Creating Subtle Makeup Effects: The Right Tools And Applicators For A Workplace Look

This article discusses what a woman needs to create a subtle workplace look, including tools, applicators and color choices.

Workplace make-up can be a tricky line to walk. Some businesses are more formal and thus encourage a more liberal use of cosmetics. Some places are informal, some are in the middle. A woman's first thoughts about the subject should be to define her workplace.

One good way to begin is for the woman to think about a long-time employee whose looks she admires. Chances are, this will be a good starting point for her own workplace look.

The girls at the cosmetic counters will always try to hawk numerous, expensive brushes and applicators, but these are rarely necessary. Many of the time-tested applicators that come in cosmetic products will work just as well.

A basic toolkit will include a sponge for liquid base, an eyeshadow brush or applicator, a blush brush, and a powder brush or good powder puff.Blush and powder brushes are usually very full and soft, while eyeshadow brushes are much smaller, narrower and may be squared or angled-off.

Sponge eyeshadow applicators can be bought in bulk at a beauty supply store, and they are just as good as a brush "" cheaper, too.

A subtle look cannot be adequately discussed without talking about color as a tool. Color defines the face, brings out desirable traits, hides flaws, and can turn a look from subtle into dramatic.

Most women seeking a subtle, fresh workplace look should try neutrals for cheeks and eyes. Most women "" even blue-eyed blondes "" can wear brown or honey eyeshadow and more neutral blush. Blondes and redheads with light-colored lashes should invest in a good brown mascara that gives lashes color without the starkness of black. They may also need light brown eyebrow pencils to give their brows a bit of definition. These women may find a warm brown or smoky gray eyeliner looks best for the workplace.

For brunettes, the same brown eyeshadow works, with a tawny highlighter, a charcoal brown or coffee bean eyeliner and a light application of mascara will be best. Some brunettes with very dark lashes may be able to use clear mascara gel that will lengthen their lashes without adding color.

Foundation should be chosen to match the skin color as closely possible. It should be applied with light-to-medium coverage, with the sponge, blending in all edges and creating an even coverage for the whole face. Concealer should meet the same criteria.

If a woman wears powder to "set" the foundation, it can be applied with a puff or brush. Powder should be translucent and should match the woman's skin, also.

Blush brushes are designed to apply a light layer of blush on the face, diffusing it to look more natural and softer. A woman should apply blush to the apples of her cheeks and should STOP when a warmth of skin has been achieved, not when she can see stark color.

Lipstick can reflect a bit more drama, but should still be tasteful and reflect professionalism. A woman should only go with a neutral here if it runs more to color than to neutral. Completely neutral lips are not attractive and make a woman look corpse-like. Roses, warm corals and even restrained wines are all appropriate, depending on skin and hair.

Lipstick should have a good, neutral lip liner under it, which can be applied with a tiny lip brush, or straight from the pencil. Lipstick should be applied lightly and with an eye toward making the lips look healthy, not seductive.

Women should aim for a fresh, uncluttered, unspoiled look for the workplace. Their makeup should flatter their faces, but should not be the first thing someone notices. Simple tools and restraint with color can help achieve this goal.

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