Has wearing makeup ever gotten you into any trouble?

I don’t think it’s ever gotten me into serious trouble, but I definitely had some professors at law/business school who I felt took me less seriously (one asked why I wore so much makeup and said it was very unprofessional).

— Christine


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Rachel Avatar

Not from men in my workplace but from other women and women managers/supervisors. One didn’t like that I wore bold or bright lipstick and went off on a rant about how in her youth she ‘fought for all women rights’ so that women ‘didn’t have to wear makeup’. Another didn’t like that I matched my foundation to my skin tone because I ‘looked like a ghost’ and suggested I get a tan or wear a slightly darker foundation or bronzer.

I also had a bunch of co-workers who choose not to wear makeup, comment that me taking time to put on the bare essentials: eye liner, mascara, and a light lipstick, as making them ‘look bad’ and complained that me wearing makeup made them look dumpy. I had to laugh because I’m not young nor pretty by any means, I’m an overweight 40+ female with lines and the start of jowls, but I don’t let my natural age related skin issues get to me. I embrace them and work with what I have.

Carolina Avatar

I’m so sorry that you’ve had those experiences in the work environment. May I ask in what industry do you work in? Also, that “fight for women’s rights” spiel – I call BS on that manager/supervisor. A true fighter knows it’s about choice – they fought so women can do as they please, not to be forced to comply to one opinion, be that opinion to wear or NOT to wear makeup. Not having to wear makeup is a very, very far concept from not being allowed to wear makeup.

Z Avatar

That sounds right. I’ve never received flack from a man in any environment for how I look, makeup, dress, behaviour, etc… but women just go to town clawing at each other, ESPECIALLY in environments where it’s *only* women. I’m an adult woman speaking from personal experience, btw. I’d be a millionaire if I got a few cents from every time I was passively, aggressively, “jokingly-but-not-tho” spoken to by a woman in regards to my appearance, or heard them tearing at another who wasn’t in the room.

Women are vicious. It’s funny how “gurrl power” and all the “yass queen” bs is just repackaged nonsense every generation that women don’t really follow.

Carolina Avatar

Yey! My suggested question! I asked precisely because there is a lot of judgement on makeup wearers.
I once had a friend and coworker who found it appropriate to ask me “when am I going to see you without makeup” and was surprised when I answered him “when I’m I going to stop hearing idiotic questions from you”.
Like I should do or not do my makeup to satisfy others’ curiosity or wtv. Pfff. But I guess this time he was the one in trouble – I was close to kill him.

Biljana Avatar

It’s never gotten me in trouble before, thankfully.

I’m sorry to hear that your professors said that, Christine! I’m a university professor and more than one student or colleague has complimented my eye looks. A few students have even said that they appreciated having a mentor who is intelligent and can rock a nice eye look too. (As long as I’m clean and presentable, I don’t see how it should matter in any case….)

TropicalCowgirl Avatar

Christine, that is ridiculous! It’s school and maybe it may be mixed with jealousy or misogyny? I ask because I experienced the latter with my bachelor degree and both my master degrees. More than a few times I was told to do the typing because I was female and in my chef classes I had a guy who expected me to clean up our work station “because I was a woman”. The master chef professor overheard and told the class we got to all leave early because my lab partner was going to do the cleanup for everyone and learn that most utility workers and dishwashers were men.

The only time I ever ran into trouble was in college, when I was taking a standardized exam and was NOT wearing makeup. I have very light (but thick) eyelashes and the proctor didn’t think I looked like my drivers license. Fortunately I had my dependent military ID that had a more muted picture. Another proctor came over and noticed my lashes and made a comment calling them out.

Lauren Avatar

No, but I have had the flip side. When I was younger my mom reamed me for not putting on any makeup to go to a funeral and stopped at a drug store on the way to get me a lipstick and some blush so I could at least “look alive”. That one sticks with me! I didn’t really start dabbling in makeup until late high school and since then I’ve been known as the person who loves to play with fun makeup. I had jobs like working as a corrections officer where I couldn’t (and wouldn’t want to at that location) wear bold makeup – but at pretty much all other jobs I get compliments from people when I do a sparkly hot pink liner or a bright colored lip. It is cute when the older ladies all point out how they love how much fun I have with it. I have a friend who rolls her eyes that I love makeup and spend so much on it because she rarely wears it, but if I ask her help coordinating a lipstick or something she’s game to give advice. Thankfully I’ve never had anyone bully me or talk down to me for makeup choices. That would be awful… myob!

Sarah Avatar

I’ve never gotten into trouble, but I have had two-faced comments. Someone will compliment my look, and that same someone when they think I’m out of earshot will say something about how it’s just too much or I look like a clown. I favor smoky eyes during the day (because…I don’t know how to not do a smoky eye) and that brings attention, but I can’t help but chuckle to myself when folks – especially other women – think their negativity toward my appearance will inspire me to take it all off to make them comfortable. And honestly, the heaviest thing I do are eyes anyway. Lips and base are always light.

People are strange.

Caroline Avatar

Not trouble per se, but as a teenager I used to love lining my eyes with thick black eyeliner. My older, prudish sister said I looked like a tart and that the only men who would be interested in me were those ‘only after one thing’.

Nancy T Avatar

Yessss! When I was 15¾ years old, I one day decided to try to copy the eyeshadow/eyeliner of my 24 year old cousin. Problem was, she was quite promiscuous and trashy, or so my Mom and others said, and her makeup style was decades ahead of it’s time… needless to say, my Mom FLIPPED out when I came downstairs to go out on my date with blue eyeshadows clear up into my brow area and very thick winged eyeliner! She demanded I go wash my face and that I looked like a “whore”. I did not. No. I left on my date. When I got back home, I found ALL my makeup except mascara, brow pencil, a lip gloss palette, one light peach blush and foundation confiscated! I was so embarrassed and shamed going to school without my eye makeup the next week, month, 5 months…I still haven’t forgotten.

Mariella Avatar

No, never, and I work with a wide variety of women who don’t wear any makeup and others who do but it’s never been any sort of issue. Reading some of the experiences others here have had, I’m just left shaking my head. Don’t people have other, more important issues to focus their energies on rather than a woman wearing makeup? What about helping the elderly? What about focusing on a food bank?

Sarah Avatar

I used to watch my mom put her makeup on every morning, in awe, as she did everything perfectly. On our way to elementary school one day (I was maybe in 1st or 2nd grade?), I found a pink lip gloss in the glove compartment of our van and took it to school with me. At that age, I didn’t know what makeup was used for what, so I put it on my lashes like mascara like I’d seen my mom do. My teacher saw me back in my classroom- she was completely perplexed- and sent me home for pink eye! My mom knew instantly by looking at me what had happened, lol. No more makeup for me until middle school!

CareBear Avatar

The first job I ever held, I got reprimanded for not wearing enough lipstick/lipstick that wasn’t red enough.
I was a receptionist at a lawyer’s practice, mind you, not working at a MAC counter.

AJ Avatar

I’ve never gotten in trouble but I have gotten double-takes, twice!

The first time, I was driving back from a dance performance late at night, and I made a wide left turn and got pulled over because they were doing a DUI sweep. The officer asked to see my license and registration. He looked at my several years out of date, no makeup photo, then looked at me (heavy smoky shadow and liner, false lashes, dark lips, there was probably glitter involved) and said “You, uh, look really different.” We had a laugh and he left me off with a warning after determining I was not drunk.

The second time, I was staying overnight in an Airbnb, and when I met my host at check-in, I was wearing some rather dark and heavy makeup to attend a horror-themed show (no black lipstick yet because I was going to eat dinner first, but my really dark eyes, heavy contour, etc). I’d told my host what I was in town for ahead of time so he wasn’t freaked out or anything. But when I came down for breakfast in the morning, bare-faced, he did a definite double-take because he did not remember checking in anyone who looked like me 😉

kjh Avatar

I did have the opposite, lol. The manager at my night job asked me to do his m/u when he went out in drag. Unfortunately, he quit before I could. Since I usually do not wear it to day job, occ I get comments like ‘Are you going out after work? ‘What’s the occasion?’ If I take off my glasses, some people say they get distracted by my eye m/u. That’s a mask era thing, though.

Ana Maria Avatar

I wore very little make-up in school, even at university, and I don’t remember being in trouble in any other situation with make-up.
Maybe ‘in-trouble” might be considered the occasional cat calling when I was all dressed up and full make-up on, but I am not an
aesthetically attractive person per se, so that rarely happened and it was just verbal comments.

But like most women in an male dominated profession me wearing make-up sometimes created some sort of bias or intimidated interaction, but usually once people know me for who I am I never had major issues.

Sarah Avatar

I wouldn’t call this “trouble”, but I had a friend who was part of my cohort in college come over to my place for the first time, and when he saw how much makeup I had, he freaked out because, according to him, “your skin and your hair are your best features, but is that all a lie? Are you hiding bad skin under your makeup?” Not that it would have mattered if I really was hiding bad skin under makeup, but it was even more ridiculous because I didn’t always wear makeup to class, so he’d definitely seen me bare-faced before. And I made no secret out of the fact that I dyed my hair. Yeah… we were not friends for much longer after that, due to different-but-still misogynistic issues!

Gilad Avatar

I can’t remember a time when I got negative comments or into trouble around my use of makeup. Not that many compliments on my makeup, per se, either. When I was younger and did my eyes I’d often get compliments on them/my lashes. I’ve rarely experienced other women as catty, and have perhaps been lucky in not suffering many situations where an intrusive/threatening man couldn’t be made to distance. Suddenly I wonder if I’ve led a charmed life without even knowing it?!

CeeBee Avatar

No, I’ve never gotten into trouble for wearing makeup. I don’t think anyone who actually knows me would be foolish enough to even try and anyone who doesn’t know me is not going to get very far, assuming they’re brave (or stupid) enough to have a go.

I did once go to work (I shared an office with 11 men, was the only woman) having skipped eyeliner and for some reason I’d forgotten to put on blush as well, IDEK. So I walk past my boss to get to my desk and he spins around on his chair, sees me and goes “OH NO! Are you ill? You look terrible! You should go home.” And I about-faced so fast and marched home (feeling perfectly fine) to put my pajama pants back on and eat chips on the couch.
I didn’t even put it in as sick leave either and he never even noticed. He was a lovely man, just not the most tactful sometimes, LOL.

Glenda Simmons Avatar

I worked at McDonald’s in the 80s as a STAR, store activities representative, where I hosted birthday parties and coordinated promotional events. I loved to emulate the makeup I’d see on MTV music videos like Cyndi Lauper, Boy George or, Debbie Harry. I was told to tone it down and look more professional. “Sir this is a McDonald’s.”

Moxie Avatar

Trouble, no. Harassment, yes.

-My dad told me I look like a whore when I wore glittery eye shadow for the first time, when he was taking me to a party. I was 10.

– My boyfriend at the time told me I look like a clown and have lips that are too thin for lipstick, the first time I ever tried wearing lipstick. (My fiance loves buying me lip products, and calls my lips beautiful.)

– I wore hair mascara in school once and the girls in the row behind me “whispered” that it looked like I had bird shit in my hair. (Hair mascara was a big dud best forgotten, and they were probably right but had no business saying that.)

Alice Avatar

Me almost every day. Here in Switzerland it is not really appropriate to be a bit different. I love makeup, It’s just makeup and it’s not hurting others… they told me whore, dragqueen.. when I wear smokey eyes even asked If I was the devil… and at work the women always as, why I wear makeup, why I get up early just to put on makeup.. it is better to sleep…

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