It’s a strange new reality of our times that much of what used to be expected to be done in person...doesn’t seem to have to be. As we all adjust to working from home, minimizing social contact with friends, and living an altogether quieter life, though, there’s undoubtedly one area in life where things still feel rather strange. The dating world, one of the most popular reasons many of us had for leaving the house, is in a weird place right now. Thanks to the magicians behind such phenomena as the internet, though, there’s another way. You can meet your prospective Mr./Mrs. Right from the comfort of your own home.
The Zoom date is a bit weird to navigate. But just like the in-person date, it’s also relatively easy to get the hang of, with practice. And one area that benefits from practice most of all? That elusive Zoom date makeup.
As ever, skin prep is key, and one cult product I’ve tried recently and totally fallen for is the Ole Henriksen Glow 2Oh Dark Spot Toner. I love to acid-tone before applying makeup, as I think it’s just the best way to achieve a glass-like complexion, and this one is an absolute dream. It’s definitely effective (with more than a hint of a tingle) but afterward, skin looks plump, smooth, and ready to go.
You’ll also want to moisturize to ensure your skin looks its best, and for a webcam encounter, I say go for something thick and luxurious. You don’t need to worry so much about longevity, so allowing your skin to look as well hydrated and dewy as possible is a very cute look. I love the Beauty Pie Japanfusion Supreme Cream Moisturizer, which is a luxurious formulation at a bargain price—basically, Beauty Pie’s MO.
If you tend to struggle with under-eye discoloration, I also recommend dabbing on a smidge of the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream. It’s thick and moisturizing, but also has a barely-there yellowish tint, which helps counteract the blueness of your eye bags without looking obvious or overly made-up.
I’m all for looking as glowy as possible, but on a Zoom date, there are really no limits to how shiny I’ll go. If you’re the same, dab a little of the Becca Ignite Liquified Light Highlighter on the high points of your face underneath your makeup. The reflective, metallic sheen looks less obvious underneath your base but does give the illusion of uber-healthy skin and a stunningly defined cheekbone.
For foundation, there’s nothing I’ve found that’s more camera-friendly than the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. It’s expensive, for sure, but it’s one of those rare products where there just isn’t a good dupe. It applies effortlessly, covers everything, yet still looks totally natural. Honestly, it’s magic in a bottle.
If you do have any really pernicious zits, a small dab of a full-coverage concealer like the Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Concealer will be enough to make them disappear—at least in the virtual world. You don’t need to look perfect in real life—just through the illusion of your webcam. Dab over top with the Sunday Ivy Microfiber Sponge for a seamless finish.
When it comes to Zoom date cheeks, you can go a little more obvious than you may desire in your day-to-day life. The Diego Dalla Palma Twist & Glow Lip & Cheek Stick is my favorite blush for this sort of application—it’s brightly colored but sheer and dewy, meaning you can build it up to achieve the exact level of rosiness you want. You can also go a little harder on the contour via webcam—I’ve been loving the Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick to give my cheekbones a boost. I’m also a huge fan of the way a glossy highlighter looks on camera, and the Fenty Beauty Matchstix in “Purrrl” may just be the best gloss-effect highlighter out there. A quick swipe of this translucent stick on your cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and cupid’s bow and you’ll be as bright as can be on their monitor screen.
I don’t feel like there’s any need to go for a full sculpted brow when you’re not in high definition, but a little hint of color can help give your face a bit of definition and shape. For easy brows in a hurry, I still don’t think there’s anything better than Glossier Boy Brow. Use it to first backcomb your brows, then tidy them into place for extra bushiness.
Eyeshadow is where you can really have some Zoom date makeup fun—but, as ever, that fun doesn’t start without a primer. The Nars Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is, quite simply, one of the best around. Over top, one of the most striking webcam looks is a single shade look of a colorful, shimmery shade. It’s eye-catching and interesting without looking like you’ve put in too much effort.
There are two palettes I’ve been absolutely loving for this look: the Fenty Beauty Snap Shadows Eyeshadow Palette in “Pastel Frost” and the Makeup Addiction Meadow Palette. Both offer a fantastic range of bright, frosty shades that apply beautifully. I find they’re best pressed onto the lid using a finger, then blended out with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. The Lush eyeshadow brushes have been my go-to of late.
To up the ante even further, glitter never goes amiss. The Smith & Cult Glitter Shots are an amazing low-key way to incorporate it, as they can be pressed on with a finger atop any eye look. I particularly love “Violet” and “Blue”—but honestly, there’s not a dud in the range.
Lashes should be bold and black—on web cam, subtlety can be mistaken for “forgot to apply any.” The L’Oreal Lash Paradise Voluminous Mascara is great if you want something that borders on clumpy, but if you prefer length and flutter, the L’Oreal Miss Baby Roll Mascara might be a preferable option.
I also recommend adding a bright liner to your waterline. On camera, this does wonders to open up the eyes and make them appear brighter. The NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in “Cottage Cheese” (horrible name, great product) is beautiful—and lasts for an amazingly long time, too.
With a bright eye look, I think it’s best to keep lips simple (at least if you’re on a first date, anyway). For a shiny look, the Burt’s Bees Gloss Lip Crayons are perfectly low key. The shade range is great, but “Tahitian Sunset” is my favorite. For a matte look, I’d go for the Glossier Generation G Lipstick in “Like.” This is surprisingly subtle for a matte lipstick and gives more of a “just been kissed” look—which, let’s face it, is exactly what date makeup is all about.
Cover image by Katie Buckleitner for Cosmopolitan.