How do you handle a work place or environment where little makeup is worn?

If it was very frowned upon to the point where it would mean issues on a professional level (lower pay, lack of promotions, condescension), I would likely toe the line and keep things subtle. If it was simply that others around me wore less, I would wear what I wanted, subject to any general requirements of the work place. For me, the only example I can give is that while I will and do wear bright makeup at family events, I tend to keep it more neutral.

— Christine
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I have a friend who works for a company that doesn’t allow makeup at all. I don’t know how she does it…. I don’t need to wear a full face every day, but I’m not going anywhere without my brows! πŸ˜€

working in an O.R. does involve certain restrictions with artificial fingernails and with jewelry, but i spent over 30 years as an O.R. nurse and never encountered any restrictions on make-up, which i always wore.

Intel. Not all of Intel has makeup restrictions, but my friend works in an area that can’t be contaminated, so they have to wear special suits.

Sweet gig! The way I look at it, our employment is paying for our makeup.. Plus it’s got to be a cool job if makeup is restricted, so it’s definitely worth it πŸ™‚

I believe there is a time and place for everything. Sometimes it is not practical to wear a ton of makeup. I mean, if I am sweating through out a work day, I am not putting a ton of makeup on and risking clogged pores. With my career now, makeup has to be professional and not over the top. There are no rules on what I can or cannot wear but I do feel I must balance between being put together and still approachable. I never want to come across as I care more about my makeup than the job I am there to do. But thank goodness for neutrals. Save the crazier, bolder stuff for my personal time!

This is it exactly, being approachable is important.
It’s not about whether my co-workers like my makeup or not, I just don’t want them distracted when I’m explaining something in a meeting.

I work in fairly conservative office, where 50% of the women wear no makeup, 45% wear the same old neutrals all the time, and 5% will wear bolder colors or change up their looks. Well, I’m one of the 5%. I’ve amassed a big and beautiful makeup stash, and it seems to be a shame to only reserve the bolder and more interesting colors for the weekends, plus, I would never make a dent in my stash if I did that. And you only live once, so you might as well live it up. So I usually do a bold lip or bold eye, but not both at same time. And yes, I’ve worn all purple to work (shadow, blush, lippie) but I keep it more subtle or save it for casual Fridays. And I’ve worn blue shadow on my lids, but kept the rest of my face neutral. And yes, pops of classy glitter/sparkle above neutral shadows. For meetings with conservative clients, I tone it down and keep it to mostly neutrals, but sometimes I like to do a bold lip for those meetings because it makes me feel bolder. I really think we need to change people’s minds that you shouldn’t wear bright or bold makeup to work. Before, it was taboo for women to wear any makeup at all (only “loose” women wore it, especially red lipstick), then it was frowned upon for us to wear pants to work (much less pant suits), look how far we’ve come along. Why shouldn’t we wear bold and bright makeup to work? Would the world end if we did? No!

I wear bold and bright everyday! And I am the only one.on my floor that does. If I worked at a place wbere no makeup.was allowed I would find another job lol.

Depends on your line of work no? I work with kids and there families. Can I do an all purple look, put on false lashes, wear a bold look? Sure but is that impression I want to give. Yes it is important to look professional but approachable too. When you work with families that struggle to have a decent meal, I would never want something as silly as makeup to put anyone off and make them feel I could not relate to them. Anyhoo, for me, it is about balance. But I definitely see your point about life being too short and since you have the makeup, wear it:)

Me too! I work in a techie office so we have lots of plain janes here. Oh well. While I will dress appropriately, I love fashion and fun so my look shows that. Obviously I don’t wear “club/bar” makeup to work but I do wear brights when I want, as well as neutrals. Depends on my fabulous outfit that I am wearing that day. People see me and my husband(he works here too) and they start dressing better… Looking put together boosts confidence.

What is this torture you speak of?!? LoL, for me it WOULD be anyhow!
Ok, so in all seriousness, I first of all would try to find an employment situation where the workplace culture was not so restrictive. On the other hand, I don’t have a huge issue with turning it down just a little bit by wearing more business appropriate colors, if necessary. But would NEVER work someplace where I was to not wear any! Or very little, either!
As for *other* circumstances, like family, I have already dealt with that. And it hasn’t been fun. My son married a woman who is fairly anti-makeup for the most part, all her family is, too. I know how it feels to be put down for wearing color or depth of shades, to be called names behind my back. Didn’t even seem to matter if I toned it down, the *nickname* stuck.

I wouldn’t make much change to my look, since I only wear neutrals on weekdays and then do whatever I like on the weekend. I guess if I go out after work, I’d just switch out my lipstick to something a bit more colourful.

Unless it was for a practical or technical reason (eg GMP, clean room, lifeguarding, Artic exploring, etc), then, as far as I am concerned, I can wear whatever damn well want and the powers that be will just have to deal with it.

I have refused to take jobs before based on stupid no-trousers-on-women and mandatory high heels policies (neither place had an actual uniform as such), so someone trying to tell me I can’t wear purple glitter eyeliner without a legitimate reason is… not going to go well. πŸ˜‰

Back in the early 1990s, when I was in my 20s, I took an office job at a giant corporation where women weren’t allowed to wear pants. There was a big recession, so I had to take what I could find. We were in the back office and never ever met any clients, all of our work was done over the phone, so it didn’t make sense to me. I had to wear a dress, pantyhose, and pumps/flats ever day, rain or shine, and I had to ride public buses to work, so I was freezing cold all the time, waiting for the bus to come. So one day, I got sick of it, and wore some nice pants to work (pleated, ironed, professional-looking), and my boss, pulled me aside and said she would have to send me home to change. I told her that it would take me too long to take the bus back home, change, and come back, so she let me off the hook that time. But from that day on, I vowed I would find another job ASAP. I think if men had to wear dresses/pantyhose/pumps all the time, those stupid rules would never ever be in place!!

Ugh, it’s so stupid. I’m sorry you had to deal with that!

I actually like wearing skirts and high heels. Sometimes. But I don’t want to HAVE TO.

I did think it was funny one time at my old job, I skipped my usual eyeliner for some reason and then realized I’d forgotten to put blush on as well and my (male) boss comes in and sees me and says “Oh, you don’t look well, why don’t you go home?” and I was like … “OK, then… bye.”

I agree, it’s nice when I want to wear dress/heels, but not if I have to, right? Can you imagine if I was a female CEO, and I made all the men wear kilts, pantyhose, and pumps everyday, rain/snow/shine? And if I sent guys home like little kids because they dared to show up in pants??? Half the guys would quit, the other 1/4 would be sent home, and the rest would be suing me for sexual discrimination, and rightfully so. Can’t believe the crap that us women had to put up with, and still do! LOL, yep, I look sick without some makeup on, and not in a good way either πŸ˜‰ In case I run out the door without my makeup bag , I keep some at my desk so I don’t scare my co-workers !

I adapt my makeup (and outfits) to the occasion, so when working in a classic office environment I keep things neutral and subtle. In my last office job I actually mostly had no makeup days, because I started really early and I’m so not a morning person, lol! I keep the bright or vampy shades and creative looks for evenings or weekends!

I moved from LA to New Zealand where nobody does their hair or makeup. It’s been a huge change! But I still rock my thing and I get tons of attention and compliments from both men and women. I wear bright colors, neautrals, sometimes curl my hair (getting too busy to deal with hair), bold lipstick, strobe and contour. I basically do whatever I feel like and just accept I’m not going to fit in. It’s fun.

Would love to know how you were able to do that! My dream is to live in NZ, but after reading the immigration laws…..not sure that they would take me!

They have 1 year work visas that are super easy to get. It is one of the hardest countries to immigrate to but easy to get a work visa. There are people here from EVERYWHERE. They all work here for a year or two then go to australia for a year or two. Easy peasy.

Hi Rachael – I’m in NZ too πŸ™‚ What part of the country are you in?

I agree, there is not a cultural expectation that women “dress up” generally speaking. NZ is a fairly egalitarian society gender wise (it’s by no means perfect – first country in the world to give women the vote in 1893 though!) but pretty much EVERYONE dresses casually (no shoes in public is common (Jandals if you’re lucky), men wear shorts all year round, trackpants and hoodies for all, etc

I hope you don’t get put downs and negative comments on your appearance! I hope you aren’t treated by others as though you don’t fit in, I think it would just quietly confuse most folks (a why does she do that if she doesn’t have to? kinda thing…)
I pretty much wear a full face of make up every day too, even though the glitter eyeliner doesn’t match my trackpants, so. πŸ˜‰

Great question!! I’m a cop and my force have pretty strong rules on make up (and nails and hair to be a ‘natural’ colour). I’ve been in for two years now and have to admit my days of going totally bare faced on duty are long gone! So every shift I’m stealthily wearing more and more eyeliner until my Sergeant says something πŸ™‚

I work in a kitchen, and while it is the “norm” to wear little to no makeup, I wear pretty much a full face of makeup everyday. (Foundation, concealor, powder, blush/ bronzer, mascara, and sometimes a neutral shadow). I keep things pretty natural, just an enhanced version of myself you could say. While there was never any rule that no makeup is allowed, I prefer to keep my look natural and focus on my work. In hot/ humid weather, I’d hate to be worrying about my eyeliner smudging or my base melting off since it is already hot in the kitchen!

I feel that our work in the kitchen doesn’t require that we interact much with guests, so less importance is needed on our appearance. I do take advantage when I go out on my days off to take more time with my makeup and try new or bolder looks.

Many (not all, but many) of the women where I work wear little to no makeup. Many dress very casually too. That’s not my “idiom”. I wear makeup every day but it tends to be subdued and “workplace appropriate”. The same goes for my clothing – I like to dress professionally (on the casual side still because I work in a high school and teach Food and Nutrition so my clothes need to be washable and fairly sturdy). So I do tend to look a bit more “polished” than maybe 80% of the women I work with but it’s not a problem and I feel it’s a good example for the students I teach – especially the girls. I teach in a somewhat “inner city” type school (though that term in Canada is a bit different than in the US) and I think it’s good for the girls to have a positive role-model – someone who clearly takes care of her appearance.

I actually quit my previous job when they implemented a new no make-up policy. It was a sales job so it didn’t make any sense at ALL to ban make-up. I feel that if you’re not going to allow me to be myself at work it’s better for me to just go.

I’m a nursing student and most of the employees I see in clinical wear very little to no makeup, probably because of the crazy hours and very little time to touch up or worry about it during a shift. For the same reasons I just do concealer, powder, and blush or highlighter. If I have extra time I’ll put on an all-over wash of eyeshadow (any color!), but anything with the potential to run or get smudged throughout the day (mascara, lipstick, etc) is a no go.

Laura, I’ve been a nurse , nurses aide while in school, in the Cleveland OH area since 1968.
Most nurses wore light natural makeup even back then. I do think patients and family members get at least a little lift when we try to look our conservative best. Obviously, it’s more important to be competent but I can’t help but think that looking your best helps. Even nuns wore nice uniformes, simple hair styles but, of course, no make-up.

It doesn’t bother me at all. I think I’ve pushed the boundaries at work on the odd occasion (not that I’ve been pulled up at all, just a feeling) but in general I wear the most makeup there and it isn’t a problem. My manager sometimes complements me on it, as do my colleagues who try to get me to do their makeup! So I’m known for my makeup, just not in a bad way (I hope).

I stick to neutrals most of the time and any colour I use is very discreet. I work for the national health service so it’s not the place for bright makeup. I love bright lips, just not at work! ?

I can understand not wearing an Lady Gaga-inspired look when you work in office, but I find these rules to be archaic. I’m no less a professional if I’m wearing a fuchsia lip or green nails.

exactly how I feel! I work a cx service job and the makeup I choose to wear on any particular day has no impact on how capable I am of doing my job.

I so agree! My makeup does not take away from my professionalism or quality of work! I don’t sit at my desk looking at myself in the mirror.

I used to have a job where it was against the rules to wear any makeup (along with lotions, chapstick, and deodorant that contained metals). It was a clean room environment. I wore mascara anyway.

Now I work at a university. I keep things neutral most of the time. Occasionally I’ll do a bold lip or smokey eye. The only time anyone has ever said anything to me is the few times I showed up with mascara only.

I work in a fairly casual office – jeans are allowed, but I wear slacks about half the time and most others do, too. My situation is that most others around me wear less makeup, but I wear what I feel like. Since I don’t typically wear brights I think I still blend in well enough, but I’ve worn colorful eyeliners and very shimmery shadows, and and I have no qualms about brights and sparkles on my (short) nails. I think I would be really bummed if makeup was discouraged in my workplace, but I don’t think it would be worth it to seek employment elsewhere… there are plenty of other places to wear it!

I usually wear neutrals with very little shimmer but will sometimes add a pop of color via eyeliner or a brighter blush. Although I adore bold lip colors, they’re just not practical for me. (Seriously, I can never attain the wear times that Christine reports.)

I didn’t wear a lot of makeup in my formal work days because I felt a clean minimal look was more professional and appropriate. I ran the Canadian office for a US firm. There were no established guidelines for makeup use in my company and in fact, I was far more formal in dress and comportment than my American counterparts (that whole hippy Silicon Valley scene). I came at my job from a corporate background and in those days, there was only one ‘correct’ answer to the wardrobe question: a suit, of course. Frankly, I didn’t have a great deal of time to put on makeup or even dwell on it. I recognize times are different now, but still feel the decision should be based on what is best for your career. Wear what you love on the weekends and evenings or think about making a career change where the dramatic and creative are thoroughly embraced.

Sounds exciting, Sophia! The ‘uniform’ will become like second skin and if and when you are dealing with difficult clients, wearing the right outfit will feel like a suit of armour and help to keep your game face on. I had a lot of male clients and for some reason, they were mostly of the super short variety. I used to wear my killer pumps (I’m 5’10” in bare feet) and stand close to them in the elevator (evil giggle).

Oh, and be thankful for smart phones LOL. Do you know how often I would be running through an airport, in heels, with a ‘portable’ computer the size of a carry on and a cell phone the size of a brick?

Best of luck! You go!

This is actually my life now. I have to wear a “no makeup” look to work because of my job, so I pull that off with CC cream, tinted lip balm, a matte trio from Jane Iredale called Sweet Spot that make my eyes look like the shadowing effect is just naturally the way my skin is pigmented, and mascara. Sometimes I tight-line the top lashes, but my current pencil liner smudges on my hooded eyes so I’ve been skipping lately.

It sucks because I love eye shadows and I love a smoky cat eye. Sometimes, when I come home from work, I’ll re-do my eye makeup, even though I spend the rest of the evening on the couch, just so I can play with colors.

That’s terrible. What type of work is it? Are there comparable rules for men? I am angry on your behalf and anyone else in that position

Most women in my workplace wear little makeup. I like to experiment, particularly with eyeshadow, and I’m sure it’s noticed but it’s not really an issue. I also dress up more than most women here, so I think it goes with the whole overall look. If I do dress very casually for work, I will also wear less makeup.

This is how I feel. Most women that I work with wear little to no makeup at all. I’m pretty much the only one that is made up to the nines (with the exception of one other woman, who coincidentally has the same first name as me!) I think the fact that I do wear whatever I want, makeup-wise, has inspired women around me. I’ve seen a few wearing bolder lipstick since I started doing it.

I really want to wear blue or green lipstick to work but I think that might be pushing it.

No one in my laid-back office wears much makeup, so neither do I. I wear blush and very occasionally a subtle eye look and tinted lip balm. If I wore a bolder look I would get a lot of comments like “OooOoOOooo where are YOU going??”, which I think is pretty rude but I guess is the unfortunate reality that my face is open for whatever comments pop into people’s heads. The majority of my friends don’t wear makeup either, but I will wear whatever I want around them because there is a comfort level where they don’t make me feel like I have to explain why I’m wearing a little, a lot, or no makeup.

Makeup is pretty much a must in my work environment (office setting) but it has to be professional looking. I can’t show up in bright eyeshadow or fuschia lipstick for example. But honestly, that’s not my thing anyway. I tend to do a full face of makeup every day. But I tend to stick to neutral eye looks and neutral lip colors, although I will sometimes rock a more dramatic highlight. I also don’t wear heavy liner – some people do wear black winged eyeliner daily, but I’m lazy about eyeliner.

Not sure what work environments don’t allow makeup at all, but at the very least, I need some sort of bb cream and powder along with a neutral blush, a neutral eye look, and mascara. I won’t go out without it. If makeup isn’t really allowed in your workplace, I’d do more of a no makeup makeup look.

I used to work in clean room environments for years, which meant absolutely no makeup or hair products. If I wanted to go out after work I brought a palette or small makeup bag and got ready in the bathroom after work. There were definitely days I wished I could cover a zit it bags under my eyes, but it made getting ready in the morning easy. When no one is allowed to wear it, and you’re in a bunny suit all day anyway, it’s really not so bad.

I work in a medical setting as a provider type person. While most people don’t wear full face or brights, just because most of the ladies are slightly older….I don’t worry about it.
“professional” is subjective. I think looking polished, even with blue eyeliner or a bright lip is more appropriate than looking haggard and tired when I don’t wear makeup (I have crazy dark undereyes due to allergies and small child that doesn’t sleep well).

So far, no one has ever told me to “tone it down” even in the OR or in meetings with the head honchos.

But, I also don’t wear Gaga inspired looks to work and am more neutral in my overall choices, ie lighter hand on eyeshadow, neutral blush.
I think it’s mostly about finding balance in your look and where you work. πŸ™‚

“I think looking polished, even with blue eyeliner or a bright lip is more appropriate than looking haggard and tired”
I totally agree

There are no specific requirements about makeup in my workplace, just a general statement about a “professional and neat” appearance. The only explicit requirement is that hair color must be one found in nature, so none of the fun, bright colors going around these days. That said, what’s “professional” really varies by location and manager. I can get away with colored liner on my lower lash line and whatever nail polish I want, but no black lipstick or rainbow-gradient eyeshadow. If I were going to a meeting at another location where I know the standards to be a little more strict, I would keep everything neutral.

I work in a lab and I love knowing that I don’t need to look done up on a daily basis. Most of the women I work with wear little to no makeup, but we will wear a full face every once in a while. I think it would ruin the experience if I was forced to wear makeup, do my hair, and dress nice every day in order to be considered a professional.

Fortunately, our dress code doesn’t address makeup one way or the other, which is good because I like color, shimmer, bold lips, and dramatic eyes (not necessarily all at once). I do tone it down a bit at work most of the time, but you can rest assured that I don’t completely ditch color, dark/bright lips, etc.

That said, I’d manage just fine if they started cracking down on colorful/creative/dramatic looks, or if I felt these looks would prevent me from advancing. I have more neutral palettes than one person should have, and I have plenty of MLBB lipsticks/glosses that I love, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

However, I would go crazy not being allowed to wear makeup at all in a job with no practical reason for the restriction and that isn’t done outdoors – I’m in Alabama, and even I would wear little or no makeup if I had to spend the entire day outside, especially in the summer!

I work in a smaller office with about 10 other women. When I started wearing more makeup again after years of keeping it very conservative, I noticed a few other women followed suit in time. I wear mostly a more neutral eye with strong lip at work, and whatever I feel like afterwards. I love makeup and looking beautiful and don’t worry about what the others think.

Hmm, I’ve always wondered about this too. I tend to keep it pretty neutral, switching up my lip color for a slightly bright one every now and then. I love getting dressed up and I don’t make apologies for that, but I try and curb my temptation to slap on a bold lip as much as possible πŸ™‚
For the eyes, I do like a tiny bit of shimmer (shadow sticks seem to work really well), and I will ALWAYS wear blush. I feel like any makeup can be worn in an understated manner if you so desire (lip stains, blushes applied with a stippling brush, cream/liquid highlighters etc).

I’ve not worked in an environment that had a policy comcerning makeup…perhaps concerns about people’s sensitive to fragrances (perfume or highly scented flowers) or smoking (allowed in designated areas only). My makeup application is fairly neutral at work, which is more my preference than any policies or practices of a workplace.

This was a thought-provoking question for me today. I am a social worker on a psychiatric hospital unit for people with severe, chronic mental illness. I also happen to love colorful make up and work in the cosmetics department at Bergners on the side. I am the only professional on my unit who wears full make up, and definitely the only one who wears bright colors. Today I went to court wearing purple eyeshadow and wondered if others found me inappropriate. The female judge, state’s attorney, and court reporter had nearly no make up on. After the hearing, to my delight, I had two people tell me they loved my eye shadow. I do save my boldest looks, like rainbow eyes, for my days off. But it makes me happy to be a professional who isn’t afraid to wear color at work, and to know that some others think my choices are pretty.

I think it’s awesome that you wear makeup that makes you happy. I know if I saw you in a courtroom and you were rocking a sweet purple eye, I’d definitely compliment you on it!
I’m always complimenting women on their makeup bc my eyes are automatically drawn to it πŸ™‚

Yep, you have a sister right here! I wear purple shadow to work too (and sometimes even matching blush and lipstick). Just because I wear purple shadow doesn’t mean that I’m not hard-working, competent, diligent, and professional. It only means that I like purple shadow. The world won’t end or be a worst place if I wear purple shadow to work. Maybe it might be a better place, because purple is a beautiful color, it cheers me up, makes me feel beautiful, and I know many people like the color purple.

Katherine, I was wearing a pink fushia lip (Mac’s Be Silly) with my purple eye shadow. The whole look was strong, but also very pretty! My corporate husband gave me the thumbs up before I left the house?

I wear pretty work-safe, natural looking makeup for work the way as it is. I’ve always pretty much worn what I like anyway. If you could actually point to lack of promotions/lower pay /condescension to makeup, I’d probably contact a lawyer.

I work as a lifeguard/instructor so I can’t wear makeup on a daily basis ? But when I have opportunities to (like on weekends etc.) I don’t necessarily go bright and bold but I definitely use as many products as possible (I.e. 110% Full face)! Plus I usually play around with it after work πŸ™‚

I work for a school transportation company and while there are no precise rules about makeup most don’t wear any. And the ones that do keep it simple for the most part. I do all sorts of looks, colors, bold lip… I’m known for my makeup and people will request to see the blue eyeshadow one or the glittery purple one again. Lol I’ve only ever been talked about jewelry (they don’t allow any earrings except little ones, nothing dangling or big). I love makeup and I want to be able to wear it wherever I work.

I didn’t realize that there were places that didn’t allow makeup. I work with all men actually, so there is no one that wears makeup other than me. I find it really liberating actually. There’s no pressure whatsoever. So, if I don’t feel like wearing makeup at all, it’s all good. When I wear a full face of makeup and go all out, all the guys tell me I look pretty. I don’t think I could go without my eyebrows and covering up my freckles though. like, ever….

It depends on what the circumstances are. In a strict corporate environment, where it could hamper career opportunities, pay and even lateral movement (but a better job) , the operative word is NEUTRAL. Go neutral with everything and you should be alright.
Generally, the corporate world is not the place to get your makeup groove on, so to speak. There might be occasions where it would be acceptable (Casual Fridays, boss is out of office – that kind of thing).
Otherwise, less is more and neutral is the color of the workday.

I think I would prefer a work environment where makeup isn’t expected (but would be fine with one where it was accepted). I find when workplaces put extra grooming pressure on women, unless it’s a women-centered workplace, it tends to be an extension of a more sexist work environment. Expecting women to spend more time and money on their appearance than their male counterparts in order to be treated the same tends to lead toward more biased hiring and promotion practices, as well as a difference in salary. I wrote a paper back in the day for a sociology class that explored the difference between a (non-women-focused) workplace where makeup and other forms of expression were not judged either way, were expected, or were frowned upon, and by far the harshest environment for women was one it which they were expected to wear makeup. There were higher instances of sexual harassment, a bigger wage gap, and women did most of the unpaid “housekeeping” work around the office like getting coffee, cleaning up after a meeting, etc. So I think while I’d prefer an environment where it didn’t matter either way, if I HAD to choose between a no-makeup or always-makeup workplace, I’d always choose the no-makeup one.

I have been in a predicament like that a few years ago. When you wear makeup and you work with a crowd that doesn’t wear alot of makeup or any at all, I don’t think that anyone should compromise on “who” they are or aren’t! You should always be yourself. The only exception to that rule, is “IF” it is written in stone to wear very little makeup, and clear nail polish. That depends on the individual woman and rules are rules. However, I wouldn’t put myself in a work place environment like that. What I mean is, while I am on the clock, I’m getting paid to do my job to the best of my ability 12 or more hours a day. I wouldn’t compromise on “who” I am. It’s almost like this IS A PART Of “WHO” I AM! When I look good, I feel good and IT DOES have an impact on how you conduct yourself in any environment! The job I was talking about early on, these women just didn’t have the time or energy to get up a little earlier, and do all the primping. They told me that they rather get an extra 40 minutes of sleep in the morning. Which is absolutely fine. But I did ask them, what makes you think that I get up 45 minutes early every morning to apply make-up?! Lol. The key is to get used to a regiment and I’ve been doing this since I was 19 years old. I’ve got myself timed in and out. It actually took me longer to wait in line at Dunkin Donut’s every morning, than it ever did applying make-up!! L. πŸ™‚

Luckily where I work now I can wear whatever. Phew! Lol! I do travel for conferences we put on. I usually take neutral shadows because it easy to throw a look together and not have to think about it. But I do have some brighter or darker lippies depending on my mood. Nothing too crazy.

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s answer to this question!. I’ve been working for 25+ years. I studied marketing in college, where they always emphasized “light hand” & “professional” for makeup, hair, and clothing, and that advice has stuck. I love playing with makeup, have a bit of a stash, and wear it every day. When I list out everything I use, it sounds like a lot, but the end result looks usually looks subtle and polished, even when I wear purple or green. I work in a museum now, and there’s no policy I am aware of; most of the women I work with wear some sort of makeup, although most don’t wear any lip color.

If it is specified that part of the job is wearing little to no makeup, then I would comply and/or just wear mascara, maybe foundation if I need it, maybe gloss or a light-colored lip. If it’s not specified (like where I work now), then full face!

there is a time and place…I am the only one in the office that wears makeup & im ok with that. I tend to wear more neutral makeup when going out with friends who don’t wear makeup (I really have no friends that are into makeup as much as i am!) or for a more professional work event. If its just regular everyday work I wear whatever makeup i want depending on my mood because it doesn’t affect my job. If it did affect my job i would do the no-makeup makeup look with the least wearing base, at most add the brows, bronze/contour, nude lipstick/lipgloss & mascara – skip anything with color like eye shadow or bright lipstick.

I am an a and e nurse and we are not supposed to wear too much makeup,which I think is fair enough. The one time I went into work with no makeup on people said I looked more ill than the patients:) so I always wear mascara ,and maybe eyeshadow and maybe eye liner and maybe brow pencil error and lip balm and mineral powder foundation:)

2 jobs. A customer said retirement age people have to work 2 jobs to make up for the people who won’t work. My professional job, omg, despite being a consultant, it’s total grubbies. Sweats, tees with logos, commentary… The tradition is no makeup, but there’s no rule against it. The big boss (regional director) wears bedroom eyes and nude lips daily. Lots of jewelry and frequently a dress. Us plebes wear whatever we want. (The interview was hysterical: I wore a suit and the program director had on 2 layers of gym shorts and a tank top. I got the message.). The other program director, who is the sister of the big boss, wears sweats and bronzer only. Lotsa bronzer. I wear make up if I feel like it, but it’s usually no color cosmetics. Concealer, TM, clear balm. It’s early, and I don’t feel compelled to wear it. If I have time (s.t. 2 jobs in 1 day). I’ll do up eyes, blush, lips, even in massive coloration, for the low end retail night job. The mgr there almost always has an eye look, and, let’s face it, I have to show her up. Usually do, in technique or color combos, anyway. Being old, and she is young with no dough, my stash wins. The retail job is w/es, and usually I get a face on, if I have the time. To be fair, my professional job has 90% direct care workers with an adult developmentally disabled population. I could wear m/u, but usually opt not to. You do get the probes about the hot date later, etc. s.t. I wear it, just to say I can…or because I woke up too early! It’s kind of funny, as an addict, that most days i’n not in any, when I could. To be honest, though, if I wore none all day, I am likely to play with a look before I remove it and go to bed. I get home @11P! That would be M and F, if there was not enough time between jobs to do any. Don’t get old.

I am too old to tolerate a work environment that restricts my personal appearance. I dress work appropriate and if someone has a problem with my glam makeup they can eat my glitter! I have worked plenty of jobs where the women wear no makeup at all and while I can appreciate their confidence in their natural look, I could easily complain that they look unpolished, unprofessional and some like they literally just rolled out of bed. I tolerate their minimalist look so they should tolerate my glam. πŸ˜€

Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with this in a very long time. If the workplace has no major rules about makeup, but most of the women wear little or none, then I just wear what I want. I live in Oregon, and I’m used to being one of the few women wearing a full face of makeup in any given environment. I would not feel self-conscious. I would not have a problem dealing with anyone making snide remarks, either. I would automatically refrain from “alternative” colors, neons, avant garde looks, etc. unless I worked in an artistic/creative job where it was encouraged. I understand certain workplaces need to present certain images. If a professional environment requires me to wear neutral colors, or a more conservative look, I can and have done so. I tend to avoid super-conservative environments, as I am not a conservative person in most respects. I know I won’t be happy.

Other than that it would depend on how badly I needed the job, how much I loved the job, and how good the pay and benefits were. I’d be willing to do some trading off.

As long as your makeup was appropriate, I don’t see why any work place would have a problem with that. I have worked in schools where I was pretty much the only one that wore makeup and that was fine. I don’t think any company can tell you not to wear makeup – but there are some that would probably give you guidelines eg no black lipstick.

It doesn’t bother me, I’ve worked in a lab where you had to disinfect your feet going in and out of the building and wear gloves on your hands, wearing a white lab coat. I sort of like feeling practical and no-nonsense and not having to think about what you look like sometimes. For me, it’s always been about my brains and ability to do the work that comes first, so often I’ve gone to an office job without makeup. I might have worn some foundation and concealer but that’s about it. When I’ve interviewed people, I have put on subtle, neutral makeup. I am more experimental with makeup outside work, when I go out, I love to wear colour, bright lipstick or eyeshadow. Now I’m a stay at home mum, I just wear what I feel like wearing, a full face of makeup, a little bit or none at all. This thread is very interesting!

I would be so depressed if I didn’t wear makeup to work every day. I mean I don’t over do it because 75% of the people I work with don’t wear makeup ( teachers). As an AP of the school I feel that if I am dressed and have no makeup on, what is the sense of being all dressed up then? You never look complete. What irks me the most is all the excuses some women come up with for not wearing makeup. Like I give a hoot. I don’t care if half the population don’t wear it !!!!!!!! I enjoy putting it on, feeling good about myself and knowing my appearance doesn’t look blah,blah,blah.

I found everyone’s responses so interesting. I’d never really considered that some employers would ban makeup entirely. In my opinion, I look and feel more professional with a bit of “polish”– like having my hair styled and a natural makeup look on. I’m a high school teacher in a relatively well-off area, and my school mostly follows an office attire dress code, perhaps a bit on the casual end of the office attire spectrum. I wear a full face of makeup everyday, but keep the colors natural.
Now that I think about it, I think I’d feel pretty uncomfortable in front of a classroom of teenagers without makeup on; I think it makes me look more awake, lively, and approachable, and I feel that’s important when you’re trying to get 16 y/o’s interested in Shakespeare. I do try to keep my makeup natural though. About 75% of my coworkers wear makeup regularly, but they tend to keep it even more minimal than I do. I can’t imagine an administrator calling me out on wearing something a little bit bolder, but I wouldn’t want to push it anyway, because if you look different, you won’t hear the end of it from your students.

I’d adapt if I had to, but I’m very thankful that I no longer have to. Crazy hair colors, a lot of visible tattoos (one on my face), a facial piercing and a craptonne of makeup + odd/gothy/costumey/fandom themed/occult clothing is kind of my standard day-to-day look unless I’m sleeping.

The office itself is fairly conservative (and used to be moreso) but last week I sported small crystal freckles with no regrets.

I actually work in an environment like this now. We have a pretty lax dress code ( business casual ish or scrubs) and we really either have no contact or lots of contact with the outside world- it depends on the position. Also, most of the women start really early. So, a lot of them don’t wear makeup to work. I on the other hand, make it a point to at least wear concealer , mascara , and eyeliner daily. I feel like I have to look presentable to myself- and dark circles do not make me feel cute. They don’t try to stop me from wearing makeup and I don’t say anything to them. Oh per the policy book , they don’t really want us wearing fragrance (men or women ). BUTTTT I know that my male managers wear cologne, so I figure if they can do a scent, I can too. I stick to something light and fresh though that won’t offend anyone.

Oh if I wear a full face, I normally do a shimmering neutral shadow and maybe blush , just because I’m lazy and don’t feel like blending shadows together lol

Wow, thanks Christine for posting my question!!
I have been in the veterinary profession for years and in most hospitals I have worked, the women wore little to no makeup. I on the other hand, never let it stop or intimidate me, but sometimes have wondered what they must think of me. I have always received complements on my makeup and have had others ask me to teach them or even do theirs for them. I never really even thought about it until recently, and the incident that made me even think of this question. I was at a veterinary conference in Las Vegas with other women in the same profession from all over the country. The majority of them wore little to no makeup as well, and all of them treated me as though I was a “spouse” just there with my husband (who is also a veterinarian) even though my badge and credentials said otherwise, they never even bothered to look. They just made the assumption that I was not in their profession ( a few once talking to me even admitted as such). This made me feel kind of judged on my appearance (and truthfully, I wore mostly neutral professional makeup significantly toned down). I am kind of surprised that in todays times where women have come so far (BTW I notice Hillary Clinton wears makeup, I’m just saying) that we are still judged on appearances. I am really appreciative of everyone’s answers here. It makes me feel like I am not alone.
Laurie

I work in an office environment now, & the only reason I wear neutrals everyday is bc I don’t get enough sleep to wake up a little bit earlier to work on a more detailed look. There’s so much blending involved…lol plus I haven’t perfected my falsie application yet, & so I don’t want to go in late bc of a makeup-related incident lmao
But if I worked in a more strict-on-makeup office environment, I’d definitely tone it down to the bare minimum of base, concealer, blush, highlighter, brows, mascara (on top lids), & the concealer would also be on my lids, so I’d throw a base on top of thatβ€”setting powder or any shadow that is close to my skin tone.
Money gets us makeup, rt? So why not tone it down for where we make our money? πŸ™‚ that’s my millennial logic anyway πŸ˜€

If no make-up was a rule, it would have to be a valid safety concern. If it was a rule for no reason, unless they tripled my salary, I wouldn’t accept the position.
If it was just corporate culture, I’d be more subtle and neutral most of the time.

My company is pretty conservative — old school, industrial, male-dominated to an ugly degree, European-HQ. But this said — I have it better than others it appears. A no make up rule? Wow. I wear the make up I like, but I prefer neutrals with some color minimally, anyway. My boss has hinted I should wear less jewelry when I go to the HQ, but I like my jewelry so I wear it. If I got feedback to wear less makeup, I wouldn’t change. It makes me happy, it makes me look better. If it became a real issue I think I’d leave the company, because my satisfaction with myself comes first. I am taken seriously, have been promoted despite often not quite behaving properly (politically), so whatever that line is for this company, I haven’t crossed it. Yet.

I worked for a company for 14 years where I was one of a very few women who wore makeup. (There were about 140 total employees.) The only rule we had was no shirts with logos, so I did what I wanted as far as makeup was concerned. Most of the time I did simple neutrals due to having to work so early in the morning, but on the days I had time I would rock a colorful look for sure. Wearing makeup made me feel put together and more professional. I feel like without makeup I could be perceived as tired or lazy.

I must be a contrarian. When I worked in NYC and makeup (conservative, but most wore some) was the norm I couldn’t be bothered and refused to wear expensive dresses and uncomfortable shoes too. Now I’m in the military and after my last deployment I started doing my makeup daily – again, quite conservative as our regulations require, but it’s amusing to me that NOW I want to do it. It makes me still feel prepared for the day and professional while I’m wearing a camouflage uniform made for a man much larger than I!

At my work place, women never wore much makeup except perhaps a moisturiser, powder and kohl. Perhaps, I am the most makeup junkie out there. While i am never flamboyant at work, i do use bb creams, concealers, and lipsticks.. Along with kohl/ liner and powder. Some eyebrows were raised for first few days, though no one said anything to me directly… But over the time, i see more women here have started experimenting with makeup and coming to work in a more made up way… Keeping with the work ethics of course. So i guess i have been atleast a bit instrumental in making the women realise that makeup can be subtle and using it to boost their confidence.

I was an Army officer for seven years, and there was resistance to overtly feminine images, even though the regulations literally said natural looking makeup was OK. So I wore makeup and stuck to neutrals. I am blonde and had to wear my then long hair up in a chignon. For makeup, I wore brown, cream, and taupey shadows on my eyes with black mascara, a little foundation where needed, and beigey pink or medium berry lipsticks. No problems at all with it at all, though a few guys said they noticed that I “wore lipstick.”; I guess that meant they knew I was fine with girly things, even in a uniform. The funny times were when they saw me out and about shopping at the PX or an outside mall on a weekend, eating out with a boyfriend or later my husband, etc. I will never forget coming in late at night to check my barracks (I commanded troops in one assignment) in a party dress with my hair down and full makeup. I borrowed my husband’s jacket to put over my shoulders. The sergeant in charge that night at first did not recognize me! Then we walked the barracks just to see what was going on. Nothing inappropriate happened, but some of the looks on my soldiers’ faces were so funny!

I wear mostly neutral makeup to begin with so it’s not a huge problem. I mostly miss wearing fun lip shades but I save those for the weekend. My older job required more fun makeup, so I would wear less on days off, so now I’ve flip flopped!

I am really taken aback by how conservative some organisations in the US must be judging by the comments and even the original question. Here in the UK I have always worn full makeup to work regardless of which organisation I’m working for. I have been in full time employment since 1987 and I have worked in small commercial companies, large international corporate companies and am currently a surgeon’s secretary. Nobody has ever made me feel it is inappropriate for me to wear full makeup in any of these organisations and I would complain if they did, there are strong equality laws in Europe to protect employees frim discrimination, on any basis. As far as I am concerned my makeup has no impact on my ability to do my job or conduct myself in a professional manner.

I work in a prom dress store, with no uniform or requirements. I’ve gone in with no makeup, and I’ve gone in with neutral makeup, and I’ve gone in with bright bold lips, thick eyeliner…. You name it I’ve done it. And I’ve never been treated any different by coworkers or customers. I get approached no matter what my look. But maybe its a young person thing, to be less judgemental on someones appearance.

I really appreciate a very minimal makeup look rule because in a professional environment it’s just wrong to look like a slut. That’s how people will perceive it even though us makeup lovers wouldn’t. People are just like that.

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