Join Rick Allen Lippert for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying basic makeup for men, part of Web Video: Makeup Techniques.
I'm a guy who has had to learn how to apply his own makeup for both stage and camera work. Many of the techniques I will be teaching you were handed down to me by other men with whom I've worked, along with some tips given to me by a few female makeup artists. The first thing they have all said is to wash your face before you start. If you don't, then the foundation can't really adhere to your face due to the oils on your skin. If you've ever painted a piece of wood or anything metal, you have to sand it first so the paint would stick, right? Same principle with washing your face before applying makeup.
I am taking a bold step here in appearing on camera without makeup to show just how pasty and splotchy I am. I also have these puffy areas under my eyes. I didn't used to have them; they must be badges of honor for surviving my forties. Anyway, I used a dab under each eye of a cream called Skin by Ann Web. I get it at health food stores. This stuff works by hydrating the skin to reduce the puffiness and dark circles. You may not need it or want it, so let us keep going.
If the idea of a two-step process just seems like too much trouble for you, you can probably get by with just some foundation powder that matches your skin tone. But make sure it's a good mineral-based powder. You probably won't find this at Target or Walmart. At the PBS Station where I worked the pledge drives, all they want us to use is this Bare Essentials foundation powder. It's about $20.00. The recommended brush is about $30.00. The trick here is to not use too much. Pour just a little of the foundation powder into the lid, swirl the brush around to pick up the powder, tap the brush on the edge of the lid to knock off any excess, and then brush it on your face in a circular motion.
The tiny mineral particles have a wonderful smoothing effect that doesn't look overdone. You want to also make sure you hit the insides of your ears. The first time my makeup artist did this to me I thought she was teasing, but it turns out the insides of your ears can be just as oily as your face, and oily skin reflects light. I didn't do this the next time I had to makeup myself, and when I watched the video, my eyes were drawn to my ears because the insides were brighter than my eyes.
This should be enough for a lot of the on-camera work that you'll do, but if you are about to get your big break on television and they're not providing the makeup artist, then you'll probably want to take it up a notch. Whichever brand of makeup you decide to use, you should probably go to their website to get their instructions, but generally, the process is to clean your face, apply the pressed foundation, then the finishing powder. If you're going this route, then you'll want a separate brush for the pressed foundation. It comes tightly compressed in a small compact.
Just tap the brush on the compact and brush it onto your face. I start with my forehead. Then I brush some on my nose and under my eyes and work outward, paying particular attention to feather the area under my jawline. Again, it doesn't take too much. It's not like you're using a trowel full of mud to texturize a dry wall. Then brush on a little finishing powder. Remember to tap the excess off the brush back into the lid of the powder. This stuff is too expensive to just let it drop to the floor. Also remember to use a circular motion, and you're done.
You probably want to avoid lipstick, but that doesn't mean you should not do something with your lips. I prefer a non-petroleum-based lip balm that I get at any health food store. It's not shiny, but it does keep lips moist, which adds, I think, just a little bit of a finished look. If you can't make it to a health food store, whatever you have will probably be okay. Men generally, don't get too involved with accessories but some do wear earrings or studs. Hey! If that's your look, work it. Just remember, that anything shiny will attract viewers' attentions.
As you've noticed, I'm wearing glasses, and I always wear them when I'm on camera. It's not just part of my look. I don't want to wear contact lenses, so I need them to see. Whenever I get a new pair of glasses, I always pay the extra fee to have them treated with the anti-reflective coating. Not only does it reduce, greatly, the amount of glare on my lenses, it also lets people with whom I'm talking face to face see my eyes instead of some reflection. The AR coating is well worth the money. Men! I hope you are now inspired to go the extra mile to make yourself look better on camera.
It doesn't take much to set yourself apart. Just keep it simple and don't use too much.