An issue I notice a majority of women have trouble with is deciding how much or what style of makeup is appropriate for the workplace. What is too much versus how much is enough? What colors or look should I go for? How can I come across as a professional while still looking feminine? All of these are questions I hear from young, female professionals either in the pursuit of a career or just beginning in one. The answer to these questions is actually quite simple.
THE ANSWER: SIMPLE!
Simple makeup is honestly the best answer to thee simple questions. You want the makeup to bring out the natural beauty that every woman has, but not be overly flashy or draw too much attention.
• Pick a foundation that matches your skin tone so you don’t come across as a two-tone woman – neck one color, face another. Also, trying using a matte power so that you don’t become oily or shiny throughout the day. Sometimes work can be stressful and when you start to sweat you don’t want to lose your look. Apply the powder on top of your foundation or instead of it.
• Your eyes are important – enhance them, but don’t go overboard. Again, try to stick to more neutral, skin-tone colors. This would include light bronzes, nudes, browns, lighter pinks, etc. Now, I know you want to bring out the color in your eyes with those bright colors, but you can get the same effect using pastels of those same colors.
• Again on the eyes, mascara is a must and some eyeliner never hurt. Black eyeliner is typically seen as a “no no,” but I don’t see the harm in it as long as it does not appear harsh against your skin tone or you do not apply to much. (Sorry my lovely fair and pale ladies, but you should avoid black eyeliner in the work place!) Brown eyeliner is always safe, but again, never too much! And, again, mascara is a wonderful product because it brings out your eyes without adding too much making you look professional, yet feminine. Don’t forget to line your brows if you have thin ones like me. Pick a brow-liner that is the same color as your hair and try to stay within the bounds of your natural ones.
• Blush is always a good thing, but like I’ve been saying, don’t put too much (and avoid glitters)! Some lighter nude/pinks are perfect on the apples of your cheeks and across your cheekbones. This will create a highlighted effect that will look beautiful under those harsh office lights. A quick swoosh of highlighter in the tops of your cheekbones never hurt either!
• Color on a woman’s lips is one of those subtle things that makes a big difference. Depending on skin tones, a light pink, nude rose, or coral brown would be a perfect accent to your wardrobe. Look for lipsticks with words such as ‘creamy,’ ‘nude,’ ‘sheer,’ ‘cool,’ and ‘warm’ as they tend to be softer and more professional. Top of your lip color with some clear gloss for a little shine and you’re good to go!
THINGS TO AVOID
Now that you know what to look for in your workplace makeup kit, these are things you should avoid. These types of products or colors tend to make you look showy or unprofessional and may even prevent you from being taken seriously amongst your colleagues.
• Try to stay away from those fake looking bronzers in the workplace or tones that are too dark or too light for you. Bronzers make you look like you are attending a fashion show and the wrong color can make you appear washed out or too unnaturally tan.
• When it comes to eye shadow, avoid bright rainbow colors and shimmers because they make you look overly glitzy. You’re going for professional, not high fashion. Blues and greens always tend to stick out regardless of what skin tone they are applied too, so you may have to pass up on those colors.
• The rule with eyeliner and mascara is just not too much, but don’t use fake lashes in the work place. Outside of work, those puppies are beautiful, but in the office they just seem like too much.
• Steer clear of bright blushes, especially those with a ton of shimmer or glitter involved. Bright or deep pinks and reds can make you look strange in a whole new way. Anything from sun burnt to clown-like, but none of them are good. With the shimmer and glitter, it just appears very reflective under office lights and may make you appear greasy.
• Lips – stay away from using bright colors or those colors that aren’t a semi-natural shade (this would include purples, blacks, oranges, etc.). You don’t want people staring at just your mouth as you talk, especially if you are giving a presentation – it can be distracting!
HOW I DO IT
These are the steps I take when I am applying makeup for an interview or a meeting. I have always found it helpful to know how someone else does something and I hope this helps you.
1. Apply skin-tone concealer under the eyes, on the eyelids, and on blemishes. I find dabbing lightly with your fingertips to be the best applicator.
2. Apply a thing layer liquid foundation over entire face and slightly down around the jaw-line. This way you don’t get that line you see on women sometimes at the bottom of their face.
3. Use powder on entire face other than eyelids to get the foundation to “stick.”
4. Line brows with liner. I fill in natural brows and then extend them slightly on the ends to create that very structured look. I also use a brow gel to keep all the hairs in place throughout the day.
5. Apply eyeshadow. This can be done in any different ways. I apply a nude color to the lid, a highlighter color to the place under my brow, and a slightly darker color to the crease. You can buy palettes of eyeshadow with this exactly layout to make it easier.
6. Line the top of my eye and the bottom-outer third. This doesn’t appear as too much, but does make your eyes look bigger and brighter.
7. Apply mascara to top lashes and the bottom-outer third. You want to place the mascara where the eyeliner is because it enhances the effect of the eyeliner.
8. Apply blush to cheekbones. Apply one shade darker blush right under cheekbones. Dust highlighter on the top of your cheekbones. If you have even heard of contouring or shading your makeup – this is it in a simplified form.
9. Apply lipstick and then clear gloss. Sometimes I line my lips with a shade that is slightly darker than the lipstick I choose, but sometimes that can look like “too much.”
10. Walk out the door and into the office – just don’t forget to smile!
By following these tips and guidelines and utilizing my makeup steps, you should be able to wear makeup in a professional way while still looking beautiful and feminine. Good luck out there!