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Should Women Be Required To Wear Makeup In the Work Place?

Being the beauty enthusiast that I am, I often find myself putting on at least a dash of makeup no matter what setting I’m in. I always...

Life & Travel

I often say that you can judge the type of day I'm having by taking note of how little or how much effort I have put into my outfit and my makeup--emphasis on my makeup. My office job setting is no exception. I won't bother getting super glam-ed up, strutting into work like I'm fresh from filming a YouTube makeup tutorial, but making sure I'm looking my version of up to par in the office helps me get through my workday.


Never in a million years would I have thought that some employers would actually make wearing makeup at work mandatory. The first time I encountered this was working at a makeup counter when I had a client come to me as a result of her employer sending her home because she didn't “have enough makeup on". To make matters worse, she worked as a server (not even a hostess) in a very casual restaurant. I still don't understand why how much makeup one decides to wear to work effects the quality of their service to patrons or better yet, the taste of the food in a restaurant but then again maybe that's just me. The whole time I was trying to help her she was upset and was continuing to take her frustration out on me. I tried to just keep calm and carry on, but that did not stop the tears of frustration from pouring from her eyes.

I thought that this situation was just one of the rare occurrences that only happens when you work in retail but I was wrong. The 1989 Supreme Court case, Pricewater vs. Hopkins, is a prime example of this same sort of situation playing out. In this particular court case the Plaintiff, Ann Hopkins, filed suit for sexual discrimination stemming from the postponing of a promotion for over a year due to her needing to “"walk more femininely, talk more femininely, dress more femininely, wear make-up, have her hair styled, and wear jewelry" in order to be fit for the job position.

The poor girl that sat in my chair completely shattered from her employer's demand, in fact, is not alone. There have been reports from women in various job fields over the years that have been approached by their employers because of their "lack luster" appearances. It has been their physical appearance and not their actual qualifications that have stopped them from getting well deserved promotions in comparison to their male counterparts.

To add insult to injury, some employers have even confessed to not hiring female candidates if they don't wear makeup to an interview. Personally when I'm going into an interview I ask myself do I have too much makeup on. I never thought to ask myself if I have on enough. Why would the amount of makeup you're wearing even matter to a future employer? A study conducted by UK retailer Escentual, showed that 68 percent of hiring managers were less likely to hire a woman if she would not wear makeup to an interview. They claim that women who wear makeup tend exude more confidence and it shows in their work performance. In addition:

  • 60.8% of the company executives said that they know when their employees are with or without makeup.
  • 67&% said they did not look kindly at employees coming to meetings sans makeup.
  • Two thirds of women felt less confident attending high-level executive meetings without any cosmetics.
  • 64% female staff surveyed wore make-up to work every day.
  • And almost 98% said that they would wear make-up to a job interview.
"It's quite startling to learn that women feel that they need make-up in order to impress at work, and our survey showed there is a strong psychological element to wearing make-up that makes women feel more poised, confident and 'put together," Leslie said.

While it may true, that a woman who decides to put on her face may feel a little bit more confident, it by no means should be okay for an employer to demand that a woman needs to wear makeup in order to get the job done. If we continue on this path, the next job application we fill out will have a box marked “please rate your makeup application skills on a scale of 1-10 and please provide us with selfies". Doesn't that sound crazy?

[Tweet "A woman's choice to wear makeup is exactly that--- her choice. "]

It is one thing to reprimand someone for showing up to work with inappropriate clothing but demanding someone should wear their makeup or so their hair a particular way, in my opinion, crosses the line.

Do you think it is okay for an employer to demand a woman to wear makeup at work if she chooses not to? Share you views on this with us and stories if you have any. We want to hear them!

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