Refinery29 on Interview Makeup

This is a legacy post commenting on Refinery29’s Interview Makeup article. My content has been given a facelift; it has been edited for clarity and ease-of-reading, but is ultimately the same. I winced as I re-read it and the article that inspired it. WTF.

The other day I was reading various beauty-related articles when I came across this one from Refinery29 discussing Skype or other video-call interviews. Seeing the title, I was intrigued – this could be pretty useful to a lot of people these days.

The Players

The Refinery29 article is filled with advice solicited from Michelle Phan, Nic from Pixiwoo/Real Techniques, and Deepica Mutyala; a blogger/vlogger I was unfamiliar with until I read. I’m not a regular Refinery29 reader, but was looking forward to the content.

Knowing Your Interview Audience

It starts off with sound advice from Mutyala – that you should understand who you’ll be interviewing with. Obviously, if you are interviewing in a traditionally very conservative field, like law, you need to keep your makeup understated and very safe. Advancing to the topic of lighting, she makes a point to share that thoughtful lighting is key to a web conference-style interview. It’s no secret that cameras tend to pick things up a little differently than our eyes tend to on our own – webcams, especially ones built-in to your laptop’s lid, are certainly no exception. Throw in a less-than-ideal lighting arrangement, and people could use some help presenting themselves professionally – so this is good stuff, so far.

Keep the Focus on You, Not Your Surroundings

Nic (who is, if you don’t know, a professional makeup artist) continues that your environment is important. Your background and surroundings should be distraction-free. If you’re trying to convince a company that you’re the best candidate you don’t want to give them the opportunity to judge by random clothing or items strewn about in the background. You may not think these mean much, but this can say a lot to prospective employers, like:

  • You lack attention to detail.
  • You lack solid situational judgment and, perhaps, discretion.
  • Professionalism is not a priority for you.

–while these may not be true of you, those are interpretations that can and will be made. Why give them the opportunity to doubt you?

She talks about the angle of your camera, too, which I thought was good. Practice with it until it is positioned appropriately!


Those two continue to give good advice – Use a slightly heavier hand so it shows up on camera, but stick to clean, simple looks. Don’t over-contour yourself or OD on the highlighter. Then, Ms. Phan comes in and suggests glitter.

Yes, glitter, for a job interview. Put it under your eyes, she says. Quoting her straight from the article:

Light will reflect off of the glitter, giving your eyes a magical look.


Glitter for an Interview?

I’m not really familiar with the fairy tale universe Michelle lives in but you should not, under (almost) any circumstances take this advice. Your eyes don’t need to look magical; you aren’t trying to enchant your interviewer. You are trying to impress upon them that you have the skills for the job in question and convince them that you’re the best for the job.

I love glitter. I LOVE IT. When I discovered Pinterest, I was in glitter project heaven. I love sparkly shadows, glittery pigments. I enjoy glitter gel nails (though, in 2017, I’m not wearing them as often). None of it belongs in a job interview unless you’re interviewing for a glitter manufacturer or for a highly creative field where you know for a fact it is welcomed – even then, I’d suggest finding another way to set yourself apart.

Fake Awake

Who consistently gets, “enough,” sleep, anyway? There are other ways to make yourself look awake, and to bring focus to your eyes. I like to use Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer on my eye area to not only create an evenly-colored base for shadow, but to hide dark circles. It goes a long way in making me look awake. Curl your lashes and slap on some mascara. Groom your brows and fill them in as-needed – no crazy-harsh Instagram brows, please. You now look awake, congratulations! No occasion-inappropriate glitter required.

If you wish to use shadow with a bit of shimmer, that’s fine – just don’t overdo it. Don’t reach for Urban Decay Sidecar or Space Cowboy, okay?

Other Eyebrow-Raising Interview Makeup Advice

Mutyala continues by suggesting a bold red lip – I’d also be cautious with this and take into consideration how stark red lips can look on you. She can rock it with her deeper skin tone, but it might come off too harsh for the occasion on those with lighter skin tones. In my experience, MLBB – my (your, in this case)-lips-but-better – shades are always a safe bet.

If you choose to deviate from, “safe,” just stay away from, “loud,” colors like orange, purple, or neon pink. Like glitter,  they’ll get noticed…but it will be for the wrong reasons.

The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, yes, you need to make yourself stand out to your interviewer, but it should be your skillset and character that stands out. Unless you’re interviewing for a makeup artist position or counter job, your makeup should not be what your interviewer remembers.

While most of the information is useful (though not quite what I was actually expecting), it absolutely could have done without Michelle’s glitter tip. How many job interviews has she actually been on in the past five years? Longer? I think it is safe to say she’s out-of-touch with this aspect of reality. Taking her glitter advice is akin to taking a fashion magazine’s advice and donning a shorts suit to the office in summer.

The one takeaway I wish for you to get out of this post is this: If I’m interviewing you and you arrive with glitter plastered to your under-eye area, I’m not going to hear you, “sell,” your skills. I am going to wonder why on earth you would ever think this was a good idea.