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Ask Allie: When is it Time to Wear Makeup?

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When should one wear makeup? I’m not looking for an “it’s your prerogative, no woman needs to wear makeup” answer, I want an honest answer from someone in the professional arena. I have great skin, teeth, and get my brows groomed, but the only time I wear makeup is when I am in a friend’s wedding or when I went to Prom. I work at a job where they don’t care if I wear makeup or not, but I wish to move up the corporate ladder, take on more clients, and am wondering if makeup may improve my standing or make me look more professional.

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I know I will get flack for this, but I am glad you asked this because I do think proper application of makeup provides a professional edge. No one is going to tell you that you need to wear makeup. Your boss won’t tell you, your coworkers won’t tell you, your friends won’t tell you. Because honestly… no person needs makeup to be a successful professional. However, if you feel you’re being passed up for opportunities, treated as though you’re in a more junior position than you have, surprise coworkers with your age (“I thought you were so much younger!”), or notice that the successful folk in the firm and in your field step it up a bit more with their professional appearance, it’s likely time to add makeup to your professional look.

This doesn’t mean you need to go full-on glam. An overly done face is actually less professional than no makeup. One just needs a bit of something to have your face as polished as your professional ensemble.  Maybe a dab of concealer to tone down redness and dark circles, a light touch of blush or lipstick to help you look more awake, possibly some powder to fill in uneven brows or mascara to darken fair lashes. Just something to finish your look, like a perfectly tailored suit. Start small, with a bit of liquid concealer dabbed here or there or a mascara like Maybelline Great Lash (the famous green and pink tube) that darkens but doesn’t add a lot of volume (or clumps). See what you think, and see what reaction you receive. If you do it well, you won’t receive a compliment on your makeup, but people may say you look rested or happy, or may compliment you on an outfit you have worn a dozen times prior.

Several years ago I wrote a post titled, “Fashion is Stupid” where I used a coworker as an example of why how you look in the workplace does matter. And I still receive comments on that post saying I am a superficial jerk. But I do work in Corporate America, and have for a while for a variety of companies and fields. And in this time I have seen that a polished, professional and confident appearance will get you further than a really impressive looking business card or fancy website for your resume.

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