I am always the person wearing the most makeup at the office – without exception. And yet, I can never be as flamboyant as I actually want to be in the workplace.
People are shocked when I tell them my everyday workplace look takes 13-16 products on average to achieve – but I use a light hand. Smooth skin and a subtle glow is what I am generally going for – not to mention that well-rested look which helps me fake 8 hours of sleep (with no oddly complex, M. Night Shyamalan reminiscent dreams).
For today’s post, I thought I would share some of my key tips / tricks / reminders for my workday makeup. These are what work for me only. You may well disagree with some or all of them which is great because different things work for different people – and all workplaces are different. For context purposes, I am a VP and sales leader at a large Chartered Canadian bank.
No Red Lip:
Let me preface this by saying that I am using ‘red’ here in its strictest definition – a traditional, primary color red. Red lip screams bold, seductive, sensual – all of which can be awkward at the office. It is not the color as much as the connotation – there have been too many songs and sonnets written about the enchantress with the cherry red lip.
Don’t get me wrong – I love a bold, red lip. Here is a photo of me wearing ‘Elson’, part of the Pat McGrath Lust MatteTrance collection and one of my favourite red lips.
I just won’t wear a red lip to the office, particularly not when I am presenting to my team, attending a senior leadership meeting, or meeting clients. I ‘may’ brave a red lip for an in-office type day and even then, I would typically only hesitantly fill in my top lip and press it to my bottom lip to weakly distribute the color – after doing that, I may also blot with a tissue paper.
When I am in a red type of mood, I opt for a darker nude, burgundy, wine, or maroon – I find all these colors are mature and solemn enough to be acceptable (without looking inviting or playful).
Here are some of my favorite ‘red substitutes’ for the office:
Pat McGrath Labs ‘Flesh 3’ – brown rose
Urban Decay Cosmetics ‘Rocksteady’ – deep wine red (You may argue with me that this is just red in a different cloak and I would agree with you. However, I feel that this is a dark enough red so as to look more mature than coquettish.)
Pat McGrath Labs ‘Lavish’ – mauve rose
Setting Powder is a Must:
My facial color routine typically involves contour, bronzer, blush, and highlighter – even if I use a light hand, it ends up being a lot particularly in the harsh white light of the office. To smooth everything over and blur and blend the colors even more evenly, I always use a setting powder. I find it softens the strength of my highlight, leaving a more muted, work-appropriate glow behind.
Here are a couple of my favorite setting powders that do the job beautifully:
Makeup Forever Ultra High Definition Microfinishing Powder (Photo Credit: Makeup Forever)
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (Photo Credit: Hourglass Cosmetics)
Darker or Shimmer Shadow is Always Accompanied by a Nude Lip:
My mentality on eyeshadows leans ‘the sparklier the better’ and ‘go eye-popping or go home’. Unfortunately, this does not always work in my workplace. Most women at my workplace do not even wear eyeshadow; even the ones that do ascribe to a barely there mentality – a delicate eye contour, a little sheen to highlight the lid, or the softest, subtlest matte color that blends into the surrounding skin. Not that there’s anything wrong with this – It’s just not quite me.
However, I hold myself back as anything too loud and glaring just feels garish to me in my work environment. Darker colors are restricted to crease and outer V and would never climb more than halfway to my browbone. Shimmers and sparkles need to be highly contained to a smaller circumference contained within my lid or a small dab in my inner eye corner. Nevertheless, whenever I wear darker or sparklier colors, I always, always keep my lip in the nude family. This tones down the overall look and makes my eyes the center focus (which is where I want people to be looking anyway when I am talking!).
Here are a couple of my favorite nude lips for the occasion:
Urban Decay Cosmetics ‘Insanity’ – soft warm nude
Pat McGrath Labs ‘1995’ – warm light nude
A Pink Base Lip is great when I am really not feeling it and want to look like I made an effort:
When I have limited time to do my makeup or on those rare occasions when I don’t really feel like wearing a lot of makeup, I dress things up with a pinker-toned lipstick. This makes me look more ‘refreshed’. A nude lip washes me out when I haven’t put much effort into the rest of my makeup and a darker lip in these situations just gives me an unfinished look.
Here are a couple of my favorite lipsticks for those minimal effort days.
Urban Decay Cosmetics ‘Psycho’ – bright rose with iridescent blue microsparkle
Urban Decay Cosmetics ‘Bittersweet’ – bright pink-purple
What are some of your top workday makeup rules and tips?