You Asked: How Should I Do My Makeup And Hair When I Meet My Future In-Laws?

When you're meeting your partner's parents, finding that balance between being appropriate and being yourself can be tricky--but it's doable.
Publish date:
April 4, 2014
advice, Revlon, family, lip stains, tinted balms, relationships


I love xoVain and I hope you can help. My boyfriend and I have been together for four years now, and we’re building a future together. His mother is traveling to visit us in the next few weeks and I am FREAKED OUT to meet her for the first time! What am I meant to do with my hair and makeup? I want to make a good impression and show her that I’m good enough to marry her son. What should I do, beauty-wise, when I meet my future mother-in-law for the first time?


Angela Lansbury

Meeting the parents of your significant other is always a nerve-wracking experience, because no matter how confident you are, it always feels a like a high-stakes job interview. And I don’t think anyone actually likes job interviews.

However, you can also find strength in that feeling. If you were interviewing for your dream job, you would probably want to present yourself as the best, most put-together version of yourself that you could. You would want your makeup to be well-applied and striking, but not overpowering. You would want to wear your hair in a way that suits you and makes you feel your most confident and beautiful. Your entire beauty philosophy would be YOU, turned up to 11. And I think that’s the approach that you should take here when you meet the parents.

Because that’s the most important thing: you have to be yourself, right down to your beauty game. The parents of your partner will likely be in your life for a long time, so if you’re putting on an act, at some point in the future it’s going to get some cracks in it. Maybe you can pretend to be someone you’re not for a little while... but for an entire lifetime? No way. Talk about exhausting.

Finding that balance between being appropriate and being yourself can be tricky. So how can you maintain YOUR look while also impressing the heck out of the family?

Do your research.

My mum loves when I wear really, really bright red lipstick. She’s never really explained why, but when we go see a movie or go out to lunch, chances are that my lips are going to be furiously red.

I like red lipstick just fine, but in my normal life I prefer shades in the pink family. I wear it for her, because it makes her happy and it’s a good way to show that I love her.

Obviously. I am not telling you to wear makeup that you’d never, ever wear to make someone else happy. But if you know that your future mother in law likes a pop of colour, why not find a pop that suits you and wear it to meet her?

Consider the occasion.

Full-on nighttime smoky eyes might not be appropriate for a casual brunch. You should definitely have multiple looks in your arsenal--something glamourous for the theatre, something good for dinner, something casual for daytime. This is especially important if the parents (or you) are travelling to meet up, because odds are there will be multiple meetings, and you will need multiple looks.

Don’t look too far afield.

If you have a signature look, don’t abandon it! Think instead about ways that you can alter it for maximum impact. I love a giant dark cat eye, but that can really pull focus from ME and put it on my makeup instead. I don’t want that. A very thin line for liquid eyeliner along my top lashline gives me the look that I love without being distracting.

Likewise, I am all about the boldest, pinkest lip colours money can buy... but that’s not always the right thing to wear. Instead, I might wear a bright yet mature colour, like Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain in Smitten.

This is SUCH a flattering colour on everyone--it reads as fun yet mature and put-together, and it’s never stuffy. Plus it makes me happy, and I’m always more myself when I’m happy.

Don’t make any big changes.

I know the temptation to cut anxiety bangs the day before a big event, but you have to fight it. Now is not the time to try a pixie for the first time since you were seven, nor the time to suddenly go blonde. Stick to what you have going on right now, simply because it’s a known quantity. Even the best haircuts in the world have an adjustment period, and feeling additionally uncomfortable while meeting in-laws has got to be the worst feeling in the world.

So if you’re trimming your hair, getting your colour touched up or getting your brows done, schedule it for the week before. No bang cuts the day of. Don’t try a self-tanner or a major facial for the first time in your life. Maintain!

Keep it simple.

This is the most important thing. I LOVE an over the top makeup look like you would not believe, but there’s a time and place to deploy it. Meeting in-laws for the first time is not the occasion for neon-green eyelashes and glitter galore, because much as I hate to say it, sometimes that can come off as distracting. Keep it simple and well-executed, and let the focus stay on all the wonderfully clever things that come out of your mouth, rather than the colours that you can put on it.

This is also helpful for you, too. I know when I’m nervous, my makeup skills drop down to around kindergarten level. When under the gun, it’s far easier to pull off a simple look than one that requires a lot of fussing. So really this is a win-win!

My “simple” look would look something like this: skin perfected, cheeks rosy and slightly highlighted (I may skip this altogether, depending on the occasion), eyeshadow neutral, eyeliner minimal, brows defined, lips rosy but not too obtrusive.

If I need to make this look fancier, I can add some more eyeliner or some darker eyeshadow. It’s very versatile!

When it comes to hair, a lot will depend on what you like and the type of hair that you have. So long as it’s neat and well cared for, you’re likely going to be fine.

If I were wearing my hair down, I would straighten it. That’s a much more low-maintenance style for me that wearing it curly or wavy, plus it makes it look extrashiny. If I were wearing it up, I’d pull it back in a low ponytail with a tortoiseshell clip, which always looks chic, or I’d wrap a little bit of hair around the elastic. These are little things that always make you look like you’ve made an effort.

Meeting parents can be really stressful, but also really exciting! Just remember that this isn’t about proving that you’re “good enough” to marry someone; of course you’re good enough--you’re freaking awesome. This is about parents meeting the person who makes their child happier than any other. If you show them even half of how amazing you are, they’re going to love you just as much as your partner does. I’m sure of it.

Yay! Guys, I so love hearing from you. Drop me a line if you have a question you’d like to see answered in a future beauty advice column! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

What’s your go-to meet-the-parents beauty style? Does anyone have any fun/amazing/embarrassing stories about the first time they met their in-laws?