April, 2001
By Al Varela
Does it really matter?

Dear Al:  I need your help to settle a dispute. The girls in my office are divided between those who say makeup should be done a special way for work, and those who say the way their makeup is worn is not important and even unnecessary. What do you say?

The workplace has undergone vast changes and I have heard both sides of this argument for many years. At one time, women in the workplace were considered typists and coffee gophers and having the prettiest secretary was the man's trophy and their wives'dismay.

As women rose to higher levels of what had traditionally been a man's workplace, they tended to believe that in order to advance it was better to not show their feminine side. This led to women wearing little or no makeup and attire that was actually labeled as "mock man."

Today women have positions at all levels of the workforce that are considered to be equal to that of men. What is interesting is that women often are now competing with each other in the workplace rather than with men for advancement.

When women wear provocative clothing or too much makeup, other women consider them to be unprofessional and the women who don't wear enough makeup are criticized as being too concerned with climbing the corporate ladder.

Makeup should not be overdone in any situation and especially not in a professional environment unless your workplace happens to be on a stage. The makeup should have a natural look and the foundation should match the skin tone to even out any imperfections being sure to never leave a line of demarcation at the jawbone.

The eye shadow should be of a neutral shade that compliments your eye color finished with neutral colored eyeliner. Black, brown or gray is always a winner.

Blush should not be in the orange and pink tones, but rather have a hint of these two colors. And remember not to use your blush as a source of color for your face. The blush should only be used for a contouring effect and never brushed over the entire face.

The lipstick should be a color that not only enhances your lips but also complements your attire.

  • Pink and orange lipstick should always be avoided
  • Red can be used as a power color when wearing a deep blue or black suit.
  • Make sure the lip-liner is never a darker color than the lipstick.
  • Never use shimmer or a lip-gloss as it will always be distracting especially when speaking publicly.

If the girls still aren't convinced, consider an interesting statistic from Sherry Maysonave, author of "Casual Power", which reports that women who wear makeup earn 30 percent higher income than women who don't.

Back to Master Article Index