When she was 13 years old, Reddit user TheSmeggingCompass began experimenting with makeup. Since then, the beauty maven — whose real name is Hannah — has used makeup as a form of art therapy.
The 20-year-old biomedical engineering student likes to sport bold, experimental looks to her part-time job at a community recreation center, and often gets a positive response from coworkers. But Hannah recently found out the hard way that not everyone appreciates a makeup statement as much as she does.
"One of my coworkers had given me a lot of unsolicited advice on my 'look' before. He advised me to stop stretching my ears, and told me that my (at the time) sunflower yellow hair was unprofessional. But nothing got him started like my makeup did," Hannah, who prefers to go by her first name only, told TODAY Style.
Beauty is supposed to be fun, but Hannah's coworker couldn't help but knock her creative style and take things to a pretty uncomfortable place.
"He kept telling me that I was an attractive person without all that stuff on (first of all, gross), and that he prefers his women barefaced. The final straw was the day he told me that I shouldn’t wear makeup because I was in a long-term relationship and didn’t need to impress anyone," Hannah said.
After enduring this totally inappropriate, unsolicited advice, Hannah decided to fight back in the best way she could: with makeup.
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"The very next day I whipped out the most colorful eye shadow palette I owned and went to town with a blue smokey eye. When I showed up at work, he snickered and said, 'Oh, that will get a lot of looks,' but I didn’t really care at that point," she said.
Hannah's customers and other colleagues, on the other hand, had a much different reaction.
"They were so incredibly kind about my makeup. My older female coworkers kept complimenting it especially," she said.
After her little experiment, Hannah showed up to work the next day with pink eyeliner and black lipstick, then sported rainbow eyes the following day. And she decided to post her experience on Reddit, captioning her post "My coworker said he hates women with heavy makeup, so naturally this is how I came in to work today."
And the Reddit community responded enthusiastically, flooding Hannah's page with over 300 comments and 13,000 upvotes.
After several days of rocking totally glam makeup looks, Hannah said her coworker was speechless — literally.
"He stopped trying to give me advice after that. Luckily, this coworker is transferring jobs soon, but it was so fun experimenting with bold colors in the meantime. And being a little petty," she said.
And the 20-year-old has her own bit of advice for men (or anyone) who criticize women for their love of makeup.
"My makeup isn’t for you. It never was. I wear makeup because I love wearing color and I love how calming it is to spend time by myself in the morning blending eye shadow," she said.
The college student plans to enter the predominantly male field of engineering and said she's ready to prove herself professionally and personally, makeup and all.
"I am a smart, capable, hardworking individual, and I will prove it many times over. My appearance shouldn’t influence your opinion on that. So maybe next time think twice before giving someone else advice on how to 'look better,'" she said.