I don’t want to wear makeup, but do I have to as a woman?

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a college student in my 20s. I’m wondering if I should wear makeup, which I’m not good at applying.

About half a year ago, I was shocked to hear a lecturer at a job-hunting etiquette class say: “Wearing makeup is basic manners for women. Going without any makeup is like going out in your pajamas.” I couldn’t let go of the critical thought that what she said was just some sort of social etiquette rule created by cosmetic companies as part of their promotion.

I think cleanliness and functionality are more important than beauty. My hobbies include martial arts and bodybuilding, and I once suspected that I was a transgender person. However, I consider my gender identity to be female.

When I wear makeup, I feel as if I’m applying some kind of weird chemical to my face, which makes me feel sick. I don’t want to spend my mornings doing that. However, I also don’t want to be thought of as a person who lacks common sense as a working woman.

I’d like to know if I should put up with it for the sake of smoother relationships at work.

— C, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Ms. C:

I also don’t wear makeup most of the time, so I generally agree with you. I feel like I’m suffocating when my pores are covered. I think there are a lot of people who are relieved to spend less time wearing makeup now that telecommuting is encouraged.

However, I can’t instantly deny the lecturer’s words, because makeup is not necessarily something you do only for yourself.

In the case of face-to-face work, the impression you make can directly affect the image of the company or its products. For example, if you work in the fashion industry and are careless about your makeup, people may think that you don’t really care much about fashion trends.

Makeup that is appropriate for the occasion can also make your inner self stand out. Whenever Saori Yoshida, the former wrestling champion, appears on TV, I always think she has nice makeup that shows off her kindness and cuteness. There is probably a natural makeup style that suits your muscular body. So why not follow her example?

If you exercise properly, sleep well, and eat a well-balanced diet, your skin will be in great condition, and you won’t need to apply as much makeup. Good luck with your job hunting!

—Hazuki Saisho, writer