Office dress codes are a funny thing to decipher—and dress for, let alone create a whole beauty routine around when getting ready in the morning. Yet despite the casual or corporate culture of the office environment, there’s one thing you can be sure of: “Most workplaces require their employees to look polished and groomed,” says Lucky Bromhead, Toronto-based celebrity makeup artist. “This translates in hair and makeup to mean that the focus should be on you, and not your makeup.”
We chatted with Bromhead and Maddox Lu, Benefit Cosmetics regional education manager for Eastern Canada, about their foolproof office beauty looks for every type of workplace—from the more laidback creative environments to conservative, corporate offices.
Office beauty: The creative type
You’re not afraid to try a bright red lip or perfectly winged liquid eye liner—by day. “If you work in a more creative space, having fun with your makeup and expressing your creativity through your appearance is more acceptable,” says Bromhead. “Try a lip colour that’s on trend or a bold eye liner or eye shadow colour.” This season go for a bold burgundy lip or the smoky eye.
Not sure if you can carry a smoldering smoky eye at the office? “Get a shadow palette with instructions and cheat sheets that offer a range of neutrals you can build,” offers Lu. “If you have the freedom to express yourself to all heights, then chances are you’re the type who would have bought the jet black shadow and bold red lipstick in the first place—with every intention to wear it.”
More office beauty looks — and ways to wear the smoky eye at work — on the next page..
Office beauty: Semi-casual environment
Check out how co-workers and clients present themselves to gauge the perfect balance in your office beauty look for a business-casual atmosphere. “Avoid being ‘too’ anything,” advises Bromhead. “Is your makeup too natural looking? Pump it up a bit. Is it too sexy? Tone it down, change some textures.”
Go for creamy eye shadow for a subtle, long-lasting look. “Creaseless Cream Shadows by Benefit are a unique take on the traditional concept of a creamy eye shadow,” says Lu. “They come in a decent range of skin-flattering neutrals suitable for day, and can take you into the night.” Of course, top off the look with the perfect mascara: “Whether you need some light focus and framing of your eyes or the show-stopping finishing touch to a smoky eye,” he says. “Or a little boost around your tired eyes for work.” And no matter the office environment, who doesn’t need that?
Office beauty: The corporate workplace
Although we love them, “Neon lips or cobalt blue winged eye liner may not be appropriate in a bank, or in a law office,” Bromhead advises. Put it this way: “You want your colleagues and clients to trust you and take you seriously and ‘statement makeup’ may not be the best way to go.” Go for a look that complements your features, without overpowering them.
“A simple, polished makeup is going to be better accepted in a more corporate environment,” she adds (best to skip the smoky eye here). And can be quickly applied during rushed mornings. “If you know what shades work and exactly where to place them, it shaves off a lot of time. I like to make sure my skin looks balanced and any imperfections covered, [wear] some mascara, a naturally flushed cheek and a lip tone that adds some life to my complexion.”
Keep a few beauty basics in your arsenal: “Everyone should always have a clear gloss to amp up their lip look, or to help hide dry or chapped lips for any given occasion,” says Lu. For a clean, flawless-looking complexion, look for a good foundation or tinted moisturizer (try Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 15). Finish off with a dusting of blush and coat of mascara for eye-opening results.
“Just remember, your ‘classics’ are also your ‘versatiles’. They should be enough to complete a basic look,” says Lu. “Everything outside of these is either accessories and trend items that you add to complement or further build on your look.” Want to stay on trend in a conservative environment? “Simply apply your more subdued variety of the trends,” he adds.
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