beauty

37 women share exactly what makeup (if any) they wear to work and why.

Question: how much makeup, if any, do you wear to work everyday? But more importantly, why do you think you wear it?

Sounds like a simple enough question, right? But when we asked 37 women to find out, turns out the answer is… it’s complicated.

Side note – a makeup artist explains exactly how to shape your eyebrows for groomed brows, every day. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

For some, wearing makeup to work is compulsory (or self-mandated). Others find a full face of foundation just gets in the way of doing their jobs. Then, there’s the women who use makeup as a tool to help them feel professional at work, who apply it everyday like a suit of armour.

And some of us just dig how we look without makeup more than we do with it.

If you’re curious to find out how other women do (or don’t do) their makeup for work, keep scrolling to see the glorious, unfiltered faces of 37 Aussie women and read about their work makeup routines. Their thoughts are bloody fascinating.

1. Georgia, Flight Attendant.

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Work makeup is a full face for me because I have to! I’m a flight attendant so we’re expected to wear a full face and touch up throughout the day which is pretty annoying. Therefore, I try and wear as little foundation as I can get away with, favour cream products and look for products that are good for your skin to keep my skin hydrated.

2. Rosie,  Civil Engineer.

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I would say makeup isn't an expectation in my role - I'm a civil engineer in a construction company and other women in the same role wear anywhere from no makeup to a full face, depending on preference. We also have to be on site at times, which makes makeup somewhat impractical. I find foundations and BB/CC creams too heavy and uncomfortable to wear for a 10-hour day so I wear a light layer of concealer where I experience redness or uneven skin tone and spot-conceal blemishes. I use powder on my face and to brighten my under eyes. Brows are a must and I often wear eyeshadow because I love eyeshadow!  And always mascara.

3. Laura, Disability Support Worker.

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This is my work face. I don’t wear makeup to work, other than a layer of a green colour correcting primer to reduce redness. The way I think about it is: why waste time with makeup when you can sleep?

4. Ashalee, in child care.

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I’m 33 and have worked in child care for 14 years. Not one of those days have I worn makeup. I cleanse my face every morning, follow up with a moisturiser and a reliable sunscreen since I’m outside a lot of the day and... that’s it, off to work I go! Sometimes I feel like I should wear makeup, especially when I have a breakout, but then I remember I don’t have to. Like, where does it state in my job description that I have to wear makeup and change how my face looks?

5. Kayla, in real estate.

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I work in real estate and I’m the only woman in the office who wears absolutely no makeup to work. A few years ago, I ran out of most of my makeup at the same time (the WORST) and a few makeup free days turned into every day. I loved how much easier my mornings were so never went back. I’ll occasionally wear makeup to my high-end home opens, but I’ve gained so much more confidence in my bare face.

6. Lavinia, Police Officer.

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I’m a police officer and I wear a full face every day. Foundation, concealer, translucent powder, contour and eyeliner. I have eyelash extensions as well. Of course, being in the role I am in, it’s in no way expected and the last thing that I should be concerned about BUT makeup makes me happy. It’s a hobby. I like trying and collecting, and like buying it! And with some of the stuff I have to see and deal with, I think I should be allowed to be excited every morning to put makeup on and at least feel good and confident.

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7. Rachael, in health promotion.

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I never wear it! I tried at my first job years ago for a few days, but then realised it felt like a waste for me. It was uncomfortable and took up extra time in the morning I could spend eating my breakfast. Also, my office was predominantly male and none of them had to wear makeup, so why should I have to try harder than them to look ‘presentable’? So, I didn’t bother and felt much better for it. In my current job, I work remote so I’m the only person in my office and it’s just not necessary for me right now.

8. Tanya, Stay-At-Home Mum.

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I'm a full time stay-at-home mum and like wearing makeup five days out of the week. Even if I have nowhere to be, the ritual of getting up, showering and doing my hair and makeup feels like it’s setting me up for the day, like I’m 'on' and ready. I enjoy the application process, and also, how my skin looks plays a huge role in my confidence for the day. I’d say I wear what I want, when I want, depending on the day. If I’m feeling particularly frumpy or mumzy, I can turn it around and go full Kardashian, or I might just do a 'your skin, but better' minimal amount. It all comes back to how I feel and doing it for me, not anybody else.

9. Ange, Counsellor.

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I do minimal makeup, only because my mornings are busy since having a baby two years ago. I used to do a full face of makeup. Now, I spend more time on skincare and beauty treatments. I wear CC cream, lip gloss and get a lash lift and my eyebrows shaped and coloured every four weeks. I definitely do feel like I need to be natural, but look polished.

10. Kahlia, Zookeeper.

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I’m a zookeeper so am working outside all day - it gets hot and sweaty! I wear minimal makeup, usually just sunscreen, BB cream, a brow product in between eyebrow tints and mascara.

11. Katie, HR Manager in the mining industry.

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I'm a HR Manager in the mining industry in high vis and steel claps every day, so a full face of makeup would look ridiculous! If I am going underground, I wear nothing as we come out covered in dirt. I use face fake tan drops so I at least have some colour! If I am working on the surface, I just wear a CC cream, translucent powder, a bit of bronzer and a tubular mascara.

12. Bec, Emergency Nurse.

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I wear a full face of makeup with all the trimmings because I enjoy it, and I wouldn’t be me without it. I’m an emergency nurse, so makeup is certainly not expected. I have dry skin, but for work, what works for me is super hydrating skincare, a hydrating foundation and then a matte setting powder.

13. Tamara, Building Surveyor.

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I’m a building surveyor and work in an extremely male-dominated industry. At first, I felt uncomfortable or judged wearing makeup or having my nails done etc. because I was worried the men would think I was just a dumb, pretty girl. After a few years, I don’t care anymore! I like wearing makeup and bold lipstick, and it makes me feel confident and powerful going into a meeting or on-site and telling them what needs to be done. I think they’ve learnt not to judge and I know what I’m talking about by now.

14. Eleanor, in the media industry.

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This is my standard work face. I do the same makeup basically every day and I've managed to get it down to a 10-minute routine. I wear a full-coverage foundation and concealer to make myself appear more awake than I actually am (essential for work), I will then do a translucent powder to not appear 'cakey' and then I'll finish it off with a bronzer. For the eyes, I like to keep it really simple because who has time for a cat eye in the morning? I'll also chuck on a statement lippy, which is my secret weapon to look like I put in more effort with my makeup than I actually did! I wear makeup, not because I feel like I need to, but just because I love to do makeup, so why not? It's definitely not expected from us at work, and there's certainly days where I just race to work with a bare face, and I feel totally fine doing that too.

15. Keisha, Freelance Writer.

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I'm a freelance writer, so I work from home, but when I have a big day of work ahead of me, I put on makeup, even to stay in the house! If I don't get dressed and put on makeup, I don't feel ready for the day. If I'm in PJs and no makeup, I don't feel productive. In order to feel that I'm 'at work' when I'm at home, I have to act as though I'm at work otherwise I procrastinate.

16. Fiona, in manufacturing.

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I’ve always been completely natural at work and prefer very minimal makeup. But as I have aged - I'm 54 - I feel the need to wear makeup every day. I keep it as natural-looking as possible, but my skin at 54 is not as flawless as it used to be, so I feel better covering it up.

17. Emily, Social Media Assistant.

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This is my usual everyday makeup, whether it's going to work or going out to dinner. I use a tinted moisturiser and sometimes wear mascara depending on the day. I don't like the feeling of makeup so if I know I'm just going to be at my desk all day, I won't bother putting any on. I do, however, feel much more confident when I wear it. For example, I curl my eyelashes everyday whether I'll wear mascara or not, otherwise I feel like I look like a camel (and they actually block my vision).

18. Amy, English Teacher.

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My standard makeup is a CC cream, concealer, loose powder, eyeliner, eyebrows and blush. If I’m feeling frisky, I add mascara and/or eyeshadow. I do it because it helps me get into the right mindset for the day.

19. Lesly, Fitness Instructor.

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I wear makeup to work but not a full face. Think: concealer, mineral foundation all over, a blush on my cheeks and eyelids, brush my eyebrows, mascara, highlighter, something on my lips and perfume. I enjoy wearing makeup because when I was little, I used to love watching my grandma do hers. Regardless of where she was going, even to the shop, she wanted to look her best. I’ve always looked up to her and the way she presented and carried herself. Makeup also makes me feel confident, a beautiful lipstick is so empowering! I work at the gym so makeup isn't expected. Some girls come into work with no make up at all, and others with full sets of lashes.

20. Tanya, Secondary School Teacher.

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I would never go to work makeup-free! In fact, I won't leave the house without makeup, and I still wear at least some light makeup even when I'm at home. I like feeling good within myself and I also like being ready for anything, from a sudden door knock to a last-minute invitation to head out for the day. Makeup makes me feel elegant and presentable, I feel lazy and like I don't care about myself if I don't make an effort to do something with my face, hair and outfit on a daily basis. I feel this shows respect for people I encounter: that I care enough to want to look nice. And I love the rituals of makeup and skincare, anyway, especially when I have time to play with new or different products. I don't purport to be high-maintenance, though. I pride myself on being able to create a full work beauty look in 15 mins.

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21. Ellen, PhD Student.

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I wear a non-tinted sunscreen to work and that is literally it. I'm a PhD student at a government lab and makeup feels a little unnecessary unless I have an important presentation to give, then I wear a little. I also just suck at makeup and don't have the skills/funds to do it well.

22. Julia, Hospitality Business Owner.

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I run my own cafe which requires very early starts, so my routine takes just under three minutes. I'm self-conscious about my skin so most days I wear a medium-coverage liquid foundation with light powder, some bronzer and lip balm just to look alive! I avoid eye makeup most days because I tend to either sweat or rub it off, so it ends up looking worse.

23. Carolyn, Sales Representative.

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I usually err on the side of ‘less is more’. I do use foundation, mascara, blush, bronzer and lip balm every day, and sometimes, I'll throw on a bit of eyeliner and eyeshadow. I am a sales rep, so I need makeup that doesn’t detract from what I’m selling!

24. Claire, in corporate marketing.

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I wear a full face every day. Foundation, concealer, very slight contouring, blush, eyebrows, eyes done in neutral tones, mascara, liner sometimes, and lips. I work in marketing in a corporate environment and I have to look presentable, but I could get away with a LOT less. I wear it because I always have throughout my whole career, whether needed or not, it’s just me. I should add I have terrible skin with acne scarring and pigmentation, so I like to cover all that.

25. Alana, Firefighter.

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I’m a firie and I used to wear a bit of concealer to cover pimples, but honestly, now I can’t be bothered. I sweat it off five minutes into my shift anyway! I do have eyelash extensions though, so they make me feel good. Some female firies wear makeup and some don’t, but I’ve never noticed/heard anyone care either.

26. Lily, Audience Development Manager.

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I only really know how to do my makeup one way but for work I try to do 'less is more'. I want to transition into not wearing any makeup with just some mascara, but at the moment, everyday I wear a light foundation. If I need it, I'll wear a little concealer under my eyes and then some bronzer. I always wear mascara as I have quite light eyelashes.

27. Josie, Dog Groomer.

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My first day working with dogs, fresh from working behind an Estee Lauder counter, I was in a full face of makeup. After my first dog in the bath, I was dripping wet and that was the end of my makeup to work days. Now, I wear almost nothing, maybe concealer and a lash lift, but mostly nothing.

28. Simone, in sales.

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My daily makeup stays pretty consistent, I like a very natural look which keeps me looking glowy and fresh. For days when I'm in the office, I'll go for no eye shadow and just lip balm, but when I have client meetings or special events, I love a bright and bold lip or some bronze eyeshadow! I almost never wear foundation, as I prefer to even out my skin with concealer where I need it. I have never felt pressured to wear makeup to work, however, we do need to look presentable and professional when we're at client meetings, and for me personally, I feel my best when I have a little bit of makeup on. Plus, I just enjoy doing my makeup so when I have extra time or something special on, I like to make a little more effort to feel great.

29. Jane, School Teacher in an all-girls school.

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I usually wear makeup every work day. I love getting dressed up and going to work because it’s my adult time while raising small children. Makeup also gives me my game face and makes me feel professional. I work in an all-girls school and we’re all about ‘you do you’ - me is makeup but I’m one of the few people at my work who does wear makeup, though. As long as you look neat, I think do as you please.

30. Ella, Online Course Manager.

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I like to wear makeup to work because it makes me feel good, but I only ever do a really basic look. I do come to work without makeup if I run out of time or feel like giving my skin a break. I don't feel like it's expected that I wear makeup, and a lot of people in my office don't wear makeup. So, I don't feel the need to wear makeup, but I choose to to make myself feel good!

31. Nellie, Prep Teacher and Pilates Instructor.

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I work two jobs - one as a prep teacher and the other as a Pilates instructor. I wear makeup to both because I love it. I love my morning routine of skincare followed by makeup. It makes me feel ready to take on whatever the day throws at me, confident and just darn good. Plus, nothing makes you feel more special like a five-year-old telling you you’re a beautiful princess. Or on the other hand, that you look a little funny on the day you haven’t made the usual amount of effort. My routine takes me literally one minute and the result is natural with a little more polish.

32. Alix, in Government.

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I work in government in a very specific role where I interview very vulnerable people daily. I love makeup and wear it everyday, including winged eyeliner, mascara, sunscreen, primer, foundation and blush. I also have my eyebrows tattooed. I’d love to do more with eyeshadows and lippy, but it always feels inappropriate to me with the work I do. For me, I don’t feel like myself without makeup, especially eyeliner and mascara. I really enjoy the time in the morning doing my makeup and getting ready while watching some trashy feel-good TV before my more difficult day begins.

33. Alicia, Medical Receptionist.

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I wear a full face but nothing too crazy - sunscreen, foundation, concealer, blush, highlight, brows, eyeshadow and mascara. I love doing my makeup each morning whilst listening to a podcast, I guess it’s my self care time and sets me up for the day. I definitely feel happier and more confident when I feel well put together. I used to save my spendy makeup for special occasions, but have come to realise there’s no time like the present. I work hard to buy the products I enjoy, so I might as well use them!

34. Alexandra, in the legal industry.

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I work in an office where there's an expectation to look professional, but no specific rules and we are expected to exercise our own judgement. Personally, I'm all or nothing - bare-faced one day and a full face including eyeshadows and a bright lipstick the next. I love makeup but don't feel like wearing it every day. I hate to think some people wear it because they have been told how they look naturally is somehow unprofessional, but it totally happens.

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35. Kimberly, in Federal Government.

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On a ‘normal’ work day, I do a full face of makeup with medium coverage. On a day when I have important meetings or I’m interstate, I’ll dial it up as I feel it makes me look more professional. Also, when I don’t wear makeup to work, people ask if I’m tired or sick... yeah. There is absolutely no requirement for me to wear makeup to work - we don’t even have a dress code - but it just makes me feel more finished and ready to face the day. I also find it shows people higher up that I’m serious about my job and possible promotions, it’s up there with having polished shoes. My industry is very male-dominated though, so it can be a fine line between looking professional and going too far, which makes you look like you couldn’t possibly know what you’re talking about. Yep, these biases still exist.

36. Lisa-Marie, in sales.

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My morning work routine consists of moisturiser and lip balm. I don't wear makeup to work because I'd rather use those additional minutes in bed. Lucky for me and my wallet, I also prefer the way I look without makeup. I feel fresh, and confident! I also never have to worry about running, smudging or reapplying. Win win.

37. Amy, Senior Lifestyle Writer.

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How much makeup I wear to work depends on what I'm doing that day. When I've got nothing on, I won't wear anything (but I always brush up my brows and chuck a tinted lip balm on). If I'm doing interviews or have events, I'll wear more/more creative makeup based on the event or person I'm speaking to. It also depends on my mood - when I feel like crap, I prefer not wearing anything because it can feel like a chore, but when I'm feeling good about myself, I enjoy taking the extra time to do it. I need to look presentable for work, but sometimes, I feel the pressure to always look amazing because I write about beauty.

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How much makeup (if any) do you wear to work, and why? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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