Confidence may not be your strong suit when it comes to interviews. Sweaty palms, over-rehearsed self-introductions, and giving your résumé a once-over — we’ve all been there — but truly, a piece of career advice we’ve heard time and again is dress for success.
Now, don’t just be thinking about suits and blazers: think makeup! Like a power suit, lipsticks can be your suit of armour that helps you channel your self-esteem and conquer your interview. Lasting first impression, we’re friends.
We spoke to hiring managers and working professionals from five industries. They shared the lipsticks they swiped on with finesse at their interviews. Below, the full range of lipsticks to lust over.
If you’re interviewing for: Modelling
For castings, comfort and subdued makeup are king. To maintain that hard-earned, healthy and glowing pout: a moisturising lip product that lasts long with a sheer wash of colour. According to these models, get one that promises comfort — like this moisture-infused balm from Revlon — to catapult your beauty quota through the roof.
“My favourite lipstick would be the Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm, because it’s moisturising yet tinted, therefore lasting me through an entire day of castings!” — Nicole Liew, Model at Basic Models
“For castings, I go with nudes as they’re subtle yet sultry. With nudes for every mood, L’Oréal Paris’ Natasha’s Secret is one of my go-to’s because it easily has one of the creamiest finishes ever although it’s a matte lipstick. Especially during castings when the level of anxiety shoots up right before entering the venue, I always touch up just before going and I don’t even need a lip balm.” — Ann Lopez, Model at Looque Models
1. Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in 250 Standout, $20.90
2. L’Oréal’ Paris Luxe Leather Limited Edition Lipstick in 642, $21.90
3. Lanolips Tinted Balm SPF30 in Rhubarb, $15.50
If you’re interviewing for: Arts, media and culture
From influencers, writers, designers to stylists, this industry sees trails of shimmery gold to bright oranges and pink lipsticks. In short? There is certainly no lack of self-expression. In truth, this should come as no surprise as this sphere is about exhibiting your own playful and creative personality. Yas, bish.
“When interviewing for my design internship, I felt it was all about your own aesthetic, basically. I just got my favourite Fenty lipstick out and went with it.” — Orion, Graphic design intern
“My favourite lipstick for Media/Design industries’ interviews is definitely the YSL Rouge Volupté Shine. It has a nice subtle hint of tangerine and it brightens up my face no matter how tired I am.” — Jasmine Lim, Creative Director
1. FENTY BEAUTY GLOSS BOMB UNIVERSAL LIP LUMINIZER IN FU$$Y, $31
2. Shiseido Modern Matte Powder Lipstick in 524 dark fantasy, $46
3. YSL Beauty Rouge Volupté Shine in 46 Orange, $52
If you’re interviewing for: Luxury goods
A prim and proper appearance is for real within the luxury goods sector. These ladies meant business when they opted for their highly pigmented lipsticks. Those looking for an intense tint rather than an understated shimmer are sure to appreciate these vivid hues.
“Boss moments. That’s how I wanted to feel like during my interview. I wore the Clarins lip stain and it emulated how I felt.” — Sarah Phillips, Boutique Manager
“Being in luxury means we’re constantly subjected to how we present ourselves… unfortunately. I wore a bright pink lipstick as my way to express that I’m bold, I’m present, I’m unapologetic. Would credit my Lancôme lipsticks for my confidence throughout my interviews; I felt empowered like I’m ready to take on this job and do it well.” — Beth Loh, Luxury Watch Advisor
1. Clarins Water Lip Stain in 03 Red Water, $36
2. L’Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick in Pink Exaltation, $49
3. Jill Stuart Lip Blossom Velvet Lipstick in 10 Elegant Wisteria, $38
If you’re interviewing for: Retail or tourism
For retail and tourism, we’ve been told it’s about representing the company’s aesthetic and simply blending in. Translation: during their interviews, these women opted for clean, natural nudes with a hint of glossy shine. With the pigment on these babies, we’d say that’s all the full coverage (and luminosity) you’ll need.
“For this tourism industry, I find there is no real need to be super fancy. I expected to discuss a lot about my resume background so I opted for the NYX brown lipstick. (I’m dark skinned so this lip gloss is almost a nude to me.) My reasoning was that I wouldn’t have it in the back of my mind should the colour have run while I was talking. It did calm my nerves and I could focus more!” — Fran, Hotel Marketing Manager
“I have had managers tell us not to wear bright colours and keep things super simple as it looks like we’re more approachable to customers. Whether that is true or not, it stuck with me and I keep to it when interviewing in my line of work. My go-to is the light rose sheen lipstick by CDP.” — Gwen, Shoe Sales Associate
1. Clé de Peau Beauté Refined Lip Luminizer in Sweet Satin, $85
2. Dior Addict Lip Maximizer in 13 Beige, $50
3. NYX Candy Slick Glowy Lip Color Lip Gloss in Smore Please, $18
If you’re interviewing for: Fintech
No place to go but neutral? These women in finance agree. They have been told by fellow recruiters that they leaned more towards a polished yet conservative look (in terms of makeup). In terms of staying power, they swore by these lipsticks that lasted them the duration of the interview without prior touch-ups or smudges. Talk about an insurance policy.
“I wore the lipstick by Guerlain because it is toned-down and the mango butter formula nourishes my lips. As I prepared for my interview, I was rehearsing my speech so my lips were definitely dry after that. But the Rouge G didn’t budge and I didn’t see the need to touch it up.” — Nuraini, Tax Accountant
“The Kat Von D stays great and has a muted look, so it’s not super outlandish for interviews. The tip is to look conservative yet pulled together.” — Tish, Bank Hiring Manager
1. Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita Chestnut Rose, $28
2. Guerlain Rouge G in N02, $79 (including customised case)
3. Maybelline Lip Flush Bitten Lips Lipstick in Cherry, $16.90
Written by Sinead Lee.