News & Politics

Best Face Forward: Beauty Tips from TV Reporters

TV reporters have to look good even on humid days. Here are their tips for frizz-free hair and makeup that won’t melt.

Channel 7 reporter Rebecca Cooper does live updates from the scene of breaking news—even on the hottest days.

In June 2004, she followed President Ronald Reagan’s funeral procession from Andrews Air Force Base to the Capitol. Each time the station cut to her, she looked calm and cool.

But the career journalist, then close to giving birth to the second of her three children, felt anything but cool.

Cooper says every female reporter knows how to create the illusion of polished professionalism on the air. We asked several how they do it—and for hair and makeup tips anyone can use to avoid summer beauty meltdowns.

Humidity and Hair

As temperatures rise, Cooper fights hair frizz. She counts on a great cut to keep viewers focused on her reporting, not on her fly­aways.

“I’ve been going to Bernard Portelli at Okyo since I first came to Washington 20 years ago,” she says. “He pays attention to what kind of hair each client has, so he can give you the right cut for both good and bad hair days.”

On bad hair days, Cooper relies on a Conair ceramic straightening iron and Frédéric Fekkai Hair Mask With Shea Butter (9 oz., $32). Her tip: Forget trendy hairstyles; “learn to live with what you have.”

Channel 9’s Lesli Foster also struggles to find a hairstyle that holds up in the humidity. Her hair looks good, she says, worn naturally curly or styled straight, but “the problem is in between.” To gain control, she uses Sebastian Shaper hair spray (10.6 oz., $12.99) and Design Essentials’ Formations Styling Spritz (8 oz., $9.90). When all else fails, she pulls it back into a twist.

Go Easy on Foundation

When it comes to makeup, Foster also finds that less is more in summer. She uses M·A·C Blot Powder/Pressed Powder ($20) along with eyeliner and lip gloss. For a refreshing boost, she sprays on Aveda PureFume fragrance ($50).

Channel 4 reporter Eun Yang spends a lot of time outdoors gathering interviews for her afternoon “live shot.” Her strategy is to go barefaced, except for sunscreen, until just before airtime. Then she ducks into the Channel 4 satellite truck to use her Shu Uemura eyelash curler ($18) and Shu Uemura waterproof mascara ($27.50). She applies lip gloss—favorites are Chanel’s Glossimer ($25) and M·A·C Lipglass ($13 to $20). Yang uses foundation sparingly in summer to reveal the natural flush of her overheated skin. Her advice: “Let nature take its course.”

High-Definition Makeup

Channel 5’s Sue Palka has fine hair that collapses in heat and humidity—and the veteran weathercaster knows why. Warm air holds more water vapor than cool air, and when hair collects that moisture, it frizzes or falls. To counter the effect, she says, “I literally make a helmet for myself.” She relies on Sebastian Shaper spray and Tigi Catwalk Frisky Scrunching Gel With Attitude (8 oz., $13.95).

Palka credits good skincare with allowing her to lighten up on makeup in hot weather. She likes Thalgo, a line of skin-care products with ingredients from the sea; it’s available locally at Erwin Gomez’s Georgetown salon. In summer, Palka uses Estée Lauder DayWear Plus, a tinted moisturizer with SPF 15 ($35). It doesn’t melt in the heat as foundation does. To control shine, she uses Shiseido Pureness Oil-Control Blotting Paper ($16).

Palka has been trying new products in anticipation of her station’s switch to ultra-revealing high-definition broadcasts. She loves Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation ($55), which doesn’t cake and looks good in natural light. The downsides: The silicone-based product must be applied with a sable brush and is currently available only at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase.

Reporting in hurricanes has taught Palka that you can’t fight Mother Nature: “When in doubt, a ponytail and baseball cap will get you through.”