Does Wearing Makeup Aid Our Success?

Image of a notebook with makeup products on top.

I know, don’t ask, but this was an idea that actually came to me whilst I was on the bus on my way to work. Doesn’t inspiration find us in the strangest of places? Of all topics to start thinking about, I started to wonder. Is our success, actually, partially attributable to whether we wear makeup or not? 

This is a widely debated issue in the world already. I’ve watched a debate on morning TV over whether it does or not. Some people argue that wearing makeup does not affect an individuals ability to do their job, whereas others argue that wearing makeup is simply personal hygiene, can be likened to brushing our teeth and washing our hair, and therefore it should be worn. You can watch this video down below if you’re interested! 👇



My own personal opinion is that makeup is a tool that should be worn when it suits me. I’d like to think that I’m known for my pretty brain, not my pretty face. I don’t like to think that workplaces and other individuals judge us for whether we wear makeup or not, but I think they do. I wore makeup for three years at University, before stopping in my final year because, well, I was lazy. I did actually feel as if I was treated differently. The difference was so subtle that it would be incredibly difficult for an observer to see, but I could feel a difference. Whether it was people looking at me less (which, in my opinion is actually a good thing), whether I wasn’t picked to have my photo taken, or whether people underestimated my knowledge. Whether these things would have still happened whilst I was wearing makeup is unknown – and I will probably never know.

In the blogging world, whether I’m wearing makeup or not would definitely affect my success. I’m sure of it. To clarify, I don’t mean that you guys would judge me consciously for not wearing any makeup. Because, I know how lovely you all are and that that isn’t the case! But, I feel as if I wouldn’t be taken as seriously if I were to go out and take my outfit photos without makeup on. But then again, would I get less comments because I was less pretty – or because I promoted the post less because I didn’t have the confidence to? It’s difficult to know the definite answer as you can’t create two different outcomes to the same event, without there being many extraneous variables!

But, these thoughts come from the fact that my face is essentially part of my branding, so in some respects I do understand this. But, why should it be the same when its’ an office based role, where your face has no importance whatsoever (for example). Here is where I really struggle to see why.

From a research perspective, it has been demonstrated that women who do wear makeup in the workplace are viewed as being more competent. Wong & Penner (2016) demonstrate that individuals who are considered ‘more attractive’, whether male or female, have a significantly higher income than those considered less attractive. Whilst there seems to be a breadth of research supporting the role between makeup and success, some others argue that wearing too much makeup can actually harm others perceptions, with those who wear more makeup exerting less perceived social dominance (James, Jenkins, & Watkins, 2018). Of course, we must consider that it is rare to find an area of research where there is no conflicting results, and so we need to look at the bigger picture.

In my opinion, this really is something that need to change. It isn’t fair that individuals have to wake up early every morning to spend time putting makeup on. If it’s for you, and you want to wear makeup, then by all means do. But, for those who are struggling and would really appreciate the extra hour in bed, it’s really not fair. I work hard to ensure that my work is recognized based on its’ credibility, rather than by my appearance. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments box!


  1. October 10, 2018 / 9:40 am

    This is such a tricky one and for me personally my thoughts on it change all the time. I’m settled in my current job and don’t feel like whether or not I wear makeup has any effect on how people view me – and I’ve done everything from a full face with false eyelashes to not a scrap of makeup for days on end – but I have an interview this weekend and I do feel if I didn’t wear makeup I wouldn’t look as ‘polished’ and they wouldn’t take me as seriously. It’s such a tricky area and I don’t know what the answer is

    Cordelia ||

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 11, 2018 / 9:05 pm

      Thanks for your input Cordelia! I think a lot of it depends on how comfortable we are in our roles like you say – I’m completely the same and my views on the topic do vary. It’s some food for thought though 🙂 <3

  2. October 10, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    this is such a great post, really thought provoking and a bit different from the norm. I wont lie – I feel more productive and business like when I wear make up at work…

    Liv –


    • Chloe_Francis
      October 11, 2018 / 9:12 pm

      Thanks Liv, I’m so glad you liked it!

      I wear makeup at the moment too and I definitely thin it helps, but I enjoy my makeup free days just as much! <3

  3. October 11, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    I love this so much. I work in an office and there is definitely a difference in how women are treated depending on whether or not they are wearing make up. What a sad society we live in where something so trivial has such high importance!

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 11, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      Ahh Cassie, I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s shocking really, some real food for thought! xx

  4. October 11, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    This is quite a sensitive topic as I believe in feeling comfortable in the way you look and confidence in general is what can lead you to success. With or without make up if it empowers you and motivates you to work hard and achieve your goals go for it. I’ll stay neutral because I do wear make up occasionally.

    Kaye –

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 13, 2018 / 4:50 pm

      Glad to hear your opinion Kaye! Thanks for getting involved! <3

  5. October 11, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    Great post Chloe, you’re right it’s funny where we are when ideas pop into our heads or what around us inspires a post.

    I agree, make up to me is a tool I use as and when I feel like it. I also feel a difference when I don’t wear make up, I feel more people look at me and wonder what illness I have because of the big hollow black circles under my eyes from severe sleep deprivation for example.

    I think make up to me helps me when I want to hide the signs of chronic illness and just pretend it isn’t there, like on a birthday or when I’m having photos taken. I look back at the photo and it gives me a glimpse at normality, a moment of not looking like I feel.

    So a handy tool indeed, yet not one I think should be required of me to be able to do a job that wasn’t dependant on my face (synch as modelling or being the face that represents a brand etc)

    A post that defo got me thinking – great share 🙂

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 13, 2018 / 4:50 pm

      Thanks Helen – glad you enjoyed! <3

  6. October 11, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    I really like this post, I definitely feel like there is a pressure to wear make-up at work if you want to be taken seriously. Or not have people tell you how tired you look! It should be a complete personal choice though.

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 13, 2018 / 4:51 pm

      Thanks so much Sammy! It definitely should be personal choice <3

  7. October 11, 2018 / 10:47 pm

    As a former makeup artist, I kinda stopped wearing makeup a lot. It was one thing to get up every day to apply it when I was working at MAC Cosmetics. Now that I haven’t been there in years I took one heck of a break from wearing it consistently. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t define me but it was a beautiful part of my wardrobe lol. I still love it as a blogger but I can truly do without it every day.

    Awesome post.

    Check out my latest post when you can

    xoxo Eyelive4beauty

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 13, 2018 / 4:52 pm

      It’s so great to hear from the perspective of someone who has worked with makeup! This is such a good attitude to have and I couldn’t agree more <3

  8. October 12, 2018 / 1:25 am

    I don’t wear makeup most days. It’s just not my thing. I only put it on when I dress up and even still I really only put it on my eyes. So far, it hasn’t affected my ability to do my job and I haven’t been passed up for a single promotion. I know plenty of girls who have fun doing their makeup, it’s almost a hobby to them and that’s just as fabulous and those of us who choose not to. We should support each other for being true to ourselves, no matter what that is.

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 13, 2018 / 4:52 pm

      Glad to hear your perspective Laura! Congratulations on the promotion 🙂

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 13, 2018 / 4:53 pm

      Thanks so much Jenny! 😀 <3

  9. October 12, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    This is just too darn juicy of a conversation! I had the SAME conversation with my sister a few months back. Neither of us can be arsed to wear make up to work. I much rather that extra hour in bed! Although, the most I would do is fill in my eyebrows. Because brows makes me feel boss lol. and maybe mascara. 98% of the time I go to work barefaced and love it. As long as my skin looks great who cares?
    It is great knowing I could touch my face many times throughout the day, without dragging my makeup down my face.

    The perception of all women need to wear make up to work, has to change. Although I know there are a lot of women, who live for it in the workplace. I also think it’s funny that I have to wear make up to a job interview, in order to look decent or yes capable for the role. If a man went for the same role, would he be required to roll in with lipstick and mascara, (crazy eh). Wearing makeup is not in the job post, but as a woman you feel that going in wearing it is a must?

    Also if I was wearing make up and looked great, BUT was being interviewed by a woman not wearing it. In some cases she might feel threatened by me wearing makeup, and looking good. Because this does actually happen.

    Such a great post Chloe : ) xo

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 13, 2018 / 4:53 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, Natoya! Haha YES, the more time in bed in the morning the better!!!

      I completely agree that attitudes to need to change <3

  10. October 12, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    This is such an interesting post! I’ve always loved makeup for nights out but in the past two years I’ve really got into it and wear it most days. I’m perfectly happy with my makeup free face but it does give me a bit more confidence. In my office the majority of women don’t wear makeup, which is fine if course, but I almost feel more judged about wearing too much! I would hope it doesn’t affect me in a professional way though. Really great read, thanks so much. xx

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 13, 2018 / 4:54 pm

      It’s really interesting to hear it from another perspective; thanks Laura! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 xx

  11. October 13, 2018 / 5:17 pm

    A very well written and thoughtful piece! I think you are people can treat you differently for not wearing make-up. It depends where you work, and what you blog about I guess. A really thought provoking piece! 😊xxx

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 14, 2018 / 9:43 am

      Thanks Ruth, I’m really glad of your input. I agree completely! xx

  12. October 13, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    There has been this long time notion that the most successful businesswoman dress well and wear makeup. There was study last year (can’t remember from who) that stated if you wore makeup in the workplace you were 30% more likely to get promoted.


    • Chloe_Francis
      October 14, 2018 / 9:44 am

      That’s so interesting; I think I’ve read similar literature before and it’s definitely thought provoking!

  13. October 13, 2018 / 7:01 pm

    Thank you for a good read.
    First of all, the final words on the fact that there shouldn’t be a difference – love that. Because, of course it shouldn’t matter. But I also think that you are right about people unconsciously “judging” others on appearance.
    I’d like to add an extra little thing. I’m working my way up from a major depression and haven’t worn make up for quite a while (about a year) – nor have I done anything to look good as far as clothes goes. Just haven’t had the energy.
    The past week I have started wearing a little again – and worn dresses and felt presentable again. Just that (no positive comments) made ME change a little. I became more outgoing during grocery shopping, smiled a bit more and felt more energized. So my thought is maybe some of the “prettier” successfull people…maybe some of it is due to themselves feeling more confident? Just a thought that occured to me while reading… sorry for the looong reply. Hope you got through – and again, thanx for writing this. 😊👍

    • Chloe_Francis
      October 18, 2018 / 9:40 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment Linda! I think you could be right there! Thanks for sharing your ideas xx

  14. October 26, 2018 / 9:16 pm

    What a conversation….and an important one to have.

    And the expectations for what a woman should look like in the workplace can be so radically different depending on the industry, the culture, the region, etc.

    I don’t wear makeup, except on very special occasions and it’s usually minimal. Since most people never see me with makeup on, they wouldn’t really have a basis of comparison to know if I look “better” with or without it. A part of me wonders if any of my colleagues would treat me any different if I did wear makeup to work – most of the ladies in my office don’t bother most of the time either so I’m honestly not sure.

    I think, overall, there’s a subconscious bias present in most people that see women wearing makeup as generally more presentable, more hygienic, and more apt to conform to social standards rather than rebel. I guess at a workplace, that submission is seen as desirable? I doubt most people even realize they are making this kind of judgement call and again, that’s why it is very important to be having these conversations.

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