Instagram Makeup in the Workplace

In December 2015, I wrote about my feelings on, “needing,” to don warpaint for the office. That opinion hasn’t changed.

In the last two or so years, I’ve seen a dramatic rise in what I’ll call Instagram makeup being worn in public. Okay, cool.

…but Instagram Makeup in the workplace?

Wear makeup to work if you want to, don’t if you don’t. But for the love of cats, get a sense of what is appropriate for work.

Instagram Makeup ... at Work?Skilled? Yes. Work appropriate? No. (pic found on Pinterest)

Last week, in my non-creative office I saw two different women with full-fledged smoky, glittery cut-creases, not unlike what is depicted above. WhatThe problem isn’t unique to my office, though. Many offices, judging by what I see while out for lunch during the work week, have this disconnect. That’s not to mention other work environments where a full-blown, beat, drag-inspired glam face of makeup is not appropriate (read: most of them). Just like shorts-suits or miniskirts, where did the idea that this is appropriate for work come from?

To put it simply, Instagram is NOT real life, ladies – and Instagram makeup does not belong in the workplace unless you’re a model or work in a creative role in a creative field and office.

Is it Judgmental?

Listen – If Instagram makeup makes you feel amazing, rock it.

But there’s a time and place for everything – and most workplaces are neither the time nor place for that. It isn’t about doing something to please others – after all, I do believe makeup is for the wearer. Like it or not, though, coming into work with smoky, glittery cut-crease eyeshadow may send a message that you may not mean to send. Whether it is true or not – and I assume it is usually NOT true, but still. Coming to work with crazy glam Instagram makeup could be perceived by your superiors or colleagues as:

  1. I’m anxious to leave and get on to whatever activities this exciting makeup was really intended for
  2. I want you to look at me, not the work I produce
  3. I am demonstrating questionable judgment and therefore may display poor decision-making elsewhere

The Bottom Line

At work, nothing about your personal presentation or grooming should distract from your work.

Bold lipstick? Could be fair game, but know your office. Smoky glitter cut crease? Not really fine in most places – observe your superiors for guidance. Lacking female superiors? Not uncommon in my field – so look at seasoned employees for a guide.

Rule of thumb? If you have to ask, or if you wonder, “Is this too much?” it probably is. If Instagram makeup sounds like part of your daily work uniform and you aren’t wondering… start. Instagram != most offices.

1 thought on “Instagram Makeup in the Workplace”

  1. No way I’m doing that kinda makeup for work! Heck, I barely even put that much effort into makeup for outings lately.
    My office is very casual and I’m literally the only female who works there every day, so I don’t even wear my bold lipsticks to work anymore, like I used to for my previous retail ‘service-with-a-smile’ job. (I’d just feel kinda awkward doing so.)

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