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Mastering Business Headshot Makeup Etiquette for Men and Women: Dos and Don’ts

Professional headshots are a staple in the business world, forming the first impression clients and colleagues have of an individual. As such, the makeup and grooming for these headshots must be carefully considered to ensure it complement, rather than detract from, the subject’s professionalism. When preparing for a session to capture your image, it’s crucial to strike a balance that enhances natural features without overshadowing the person’s authentic appearance. Ensuring that the resulting image aligns with the intended professional brand is essential, whether it’s to be displayed on business cards, social media profiles, or article bios.

The goal is to look polished and approachable, with clean styling that resonates across various platforms where the headshot may be featured. Specific considerations will vary between men and women, tailored to present each in the best light. Men might focus on a neat hairstyle and subtle skin correction, while women might utilize makeup to accentuate features without it appearing heavy or distracting. It is always worth investing in high-quality business headshots that can impact how a professional is perceived in their field.

Key Takeaways

  • A professional headshot should convey credibility and approachability.
  • Makeup and grooming play crucial roles in enhancing a professional’s headshot.
  • Tailored grooming for men and subtlety in makeup for women is optimal.

Makeup and Grooming Essentials for Professional Headshots

In professional headshots, the goal is to present a polished yet natural appearance that reflects professionalism. The following subsections cover the fundamental steps in facial preparation, makeup application, and hair styling to achieve that perfect business look.

Facial Preparations

Before applying makeup, one should start with a clean, smooth base. Skincare is vital in how makeup is applied and lasts throughout the day. One should cleanse and exfoliate to remove any dead skin cells, allowing for a smoother application of products. Following this, moisturizing is crucial, irrespective of skin type, to ensure the skin is hydrated and plump, which helps avoid cakiness when foundation and concealer are applied.

Makeup Application

For makeup, less is often more for headshots. A natural makeup look is most appropriate for a professional setting. They should apply a foundation that matches the skin tone perfectly, avoiding anything too heavy or light-reflecting. Concealer is used to cover any blemishes or dark circles. Experts, like professional makeup artists, recommend using neutral shades that enhance features without overpowering them. For the final touch, they should set the makeup with a translucent powder for a non-greasy, lasting finish.

Hair Styling

The hairstyle should complement the face and not distract from it. For short hair, a clean, sleek look is often best. Those with longer locks might opt for a straight style or a ponytail to keep hair tidy and away from the face. It’s important to ensure the hair looks intentional and neat, whether styled personally or by a hairstylist. Minimal use of products will help avoid an oily or stiff appearance.

Specific Considerations for Men and Women

In preparing for business headshots, men and women have particular grooming and makeup requirements to ensure a polished and professional appearance. These details can significantly enhance the final image.

Men’s Grooming

For men, it’s essential to manage facial hair with care. A clean shave gives a neat look, but if you prefer a beard, make sure it’s well-trimmed and tidy. Control eyebrows by removing stray hairs, and consider using a clear brow gel for a groomed finish. Brows should look natural, so heavy filling is not recommended. A touch of lip balm can prevent chapped lips, ensuring they look healthy in your professional headshots. Hair gel or pomade can manage flyaways and maintain hairstyle without appearing greasy.

Women’s Makeup and Hair

Women should opt for makeup that enhances their features subtly without overpowering. A brow pencil may fill sparse areas, but maintaining a natural brow shape is key. Use a light hand with lashes; a single mascara coat can effectively define the eyes. Female makeup for business headshots should include a subtle, natural foundation, avoiding heavy contouring or bright colors. Hair should be styled to frame the face well, be it through a professional blow-dry or a simple, elegant updo that keeps hair away from the face and maintains focus on the individual’s expression.


In business headshots, a balanced approach to makeup and grooming is paramount. Both men and women should aim for a polished look that aligns with their natural appearance. Individuals should focus on enhancing their features subtly while maintaining professionalism. Attention to detail in grooming can impact the perception of professionalism and should not be overlooked.

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