Is wearing make-up to work a waste of time?

Updated: Mar 9

By Clodagh Meaney



One of my favorite inspirational quotes is "You have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé." While Beyonce’s 24 hours are different to mine, she probably doesn't have to spend time meal prepping, cleaning the toilet or getting squashed on the Luas, I’m inspired by the idea of setting your mind to something and achieving it every single day, no matter what the challenge.

To be honest though, if you put 'Beyoncé' into any mediocre quotation, I would consider it inspirational.

I can't be the only one who goes to work looking like I rolled out of bed, into a bag of rubbish, and out the door?

That said, my work environment is chill enough. I work in an office, but it’s casual. Sometimes very casual. Like yesterday, I wore tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie. Don't judge me, I started at 8am, my back is in agony, and I'm on my period.

More recently, given my relaxed work environment I am leaning towards the opinion that wearing makeup to work is a waste of time. I by no means have good skin. I go to work with my psoriasis in full flare, it sometimes makes me look like I have a massive red handlebar mustache. Stunning! I often have dark circles, and spots. I should wanna cover up right?

Wrong!

I’m very confident. I’m comfortable with who I am and how I look. I guess I'm lucky in that sense. But my decision not to wear makeup to work goes beyond confidence.

For the record, I shower every morning before work. Bad hygiene and not wearing makeup are two different things. Some mornings I struggle for time, and end up going in with wet hair, they’re desperate days. But nonetheless, I have to shower every morning.

We all get 168 hours in a week. I spend 40 hours in work, and 60 hours sleeping. I’m left with 68 hours of “free time” to do other things, but that includes housework, travelling to & from work, having a social life, and of course, downtime.

So, if I wake up an hour earlier for work, every morning, 5 days a week, that's 5 hours a week I'm spending on hair and make-up. This 5 hours, of course, includes the 20 minute battle with make-up remover in the evening to get rid of my waterproof AF mascara. It’s 5 hours a week someone who doesn't wear make-up has to spend doing other things.

You know what I could do with an extra 5 hours in my week? That’s a whole Netflix series. That’s my week’s coursework done. That’s a lot of burned calories if I spent it in the gym (I mean I could, but I ain't gonna).

It's not just time; it's money, too! My favourite bottle of foundation is €35, which I buy twice a year. Perhaps I'll buy the odd 'darker' colour to match my tan also. That being said, I throw a lot of money down on lipsticks, brushes, and eyeshadow quite often. Most recently I bought Huda Beauty's Warm Obsessions palette, and I cannot wait to use it a whole two times a month if I'm lucky.

When I'm wearing make-up, you know I mean business. I'm either going on the lash, or I'm doing something important. I have considered going on a night out makeup-free to see what it's like, to test my personal confidence.

On my Instagram I ran a poll and asked "Do you spend time in the morning before work doing your hair and makeup?" Out of 58 respondents, 59% said yes, 41% said no.

Some of the yes respondents were make-up artists, and some of the no respondents were people who don't ever wear make-up anyway.

For me, I fear, of course, I appear lazy or like I don't care about my job. Thanks for that @ Patriarchy. I can't help feeling guilty when I turn up ‘ungroomed’.

There is a certain pressure felt as a woman. To appear well-groomed. To wear makeup. To be taken seriously. I know from conversations with friends that they have been in jobs where they have to wear make-up to work, telling me stories where they've been pulled aside by management for not doing so. Why are women being held to such high grooming standards? We are capable of slaying our jobs with our without my eyebrows done, thanks. As I said before: there is a difference between being unkempt and not wearing makeup.

Of course, women who wear make-up to work are still incredible, obviously. And it goes without saying that confidence and beauty is about a lot more than whether or not you’ve got foundation on 5 days a week.

For now, I will continue to roll out of bed, shower, and get to work with a slap of moisturiser. I'll be putting my extra hour a day to better use, and rebelling against beauty standards in the meantime.


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