Office-Appropriate Face Paint

We all like looking our best, and there is no question about it – looking good makes us feel good. However, this can be a little difficult when it comes to wearing makeup to work. Some workplaces can be a little stricter than others, and a glittery cat eye would certainly turn heads (not in the good way). Nevertheless, here are a few tips to help you keep your work makeup appropriate and bang on trend.


  • Nude, earthy eyeshadows

Try to keep your eye makeup fairly light. Nude, earthy tones would be best for an office environment when it comes to eyeshadow. Avoid bright colours like blues, greens, yellows or pinks. Try to stay within your mobile lid, smoky eye looks can be a little overwhelming on the eye and may start to lose their staying power later on in the day.

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I think it’s safe to say that I’m obsessed with this palette. And its brethren, the Naked 2 and Naked 3 palettes. The Naked Palette by Urban Decay. Image source:



  • Keep it matte or if you must, a light shimmer.

This brings me on to the glitter debate. In a nutshell – leave the glitter for after work and holiday parties. Matte is your best friend now.  Add a touch of shimmer to your inner corners or just under your brow bone if you need that extra brightness for Monday mornings.

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Forever Eye Shadow Matte Crayons by Gosh. Image source:
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e.l.f. Studio Best Friend Eyeshadow Duo in “Tea for Two”. Image source:
  • Dark, minimal eyeliner

A black or brown eyeliner is perfect (opt for brown or taupe if you have a paler complexion). If you must wear a coloured liner, keep the colour dark and keep the application tidy. For example, a dark purple or olive-green eyeliner applied very close to the lash line would be ideal, rather than a shimmery cobalt blue smudged all over the lid.

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NYX Coloured Felt Tip Liner in Teal. Image source:
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KIKO Milano Intense Colour Long Lasting Eyeliner. Image source:



  • Invest in a good quality mascara.

More often than not, I tend to only wear mascara and the smallest amount of eyeliner if I am running late. Mascara really is one of those products that instantly pull your whole look together, and it is worth investing in a high quality product. Try to find one that uses a wand with natural bristles, rather than plastic bristles or plastic combs – I find that these mascara wands are more flexible and therefore suitable for any lash length/type, as well as removing clumps more effectively. Choose finely spaced bristles to coat every lash whilst separating them, rather than adding more black goop to the mess. This saves you time trying to fix those dreaded black streaks that run down the sides of your nose.

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Définicils High Definition Mascara by Lancôme. Image source:



  • Nude lip colours

The closer to your natural lip colour, the better. Nude lipsticks are a win for the office. If your workplace culture is a little more liberal, feel free to wear a darker colour. Colours that lean towards the brown end of the spectrum are usually more wearable. Make sure you keep it tidy – stains on teeth and clothes are far from ideal in any working environment.

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Estée Lauder Pure Colour Long Lasting Lipstick in Pinkberry – Creme. Image source:


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This one is a personal favourite. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Mink. Image source:
  • Matte and satin lipsticks

In terms of the texture, matte and satin finishes keep you looking sophisticated and put together. Similarly, avoid glitter and overtly glossy lips – besides looking half your age, you also run the risk of leaving a stain on every mug/glass you drink from.

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e.l.f Studio Satin Lipstick in Touch of Nude. Image source:


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NYX Lip Lingerie in Push-Up. Image source:
  • Lip crayons and tinted lip balms

If you are worried about having to constantly re-touch your lipstick or coping with the dryness of matte lip products, chubby lip crayons and tinted lip balms were made for you. They provide a gentle wash of colour that you can apply easily without a mirror, and provide excellent hydration for your lips. On the plus side, most of them taste wonderful too.

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No. 7 High Shine Lip Crayon in Daydreamer. Image source:
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Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus. Image source:


  • Make sure your foundation matches your skin tone.

This might be stating the obvious, but the “mismatched face and neck/body” look is far too common. Avoid going a shade darker with your foundation for the sake of looking more tanned – it hardly ever works out well. Unless the rest of you is considerably more tanned than your face. Even so, do this with a matte bronzer – it gives you a much more buildable, natural glow and adds dimension to your features.

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NYX Matte Bronzer in Deep Cool Brown. Image source:
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This is what the perfect foundation looks like. No more throwing out bottles of foundation because they’re not quite our colour. The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops. Image source:
  • Contour gently.

Make sure your contouring colours are suited to your skin tone – it is far better to build a lighter colour gradually than to opt for a darker colour and have to blend it out vigorously. Tread lightly with the highlighter – a good trick is to lightly dab it over the tops of your cheekbones with three fingers in a “finger drumming” motion, rather than straight from a strobing stick or with a brush. Dust off the excess with your clean finger or the back of your hand. When you’re done, blend thoroughly with a kabuki brush to get rid of sharp edges and lines.

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Maybelline Master Strobing Stick Highlighter. Image source:
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e.l.f Studio Contour Palette in Light/Medium. Image source:
  • Keep your skin healthy and moisturised.

Carry a gentle moisturiser with you in your bag, especially if your skin is prone to dryness and flaking. For oilier skin types, carry blotting sheets and a toner with you, and remove excess oil throughout the day. Avoid re-applying face powder frequently to mattify the skin during the day – this can lead to clogged pores and breakouts, especially if you are using a dirty brush or sponge. Leave the pressed powder at home for your morning makeup routine only.

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Another personal favourite. Simple Spotless Skin Anti-Blemish Moisturiser. Image source:
  • Conceal all visible spots

If you have a spot, do your best to cover it up.  Green colour-correcting concealers are great for neutralising the redness of larger spots. Apply a layer of your regular concealer on top of this, and foundation if necessary. Dust some setting powder over the area for better staying power. Trust me, you’ll want to hide that spot as well as you can. There’s nothing quite like walking into a client meeting knowing that you have an angry bloomer on your face that’s threatening to burst at any moment.

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Maybelline New York Master Camo Colour Correcting Concealer Kit in Light. Image source:

I hope this has made your Monday morning rush a little easier, and let me know in the comments if you have any favourite go-to products that work particularly well for you and why (any excuse for me to go makeup shopping, you know). You go girl.

– J

P.S – An edited version of this post was also published on, a fashion and beauty website that I currently write for.

3 Comments on “Office-Appropriate Face Paint”

  1. I know this is fast becoming the mutual appreciation society conference between us but I again agree with and just love all of your suggestions here. You’re spot on with everything

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