Quite some time ago, I had a reader FireAngel ask me what sorts of eyeshadow I could recommend for work. My answer to her then was “Whatever suits your line of work”. You see, what colours or textures of eyeshadow you can wear depends largely on what sort of work you do and what image you are expected to project.
Creative and relaxed workplace
If you are in a creative line of work without too much restriction on dressing e.g. you can wear casual clothes to work or dress in an eccentric manner without raising eyebrows, then you can pretty much use any colour or texture. If you do fall in that category, then lucky you! You can likely pull off wild blue and green eyeshadow or glittery orange shadow or teal or turquoise mascara and not have anyone stare at you.
In a serious traditional workplace
Unfortunately, the majority of women who find themselves asking this question work in a rather more sedate and staid environment, where colour seems to be taboo. I find it hard to see why a light sheer wash of colour e.g. green, lilac or peach on the eyes should raise eyebrows. In fact, I always find it a refreshing change to face a woman executive who has some colour on her face, rather than what passes for “neutral colours” which in many cases means brown and beige which makes many people look tired and drawn although they may not realise it.
Use Matte Neutral Colours
In the event of a workplace scenario where colour and shimmer on the eyes is taboo and all women are supposed to look “natural” all the time, then, I’d suggest finding a neutral eyeshadow colour that suits you and sticking with it. From personal experience, I’d go with Bobbi Brown and Make Up For Ever. These two companies do good quality matte eyeshadows and have a good range of neutral toned colours.
L-R: Shiseido, Kanebo Lunasol, Lancome, Kate
Use light sheer colours
If your workplace isn’t that strict and you are allowed to use some light colours and slight shimmer on the eyes, then you have a bigger playground in which to play. I’d recommend looking at Japanese brands for sheer colour. Greens, lilacs and golds look very pretty on Asian skin and green especially, brings out the colour of brown eyes. So, if you can have a little colour, look to try a sheer green, lilac or gold on the eyes, with minimal shimmer. Brands like Shiseido The Makeup or Maquillage and Kanebo Lunasol do good quality sheer toned colours with only very slight shimmer.
Stila eyeshadows are of very good quality with some colours being light enough to use for work. I personally find MAC and Make Up For Ever colour eyeshadows too pigmented in the colour department to pull off in a conservative workplace. Also try looking in Lancome (Their Color Focus quads are exceptional) and Guerlain eyeshadow quads.
Keep shimmer minimal
Look for colours which are light with only minimal shimmer. You do not want anything with glitter in it as it will draw too much unwanted attention in a more serious workplace. Understated shimmer actually helps to open up the eye area and help you look perky and awake, just what bosses like to see in their employees 😉
So, as you can see, there’s no real answer to the question what eyeshadow can be used at work. The best answer is to look around your work environment, gauge what others are wearing and experiment. I don’t believe that a little light green, lilac or gold eyeshadow will get you hauled up for disciplinary action. In fact, you might even start a little colour revolution if others follow suit. Applied tastefully and carefully, no one ever has to be afraid of a little colour at work.
No Blue eyeshadow!
I have one caveat though – Steer clear of blue eyeshadows at work (unless your work allows you to pull it off). Somehow blue eyeshadow looks awful under flourescent lighting and there is always a danger of over doing it which might earn you some demerit points.
Do you have any tips to share on what eyeshadow colours you can wear at work?