If this is what it takes to look professional, I’ll remain an amateur.

If this is what it takes to look professional, I'll remain an amateur.Every once in a while, I succumb to the influence of my peers.

Lately, I’ve been hearing middle aged women rave about B&B cream.  Lightweight, skin tone evening, dark circle hiding, not foundation-looking.

I’ve never worn foundation.  A redhead, my complexion is not easily matched to ready mixed foundations, and I don’t like the feel of it.

I don’t like the feel of sunblock on my face, either.  It migrates into my eyes, causing burning and tears.  (The only brand I use on my face is Neutrogena.)

B&B cream, though, was described to me as being more like lotion.  I do like lotion.  My favorite is Aveeno; I slather it on with gusto.  If B&B felt like lotion, but lotion that improves my complexion, what would there be not to love about that?

The other thing I’ve been hearing about lately is G+ video meetings and vlogging.  Ignoring the fact that I do not even know how to turn on my computer’s camera, I’ve been wondering if I should give this a try.  Is this the new, big thing?  Would it be fun?

The connection here is that everyone advises looking professional on camera, and that requires make-up.  Everyone agrees on this.  Bare faces are only professional if you are a man.  Women need to use cosmetics to be taken seriously.

So I bought B&B cream at Target and tried it out.

First, I did half my face to see if there was a difference.  I carried a mirror around the house to look at myself in different lighting.  I could not see a big difference, but the darkness under my eye might have been slightly diminished.  I went ahead and applied it to the other half of my face.

I was planning to see if anyone in my family noticed a difference in my appearance when they came home.

When I sat down with my book, I realized that I felt exactly like I was wearing thick sunblock.  The brand I bought was not labeled as containing sunblock so I toughed it out for five whole minutes, then washed my face.

It still felt like it had a coating of SPF 1000, so I washed again, and applied more of my beloved Aveeno.

My face still felt oddly chalky, but I didn’t want to wash more than three times in one hour, so I decided to live with it.  Within a half hour my right eye started watering profusely as if I’d applied sunblock.

By that point, I was berating myself for being drawn in by promises of beauty in a drugstore tube, and googling for homemade make-up removal solutions.  Too impatient to read with only one eye, I decided to wash my face with olive oil.

That seemed to dissolve most of what was on my face, but I couldn’t put my glasses back on my oil slicked face, so I had to wash it off.  It took two washings, so I ended up washing my face five times yesterday morning.

I put the Aveeno on extra thick to compensate for all that soap.

I am now going to return to not worrying about my unprofessional, natural appearance.  The world will have to deal with seeing my imperfect complexion.  Or avert its eyes.  Or roll them.

Knowing full well that this sounds like, and might be, sour grapes speaking, why does looking professional for a woman require make-up and heels?  What is professional about discomfort and disguise?

Nobody suggests that men camouflage their figure flaws or highlight their eyes for job interviews.  Or do they?

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24 thoughts on “If this is what it takes to look professional, I’ll remain an amateur.

  1. This is exactly what I needed. As I flipped through a magazine in bed last night, I came upon yet another story of BB cream. This one, though, I read… only because I keep hearing about it and had no idea what the “BB” stood for. I thought it sounded interesting, despite the fact I cannot handle wearing foundation, have tried maybe three times in the last year and hated, hated, hated it. Now I know not to try the BB cream.
    Google hangouts, though, you should try. I’ve done it once… with not a speck of foundation on my face. Pretty sure the #GenFab gals didn’t notice. 😀

  2. My blog partner, Barb Coleman, and I just had this very same discussion 2-3 days ago. It annoys me that even as women, we subscribe to, and frequently push on each other, some of the same BS society does. Some women wear make-up, some don’t. We’re all beautiful in our uniqueness. GREAT post!!

  3. The last time my brother was looking for a job, he dyed his beard. The gray made him look older. I think there is pressure for men to look good these days, it just comes out in different ways.

  4. I do love the experimental method you described though. Using half of your face as the control group and walking around with mirror in hand is nothing short of genius and cracked me up!! Thank you for your wonderful perspective!

    • If I was determined to wear make-up on a regular basis, I think I would need to go to someplace like that, to get help on choosing the right products and colours

  5. I always thought that as women became a larger part of the workforce that the heels and makeup part would die off, but it seems instead, that men are becoming more concerned with their appearance instead of women becoming less. I know men that get manicures, dye their hair and agonize over choosing the right clothes. It’s kind of interesting.

    I have a drawer filled with creams and makeup that I have been “tricked” into purchasing. I don’t know why I keep it all since I don’t use it. I guess because it is expensive. I tend to stick to a few products (I like aveeno too) that I like. I sometimes where mascara and foundation. It usually melts off my face in a short time period. I never mastered eye shadow, blush or lipstick. Lipstick is impossible for me. Choosing a color, applying it, keeping it off my teeth…it’s just easier to skip it!

    • I like the Burt’s Bees tinted lip balms. You might, too. They stay on the lips, not the teeth, and the shades are pretty light and natural looking.

      It’s sad that instead of women being under less pressure, men are coming under more. What is wrong with us?

  6. If its any consolation, my husband owns about 50 ties–and those suckers are way uncomfortable. But I totally agree that if you don’t like makeup, you shouldn’t wear it. Feeling good is more important.

    • It’s hard to imagine a tie being less comfortable than high heels, but they don’t look comfy, no. So we can be glad we don’t have to wear those.

  7. Okay, here goes. My name is Cathy Chester and I use foundation and lipstick. Phew!

    Seriously, we all have to do what makes us comfortable. I never listen to ads in print or TV, I listen to what I say to myself! I wear Bare Escentuals powder foundation because it’s light ,and I sparingly use it where it’s needed. It’s effortless. I use lipstick, and Bobbie Brown quick (2 sec) drying eyeliner b/c it makes my green eyes stand out. That makes me feel good. I use natural colors of lipstick (from the drugstore).

    I subscribe to the mantra of doing whatever makes you feel comfortable in your own skin (sorry about that). I feel good when I put on a little makeup.

    And yes, Lisa Carpenter, I didn’t know you were makeup-less in our Google Hangout. You looked beautiful as always.

    PS Google Hangouts are super easy. I did a one-on-one with a new friend just to chat instead of instant messaging back and forth. It was fun!

    • I do not dislike the use of cosmetics, just the idea that they are necessary to look professional. You looked like you were having fun in your hangout interview, a natural in front of the camera.

  8. I haven’t hopped onto the BB cream bandwagon, yet, although I’d like to give it a try. I also don’t like sunblock even though I do use it because I’m so far and need the protection.

    As to your question about men and makeup, I do believe that men who seek to launch a professional career on visual media do use makeup. Actors, and anchormen, musicians, talk show hosts, and other men who appear on camera professionally wear foundation, and eye makeup.

    I think this is why it is so important to know your goals. When I hop on a hangout with friends I might show up in my nannies, but if I’m taping a show for our channel I want to show up looking my best because I think that’s one way I show respect for my guests and demonstrate that I take their work seriously.

    • I understand that the rules are different for those who make their careers in front of a camera. I was thinking more of the general idea that for a woman to look professional at all, she needs to be made up.

  9. I am with Cathy. I have been wearing foundation since I’ve been a teenager. I do it because I like how I look better when I have makeup on and when I feel I look good I have more confidence. I don’t overdo my makeup, I try to the natural look, But it evens out my skin tone and gives me a little color. Why not try to look my best? I think we have it better than men. Men can’t really do much to make themselves look better. We can.

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