It’s hard enough to know what to wear to work (what the heck is “office casual” anyway?), so daytime makeup can seem like a total mystery. As a result, a lot of us go makeup-free or wear so little it’s barely there. In reality, you don’t have to be bare-faced in the boardroom, your cubicle or anywhere else you work. We asked a few professionals for their office makeup no-nos and then had experts tell us how to modify this for 9 to 5.
Too bold: Heavily made up eyes
Office appropriate: “You canwear fun, eclectic colors at the office without being distracting,” explains celebrity makeup artist Andrea Fairweather, whose clients include Diane Sawyer, Gayle King and Vanessa Hudgens. “Choose a navy eyeshadow rather than an electric blue and wear it as a smoky eye with a soft lip color.” Another option from Kristina Vogel, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Bath Bar: “Use a little soft charcoal or brown liner in the lash line (not black) and then lightly dust a little champagne shimmer (but not glitter) over the lid.” Finish this up by curling your lashes and applying a touch of black mascara. “This is soft and neutral while still giving you a polished look,” explains Vogel.
Too bold: Bright lipstick
Office appropriate: Instead of swiping on layers of lipstick, give your pucker a stain of color. “I love to use the Tarte LipSurgence lip tint pencils,” says Vogel. Apply this or another creamy, crayon-like lip pencil directly to your lips and then take you finger and smooth it out so it "looks more like a lip stain than bold color,” explains Vogel. If you want your mouth to have more oomph, you can wear bold lip color, just do so with neutral eye makeup. “Otherwise the looks compete and become distracting,” explains Fairweather. “When wearing bold lip color, try any shade of brown or charcoal eye shadow and simply go a bit lighter on the mascara application,” she suggests.
Too bold: Sparkle and glitter
Office appropriate: “I love sparkly eye shadow, but the office is not appropriate for that type of makeup,” says Fairweather. However, you can add a touch of sparkle by putting shimmer in the inner corner of the eye to open it up. “You can also take it one step further by wearing a swoosh of the same color on your lower lid and pairing it with a clean thin cat eye on the upper lash line. Finish the look with mascara and skip liner on the bottom lid,” says Fairweather.
Too bold: Bright, obvious blush
Office appropriate: Streaks of blush or bright color probably won’t work in a professional environment. “But you can still get a very natural, pretty glow,” says Vogel. “Apply a cream brush (like Stila Convertible Color) to your cheekbones and the apples of your cheeks with your finger.” Another option to look flushed but not flagrant: first dip your brush into your blush and then very lightly dip it into a luminous, loose face powder. “Lightly” is the key word here since Fairweather cautions that a little shimmer goes a long way. “Gently tap the brush and then apply it to the top of your cheekbones to give a soft, dewy shimmer and a subtle pop of color,” suggests Fairweather.
What's your favorite office makeup look?