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Unfortunately we work in a world where appearances can lead to certain perceptions of our professionalism (undeserved or not). Fortunately, you can use this to your advantage and “work the system”.  Keep in mind that appropriate work makeup can vary widely from industry to industry, but here are some general guidelines for the average office environment:

Keep it simple. You certainly want to look polished, but don’t go overkill on the makeup either.
When in doubt, wear less. The girl that wears slightly too much makeup is seen as unprofessional (We know, it’s not fair!). The girl that wears less makeup is commonly perceived as hard working (Yep, you can certainly use this to your advantage!). It’s always best to err on the side of caution.
No glitter. Save it for your girls’ nights!
Look to female coworkers. How does a female boss or director at your company wear her makeup? Mirror that.
Think natural colors. Browns and a neutralish lipstick are always a safe bet. The more contemporary smoky eyes and colorful eyeshadows are too risky for the office.

Most importantly look at your environment for guidance. Are you at a buttoned up Fortune 500? Keep it minimal. At a creative agency? Have a little fun with colors. Male dominated field? Less is best if you want to be taken seriously. Beauty editor at a magazine? Pile it on, honey!

Unfortunately, some bosses just don’t understand that we can kick ass from 9-5 with smoky eyes. But once 5’o clock hits, we can pile on all the fun makeup we want!

These are some of my office makeup must-haves:
Neutrogena Skin Clearing Blemish Concealer – Cover my breakouts while healing them? Yes please!
Hard Candy LITE Bright Illuminating Concealer – Because my undereye circles hate me.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner – This is the ONLY eyeliner that will not budge all day!
CoverGirl Blush – Because it goes on so smooth. And it’s cheap 🙂
Maybelline Full N Soft Mascara – Makes my eyes look awake even when I’m not.

Here are some DOs and DONTs for office makeup:
work 1
Photo by Akos Simon. ‘Natural Makeup’. April 25, 2012. www.eccobella.com
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Photo by ?. ‘Makeup Tips for the Office’. September 13, 2012. salvarez36.wordpress.com
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Makeup Tips. Date (?) http://bronzedgirlsguide.com
Uneven/incorrect foundation – does not match or blend evenly into neck and chest.
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Poonam.’6 Common MakeUp Mistakes’. February 22, 2013. www.beautyandmakeupmatters.com
Beautiful color, too vibrant for work – this is best kept for going out.
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Renay Alize. ‘7 Common Makeup Mistakes You’ve Probably Made.’ September 5th, 2011. http://madamenoir.com
Pretty, but a tad too dramatic for work and the blush is obvious.Official Launch Of BritWeek 2012 - Inside
‘3 Blush Makeup Mistakes and how to Avoid Them.’ May 17th, 2013. http://fashionwithlove.com
Readers: What are your thoughts on blue eyeliner at at the office? Can it be done tastefully, or is it always a DONT? Share your thoughts!
Maria. ‘Don’t Throw Away Your Colored Eyeliner Pencils’. April 25, 2012. http://beautybooty411.com
LBWfashion. ‘Blue Eyeliner For Work?’. December 30, 2012. http://lbwfashion.com