Makeup and lighting tips to look great on Zoom and Houseparty

Makeup and lighting tips to look great on Zoom and Houseparty


If you’re working from home at the moment, you’ll likely be familiar with Zoom and Houseparty, as well as other video calling apps.

You’ll also probably be familiar with that WTF feeling as you look at yourself on the screen, confused at the fact that the way you looked in the bathroom mirror this morning is most definitely not what you look like to your coworkers right now.

It’s a mix of lighting and the fact that everyone looks different through a camera, but you don’t need to resign yourself to feeling like a potato and spending your meetings distracted by your three apparent new chins.

We’ve spoken to some of the UK’s top makeup artists who’ve worked for YouTubers, presenters, and TV personalities, and have their top tips on how to look great for your video calls.

Who knows, you might even pluck up the courage for a Houseparty date?

SJ Froom, International Makeup Artist

SJ works as bareMinerals International Makeup Artist, and regularly appears as a presenter on QVC. She’s also done the makeup of huge names like Naomi Osaka.

To avoid looking ‘pale and washed out to viewers’ as well as ‘fine lines, wrinkles, and open pores’ looking extra visible on camera, she recommends a five-step plan.

Her first step is to ‘make sure that you always use a good moisturiser and massage well into skin.

‘This will even out the appearance of imperfections and give your skin a burst of hydration.’

Not only will it help your skin look better, but it can also help with the damaging effects of blue light from your devices. SJ recommends Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect, saying that the ‘Theobroma Cocoa Seed Extract in Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect specifically provides protection against blue light.’

For step two, SJ tells, ‘As far as looking good on screen. Invest in a good foundation. 

‘I would recommend Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturising Makeup SPF45 by Estee Lauder.  This foundation covers imperfections and evens out your skin tone whilst giving your skin an instant radiant glow so you won’t look flat on camera (and its 12-hour wear means you will still look great for online meetings in the afternoon without having to top up)’

The next step is to add colour, specifically focusing on the lips and cheeks.

‘I love Bobbi Brown Multi-Tasking Pot Rouge for Cheeks and Lips,’ says SJ.

‘It comes in lots of lovely shades to suit all skin tones. Just pop a little on the apple of the cheek and onto the lips and blend.  It will brighten up even the dullest of complexions. 

‘Plus, you can top this up before each call if you feel you need a little more.’ 

Next is all about definition, with mascara being the key here. SJ says Benefit Roller Lash is her hero product for a product that lengthens and never clumps.

And finally, get your lighting right.

‘Place your Laptop in front of good lighting i.e. sit with your face toward the light (the back of your laptop screen towards the light) so the light is on your face,’ advises SJ.

‘This will be much more flattering on your features. If you want to go all out invest in a NEEWER ring light. You can even attach your phone to it if you are doing calls from your mobile. It sits in the ring light itself so you are hands-free and looking your best!’

Pablo Rodriguez, Director of Artistry at Illamasqua.

Illamasqua is a brand that began for performers, and has now extended to help us normies make ourselves look just as good.

Pablo Rodriguez, the company’s Director of Artistry, tells ‘I would recommend applying your make-up using as much daylight as possible, set up your make-up products and mirror facing a window to ensure the natural light illuminates your face.

‘If you own a ring light, check the lighting to ensure it’s not too warm or too blue. Use natural lighting to your advantage!’

His top tip if you don’t have a ring light is to ‘use a white towel when applying makeup, place it on either your table or floor, as the light will bounce from the towel onto your face to enhance and lift your features.’

Pablo says this will ‘allow you to blend makeup accurately and not cake too much on leaving you with that healthy glow’. 

Pablo’s desert island products (or desert bedroom makeup bag) include Illamasqua Hydra Veil Primer for a healthy-looking, balanced finish, Illamasqua Skin Base Concealer, which he says is ‘perfect to cover up any dark circles or blemishes, without putting on a full face of foundation’, and Illamasqua Colour Veil Blusher to add a pop of brightness to your cheeks.

Finish off with a slick of clear gloss.

Liss Lacão, makeup artist and educator

Liss, who runs Dolled Up Makeup and Facepainting, tells us, ‘I find “normal makeup” looks different on screen is because studio makeup is sooo much heavier

‘The camera only sees in 2D so my job as a makeup artist is to enhance someone’s face, and help it look more 3D with contouring, and even moreso on camera.

‘By applying heavier makeup and more layers, It helps the face look less “flat” and enhances someone’s features. Also, with on-screen, camera lighting really does help. It can really showcase the makeup.’

Her hero product here is Pro Filt’r Foundation, and Liss then sets her products with a pigmented powder.

She says, though, ‘to give a little glow and make your skin look more vibrant for video calls I would recommend using a highlighter on the nose, cheekbones and cupids bow. I particularly like the highlighting palette from BPerfect as it has a range of different shades suitable for all skin tones.’

For those who like a more bare look, Liss uses Rosalique 3 in 1 Anti-Redness Miracle Formula (which can be used under foundation or on its own).

Liss says, ‘it’s moisturiser that gives coverage so it’s perfect for women working from home who probably don’t want to put a full face of foundation but do want some coverage just for a call.’

Cat Corderoy, make up artist for film and TV

Cat has worked on all sorts of shows and shoots, including doing the makeup for The Crown, Good Karma Hospital and Responsible Child.

‘Lighting is generally the reason makeup can look so different,’ Cat tells

‘If you have hard bright light you will need to make the makeup stronger and perhaps add more warmth to the skin tone. Soft light tends to be more flattering and will reduce the appearance of lines.’

In final set checks, Cat assesses how the makeup looks in the light they’re going to use. She suggests you do this, too, right before your call, and make any tweaks if you want to.

Her top picks product wise are By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Primer or Murad Hydro Dynamic Quenching Essence as a primer. Foundation-wise, she hat-tips Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder and The Ordinary Serum Foundation

Before you even think about makeup, though, Cat highlights the importance of a good skin routine, saying that’s ‘even more important than buying expensive products.’

‘Always remove your makeup at night thoroughly (double cleanse with a flannel or muslin cloth) and use a good moisturiser,’ she continues.

For a quick fix, ‘hydrating sheet masks are a dream for instantly brighter skin. I love the Patchology ones or Body Shop are slightly cheaper.’

Jennifer Jane, Bridal Makeup Academy Director and Course Leader

As a former model, and after spending years doing makeup for the camera flashes of weddings, Jennifer Jane knows plenty about makeup for different lights.

She tells, ‘Contrast and colour can often be diminished by cameras so it’s best to apply a little more makeup than you are used to wearing, without going over the top.

‘What looks natural face to face and what looks natural on-screen are quite different, so you need to bridge the gap between the two.’

Jeniffer advises using a ‘lightweight, matte foundation such as Clinique Stay Matte’ and says that ‘a translucent face powder is a must as it reduces oiliness and shine.’ Her top pick is Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder.

Lighting-wise, she says: ‘Avoid sitting under spotlights, set yourself up in natural daylight facing a window.

‘Make sure you have set the camera/laptop up at the right height so you are not looking down which causes shadows on your face.

‘Always wear foundation and conceal under the eyes! Blush is a must on the cheeks as well as a slick of lippy, frame the face by lightly filling in the eyebrows and apply two coats of mascara.’

It could be many more weeks of being indoors and having meetings via these methods, so we might as well feel our best while we do it.

Do you have any top tips to share? Get in touch at [email protected]

Share your views in the comments below.

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