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The sweet spot

  • Published at 12:46 pm August 21st, 2016
The sweet spot

As if we really needed another reason to divide us, make-up has managed to stir up a lot of feathers. There’s the whole camp of people who would probably snort Sephora in powdered form if they could, and can’t imagine stepping outside their homes, nay, their bathrooms without their full mask on. Then there’s the other camp (actually two camps with completely different ideologies, but more on that later) who would probably list make-up as some sort of crime against humanity.

Hyperbole aside, does the amount of makeup you wear have any effect on your career? Actually, yes it does. Done right, it can enhance your natural features, make you look more polished, give you a boost of confidence and that can affect your attitude and performance. And numerous studies have shown that image plays a big role in whether you get raises or promotions. If you completely skip the paints, you might actually hurt your chances at getting ahead.

On the flip side, it’s so easy to go overboard. If your face paint could stop bullets, or your bag is falling off your shoulders because of all the makeup you’re carrying inside it, you might need a make up intervention. So how do you arrive at the sweet spot?

5 signs you’re wearing too much make-up

You have obvious contour lines Oh, sweet sister. We all want those chiselled jawlines and cheekbones that could cut glass, but the Maleficent look is just not appropriate for the office. If you can take all that effort with your bronzers and highlighters every single morning, you can totally take a few more minutes to buff and blend. Or, you know, save at least a quarter of an hour by skipping the extreme contouring altogether.

The fix: Try a little strobing instead of going nuts with the contouring. Choose highlighters without too much shimmer, because a face full of fairy dust isn’t work-appropriate unless you work in Santa’s factory.

Your clothes are wearing your make-up Are the necklines of your tops always caked in foundation and powder? Are you on a first-name basis with your local laundry? Are you spending more on detergent? You need to slow down there. Unless you work in television, and sometimes even then, what you should be aiming for is a little coverage, not a full face armour.

The fix: Prevention is the best cure, so make sure you start your routine with primer, set with a make-up setting spray, and carry some blotting sheets and baby wipes in your bag. If a boo-boo does occur, use shaving foam to remove the stains before you toss the injured garment in the wash.

[caption id="attachment_11638" align="aligncenter" width="900"]DELHI INDIA - MARCH 20: Tourist with students of Jawaharlal Nehru University celebrate festival Holi on March 20 2011 in Delhi India. Holi is a spring festival celebrated as a festival of colors. DELHI INDIA - MARCH 20: Tourist with students of Jawaharlal Nehru University celebrate festival Holi on March 20 2011 in Delhi India. Holi is a spring festival celebrated as a festival of colors.[/caption]

Your cellphone needs windshield wipers Cellphones spend a lot of time squished up next to your face, so if your phone screen looks myopic right after you end a call, it’s a sign you have too much product on your face. Not only will the cloudy phone turn off anyone sitting next to you at the meeting table, the face oils deposited along with the makeup residue on the phone screen are an active breeding ground for germs, so the next time you have to make a call, you’re setting up an appointment for your next breakout.

The fix: Aside from going easy on the make up, it’s always a good idea to angle the phone away from your face when you’re talking anyway. If you have gotten gunk on your phone, squeeze a teensy amount of hand sanitiser onto toilet paper and genty scrub it off the screen. Follow up with a gentle rubdown with a clean microfiber cloth.

Your face and neck are two different colours So you’re sporting the “natural” look, right? Raaaaight. Pull the other one on. Not only is this a quintessential make-up faux pas anywhere, it kind of makes you look extra clownish under the harsh white office lights.

The fix: Even if you’re not wearing that much makeup, it can still look weird if you applied it on only your face, so do dust some on to your neck and throat when you’re applying it. Also, be sure to check your makeup under natural lighting before you head out to work.


You keep touching up your makeup throughout the day Even if your boss is chill with you sporting a full face out of a need for “self-expression,” they will mind if all the time you spend touching up cuts into your productivity. If you happen to work at a place where the men outnumber the women (which is most places), you can be sure that they will paint you as “high maintenance” or question your intelligence when it comes to jockeying for a promotion.

The fix: Repeat after me: primer and setting spray. Apply the first when you’re starting your beauty routine, and the latter when you’ve finished it. Do this before you head out for work, and then rely on nothing more than blotting paper throughout the rest of the day, and only a swipe of lipstick and a little powder ahead of a big presentation, and you’ll be just fine.


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