Dates are nerve-racking. Whether you’re a serial dater or a novice to the game, the concept of presenting yourself to a stranger as a romantic prospect is kind of scary.
While we firmly believe that any guy worth dating will ultimately appreciate all of the details about you—including your penchant for neon lipstick—we also figure that a few confidence-boosting beauty tips never hurt. To give you a leg up before your next rendezvous, we got the scoop on the makeup men really like from the ultimate insider source: a professional matchmaker.
Meet Nikki Lewis, co-founder of The BEVY, a New York City and Los Angeles-based matchmaking firm. Part of Lewis’ job is setting her clients up on stellar dates—and listening to their feedback about each one—so she knows a thing or two about the beauty looks men really appreciate.
Here are her surprising tips on guy-approved first date looks.
Don’t Go Overboard
According to Lewis, “The most common feedback I hear from a man is ‘Such a sweet woman, but what’s with all the makeup?’ I hear this more than you can possibly imagine. Most men won’t let this deter a second date, but if it’s too over the top, you can rest assured you’ll never hear from him again. I had one client say that his date had drawn black liquid liner to her temples. Needless to say, there was no second date.” Noted: Cleopatra eyeliner is a no-go.
Lewis continued to explain that if you’re doing it right, your beauty skills should go unnoticed. “There is no such thing as positive makeup feedback where men are concerned. They won’t go out of their way to tell you your makeup looks nice. If they do, that’s a polite way of telling you that you’re wearing too much. The goal is for them to think you woke up looking the way you do.”
If dramatic looks are discouraged, what is the perfect recipe for date makeup? “If you have blush, mascara, and gloss, you’re set. Blush is the most important, in my opinion. Rosy cheeks are a sign of youth and fertility, and this is an instinctual turn-on for men. Mascara will open and draw attention to your eyes for optimum eye contact. The gloss will make your pout irresistible. Make it natural. Stick to a nude lip—the last thing you want is lipstick on your teeth while on a date,” Lewis says.
Consider Your Nails
Finally, Lewis stressed the importance of a good manicure. “Another complaint I often hear is in regards to nail polish. I’m all about fun colors, but leave those for a crazy weekend in Miami with the girls. Seriously. Some men are hypersensitive to red, purple, blue, and green. You will never go wrong with a light pink, nude, or French mani. For a first date, play it safe with your color choice. Once you’re more comfortable with your man, you can see if he has a preference. Please trust me on this.”