I was discussing makeup and corporate image with a client today she asked “What’s the rule for makeup in the workplace?”
My answer is there really are no ‘rules’ as long as your look is:
- Consistent – either do it all the time or don’t do it at all. If you appear one way some days and another on other days people will begin to suspect either that you haven’t quite ‘got it together’ or that you are careless with your appearance, which could lead them to assume you are careless in your work.
- Authentic to your lifestyle and personality – in other words, make sure the image you’re portraying is right for you. The time to experiment with bold new looks and personas is on the weekend when you can try out something different or a bit fun and see how your friends react. If you are naturally a more classic style then go for low-key tones and a simple but polished look. If you are very natural girl then perhaps just a tinted moisturiser and lip balm will be enough for you. If you incline to be a little more dramatic or innovative then you will generally feel comfortable with stronger colours and interesting textures.
- Complementary to your natural colouring – eg if your skin tone is cool and your eyes are brown, blue or grey then you would choose makeup colours to match such as blues, greys, greens, plums and berry colours that have a blue undertone; if your skin tone is warm, your hair is auburn, chestnut or brown and your eyes are hazel, green, or amber then you are better off with earthier tones to match.
- Appropriate to the situation – what might be appropriate for a sultry night out, eg smoky eyes and dramatic lips, is clearly not going to be appropriate for a day in the office. If you have to go from the office to an evening function or social engagement you can always reapply and ‘amp up the volume’ of your look fairly quickly after work. Simply apply a deeper shadow to your eyes, add an extra coat or two of mascara and a bolder, glossier lip colour and you’re done.
Its easy to establish a simple daily makeup routine that takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish and includes: primer, foundation, concealer, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, blush and lip colour. If you aim to match or contrast your shadow with your eye colour then its easy to choose a few different shades of the same colour and layer them for a simple classic look or layer a little more for a bolder option. This way you will save time (and money) trying to match your makeup colours to your clothing each day.
If you are just starting out with makeup or if you are still rocking the same you look you did 10 or even 20 years ago, perhaps you’d benefit from a makeup refresher. There are plenty of makeup artists at department store makeup counters who will show you how to apply, what colours suit you best and will even give you a ‘paint by numbers’ face chart to take home so when you do it for yourself its easy to follow along step-by-step.
One final word on the subject of makeup – if you’re going to wear it, make sure you prep your skin beforehand (cleanse, tone and moisturise) don’t forget the sunscreen and remember always to remove it before going to bed to keep your skin (and your pillow cases) clean and fresh.