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Rules of the job: Makeup?

Every season there are new makeup trends I’m just dying to try, but when I spend 40-plus hours at the office, it leaves me very little time to experiment with some of the more outlandish of the looks. Or does it? There is sometimes a fine line between what is office-appropriate and not, and that line moves around depending on your field. We all know makeup has the power to make us look more attractive, and can even make us look more professional, put together and smart. So how much is too much?

Pretty professional

If you work in a conservative setting such as a law firm, medical office or bank, you’d be best advised to save the neon lipstick and extreme smokey eye for Saturday. In these jobs, you should be wearing only enough makeup to accentuate your features – a neutral eyeshadow palette with cheek and lip colors that match your natural hues will make you look professional but not done up.

Creative cosmetics

However, if you work in a relaxed environment – or a creative one, trying trendy makeup may actually be good for your professional reputation! If your job is to be creative – whether you work at a design firm, advertising agency or web company – getting creative with your cosmetics may be more acceptable. Still, remember that you are at work, not at the club, and keep statement makeup limited to one feature – bright lips should be paired with a neutral ensemble, for example.

Makeup for the middle ground

The middle ground is usually where it’s most difficult to determine what makeup is appropriate. In these cases, it’s best to take a trend and translate it to the workplace. For example, if you want to try this season’s purple eyeshadow craze, consider wearing a stripe of purple eyeliner instead of covering your whole eye, or using gray or brown shadow instead of black to create a smokey eye. As a rule of thumb, never wear embellished eyelashes, glitter or other cosmetics that might be better suited for the club or a Halloween party than the office. If you work in retail or any other client-interfacing job, make sure your makeup represents your company’s brand, since you are its representative.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing