Do you wear lipstick to work, or do you shy away from it in fear of being perceived as “just a pretty face”?

Well, fear not because you are not alone. Most of us have fallen victim to this stereotype; or know of at least one person that has encountered similar remarks.

My view is that wearing lipstick should be fun, not daunting!



This is a tough one purely because certain corporate environments frown upon the idea of women wearing bright, bold lip colours to the office.

While this may be a reality for some, it is certainly not the norm. Personally, I have never come across an official company document that stipulates which lipstick shades are/aren’t appropriate. This is something we tend to impose on each other as individuals.

I’m also of the view that there are times where a red, bold lip is necessary. It is often said that red lips tend to boost a woman’s self-confidence; which could in turn lead to better performance in the workplace.

Aliza Licht, author of Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media, has worn bright red lipstick exclusively and daily for more than 20 years and is often asked questions about her signature look; such as whether or not it would send the wrong message in a male-dominated office or whether it is job interview material?

These are fair questions as the fashion industry tends to take amore relaxed approach versus a corporate environment which tends to lean more on the conservative side.

Aliza decided to survey her Twitter followers to get their thoughts on the matter.

Sharing the results in an essay for the New York Post, Aliza found that from a pool of 460 women from various industries including Law, Banking, and Government work professionals, the majority (91.2%) not only viewed it as totally appropriate for the office, but also felt it projects confidence at work (78.8%). While opinions were split on whether or not it’s appropriate to wear to an interview (46.6% said yes), only 14.7% of respondents felt that women are judged “negatively” for wearing red lipstick.

I think the above neatly amplifies the point I have made above on the appropriateness of lip colour for the office.

My only suggestion when deciding on a lip colour for the office, would be to stay away from the green, blue, black or purple look; and rather save those for the weekend. I’d also suggest that you steer clear of glitter as this can be distracting.



Kim wears the Femme Fatale (matte) lipstick from Smashbox

Not necessarily. Aliza’s research confirms this.

Tip: If the environment in which you operate is conservative, or you’re not yet confident wearing a bold lip colour, go for a lipstick that is two shades darker than the inside of your lips. Visit for ideas and inspiration.



Irrespective of the industry in which you operate, nobody wants a lipstick that needs to be checked every 10 minutes; just to be sure it hasn’t migrated onto your teeth or faded.

It is for this reason that I have chosen Smashbox’s lipstick range. Not only are their lipsticks convenient to use, they last longer and come in a great variety of shades.

The most important criteria for lip colour in the professional setting is that you keep it up throughout the day. Eaten-off or faded colour isn’t very well put together.

The following needs to be considered when deciding on lipstick:

– Convenient to use.

– A longwear, matte lipcolour that you won’t have to fuss with much during the day (All Smashbox lipstick are long-lasting. My favourite for the office is Femme Fatale, which has a Matte finish).

– A satin-finish, slightly glossy lipstick (Try Invite Only from Smashbox).

Femme Fatale (matte)

Invite Only


Some find the meticulous applying and reapplying of lipstick, coupled with the pre work that comes beforehand (exfoliating, and applying lip liner etc.) to be daunting. But what’s a little cosmetic upkeep when you can reap such psychological benefits? Think about it. 🙂


In closing, I’d like to reiterate that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive; and that you can be both beautiful and intelligent simultaneously. Don’t ever allow anyone tell you that you can’t be both.

Products used – all from Smashbox: Primer, Concealer, Foundation, Highlighter, Femme Fatale Lipstick, Invite Only lipstick.

Smashbox Cosmetics can be found at selected Woolworths and Red Square stores countrywide, just to name a few.  You can also browse their awesome beauty range at

Happy lipstick shopping!


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