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Have you ever felt out of place because of the makeup you wore?

Oh, definitely! I remember going to school with bright blues and feeling like my professors never took me seriously!

— Christine


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MacKenzie Avatar

I can definitely relate to that! I sometimes wear more colorful makeup or looks that maybe “aren’t for daytime” and I know I’ve received strange looks from both professors and students. But I love it!

Erica Avatar

I’m sure I have. The few times I tried a red lip. Just felt out of place. Red is just not me. And then there is times you go for a look and it just doesn’t work out like the image in your mind. I don’t trust anyone of they never had a what was I thinking moment with their makeup lol

Mo Avatar

No and I owe that to the fact that my love for makeup came late in life; the last 5 yrs when my confidence in self was already in place.

The first time I wore my Melt Cosmetics DGAF lipstick was the most confident night ever. Not many here were exploring such bold colors and here I was this dark black chick in leather with a sexy mohawk and blue lipstick…ugh…that night and the stares Gave me all the confidence I have now to continue being bold!!!

Alecto Avatar

Great visual! I imagine you looked like a badass comic book heroine (which I have always secretly wanted to be — or a villain, I’d be fine with that too). 🙂

I have also come into makeup late, and I think it has everything to do with how bold I almost always go. The me of 20 years ago didn’t want to be noticed, but the me that’s one year away from 50 is feeling very “f*ck it — you only live once.”

Mo Avatar

Ha, I was totally villian!!! And yes indeed the me 20 years ago would never have been so bold but now all eyes on us huh!! We only get better and bolder with age @

Deborah S. Avatar

I don’t think so. I have been places where I was the only person wearing makeup but always just assumed that it was personal preference and have not noticed anyone judging me or making me feel uncomfortable. I was lucky in that my best friends mother worked for a high end makeup house and she was good about giving me products, samples, etc. and teaching me how to use them. I don’t know if it would have bothered me even if their was someone attempting to make me feel uncomfortable. I don’t think it would as I have always been pretty confident.

Martha Avatar

SOML always lol, I use to always , I use to live surronded with frends that would only wear makeup for a wedding or an extreme special ocassion and I lovedto wear on a daily basis my lipstick blush liner and mascara because everyday is special to me, nowadays its more common to be surronded of makeup lovers than aliens

Roxi Avatar

When I was a freshman in college I would wear falsies and a complicated eye look to class, sometimes I felt out of place especially when people kind of stared (for a short second maybe). But now there are plenty of girls wearing false lashes daily, and I feel like more people are wearing makeup even (I live in a country where girls on average don’t use makeup). Well how times have changed!

Tracey E. Avatar

I think I felt more out of place because I wore little or no makeup as a teenager. There seemed to always be girls with the perfect eyeliner/makeup or those who were just natural beauties wearing just a slick of lipgloss. I didn’t get into makeup much (well, except foundation and concealer) until my late teens/early 20s. I still have no talent applying eyeliner.

Emily Avatar

Yup, similar experience to you, Christine. I don’t think my makeup was ever full on instagram style heavy but the fact that I wore makeup at all and obviously put time into my appearance was something I was conscious of and that several classmates commented on in university. Maybe it had something to do with the perceived seriousness of studying law as opposed to say Art History or Eng Lit. Didn’t stop me from wearing it though! Law school was funny – there was a lot of emphasis placed on looking polished and professional and immaculately groomed but at the same time, you were never meant to look too attractive. You wouldn’t be taken seriously. I didn’t like that – in general, it felt like women were subject to so many darned rules about our clothes and makeup and hair and appearance. While men were allowed much more leeway.

In high-school, back when the other girls were wearing eyeliner, mascara and foundation – nothing on the lips – I remember my best friend and I were obsessed with lipstick. We’d go to MAC once a week and buy a lipstick or two – we each amassed quite a collection! (That was how I came to learn of Temptalia, btw!). But we’d show up to class wearing shades like Dubonnet and Russian Red and it definitely got noticed by the other kids. And the teachers – one of them commented that we looked like we’d been ‘sucking chilies’. Still scratching my head over that one because….who sucks chilies? Lol!

Debbie Avatar

I remember waiting in line for the new NYX store to open and all of the other girls had their winged liner applied so well. I had not mastered the technique yet, plus the fact the I am much older than they were did not help. But everyone was in such a good mood, and the associates in the store were wonderful and helpful, so wings didn’t matter so much.

KK Avatar

That’s a bit sad, Christine – when people judge basis appearance. But that is the bitter reality and the whole premise of the Beauty Industry, no!

As to the question -Oh Yeah! I recall 2 specific incidents…
1. Fairly recently when a group of females in my building decided to meet up for a chat in the late evening – at one person’s place. For me, i it was just another excuse to doll up! Unfortunately, none of the others thought to do that – some actually came in their pyjamas! Needless to say – i felt totally out of place. But, I’m slowly getting used to that – the fact that others may rarely wear makeup, while I’m dressed for the party!! 😉
2. My last job was in Financial sector – back of the House. So, people rarely ever bothered with makeup – coz there was little to no customer contact. And since i had moved from a high customer contact job in Hotels to this – makeup was basic grooming to me. So, i would go to work with full makeup (office appropriate) and people would wonder why!! Sometimes i would put on red lipstick – just for the shock value!! 😉

KK Avatar

And yes, sometimes, people who don’t use makeup, “make you” feel out of place and shallow because you do. There will be those snide comments – “I’m so busy, who has time for all this”…”I can’t be bothered with this stuff”… you know…

KK Avatar

Exactly! It’s like – i chose to wake up 15 minutes earlier (ok- half an hour earlier) to do my face….while you probably chose to sleep. Your life, your call. My life, my call.

I fell we have turned 180 degree. Earlier, there were stories about people shaming others for not wearing makeup. Whereas, now you get shamed FOR it!

RiDa Avatar

Yes KK I can totally relate to what you saying as at times people who don’t use makeup, “make you” feel out of place and shallow because you do ,” snide comments – “I’m so busy, who has time for all this”” … as if i am the only one on this planet using all the make up but then who cares…I know secretly they wish that i give them tutorials …haha… even with all this my love for makeup and grooming stays intact and keeps growing …

I too like to shock and inspire them with my reds on weekdays

Ripple Avatar

Yes KK I can totally relate to what you saying as at times people who don’t use makeup, “make you” feel out of place and shallow because you do ,” snide comments – “I’m so busy, who has time for all this”” … as if i am the only one on this planet using all the make up but then who cares…I know secretly they wish that i give them tutorials …haha… even with all this my love for makeup and grooming stays intact and keeps growing …

I too like to shock and inspire them with my reds on weekdays

AB Avatar

For sure. Generally, I stand out on a daily basis because my work environment is quite conservative, especially when I visit company HQ in Europe. (My boss suggested I wear less jewelry when I go there; so far she’s not said anything about makeup, and I’d ignore it anyway also).

Julia Avatar

I don’t think I ever did! I should have, back when I used to wear crazy brights in high school/ college, but I think at the time I just felt like it looked awesome, haha. I am much more likely to feel like I have over- or under-dressed, but I never feel like my makeup is what’s out of place now that I stick to neutrals.

Anne Avatar

No, but I’ve felt out of place because I wasn’t wearing any!!! It’s amazing how Plain Jane you can feel when you haven’t bothered (for a variety of reasons, not feeling well, in a hurry, too tired to bother, etc.) to at least put on a bit of blush and mascara! I once did that in a quick department store run — and what a mistake. I felt invisible to the sales people. Excuse, me; Excuse, me: Could you help me, PLEASE?

Vanessa Avatar

Maybe a few times when I’ve glammed up and everyone else has been casually made up but I try to live by the rule that you can never be overdressed (made-up) or over educated. ?

Ziwei Avatar

I go to a university where science and engineering are really big and humanities are teeny tiny departments. Nobody in my major wears makeup (I’m in engineering), and I feel very self conscious if I put on any lipstick besides the nude ones or dark eyeshadows lol.

LindaP Avatar

Hell, yes. I will say it happens depending on the group of middle to upper aged women I might be with. If it’s a group of women who are still “in the game,” either career wise or have a personal verve they keep revved up, then it’s a non-issue.

90% of the women I work with, however, must think I’m from the moon because I wear makeup at all. Most of them are bare faced, have that annoying attitude of “I never wear makeup, ” and call ChapStik lipstick (not kidding). Thing is, I think THEY are the ones who could look more appropriately corporate for our workplace, and take a bit more pride in staying current overall. Sometimes you just have to flip things in your own mind. 🙂

Tonight I’m going to a holiday dinner with an organization my husband is very involved in. Wives will be more like women from group 2 above. Sigh. I yam whose I yam. 🙂

Aj Avatar

Definitely! Sometimes it’s school, but I remember when I first got into makeup in senior year of high school and I went to a Christmas party that same year. The other girls around my age on wore eyeliner and foundation, then I come in with a full look (except foundation). I got so many stares and whispers, but I went with it because I worked hard on my eye look. Then the following year, they all came wearing a full makeup look.
In college now, I don’t do as much as some other girls, but I do wear bolder and darker lips. I did get more looks my freshman year than now as a senior because so many more girls wear makeup with some even wearing the “outrageous” colors such as teal and blue. I used to have a couple of professors who wouldn’t take me as seriously, but I think because so many more girls wear makeup now, they’re all used to it even though some still judge.

Alecto Avatar

Yes, often, but it rarely stops me from making those choices again. Sometimes, if I know for a fact that I’m going someplace work-related (like a client meeting) where I don’t want my makeup to be the center of attention, or the later topic of discussion (because there are more important matters at hand), I’ll go very deliberately neutral. I’m also the only one in my small crowd that wears makeup regularly (or wears it visibly — i.e. making no attempt to go for the “me but better: look, but rather being generally pretty bold), but only one of my friends ever mentions it.

On the other hand, I lve in the Pacific Northwest, and am absolutely surrounded by everyday people with extravagant tattoos (hell, where I live, English Lit professors have double full sleeves), so visual drama shouldn’t off-put too many people. Were I living in the midwest, however … no idea how that would change things.

Michele @Binxcat4ever Avatar

Nope. Maybe it’s surprising, but i really didn’t get into makeup much until after my cancer diagnosis in 2010 (so I was already “well into life”). I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup to school when I was growing up and lived at home; only for special events. I didn’t learn how to apply eyeliner until I was in college – when I approached a girl, whose makeup I had admired for a long time, in the locker room after gym class and asked her to show me how she did her liner. I got engaged during college and married right after – another 2 years later, I had my daughter so there was no time for makeup! I ended up going back to law school when my daughter was 4 and again, not really any time for makeup between home, school, and a small child. So many years later, when I was much older and had really become “myself”, somehow the cancer brought out a creative side of me that I had never really investigated before. So now, I do what i do with makeup, I love it, and I really don’t care what anyone thinks of how i’ve done my makeup (or anything about me) since I’m comfortable in my own skin and love who I am. so actually, if I had to give advice to someone younger, I’d tell them not to waste so many years like I did – embrace and love who you are NOW, wear what you love, do your makeup however you want that makes you happy, and rock on!

Kat Avatar

For sure! I do experiment with my makeup a lot and I definitely wear more than a lot of people at my school. In my department, however, there are a couple girls who I’m pretty close with who do love makeup like I do, so I don’t feel weird showing up to an 8 AM class with red lips because I know I won’t be the only one! I wore KVD Echo (dark blue) to class last week and got compliments instead of stares so that was great for my self-confidence! I know confidence has to come from within but I can’t lie and say it’s not easier when people are supportive.

Nancy T Avatar

Oh goodness, YES! Especially here in AZ. Almost no one I know out here in Arizona wears the level of more intense, dramatic or colorful makeup that I do. So, I do sometimes feel a *little* self conscious, but I quickly shake that negativity off and just BE. There is nothing I can do about other people giving me funny looks just because I am not what they are accustomed to seeing! That is their problem, not mine.

RJ Avatar

I work in government, so basically anything that isn’t navy, black, or tan looks out of place. SIGH lol. I’ve toned down my eye looks a lot (no weird eyeliner! ugh!) and won’t generally wear a total vampy lipstick but I’ll do reds here and there and deeper berries still. It’s hard for me. I like to go bold.

Alicia Avatar

I can honestly say that I haven’t. I have always been blessed/cursed with a lot of confidence, and my mom always encouraged me to be myself regardless of what others may think. I think when you’re a non-conformist, you don’t really give someone trying to put you down for being different much merit. Even now at 50, I wear what I want – glitter eye shadow, blue lipstick, etc. a girl’s gotta be who a girl’s gotta be!

Liz Avatar

Oh goodness yes. I’m IT for a company up here in Alaska, and neither IT nor Alaska seem to invite doing a face of makeup that doesn’t look completely natural. I feel like I’d stick out like a sore thumb if I ever wore a red lipstick, even on a date night, lol.

Alexandra Avatar

I actually have yet to, surprisingly enough. I don’t wear colors but I either wear no makeup makeup or full glam, so it’s quite a contrast. I had a special effects makeup class in school a few weeks ago, and for a free choice day I did something where I made it look like I was peeping off my face and the upper skin was full glam, the rest was no makeup. I wore it throughout the day and got so many comments on it, I still felt the exact same.

Maria Avatar

No not for the makeup I wore I never wore a lot of makeup nor have I worn loud colors or unusual colors. I have only felt out of place if I felt my makeup was messy. If my foundation wasn’t blended as well as it should have been or maybe I had too much eyeshadow on. When I wear just the right amount of makeup and not too much I think that I look better and feel better put together but not overdoing it and trying too hard.

Aeri Avatar

I’m a 44 year old goth in an office full of definite non goths and non makeup wearers for the most part. (But there’s one makeup enthusiast -FINALLY! And a non-makeup wearer that’s a huge fan of glitter.) So yes, totally. The out of place extends to my hair and clothes too, but I don’t mind at all.

Silvia Avatar

I wear it all but blend extremely well since I’m pale but I do wear it and wear whatever I like according to the clothes I’ll choose or my own mood. I had two friends arguing before class once discussing whether I looked more pretty with or without makeup. It was hilarious to me. Then a close friend whom doesn’t wear any makeup loves (and she should! ?) to tell me how I’m flirty touching my lipstick in a party. I don’t appreciate her excitement she almost shouts! Oh! I see you love your feminine side! So obvious! My sister-in-law heard her and exclaimed Yes! Is nice to love your feminine side and I almost burst Ed laughing at a birthday party. So obnoxious! God please help me not answer something rude! Lol!

SophieW Avatar

Totally. I’m an ER nurse and my colleagues often pick on me due to my makeup. Most of them are very plain. I’m also a very girly girl and look younger than my 27yrs. Between being made fun of for my pink glittery tough cuts(large scissors for cutting off clothes), for having my hair ‘done’ and wearing cute bows and stuff, I get treated like I’m stupid by staff and patients. Other nurses will ask ‘who are you trying to impress with that makeup!?’ And ‘you aren’t on a catwalk here’ I’m seriously fed up! It’s not like i wear smokey eye to work, literally a natural look; but they LOOOVE to try and undermine me with their words. Screw them! I’m not changing for anyone!

Martha Aldridge Avatar

I look around at other ladies at my church and I feel like I am the only one who wears as much makeup as I do! But it is my style, I get LOTS of compliments so it’s all good!

Reka Avatar

That your professors didn’t take you seriously pisses me off! I have one or two students who wear makeup regularly and I love seeing it (they’re always tons better than me at it).

We all make tons of decisions about our appearance every day and women are constantly getting judged for it (no makeup=sloppy, no self respect, too much=you wasted time that should be spent on …, it might be safe to do subtle makeup that actually does take hours to do right, but who knows). If all of my classes were in the evenings, I probably would wear it to work, but in the morning, I value sleep above all else, so tend to be bare faced. That’s not atypical for women in the sciences.

I think I’ve felt out of place for my makeup only once, which was in grad school when I went to a ballet class with cerise eyeshadow worn as large triangles of color on both my eyes and my cheeks, no blending (after a character in a novel I was reading). It was only odd for the first few minutes though because ballet is hard and I kind of suck at it!

judy h. Avatar

How about the makeup I didn’t wear?! After I started working from home, I didn’t keep up the dress and makeup I wore when I was going to the agency everyday. I wasn’t slumming it, but easily styled haired, a bit of lip gloss and mascara and trousers with a nice shirt became my daily wear. I was invited to a baby shower for one of the women who had been at the agency while I was there. The shower was being given at a new luncheonette/boutique shop in the city. It was winter and I wore a blazer, blouse and slacks and a bit of lip gloss, mascara and a little blush. When women started arriving, I felt like I’d just thrown on some clothes and hit my face a powder puff. I remembered when I went to work outside of my home and did a full face of makeup in 15 minutes every morning. My nails were always polished and oh!, I always spritzed on a little perfume. Most of the women I knew didn’t take a second glance, but there were a certain few I used to be good friends with who were giving me the head to toe look with no smile. I don’t think it is necessary to do a full face of makeup everyday, but I was shocked at how quickly I’d gotten out of the habit of “fixing myself”. Since then, I do make an attempt to use a little more makeup for my frequent trips to the post office, university and grocery.

SMITA Avatar

I try to wear makeup to suit the occasion. Sometimes I feel out of place if others are not but if it’s for a wedding/party then dressing up makes me feel confident. When I was young I was encouraged to be a natural beauty and it’s like that in my family to this day. Now I realize that if you wear makeup it doesn’t mean you’re not “natural”. Just being groomed. At least that’s how I see it!!!:)

Rebecca Avatar

I get some weird looks quite often as red lipstick (sometimes other bright colours) are kind of my signature. It seems everyone else at university wears natural, minimal makeup and then there is me with my full on face of makeup with a red lip (although I don’t contour, so its not too intense).

Sallyc Avatar

I am a 70 year old white haired lady who has worn make up for 54 years. Especially eye makeup to make my smallish eyes look bigger. I loved the way I looked. After being diagnosed with three serious eye diseases that require lots of eye drops and monthly shots in my eye (yes, ouch!), I decided that the eye makeup was just not a good thing to continue. Mascara and eyeshadow also seemed to make my eyes water and sting. So I decided to give up just the ey portion of my makeup routine. This was SO hard to do. I looked incomplete; my face was half naked! Since I have fair skin, blonde eyebrows and the white hair, I do need some type of color to keep me from being invisible. I fill in my brows, wear foundation and blush and a pretty bold lip color. I felt self conscious going out without eye make up, so I began to study the make up of other women my age. Most wear foundation, but color applications vary. This is a process for me. A new adventure.

Sallyc Avatar

Thank you for your comment! It’s definitely experimentation time for me. I have acquired two sets of super cool glasses, one turquoise and one bright red. They do bring the viewers’ attention to the center of my face. I’m hoping they will be my new “eye makeup”!

Sallyc Avatar

Have fun shopping! I had to go to an independent eyeglasses place to find glasses colorful enough. Lenscrafters sells boring brown and black ones. Go to They have some great ones. Pricey tho.

Thanks so much for your comment!

Mimi Avatar

I’m 65 and live in The South, like The Old South. I love to look my best also. I have white below shoulders straight hair I wear down now. Love my makeup.
I love to dress also.
Sorry about you eye troubles. The glasses are a GREAT idea! Wonderful individual standout decision

Rachel R. Avatar

In high school, because most of the girls didn’t wear much makeup, and Eugene, OR in the 80s was not the mecca of alternative looks. lol I did my own thing anyway.

As an adult, I’m still aware I wear more and different makeup than most, even when I’m going more conservative. I don’t know that I feel “out of place,” but I feel different. That just might be my social anxiety talking.

Elizabeth Avatar

I am sure I have worn makeup that wasn’t considered suitable a time or two, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t trying to fit in, and made my own fashion statements in my clothing as well as the cosmetics I chose to wear. I am probably still not quite fitting in, and I may have toned it down a bit, I still like to express my individuality with my clothing and cosmetics. I may follow a trend or two, but I have developed my own personal style. I don’t care if I am always “in place”. I have always just wanted to express that I am comfortable in my own skin, regardless of the setting.

I followed an underground music scene as a young teenager, so I was “unsuitable” far before it was acceptable. Think 1975, I am 14 going on 30, and I was already experimenting with remaking or making my clothes, and following women whom I admired, Patti Smith, Siouxsie Sioux, Debbie Harry, strong women breaking through and becoming just as strong as their male counterparts. I wanted to be just as groundbreaking in my own way, and my clothes and cosmetics were part of my coming into my own and not being afraid of what others said or what they thought. I didn’t want to look like everyone else, I really didn’t fit into that cookie cutter cliche at school. Now as I am grown, I see no reason to change. I like pushing boundaries when it comes to makeup, it’s my way of being a bit artistic.

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