15 Chic and Confident Makeup Looks for the Office
When it comes to professional makeup, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Makeup should be all about enhancing your appearance, boosting your self-confidence, and standing out in the crowd for all the right reasons, and that includes when you’re at work.
Even if you’re in an industry that requires a softer or more demure look, you can still experiment with work makeup. If you’re concerned about overdoing it, don’t be: Low-key work makeup is totally achievable, as long as you’re willing to keep an open mind as you discover the products and techniques that work best for your needs.
A little bit of inspiration can go a long way, which is why we’ve selected some of the best natural celebrity makeup looks. From Kim Kardashian’s effortless take on bronze glam to Zendaya’s graphic eyeliner, there’s something for every makeup lover who wants to make a statement while still keeping things simple. Plus, we’ve asked a few of our favorite makeup artists to provide some tips on how to get each look. Keep reading to get all the work makeup inspiration you need, full of soft glamour worthy of dressing for the job you want.
We love J.Lo’s fresh skin and earthy, subtly shimmery eyeshadow tones. ‘’Get the look by applying a cool gray eyeliner to the lower waterline. Use a gray shimmer eyeshadow all around the eye and a brown eyeshadow in the crease,’’ says makeup artist and cosmetologist Ariana Rose. She recommends keeping skin fresh with a satin finish, as well as staying away from any shimmery highlighters so as not to overdo it.
For lips and cheeks, choose light, peachy-nude tones. ‘’For lash wearers, I’d recommend doubling up on wispy lashes or opting for individual lashes and layering them from the outer to the inner corner,’’ Rose advises.
We’re obsessed with Saweetie’s fresh-faced approach to natural glam, which provides some stunning work makeup inspiration. This look is all about the winged liner, matte skin, and lashes. ‘’Choose a neutral shimmer gloss, matte skin, contour, and apply a neutral blush,’’ Rose says. To make your lashes pop, amp up the mascara or choose a double-layer mink eyelash. Rose recommends applying winged liner and opting for a soft shimmer eyeshadow for your eyelids and inner corners.
Lizzo’s take on natural makeup is all about the skin. Matte skin is always in, and the singer has kept it simple by using similar tones on her cheeks and lips. We recommend using a chocolate lip liner and a rose-colored gloss with little to no shimmer.
To achieve Lizzo’s smokey eye, Rose recommends using tape to apply the eyeshadow first so you can clean up any excess product with a makeup wipe as you create a smoky brown, winged eye. As for the lashes, Rose suggests keeping them natural and longer on the outer corner.
Even when Normani opts for minimal makeup, her skin always has a radiant glow. We recommend choosing a foundation with a satin finish, then applying a soft contour. ‘’For the eyes, a satin cool brown eyeshadow would be perfect for creating this shape,’’ Rose says. ‘’The easiest way to do this is to look straight in the mirror and start from the outer corner of the eye, creating a line towards your temple.’’ If you want to make your eyes subtly pop, finish off the look with a yellow-gold eyeshadow on the inner corner of the eye and some mascara.
The best part of Selena Gomez’s look is her glowing skin, though we’re also partial to her defined brows and that perfect red lip. To achieve this look, keep your makeup fresh with a soft pink cheek and a bold lipstick shade. Rose recommends using a lip liner before applying lipstick. ‘’Choose a magenta red lipstick with a shine to it,’’ she adds.
Nobody does eye makeup quite like Adele—but you’ll find her signature winged liner is easier to recreate than you’d think with the right technique. To achieve this bold look, Rose recommends using a cream or gel eyeliner with a brush. ‘’Instead of starting in the outer corner to create the wing, start at the lower lash line and extend the liner past your inner corner,’’ she adds.
For the lids, we recommend using a matte, soft white shadow. To help with the creation of the shape, remember to prime your eyes beforehand. ‘’To take the eyeshadow further, connect the brown crease color into your brow and nose contour,’’ says Rose. To keep this look work-friendly, we suggest choosing matte shades for the whole face.
Hailey Bieber’s makeup look is perfect for days when you have after-work plans. This look is all about the bold lip, subtle glitter shadow, and fluffy brows. To achieve it, Rose recommends using a minimal amount of product. ‘’Choose a soft pink cream blush and fluff your eyebrows with a brow gel,’’ she adds.
On days when you don’t feel like reaching for the glitter, this look can still turn heads with a well-blended eyeshadow. All you need to do is blend a little bit around the eye area. For the lips, Rose suggests choosing a satin-finish burgundy lipstick, along with a lip liner in the same color.
As the brain behind one of the most iconic makeup brands of our time, Rihanna is always ready to deliver sassy and striking makeup looks. According to makeup artist Amy Barrington, this look is all about the smokey eye. ‘’When applying a smokey eye, I like to use a black kohl pencil like Urban Decay’s 24-7 Glide On Eye Pencil ($22) to get the shape, and then blend. Bobbi Brown’s Eye Blender Brush is perfect for softening any harsh lines or edges,’’ she says. As for that beautiful lip combo, MUA Danielle Aleshea Mason recommends using Morphe’s Color Pencil ($5) in the shade Coffee & Kissy.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s healthy, dewy makeup look requires a good base. To prep, Barrington recommends a luminous primer. ‘’For the foundation, use a brush and work from the middle of the face to the outside, and don’t forget to blend as you go to avoid foundation lines,’’ she adds.
For full, pouty lips, use a lip scrub before application. We recommend the Lush Cosmetics Bubblegum Lip Scrub ($13) followed by a creamy lipstick like Burberry’s Full Kisses ($37). Rose recommends applying layers for a more intense color, followed by a plumping gloss like Too Faced’s Lip Injection ($29).
Katy Perry’s work-appropriate makeup look is all about the lashes. ‘’If you are new to wearing falsies, I recommend Sweed Lashes (Tête à Tête) ($16). To apply, use tweezers and remember to leave the eyelash glue on the lashes for 30-40 seconds to get tacky before applying,’’ Barrington says. Lashes always stick on much better with this process.
According to Mason, it’s Katy’s fluffy brows that steal the show. ‘’They’re not too defined and still accentuate the shape and arch. I would recommend Zoeva’s Eyebrow Pencil ($16) in the shade Black/Brown to achieve this look,’’ she adds.
If you’re bold enough to try a shimmery, metallic eyeshadow (and your office environment allows), Lady Gaga’s daring look can provide the work makeup inspiration you need. ‘’Layer as much as you need if you want a dramatic look, and apply a little less to keep it simple,’’ says Barrington.
When using glittery eyeshadow, Barrington recommends applying it before foundation to avoid drops of eye makeup getting on your face. We recommend Urban Decay’s 24/7 Moondust Shadow ($22) in the shade Cosmic.
Bronzed and Beautiful
Kim Kardashian’s easy bronzed look is all about the skin and brows. To contour like a pro, Barrington recommends using a bronzer two shades deeper than your natural skin tone. ‘’Apply a small amount on your cheeks, hairline, jawline, and the sides of your nose. Don’t forget to blend to avoid harsh lines,’’ she adds.
If you love a bold and dramatic lash but don’t fancy wearing falsies to work, Maybelline’s Colossal Mascara ($9) will do the trick, according to Mason, who adds, ‘’I’ve been using this mascara for years, and it definitely does what it says on the tube!’’
Who said a graphic makeup look needed to be over the top? Keep it simple by focusing on the eyes and lips. According to Barrington, you’ll need a steady hand to achieve this look. ‘’Use a cream eyeliner and a thin eyeliner brush and create a V shape from the corner of your eye to just above your socket line,’’ she says. Add Dior’s Lip Maximizer ($35) in Rosewood to complete the look.
The star of Doja Cat’s bold, well-defined eye look is the glossy effect on her lids. To take your eye look to the next level, use an angled liner brush with cream eyeliner for a more defined line.
‘’I would recommend 3ina’s The Eye Gloss ($17), as it creates an ultra-dewy, wet effect,’’ Rose advises. ‘’For best results, apply the gloss using your ring finger and lightly skim across the lid. For those who are a little less experienced, use a synthetic brush.’’
Kelly Rowland’s “no-makeup makeup” look is perfect for anyone who takes a minimal approach to makeup. Spending time on skin prep is key to achieving this look. Barrington recommends ensuring skin is exfoliated and well-moisturized before applying makeup. ‘’I love the Nars Cosmetics Pore and Shine Control Primer ($36) as a base accompanied with Bobbi Brown’s Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer ($48), which is perfect for barely there coverage,’’ she says.
If you want to use a bit of blush to elevate the look, ‘’apply it in a C shape from your temple to your cheekbones,’’ Barrington says. For best results, always apply blush two fingers away from your nose and two fingers away from the bottom of your eye.