Should you pop a pimple on a train? Is it OK to re-apply make-up at work in full view of your colleagues? And what about applying a whole face of make-up on the bus?
Beauty etiquette can be a minefield, especially given we’re all so time poor and rushing from one job to the next.
I myself am often guilty of hurriedly reapplying make-up in the car, while at a red-light, on the way to various tasks. Rush, rush, rush!
And, I have in the past, reapplied make-up at my desk many times without thinking it through as to whether it was offending anyone in my male-dominated workplace. So, should I have cared?
For expert beauty etiquette advice, I turned to Queensland’s etiquette queen, Jodie Bache-McLean. As Director of both June Dally-Watkins (JDW) and Dallys Model Management, Jodie (pictured) is well-schooled on good manners, deportment and grooming.
Here’s what she had to say on these beauty etiquette dilemmas:
Q: Is it OK to reapply make-up at work? Are there any exceptions?
Wearing make-up is a personal preference; however in my opinion a professional woman should wear at least a minimum of a lipstick that suits your complexion. Research has proven that an essential part of being a well-groomed professional is wearing a little make-up, which will add to a powerful first impression.
If you wear make-up, it does need to be re-applied throughout the day. Depending on where you are positioned in your work environment, common sense would dictate if it is appropriate to reapply. For example, if you are the face of the company – the receptionist – I think it would be inappropriate to apply make-up while sitting on front desk.
Alternatively, if you see clients in face-to-face interactions, a quick touch-up and mirror check would be very appropriate. Remember: 55 per cent of your first impression is based on your appearance.
Q: What is the appropriate etiquette surrounding applying make-up on public transport?
I personally would not reapply make-up on public transport, one of the main reasons being: the stop-start of traffic can lead to many a catastrophe when applying lipstick!
I think you need to be mindful and courteous of your audience: a quick make-up touch-up is fine, on say a bus or train, but if you have to spread your full make-up kit out on the poor person sitting next to you, you’ve gone too far.
Q: Why does applying make-up at work make some men feel uncomfortable and should businesswomen care?
I must admit I have never asked the question about whether or not men feel comfortable around a woman applying make-up in their presence. If we reversed the situation, how would we feel, if a man groomed his beard or shaved around us, what would our reaction be?
Make-up application is deemed a part of our overall grooming, however perhaps it is best saved for the privacy of our homes or the bathroom within our offices. I do feel a quick lipstick reapply at our desk is harmless and saves time, especially if we are running out the door to an appointment.
Q: Are there any strict beauty etiquette dos and don’ts you’d recommend?
Try to apply or reapply your make-up without an audience; pick your moment. I once witnessed a colleague reapply lipstick in a meeting: the implied message was that this person was disinterested in what was going on and was more focused on the lipstick being applied, and it did make a few of the gentlemen present uncomfortable.
I am an old-fashioned gal and believe that my grooming is my business, so I am happy to go to the bathroom or an area of privacy where I can touch up my make-up and then proceed to the meeting or the appointment feeling confident in my professional appearance.
Images, in order, via lw.dailymirror.lk; www.vogue.com; and supplied.
Nicole is a Queensland-based writer and bona fide word nerd whose first love (apart from heels) is feature writing. Follow Nicole on Twitter.