Hey Lovelies! It's Friday, and as the work week closes for most of you, I figured I'd give another Career Style post to close the week out. I did some searching online and found a few forums and groups with women discussing work wardrobe topics. One of the topics that came up a few times centered around working for a company with written and implied dress standard some people felt they could not afford to meet. First, I am going to tackle the subject of makeup. I will follow up later in the month with piece for finding affordable clothing. Right now, I want to get into the makeup portion of things.
Yes, A Business Casual or Dressier Dress Code Requires Makeup
You might be hard pressed to see "women must wear makeup" as a requirement. However, it is an implied one. Makeup is part of the professional look women are expected to maintain on certain jobs. I have read stories of women who were told not to attend meetings, were looked over for positions they were qualified for, even not being included in projects just because they did not wear makeup to work. Sounds unfair. It even sounds illegal but employers have gotten away with this for decades. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be changing anytime soon.
For Some, Even Drugstore Makeup Is Too Expensive
There are so many articles and videos showing how to create makeup looks that involve drugstore makeup. That is great because everyone can't afford to spend $20 on lipstick or $45 on foundation. Unfortunately, there are some working Americans who can't afford to spend $10 or more on foundation or $6 on lipstick. So it can be tricky for some to wear makeup to work to present a more professional image. There are some places to purchase makeup when you really only have a few dollars to work with.
Hit Up Your Local Dollar Stores
Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and other dollar stores sell makeup. The only place to truly get makeup products for a buck each is Dollar Tree. Other stores will have them between one and six dollars with a few higher priced exceptions. The makeup selection at these stores will be sketchy. You might not find what you are looking for when it comes to certain makeup products. Foundation and face powders will be the hardest items to come by in a shade that matches your skin tone.
If You Have $30 and Internet Access
If you can work out a $30 allowance for makeup, then your best bet is e.l.f cosmetics. With $30, you can purchase the minimum essentials to put forth what some call an "everyday beat" face for work. Plus, you will have free shipping for purchases $25 and over. If you can squeeze out this much for makeup pay attention to what is advertised on the site’s homepage. They often have “free gift with purchase” offers. These treats are often makeup sets with around five or more products in them. So take advantage of those. I suggest keeping your purchase total between $25 and $27 so you have enough to cover your state's sale tax.
The minimum essentials for an everyday beat include primer, foundation, finishing powder, lipstick, eyeshadow palette, mascara, blush, and a face brush. I included a tool in here because it will be easier to apply your face powder with a brush. Here is my shopping list consisting of the minimum essentials:
- Poreless Face Primer -- $6.00
- Flawless Finish Foundation -- $6.00
- Prime & Stay Finishing Powder -- $2.00
- Long-Wear Lipliner Pencil in Bitter -- $1.00
- Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Cherry Tart (universal shade) -- $1.00
- Flawless Eyeshadow in Beautiful Browns (universal shades) -- $2.00
- 3-in-1-Mascara -- $3.00
- Blush with Brush -- $2.00
- Total Face Brush -- $2.00
Merchandise total is $25.00, tax is $1.50, and shipping is free. My grand total is $26.50.
What to Do If You Only Have Less than $10 to Spend on Makeup
In this case I highly recommend hitting up a Dollar Tree or similar store where everything costs one dollar. From what I have seen in the Dollar Trees in my area foundation selections are slim. There are face powders of different shades so you could be lucky in that department. There is always a pink, red, or brown(ish) shade of lipstick If all three are there pick up three different shades that work with your coloring. Pick up a tube of mascara.
With these items you will not be able to create a "beat face" but you can create a presentable face for work. Don't worry. I have some tricks on how to use these items to put a more polished face forward.
Make Your Lipsticks Perform Triple Duty
If the only makeup you can afford or could find within your means is lipstick, then make them multitask. I've mentioned a few times in the blog and on other articles I've written over the years that lipstick and lip gloss (certain ones) can be used on more than your lips. I learned these tricks from my soon-to-be 59-year old mother. Her entire makeup arsenal always consisted of foundation, a dark berry or plum lipstick, black mascara, and black eyeliner. Her lipstick was also her blush and eyeshadow. So if lipstick is all you have, there is a way to work it out. Check out my video on how to use lipstick to create a simple makeup look for work when you're broke.
Do you have any tips that you’ve used on the job when you did not have enough money to even purchase makeup from the drugstore? If you have any work-related stories about how your employer emphasized that wearing makeup was important, please share in the comments.