Nervous about doing your makeup for work when you return to the office? We can totally relate. It's been quite a while since we had to interact with our colleagues in real life and we really haven't had to think about our beauty looks while dialing into Zoom calls over the past year.
But now that many of us are heading back to the office in some capacity this fall, we're actually kind of excited to have some fun with makeup once again. We're admittedly a bit rusty, so we called up a few talented beauty pros for their tips to help us get back into the swing of things. Shop TODAY also asked them to share a few of their favorite makeup products that are perfect to help you return to the office feeling as confident as ever.
How to ease back into your makeup routine
Want to put your best face forward but nervous about doing your makeup for work once again? We asked a few pros to share their best tips for easing back into your pre-pandemic makeup routine.
- Practice, practice, practice: "If it’s been a while since you wore makeup, don’t overthink it; your muscle memory will kick in. If anything, start simple and if you have a big event you're gearing up for, practice does make perfect," celebrity makeup artist Amber Amos said.
- Start fresh with new products: "Chances are you haven't updated your makeup products in over a year and most products have a shelf life of 6 to 12 months, so this is a great time to try something new," celebrity makeup artist Nydia Figueroa suggested.
- Don't be afraid to try something new: "My best advice is to listen to what feels good to you! You’ve been through a year that has probably changed you, so you have permission to do your makeup differently than you did pre-pandemic," celebrity makeup artist Christin Cook Zito told us.
Figure out your makeup style
After a year of being makeup-free, you're either itching to go glam once again or ready to give the natural beauty trend a try. Either way, there are plenty of options at your disposal and the makeup artists Shop TODAY spoke with recommended doing what feels right for you.
"If a bold look is what is going to give you a boost in confidence to step back in the office, then go for it! If it feels like a major chore to even get ready to leave the house, then go for something natural. The beauty of makeup is, it’s here for you to meet your individual needs," Cook Zito said.
Opting for a natural makeup look does have two major benefits, though: It saves you time and will help you slowly transition into getting ready for work.
"I think fresh is best! A natural look that enhances you is always quickest and the most flattering," celebrity makeup artist Stephen Moleski said.
Wearing a mask? Keep your makeup simple
Whether your company requires masks or you simply feel more comfortable wearing one, plenty of folks will continue to wear face coverings when they head back to the office this fall. Even if yours is mostly covered, you can still have fun and highlight a few features with your makeup!
- The eyes have it: "Focus on the eyes! I’m loving all the stick eyeshadows that are quick and long-wear," Moleski said.
- Pamper your lips: "Hydrate your lips with a balm so they don't dry out under the mask," Figueroa said.
- Let your skin breathe: "To help prevent maskne, you can do a beautiful wash of skin care and sunscreen for the skin that’s going to be under your mask and your skin will thank you," Cook Zito said.
- Don't forget your brows: "I wear a mask while I’m doing makeup, so I just do brows and mascara," celebrity makeup artist Cara Lovello said.
Return-to-office beauty products, recommended by the pros
Want to save time and money? Multitasking products are the name of the game as you head back to the office. Figueroa digs this eye, cheek and lip cream that lasts for up to 24 hours and calls it a true "game-changer for your makeup bag."
"It's incredible for the everyday working woman and can still be used after work for some cocktails with the girls," she said.
Amos is also a fan of versatile products that can be used in multiple ways, like this 3-in-1 balm from CTZN. "It's great for highlighting, but can also be used on lips and eyes," she said.
The paraben-free, vegan balm is nice and lightweight and gives skin that type of gorgeous glow we always see on the red carpet. Plus, the non-sticky formula can be layered until you create just the right look.
Whether you're opting for a bold or understated makeup look, mascara is one way to help bring the attention to your peepers at work. Lovello recommends splurging on this tried-and-true product that many pros swear by.
The bestseller is available in three colors — black, blue and brown — and gives you a false lash effect without the hassle. The larger-than-life brush helps create va-va-voom volume and built-in rose essence also conditions lashes so they stay strong.
Most of us saved a lot on beauty products during the pandemic when we suddenly pressed pause on our makeup routine, so spending a bit more on a top-notch mascara to help with your transition back to the office is totally justifiable.
Amos recommends this volumizing mascara that uses tubing technology to ensure that each lash gets coated in color. The clump-free, smudge-resistant formula also wipes off easily with warm water, meaning it's perfect for your fuss-free, back-to-the-office routine.
We never gave much thought to our brows until we started wearing a mask and realized they were one of the few features we could highlight while the rest of our face was covered. So we weren't surprised when Moleski expressed his love for this waterproof brow pencil that adds definition while maintaining the look of natural hair.
"Brows will make or break your face, especially with a mask on. This product is perfect for shaping your brows and comes in a range of shades for a perfect match," he said.
Similar to Moleski, Amos also adores brow-defining pencils and she's a big fan of this two-sided one from Kosas that comes in 10 shades. One side of the hardworking pencil fills in lackluster brows with ease and the other creates realistic hair-like strokes.
The best part? The vegan, cruelty-free product is formulated with castor oil that nourishes and protects hair and keeps it healthy.
If you're anything like us, you've been relaxing your foundation routine during the pandemic. But if you still want to look polished at the office, you can put the focus on your eyes with Moleski's go-to eyeshadow pencils that come in satin and matte finishes.
"These pencil shadow sticks are error-proof and you can blend them with your finger or a brush. My favorite shade is Burnish. It works on everyone," he told us.
Going mask-free at the office? It's the perfect time to try a bold lip! "This Charlotte Tilbury lipstick and liner set is a staple in my kit," Figueroa gushed. "It comes in different shades to fit every skin tone and has a beautiful matte finish."
Far too many lip products tend to dry out our pout, but this two-piece, paraben-free set features ingredients like lipstick tree (yes, that's its name!) and orchid extract that soften and hydrate skin.
If you haven't replaced your concealer since before the pandemic, it's time to pick up something brand-new, like this bestseller that Cook Zito raved about. "It's my all-time favorite and offers amazing coverage but still looks like skin and doesn’t crease! A lot of times I will use this instead of foundation in spots where I want coverage," she said.
The vegan concealer is known for its smoothing and brightening properties and it works equally well on under-eye bags, blemishes and other areas you want to cover up. Plus, it helps blur the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles!
Without a solid skin care routine, your makeup won't have a clean canvas to work with, so Figueroa suggests prepping skin with this moisturizer before applying any foundation. "It hydrates, brightens and also protects the skin from airborne pollutants, which is major when returning to the office. It also helps the makeup go on smoother and last longer," she said.
For more stories like this, check out:
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- A beauty editor shares the 7 most popular skin care brands from around the world