Dos and Don’ts of Headshot Hair and Makeup

Megan Garmers - WayUp Guest Contributor
Dos and Don’ts of Headshot Hair and Makeup

On the #WayUp Tour, we visited 25 universities to give students like you a free, professional headshot in order to impress the 6,000 employers on our site. We know that figuring out the right hairstyle and the right makeup is a hassle–especially for your professional headshot!–which is why we spoke with beauty agency MG Hair and Makeup to get a few tips on how to prepare for your picture perfect moment. 

First impressions count. You wouldn’t hand in a resume that is torn and crumpled with coffee stains: the same goes for your professional headshot. If your headshot looks like you would rather be hanging out with your friends than working at a job, that’s the message that employers will receive. After all, if you can’t take the few extra minutes to put effort into how you look for your headshot, what type of effort will you put into the job?

If you want a job, you need to look like you want it – like you took the time to prepare for it. While WayUp believes you are beautiful WITHOUT makeup–as your natural self–if you want to wear makeup, here are a few dos and don’ts for your professional headshot:


dos and don'ts of headshot hair and makeupDo
emphasize your eyes – they should be the main focus of your headshot. You want your eyes to stand out but not in the “smokey eye” or “winged liner” way. Line the top of your eye with black or dark brown eyeliner. Draw this very close to the lash line.

Don’t use glitter or too much shimmer in eyeshadows. The same goes for color. Use neutral shades. Leave the purples and greens for your girls’ night out.

Do use concealer. No one is perfect, so conceal areas that need correcting. Dab concealer under your eye and blend it in with a sponge or your finger. Just be gentle with this area as it is a thin layer of skin. Be sure to also cover blemishes and set these areas with powder. Powder your nose, forehead and chin as well to cut the shine down.

Do add a neutral lip color like a mauve or berry shade. You want some color to your
lips to liven up your face a little. However, this is not the time for lots of gloss or a nude lip.

Don’t do a bright pink or red lip. You don’t want your lips to be the first thing people see when looking at your headshot.

Do style your hair. Your hair should frame your face. No ponytails or buns. No trendy warrior knots on the top of your head. Blow out your hair for some volume, smooth out the frizz and pay attention to the front especially.

A few more don’ts include no major contouring, no thick or super defined brows and no braids. Save the contouring and other trendy makeup looks for Instagram or hanging out with your friends. Brows that are too thick or defined look painted on in pictures, and braids tend to look juvenile in headshots.


comb and style your hair. Product is your friend – especially for those stubborn cowlicks or hairs that don’t want to lie down.

Don’t just roll out of bed. You want to look awake and ready to be productive–not like you are ready to go back to sleep after this. Oh, and newsflash? Makeup is not just for women. Cover dark undereye circles or blemishes with concealer and some powder. You don’t need a lot, but it will help to keep the focus on you as a whole instead of your dark circles or blemishes.

Do groom your brows. Tweeze the ones in the middle – no unibrows. Brush your brows up and outwards to avoid the mad scientist look. You should also groom your facial hair. Keep it neat and low or none at all.

Do use lip balm. Your lips should not be chapped or flaky. If you have chapped lips, start a few days in advance to get your lips in shape. Don’t wait until the day you are getting your headshot.

An extra bonus? MGHM came to WayUp HQ and shot a video for guys and for girls the dos and don’ts of a professional headshot. Don’t forget to RSVP for the #WayUpTour!