There is a debate amongst women in the workforce, and it’s a controversial one. It’s makeup. Some women wear it, some women don’t. Some argue it’s unprofessional not to, while others argue it’s just a case of vanity. There are valid arguments to both sides and in this post we will look at both points of view.

First let’s start with the pro-makeup movement. Women in this camp believe it’s incorrect not to wear makeup since without it, you are not giving off that polished and well-groomed look. Therefore, these women assume if you don’t take pride in your look, you won’t take pride in your work. They also argue that wearing makeup makes them feel more pulled together and helps them to put their best foot forward, so in theory, they feel more confident in their jobs.

On the flip-side are those women who argue that a combination of education and experience are the most important assets for any job. Makeup and appearances shouldn’t enter the equation. Imagine this scenario – you’ve aced the telephone interview, chances are without makeup and perhaps even in your pyjamas, and have demonstrated to the interviewee that you really know your stuff. You are the right fit for the organization and you’ve been asked for a second interview. This is the perfect example where aptitude reigns over appearance.

However, regardless of what a woman believes works for her personally, it’s also important to take into consideration the employer. For instance, advice will vary depending upon the type of business where one is employed or looking for work. Buttoned-up corporates in large, international cities are more likely to hire women who wear makeup than a non-profit in a smaller community, for example. Quite often, and whether we like it or not, the way a woman dresses and the makeup that she wears does influence whether she is promoted and the position she is in. Sadly, this is the way many corporate cultures are and it doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.

If you don’t usually wear makeup but decide to give it a try, it’s best to do it minimally and conservatively – just a small amount of lip gloss or eyeliner can go a long way. Just avoid going heavy as it isn’t appropriate and will make you look the opposite of professional. Subtlety is always best. Finally, you must remember that overall appearance is much more important than simply wearing makeup. If you look pulled together with the appropriate clothing, hair nicely styled, and you present yourself confidently, you don’t need makeup. Since at the end of the day, all the recruiter really wants is to find someone who is qualified, competent, and who will bring the relevant skill set and experience to the job. If you have all of this but no make-up, then they’d be irrational not to hire you.