3 Pro Tips to Doing Your Own Headshot Makeup


Headshot Makeup, what is it? By definition, it’s a clean and natural approach giving the most true to life results. Just as I take the time to educate on the fundamentals of headshots or tailor the lighting to each of my clients, an experienced make-up artist will understand this and work to simply bring out the best of your natural features.

Now within this approach, there are 3 key points in which we take attention to, your eyes, your cheek bones and your lips. Two of these three are the key elements to nailing a solid headshot, the eyes and lips. First, your eyes, because this is the window to who you are, a window to your soul. Within that window, we build emotions, the single most important one is confidence, yet we can also emote innocence for example if you’re an actor and going for a character shot. Then we have your mouth which is where we build the approachability factor, nothing makes a person more inviting than a warm smile! This is also where we can build more character, like with the hint of a mischievousness or confidence even with a slight smirk.

A couple points to remember as well is to take it easy on the highlighting. We all love it and of course it’s trending, but it’s the number one application to over do but it’s just not ideal for headshots. Should you do decide to use subtle highlighting, avoid metallic or prismatic highlighters. Ideally you want to use a lighter shade in a natural or matte finish. Also my team is here to assist if you have any questions on what to use, just email me and I will put you in touch with them.

Here’s a few critical points for skin prep and products – 

  • Start hydrating a few days before your session.
  • Get plenty of rest the night before. 
  • Avoid any product with SPF or Titanium Dioxide (causes flashback). 
  • Avoid acne medication products (leaves a white cast).

Below are examples of makeup, the left column is the recommended clean and natural and what I suggest going for should you choose to do your own makeup. The right side are examples of bold make-up, which I do not recommend for your session, starting out at least. If we were going for editorial looks or beauty even, this would be the territory we’d venture into. Now I will say, if there is an eyeshadow or lipstick that you know just looks absolutely stunning on you, by all means, bring it and we can work it in for the later looks. Just remember there will always be the right tools for the right job and following these guidelines will help achieve a session that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression, which is what we both want to see!


Clean and Natural

  • Light eyeshadow.
  • Soft natural colors.
  • No hard edges or lines. 

Bold – Not Recommended

  • Smokey eyes.
  • Winged mascara.
  • Hard edges or lines.

Cheek Bones / Contouring

Clean and Natural

  • Slight contouring, soft definition of cheek bones. 
  • Should give your face subtle depth.

Bold – Not Recommended

  • Heavy contouring, pronounced cheek bones. 
  • Too much and we can tread into high fashion.


Clean and Natural

  • Soft and natural colors with a fresh appearance.
  • Nude and matte tones are best for your lips.

Bold – Not Recommended

  • Dark and rich colors can be distracting.
  • Glossy textures will create glares.

Natural vs Enhanced

Clean and Natural

  • Soft and natural captures you as a person.

Bold – Not Recommended

  • Bold can take away from your natural beauty. 

Here are some stunning examples of what Headshot Makeup should look like.