The Bare Minimum for Work (Makeup Edition)


This post is dedicated to all my fabulous female readers!

Many of us ladies starting work have a rough idea of how much makeup to put for work, but exactly how much is too much and how much is too little?

In this post, I hope that I can shed a little light on this. I’ll also be sharing some makeup hacks on how to get ready quickly for work.

Disclaimer: Having worked for only 1.5 years, I am obviously no expert at putting on makeup (you need beauty bloggers for that) or gauging how much makeup to wear at work, therefore I’ve tried to interview quite a number of people to write this article.

How much makeup should you wear exactly, especially for your first day of work?

Someone close to me who is the boss of her own company gave me a pretty good answer. On a scale of 100, where o% is no makeup and 100% is full party makeup, put around 60% and focus on your eyes and lips. 60% will be sufficient to look presentable enough, but that also depends on your skin condition. My friend, E, wears a #nomakeup look literally, but her complexion is really good. It varies from person to person.

Paying attention on your eyes and lips can go a long way in giving you a brighter and more awake look. Invest in some good quality lipsticks with versatile colours. I use mainly two Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) ones, #52 and #17 for work. Depending on my mood, I alternate between the dark red #52 and paler pinkish #17. Why not more buy more? Well, I’m always conscious of hoarding makeup and of their expiry dates, so I’m more than contented with these two. Of course, I have another 2 for going out, but these 2 are the most suitable for work. Throughout the day, I use the Dior Addict Lip Glow, because it does a really good lip balm job (i.e. very moisturising) with some colour in it. It’s also comforting that I don’t have to be constantly checking whether I’ve got lipstick stains on my teeth when I use this.

Personally, I don’t use eyeliner or mascara (gasp! – I told you I’m no makeup expert), but I haven’t had problems with that. The thing is that when I apply my eyeliner on my eyelids, it becomes obvious that they are uneven and then I will have to put on eyelid tape, which is an absolute fuss and I would much rather spend a few more minutes in bed. Some of my friends do, but choose not to put mascara, because when they rub their eyes after looking at the computer screen for too long, there’s a fear that the mascara might smudge. My personal preference is to put eyeshadow, light coloured ones to brighten up my eye area. It’s so easy because it’s a brush and the margin of error is much wider compared to applying eyeliner.

As we discuss about eye makeup, you’ll realise that there are different ways to enhance your eye area. It’s up to your personal preference and how much time you have in the morning. Just make sure to stay away from dark coloured smoky eyeshadows and thick eyeliners. You don’t want to send out the message that you were out last night partying and forgot to take off your make up.

Now on to the section that I’m more excited about!

7 Makeup hacks for the working girl who prefers her sleep over makeup

(Some of them can be really basic and I’m risking that everyone knows all of this already, but being a complete makeup beginner, I learnt all of these after starting work).


1. After toning and moisturising, put your lip balm on while waiting.

It’s important to let your moisturiser set in for a minute, so that it will be more effective in keeping your skin moist. I didn’t used to do that and my skin got dry and flaky even though I was using Clinque moisturiser which is apparently very good and rich. I don’t want to start nagging about using toner but if you want less blackheads, please close your pores. Putting on lip balm will moisturise your lips and get them ready for the lipstick. This will reduce the number of trips to the loo to touch up your lipstick. Spray some perfume while waiting.

2. Use a make up brush for foundation

A few months back, I was washing my hands in the loo and chatting to my colleague, L who was getting ready to go out that night. She had her whole bag of makeup with her and I was telling her that I’m really bad at makeup. She replied saying she was too and in fact only recently did she found out that she should use a makeup brush for foundation.

I laughed and replied, “I didn’t even know that until now!” Ah, the many revelations you have in the loo!

Thus, I started my quest to research for the best makeup brush that met my criteria of good, affordable and easy for beginners. The winning brush was the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush! Honestly, I’ve never regretted buying this, which I often do for other cosmetic products, because I usually stop using them after a while when I get lazy. The brush is the winning makeup tool for lazy people. I use liquid foundation from Benefit, and it’s very easy for me to apply it well and evenly using my makeup brush, compared to using my fingers and taking quite a bit of time. After that, I use the brush for some powder foundation to set the makeup and I’m done! Voilà!

It’s more hygienic as well, because once a week, I spray some of my Instant Makeup Cleaner from Make Up Forever (sold in Sephora) into a cotton pad, which cleans the brush really well. This is in line with my strong belief that you use make up to enhance your features and sometimes, cover some of your flaws. But you need to make sure that it doesn’t cause your skin to break out in pimples or worst acne (gasp!) and makes you rely on it even more to cover up. One way to prevent ruining your skin is by washing your brushes and practising good hygiene (i.e. clean fingers when you apply makeup).

3. Use your fourth finger for eye area

The magic fourth finger is apparently the one that has the lightest touch out of all your fingers or something to that effect. Hence, when applying concealer or blending eyeshadow, use your fourth finger because the skin around your eye area is the thinest. I know I just said to use a brush for applying foundation, but for concealer, the warmth of your finger ‘melts’ the concealer, making it easier to apply around your eye area and blend it in. There’s more research to justify this but just do it!

4. Introducing the Tangle Teezer, the game changer for your hair

Previously, I used to cut my hair regularly, because I couldn’t maintain long hair properly and there were just too many knots. On the other hand, my fashion blogger friend, A had this amazing product on hand every time we went out with her.

Introducing the Tangle Teezer for people who can’t be bothered to condition their hair or have too many knots.


This is an amazing product and now I comb my hair super fast in the morning.

5. Try different hairstyles and look gorgeous

After you’ve worked for a while, your hairstyle tends to stay the same and it gets boring. Recently, I saw this video from Naomi Neo and I thought this hairstyle was perfect for work and takes like 2 minutes maximum?

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 21.35.27.png

I know it says “Hairdo for a casual date”, but if you shift the pony tail to the middle, it actually looks quite professional looking and this look will make your normal pony tail a little less boring. You don’t need the ribbons and the hair straightener . Link below at the end of the post!

6. Magically de-oil your hair with dry shampoo

You’re not meant to wash your hair every single day, but when you come from Singapore, the climate turns your hair disgustingly oily. Hence, when I arrived in the UK, I tried to wash my hair less, but I think because my hair is so used to being washed everyday that it just became really oily all the time. However, after watching a Tried and Tested on clicknetwork video, I discovered the magic of dry shampoo!

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 21.54.20.png

All you do is shake the can, spray it on your hair, brush it and it looks washed! This is especially useful for those who worked too late the previous night and don’t want to go through the whole fuss of washing and blowdrying your hair. Yes, because that sacrifices that extra 15-20 minutes of your sleep. If you want to try getting a dry shampoo, I would recommend that you do more research on the brand of dry shampoo, because I don’t think this brand is really that good unfortunately. 

7. Invest in good make up removers

(On a quick side note, I know this doesn’t really fit in with getting ready for work, but it’s too important to be left out!!!)


Not only do you prevent having breakouts from leftover makeup, you also clean your face much faster when you have good makeup removers. I find it much harder to remove eye makeup sometimes when the makeup remover isn’t very good. Take the Bioderma makeup remover for instance, it is one of the best rated makeup removers and it easily takes off most make up with one cotton pad, but I prefer the Hada Labo one, because it’s extremely good at removing both eye and face make up. (Thank you S for introducing it to me!) Both of them don’t leave the face feeling dry either, which is nice.

And yes to all those who use BB cream, you need to use makeup remover as well, even if it’s just BB cream.

Concluding Thoughts

If it’s your first day of work, just go with 60% makeup for the bare minimum, then observe your female colleagues to gauge how much you can actually get away with.

In my opinion, it’s more important to be consistent about how much makeup you put. For example, you will have down days, so if you do 95% all the time, you will look quite different if you decide to go with 20% makeup another day. Not that different is necessarily bad, just make sure that you always look presentable and awake. While I say that, I go from 60% to 0% when I have an exhausting week at the client. And then around midday, I regret not bringing my makeup bag along because now I want to look pretty. Yes, make that tip #8, bring a small makeup bag along to work in case of emergencies.

Hope you enjoyed the post! I would also like to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. You’ll never know who else is reading your comments and might benefit from them!

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Stay fabulous & gorgeous everyone! 


Videos mentioned in this post:

Naomi Neo’s hairdo

Dry Shampoo video by Shu An


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