerves after you're ready (if you're anything like me!). It won't be cute to walk into an interview frazzled and frustrated with half-applied makeup or damp hair. So prep, schedule, and execute the perfect interview look flawlessly with just a little planning.
Interview makeup tip #5: Don’t experiment
So it’s the evening before your interview. You’re relaxing by sipping on some green tea and browsing Pinterest (my favorite site, ever) when you scroll past this gorgeous makeup look. Neutral face with a pop of colour on the eye… and it’s so unique, too.
You’re thinking, “Maybe I should give this a try tomorrow. I mean, it’s just some oddly placed forest green eyeliner. I’ll totally nail it.”
Wrong. Well, maybe you will nail it, but I wouldn’t try. While the model above does look gorgeous, it's not the time to step out of the box with makeup that’s different. (Plus, just imagine the patience it would take to get it that perfect—tack on another half-hour into scheduling time!) Stick with something tried-and-true that won't raise eyebrows, and save your out-there looks for the weekend. It's also a good idea to test-drive any new products before interview day. You don’t want to be figuring it out 20 minutes before you have to leave.
Now, make sure you're well rested, prepped, and feeling like a million bucks when you go secure the job of your dreams. Go get 'em, you beautiful smarty!
Have your say
What makeup looks have you worn to job interviews?
Have you tried any of these products?
Got any funny interview disasters? Share them!