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The Office-Ready Beauty Guide

June 23, 2011

Photo Credit: Frederic Farre/Figarophoto
Photo Credit: Frederic Farre/Figarophoto

Whether you're a Girl Friday just starting out or the Big Boss Lady, we've outlined the new code of conduct to make your beauty routine, makeup included, work for you come Monday morning.

HAIR MEMO: It's no coincidence that Tess (Melanie Griffith) climbed the corporate ladder after she hacked off her rat's nest in Working Girl (the identity theft didn't hurt, either). Here's how to take your hair from tacky temp to polished profesh:

"Above all, you want healthy, shiny hair and color at the office. It shouldn't be too processed — overly bleached, heavily highlighted, or have deep roots — or it will appear rough and brittle," says Dana Fiore of the Louis Licari salon. The subtle version of the ombré hair trend "actually works well because it looks more natural." During office hours, Fiore likes styles that are smooth and sleek. "If it's overdone or too teased, you risk looking old-fashioned — or too sexy — so watch height." Desperate for a frizz-fighting weapon this July? "A touch of pomade tames flyaways on the hairline," offers Fiore.

EAU DE OFFICE: Your Jean Naté perfume shouldn't announce your arrival before you enter the conference room. Here, base notes to follow at headquarters:

"Fragrance is a reflection of someone's personality, like a wardrobe item. You can't dictate it," says Trudi Loren, VP of corporate fragrance development at Estée Lauder. "But if you prefer a heavy Oriental or woodsy perfume over a light floral or citrus, use the eau de toilette — or even just the lotion — for a more work-friendly impression." Just don't think that gives you permission to douse yourself in CK One like it's sixth grade all over again: "Spray your favorite scent in the air, and walk through it so that you're finely misted," says Loren, noting that a little restraint goes a long way in any industry. "And if you must reapply for an event, don't spritz at the office — instead, use a solid perfume or rollerball for a more precise application." Your cubemate — and her nose — will thank you.

HELP WANTED:  Scored a dream-gig interview? We rang up Chief Marketing Officer Wendi Taylor Nations of Heidrick & Struggles — an executive search firm — to get the big guns' take on hire-me-now hair and makeup.

The last time I got a blowout before my ad agency interview, I left the salon looking like Angela Bower from Who's the Boss? Any suggestions?
Whether it's pulled back or left down, hair should be healthy, unfussy, and worn in a neat, uncomplicated style that you feel comfortable in — nothing looks as good on you as confidence. Just don't wear this season's female pompadour — that one's a hard-and-fast rule.

Will my new turquoise hair streak be considered an ice-breaker?
Hair color shouldn't be anything that's too young or overprocessed. And skip distracting hair accessories. If you don't try to look put together, then you haven't properly prepared, no matter how great your answers are.

Assuming I'm not a Kardashian, what do I want my makeup to say about me in an interview?
Makeup should be fresh, age-appropriate, and impress that you're current and relevant. It shouldn't say that you rely on cosmetics as a crutch, so it can't be too heavy, outdated, or overly trendy like neon lips.

Last weekend I pulled a Snooki and "fell asleep" at the shore — are tans appropriate at an interview?
A healthy tan is fine, a dark tan isn't. A deep bronze says that you're either hanging out on the beach all the time because you don't have a job or that you don't take the one you have seriously.

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