How Outrageous Do People Get With Their Makeup at Your Workplace?

Published in: Just For Fun

karen and tabs 4

Luckily, the dress code here at Tabs the Cat Industries, LLC allows for a certain degree of creative flexibility (on pre-approved days, of course). My boss barely bats an eye when I show up to work wearing false lashes and a cray-cray cut crease. In fact, he’s more apt to reprimand me for not taking chances enough with my makeup looks, and I think he’s gotten tired of seeing me with neutral eyes, cheeks and lips.


Sorry, sir, but I’ve been in a makeup rut. 🙁 I’m just waiting for it to run its course. Hopefully fall inspires me to attempt some more interesting looks.

In the years prior to working for Tabs, I worked in a lot of different office environments, some with very casual dress codes and others with a more conservative corporate atmosphere.

The last one was a small literary agency where the dress code was super casual (so casual that it was nonexistent, really). My boss was kind of a hippy-dippy, very natural chick whose idea of outrageous makeup was lip balm. At that office, I was definitely the outrageous one, and I went buck wild! Sometimes I’d show up with colorful blue eyeshadow for no better reason than, “Why not? It’s Tuesday!!”

Before that, I worked in a few law offices that were decidedly NOT outrageous when it came to makeup. Generally, the women wore very little to none, and if they did wear any, it was no-makeup makeup.

At one of the firms, there was one girl who occasionally rocked ’90s dark brown goth lips (and she WORKED ’em) a few cubicles down from me, but she was pushing the corporate envelope of outrageousness for that office!

Makeup-wise, those years were really, really boring for me. What I wouldn’t have given to see one of my co-workers come to work wearing a rainbow eye and sparkly purple lips. It would have made my day… Heck, my year!

How about you? How outrageous do people get with their makeup at your workplace?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Jessica says:

    I work a corporate job but it’s pretty laid back. Basically, I can do anything I want as long as I am decently covered.

    Makeup….I’m the one who does the colors, no one else really does, but I get a lot of compliments…so it must be ok…I love my eyeshadows, true, but I don’t think I would be considered “heavily made-up”. I’m lazy; I have my limits. I quit after eyeshadow, liner, and mascara. 🙂
    Jessica recently posted … Ghost Days (PRT)

  2. Char says:

    I’ve worked at companies that are on both ends of the spectrum, most recently I worked in an Accident & Emergency department so make up was pretty non existent there between the girls, not because we weren’t allowed to wear it, mostly because you’d find it had sweated off before the end of the shift!
    On the other end of the spectrum I worked in an Insurance call centre years ago and the dress code was express yourself! I had turquoise hair for quite a while whilst I worked there and went pretty crazy with glitter eye looks!

  3. Tulipthecat says:

    I work in biotech. In the lab you would never see anyone with makeup on. Maybe a bit of eyeliner and mascara. In manufacturing or any GMP regulated area no make-up was allowed. Now I work in an office and the dress code is pretty casual. I would say the majority of people in my group do not wear make up especially lipstick. I would say I wear the brightest lipstick in the group.

  4. Jessica says:

    ok, you are in a makeup rut; I will share with you my current personal trend.

    kat von D came out with those new metallics. I went to check out the red but it wasn’t very red- disappointing- HOWEVER the white-gold one is AMAZING. Thunderstruck.

    It goes well with any color. Pull out UD Electric and the Vices… use a dark neutral in the outer corner, pop a bright color right next to that (today is Dragon from Vice 3), then use Thunderstruck next to that, and fade to a skin-colored neutral for the inner corner. line and mascara and you are done.

    Yesterday I did this look with UD Sonic, and last week I did it with the bright blue from Electric. The color pops, but is not garish at all.
    Jessica recently posted … Ghost Days (PRT)

    • Rachel R. says:

      I saw a someone on YouTube (I think Shaaanxo, but I’m not positive) use that white-gold shadow as a highlighter on her face and it was STUNNING. Gotta love double-duty products.

  5. Erin says:

    I work alone currently and often with men in my professional life. When I worked at Nike, every day was like a fashion show to people in PJ’s. You never know who was going to wear what or what crazy makeup or hair was going to happen.
    Erin recently posted … Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.14: ​​What’s the inspiration behind your blog name? How did you come up with it?

  6. Cherie says:

    Booo…I work in the legal/tech industry so things tend to be on the conservative side, though once I saw girl with Amy Winehouse-type makeup and I loved it. I try not to look like a stiff all the time so I try to expand my wardrobe and play with my look a little bit…I usually have women asking me about my makeup stash….

  7. Kwmechelle says:

    So, I no longer work but my last job was corporate. And in DC. So that should give you an idea of how “adventurous” it was. I’m a neutral eyeshadow kinda gal; though my eyes always have a smoked out edge to them. I LOVE bold lips & fun blush colors. And with my most recent foray into highlighter, thanks to you, it’s only upped the ante for me. My two jobs before that were hella casual. That drove me crazy on one hand but on the other hand, I had SO much fun with my hair. Now that I no longer work, I go beyond the proverbial envelope- MAC Royal, Viva Glam Rihinna 2, NYX Orange- stay in rotation in my stash. NARS Exhibit A & Taj Mahal also get some love. Love having no rules to abide by & the ability to express myself creatively. Glad Tabs is “somewhat” understanding. Hopefully, he understands that it’s part of your job to give the people what they wanna see. But, shhh! Don’t tell him I said that 🙂

  8. Ruta says:

    Ours is an interesting enough office I suppose, we’re finance and foundation and mascara are seen all over the place to look put together but eyeshadow and lipstick are rarely seen (I suppose it’s viewed too dressy) so I’m a bit of a sore thumb I suppose as I tend to skip face make up (with possible exception of concealer) and go for mascara and lipstick.
    We work stupidly long hours so you’re always wrecked and not exactly in the mood to with a full routine, plus my skin behaves better when I go easy on foundation days 😀

  9. Lauren says:

    I feel I’ve been away from here so long! I just had to leave my career for an overseas move for the hub, but at my work as a nurse, I was probably the most adventurous by wearing more than just mascara! It was boring…Noone to share my passion with!

  10. I keep things pretty neutral at work and still am one of the more adventurous make-up wearers. I guess that is the price of working with men mostly…
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … BISC Vol 14 – On choosing a blogname

  11. Lulle says:

    Being a full-time kitty personal assistant right meow, there’s no dress/makeup code for me. I worked in a variety of places but makeup was pretty light everywhere. With one exception: I worked in a big call-center with multiple customer support lines for companies as varied as banks, phone networks, tech manufacturers and one skincare brand. The girls at the skincare customer service helpdesk were cray cray with their makeup, they had rhinestones on their faces and neon glitter all over. It was fun!
    Lulle recently posted … Throwaways: the big fail edition

  12. Sarah says:

    I work for myself as an acupuncturist and herbalist so I can pretty much do what I want. However I try to keep in mind that I’m in the medical profession and that new patients could be turned off by glitter etc…

    But on days where all booked patients are repeat, old clients, I tend to wear a brighter lip etc…(and wear my favorite jeans which have holes in them 😉 )

  13. ame says:

    I am the only adventurous one in any sort of fashion/beauty manner. And I would not call myself adventurous. I just pile it on the eyes and might wear a lot of color in my outfit. There aren’t a lot of women in this office really anyway.

    I came from the art/ad world though, and there were occasionally a few that went WAY out there.

  14. LipjunkieNL says:

    Fortunately at my office, it’s really laidback :). You can wear pretty much whatever make-up (or clothes for that matter) you wanna wear. I was the one wearing the bold lipsticks (dark purple, red, dark brown, hot pink, bright orange or whatever) and they were really relaxed about it :). Most of the women didn’t really wear a lot of make-up. I can only pinpoint five other co-workers who’d wear make-up on a regular basis (in a office consisting of 40 people).

  15. megan says:

    I’m in the Air Force so because of that makeup is pretty subdued. I don’t wear a lot at work because my hours are strange, but most women keep it to a minimum. Though I have seen a few that had a heavy hand with their foundation and bronzer/blush!

  16. Chelsea says:

    Most people at my relatively casual corporate job do minimal or natural makeup. There’s one or two who wear noticeable lipstick, but with undone eyes. I wear low key makeup, but sometimes a cat eye, which is a bit wild, comparatively speaking.

    I’ve also worked in academia, where makeup is minimal, but no one really gives a crap about your makeup if it’s a bit wild, especially since I worked with a creativity researcher.

  17. Becca says:

    Well I work at a coal mine so a little coal dust might be considered eye shadow….the nice thing is that i can wear just about anything. The women in the office dress up and wear make up but for the women in the field, it’s just not practical. My idea of being made up is just smelling good. Lol. Someday i may surprise everyone and rock a dress with my steel-toed boots. 😜

  18. Holly says:

    The best thing about being a caterer/nanny is that I can wear what I want! When I worked as support staff for a medical clinic in the early 2000s, I coordinated my eye makeup to the dominant color in the outfit I was wearing that day. I’m not so matchy-matchy now! And I totally got a compliment today at the local coffee shop on today’s look–taupe & chocolatey shadows with espresso eyeliner & dark brown mascara, a plummier blush, & berry-stained lips. It maybe in the 70s still but I’m transitioning to my fall colors! 😀

  19. Kelly B. says:

    I’m definitely out of place in my office with my bright dresses, French-inspired hairdo, and bright pink lipstick 😀 But I love it, it really allows me to express my personality and bring some fun to the work day!
    Kelly B. recently posted … Best Lip Products for Bright Lips

  20. Shelby says:

    I wore bright pink from the Urban Decay Electric palette last Valentine’s Day and the optometrist I work for loved it! Most of the time it’s pretty low-key because we’re around patients, but my bosses are fantastic and let us go a little cray every once in a while.

  21. Rachel R. says:

    I currently work from home, so I can get as outrageous as I want. I love color and dramatic looks, so I indulge.

    My prior job was as a claims specialist for a class action lawsuit administrator. We didn’t deal directly with the public, so we could wear whatever we wanted, unless a client and/or corporate was visiting. Even then, it wasn’t super-conservative. Some people did full-on face contouring and sculpted brows, and a few were more alternative, there were a couple goths.

  22. aeris says:

    When I worked as a high school teacher, I tried to keep it quite simple. if not, my makeup would have been the students main talking subject for the whole lessons! 😉

    Now I work as a secretary and I really can do whatever I want! The only rule for clothes and look in general is to keep it decent.

    I think my boss wouldn’t notice if I came to work with bunny ears so… 😉

    Though, I’m the only one in my departement to wear more than two eyeshadows at once and lipstick everyday! So my makeup is often a discussion subject at the coffee machine! “Wow, how did you do that?, Where did you buy it?…”

  23. I’m working from home at the moment, so it’s casual Friday every day! Even my past work environments were pretty casual and relaxed, though. At my last job, I would wear dark plum lipstick or orange eyeshadow and nobody would mind. There was a girl that used to sport red lips every day and another one that loved rocking heavy eyeliner. It definitely wasn’t a conservative office.
    Carol in a Page recently posted … Micellar Waters: BIODERMA Sébium H2O vs. Sensibio H2O

  24. Anita says:

    I work I a creative job and the dress code is casual. Most women I work with wear no or very little /natural makeup. There is one who does wear full makeup with bright lipstick, obvious contouring etc (she’s in her early 20s, I am mid 30s).

    Most days i wear full makeup but nothing too bright or smokey, just a neutral eye with a bit of colour pick-me-ip on the lips or cheeks.

  25. Kim says:

    Anything goes here but we don’t really have adventurous makeup people, myself included. We’re in a pretty rural, conservative area so any wild makeup would get looks (work or not). We’re more apt to see cutting edge hair cuts/color from our neighbors to the north.

  26. Michele DiCola says:

    This is an interesting question !
    I went back to my original makeup from high school!
    ” The Browns ” !
    Total brown eyeliner , eyeshadow , black mascara. Glossy pink lips .
    It’s all about speed.
    Cream to powder makeup : cover girl .
    I can do this all in 10 minutes & at best do mascara at work !
    Have a great day !

  27. Fancie says:

    Although I work in a cosmetics department, my coworkers don’t really do too much makeup wise. They all seem to prefer the natural look with a few gals here and there that like to add a pop of color on the eyes and lips. You’d think ladies would be a little more adventurous with makeup working in cosmetics but they’re all a little older (50s+) so I get it. Me on the other hand? Gimme the bright blue eyeliner and purple gloss please! I need some kind of color and edge somewhere lol
    Fancie recently posted … My Bobbi Brown Telluride Cheek Picks

  28. Bella says:

    ” Generally, the women wore very little to none, and if they did wear any, it was no-makeup makeup.”

    This sums it up for me in my field always. I never wear bold eyes, but I do like to rock a bold berry or plum lip in the winter.

  29. Alison M says:

    I am super fortunate that when my boss and I left the legal field for a new venture, he said, “Go ahead and make it interesting!” I don’t fear reds, plums, or even hot pinks and have sported OCC Technopagan to the office 😀
    Alison M recently posted … Becca Mineral Blush in Lantana and Hyacinth

  30. Katie says:

    I work in finance at an investment firm so things are pretty conservative. I tend to stick to neutral eyeshadows (sometimes a subtle smoky eye) and a lipstick or gloss that is close to my natural lip color.

  31. Liz says:

    I am a care provider for a group home, so I basically work from a home setting & not an office environment. Thankfully my occasional smokey eye doesn’t get any problems.

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