above photo by Carlie Statsky

We asked busy makeup and hair artist Melissa Hoffmann how to enhance a woman’s natural beauty so she looks like the best version of herself on camera. “I love helping women feel confident enough to put themselves out there in the world and be seen,” she says. “When a woman feels amazing about herself, she can do anything.”

What’s the secret to natural looking foundation on camera?

Applying only what you need and blending it so you see the woman, not the makeup. So many women are unsure of how to apply their foundation and they end up using way too much. Foundation is meant to even out the skin tone, not completely cover up everything. Your skin should still look like skin.

Another secret is using foundation meant for being photographed or filmed. You want something without SPF and not super shiny, because you can end up getting flashback, which makes your face look white. I love Make Up For Ever HD Ultra Liquid Foundation because it looks good in person and on camera.

How do you approach lips and eyes when you’re going for a natural look?

Even for a natural look, you want your eyes and lips to be defined so you don’t look washed out. Curling your lashes and using black mascara is a definite must, and using a little eye liner to define your eyes. You don’t have to have a thick line, just apply a dark brown or black eyeliner in a thin line at the base of your lashes to connect them and make them look thicker. I will also sometimes smudge the liner with a brush or cotton bud to soften the line but still define the eyes.

For lips, you want to add some color, either a lipstick or tinted lip balm that’s one to two shades darker than your natural lip color. It will still look natural but keep you from looking washed out.

Any tips for older skin?

Moisturize! You want your skin to be really hydrated so it looks fresh and youthful. Dry skin looks older, and your foundation won’t sit well on top of skin that is dry and flaky. And don’t use heavy coverage foundation or apply too much. Too much foundation will accentuate lines and wrinkles, not cover them. Less is more with older skin.

How do you achieve that healthy glow on camera?

I love using a pretty pinky-peach blush on the cheeks and a little highlighter on the tops of the cheekbones to catch the light and give the skin a beautiful, healthy glow. There are so many great highlighters on the market now, so choose one that has a pretty sheen or soft shimmer rather than lots of glitter. And just use a touch; it should only be noticeable when you turn your head and the light reflects off it. I love the Shimmering Skin Perfectors from Becca right now. They’re subtle but really pretty.

What really works for creating a great natural look with makeup on camera?

I always apply makeup in thin layers rather than applying a ton all at once. So if I’m applying foundation or concealer, I’ll apply a little where I need it and blend it, and then if I need more coverage I’ll go in with a little more. I do the same with eyeshadow and liner.

I also take my time. You don’t want to just slap on your makeup in 5 minutes, because it’s going to look like you did it in a hurry. You don’t need to spend hours, but carefully and purposefully applying product looks cleaner and more natural.

Lastly, take a photo with your phone to see if your makeup is showing up, if you applied too much or not enough, or if anything looks weird. Then you can fix it and have a much better idea of what you’re going to look like in the real photo or video.

What are your “don’ts” for a natural look on camera?

Don’t over contour or try to change the structure of your face. I know it’s really in right now, but it can look really unnatural very quickly.

You want your photos to look like you, so don’t try a new trend that you wouldn’t ever wear in real life.

Don’t use too much shimmer or sparkle. A little shimmer is ok; shimmer eye shadow and a highlight on your cheekbone, but if you overdo, you’ll end up looking greasy or like a disco ball.

What are your 3 favorite products right now?