Dressing for success is so much more than simply choosing an outfit that looks fresh, casual and yet professional. As I’ve come to learn from the Fashion for Business event created by Biz magazine last week, your professional image should not be underestimated, especially if you’re planning to advance in your career and achieve your goals.
The thought and care you put into your image as a career woman should not be limited to the outfits you choose for your business meetings, but should reflect in every aspect that ties together the whole ensemble. With what I gathered from the Business Makeup workshop sponsored by Avon and what other tricks I have for achieving a casual business makeup, manicure and hairstyle, you’ll have all the necessary tools for creating a professional office look every day.
A challenge many young women face nowadays is choosing a professional casual makeup, hairstyle and outfit that don’t overpower their look and let their skills and talent shine. When it comes to your place of work, less is more in terms of makeup. However, no makeup is as bad as too much makeup, as this reflects to your clients, investors and customers that your professional life casts a shadow over your personal one, that you don’t care too much about yourself to properly groom and take care of your image.
A woman’s professional appearance needs to support her professional accomplishments, which is why looking competent and confident is incredibly important. I for one, can’t imagine doing that without makeup and studies show that women who wear makeup at work are more likely to get promoted.
But before you get ahead of yourself and announce that you’re buying tonight, let me first give you some tips on how to achieve a professional, casual business makeup.
Business Makeup Tips
There are a few basic aspects to consider when doing you business makeup. I’ll try to present them as clearly as I possibly can:
Groom your eyebrows and prep your skin – as per usual, makeup looks much better when your skin is healthy and clear. Keep a skin care routine fitted to your needs, make appointments to see your cosmetician once a month and keep your eyebrows groomed and styled at all times.
Use professional makeup products – not only are these better for your skin, but they also wear better and help you maintain your look perfect for the entire day
Keep it simple – you have to be able to do your makeup each morning, before you go to work, in about 10-15 minutes.
Keep it natural – less is more when it comes to a business makeup, therefore try to emphasize your natural features rather than distract everyone you talk to with an accent feature.
Choose a color scheme that compliments your features – the best color options for an office makeup are not the color trends of each year, but rather a range of neutral tones and complimentary shades, that make your eyes and hair color stand out.
The best eye shadow shades are beige, champagne, golden rose, vanilla, taupe, brown, camel, peach, plum, gray, chocolate, cooper, bronze or charcoal. Here are a few color scheme popular shades for brown eyes, some eye makeup ideas for green eyes and some makeup tips for blue eyes
Choose warm tones for the office – the fluorescent lighting in most office buildings is cool (bluish white). Because this tends to bring out pallor in the skin tone, you need to use makeup to your advantage to counteract sallow undertones and brighten the complexion.
Thus, regardless of your skin tone, choose warm tones for your eye shadows – golden beige, vanilla, peach, plum, chocolate browns, rather than blue, gray, greens, pink or purple shades. This applies to both lipstick and blush, so choose carefully!
Carry blotting tissues for touch ups – after lunchtime, I recommend stripping your skin of excess oils by blotting some touch ups tissues rather than powdering and caking your face. You can find some at MAC, Sephora or MUFE.
Business Makeup Advice
The most important aspect of your office makeup should be a flawless complexion, that stays perfect all day, regardless of bad weather or hot days. With that in mind, my strongest advice for a business casual makeup is that you pay attention to your complexion.
By choosing a good foundation according to your skin type, that has a good formula and a mattyfing effect, you can cut down on touch ups between meetings or in the office elevators and focus on the task at hand.
Make sure you apply a face primer before your foundation, and always blend the later below your jaw line to make the transition invisible to the naked eye.
Next, get rid of the dark circles under your eyes, that make you look like you haven’t slept all week. These send out the message that you are too tired to focus on your job or that you don’t have an organized life. To avoid any misconceptions, please invest in a quality under-eye concealer. I narrowed down the best makeup concealers on the market that will help you camouflage dark circles in an instance.
If you have any skin issues at the moment, like blemishes or acne, you should try to conceal these spots as well. Stress and bad eating habits are contributing factors to these issues, so if you don’t want to look like you’re in over your head, get your hands on one of the 20 best makeup concealers out there, that cover acne, veins, scars or tattoos.
After your face is a perfect canvas, apply a sheer dusting of loose powder to set your makeup and make it last all day. Matte is always more appropriate for the office than a dewy complexion. A touch of peach toned blush and you already look more competent, fresh and ready for action.
Business Casual Makeup looks
It’s time for the eye makeup, and since you want your make-up to stand the test of time, start with a good base and apply an eye primer. There are a number of excellent products available that I can recommend, like NYX HD Eye shadow base, MAC PaintPot, Urban Decay Priming Potion, ELF Eye Shadow Primer or Too Faced Shadow Insurance are just a couple of my picks for eye shadows.
Before we move on to the eye makeup, don’t neglect your eyebrows. If you find yourself in a hurry and need to decide if you either do a complete eye makeup or just use some mascara and properly fill your eyebrows in, I’d choose the later.
It will take just a couple of minutes to fill your eyebrow shape with a powder, an eyebrow pencil or a brow gel, and if you find yourself in a rush, a touch of clear brown gel does the trick and keeps your eye brows tamed.
As I mentioned earlier, the best options for the eye makeup are matte eye shadows in neutral shades. You can choose some with a subtle shimmer to them, but don’t use glittery colors at the office. Best keep those for the weekend!
Apply a bright neutral beige or peach color on the entire lid to make your eyes wide awake. Pick either neutral shades or pale hues that are complimentary to your eye color. These make your features stand out, without overpowering your look.
You can apply only the base color and contour your eyelashes subtly for a quick and easy makeup look, or if you want to spend a bit more time getting ready, choose a medium shade that compliments your eye color.
My advice is to blend the colors you use in the crease and keep the focus on the lids. Blending outside this perimeter onto the brow bone might be a bit too much for the office, so keep it casual and think day-time look. Something too dark, too graphic or that resembles a Smoky Eye might be better for an evening look.
After you applied the base color and a medium color on the center of your lid, you can add a little definition to the eye area, by softly adding a crease color and blend it to the outer corner of the eye, close to the lash line.
Chocolate browns, grays, bronze or taupe are always more appropriate than black, a much too strong color for the office. If you need extra definition, line your eyes using a brown eye pencil or a gel eyeliner close to the lashes, just on the outer third of the eye. This won’t make it too strong, and will make your eyes look gorgeous.
Avoid dark Kohl liners on the inner rims of your eyes, as these tend to smudge throughout the day and make you look unprofessional. Try instead a beige concealer pencil, that you can apply on the inner rims and make your eyes stand out more. This will also counteract any redness in your eyes.
Before you apply mascara, give your lashes a good curl to make you look more wide awake. I don’t recommend a waterproof mascara on a daily use, however make sure you choose a high quality brand, that won’t smudge and give you panda eyes.
Office Makeup – business meeting pointers
With lip colors, you have a few more options to express yourself than with eye shadows. For your daily look, you can either go for a nude lip pencil and a gloss, that you can reapply during the day or choose a creamy lipstick in a dark pinkish nude hue. Neutral pinks and soft subtle corals are the best choices for your typical office day, however make sure that you go with something a little bit bolder at your next meeting.
A confident woman will always feel the need to stand out in a crowd, even if we’re talking about a professional environment. Rather than overpowering your eyes with dark or bright colors, try adding some color into your look on your lips.
A berry or brown red shade that matches your skin tone will give you a bit of that retro working girl vibe and keep your spirits up when you don’t feel particularly confident. These shades will also make your teeth look even whiter, on the plus side.
Make sure that you keep a set of retractable brushes and an “essential survivor makeup kit” in your purse at all times. This should include, but not be limited to a concealer, powder, blotting tissues, a few lipsticks and glosses for touch ups and whatever you think you’ll need to turn your makeup from an office-friendly zone into a party zone. Just in case you have to attend a party or an event after work and you don’t have enough time to drop by your house.
Hope you learned a few extra business makeup tips and that you feel confident and more competent in your skills. If you have any more questions or need product recommendations, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.