Chatter: Makeup in the Office

I find beauty and make-up fun (obviously, I spend more money on it than I care to admit, have a blog devoted to it, and am a moderator of a community devoted to it), but I don’t relish the idea of being bound to it; I feel like makeup should be for the wearer. I don’t force myself to paint my face daily – I do it when I feel like it. When you have to force yourself, it isn’t fun.

That said, I work in a corporate office. I’ve recently earned a promotion that puts me in a role in which means I see and work with more people than I used to, and a lot of the people I’m working with on a daily basis are Important People.

I find myself in this place where I’m torn between, “You can’t make me wear makeup in the office; the use of cosmetics has no impact on my work,” (which is valid) – and the understanding that it is more important than ever in my career to leave good impressions and, “put (my) best face forward.”

Granted, doing just that – putting your best face forward, that is – does not mean full facepaint. It does mean looking like you care about your professional presentation at work. Put together, well-groomed, however you wish to put it.

I learned a few years ago that despite your actual energy and engagement level, the natural configuration of your face can (in addition to people thinking something is wrong/you’re upset #RBFproblems) can result in people drawing ridiculous conclusions. The fact that it’s awkward (and probably inappropriate, unless you saw them yawn) to ask someone, “Oh, are you tired today?” does not deter them. In short, people lack tact.

I’m trying to look at it in the same vein as, “I don’t want to go to work with a mess of unkempt hair,” but it takes an adjustment in perspective. It’s a weird thing to balance. It isn’t as though you have to go all Picasso on your face; most days, concealer and mascara more than suffices.

How do you feel about makeup seeming like a, “requirement,” at work (assuming you don’t work as an artist, a model, or at a counter, of course).