The first impression you give is with your appearance, and the second impression begins the moment you open your mouth to speak. So, you’ve got the talent, skill, experience and caliber to impress anyone once you are able to speak with them … but what about your appearance?
In the workplace, while your appearance is largely based on your clothing, nonverbal messages such as grooming habits, play just as important of a role as your verbal cues and outfit choices.
Maintaining your personal appearance through proper grooming shows others that you value the way you look. Meaning, you respect yourself enough to take the time, and spend the money, to make sure that you look professional. It also gives a positive first impression and makes you more approachable. And you want people to approach you at work. The more that people approach you, ask for help, advice, etc., the more likely you are to be remembered for that next big project, promotion, or opportunity. If your colleagues and co-workers don’t want to approach you, they won’t.
Here are my tips for maintaining a work-worthy grooming routine:
Fingernails: Get regular manicures (or DIY if you have more coordination that I do, and you can use your non-dominant hand). I personally opt for gel nails as they last longer, and I don’t have to visit the salon as frequently. Choose neutral colors that will blend in with every outfit. And remember (a dear friend of mine Mommy Life Styled gave me this advice) naked nails are always better than chipped nails.
Face: I am not a proponent of wearing a lot of makeup in the workplace, but minimal makeup is appropriate. If nothing else, make sure that your skin tone is consistent, and that any blemishes are covered up. I personally use a moisturizer that has sunscreen with a tint to protect my face and give it a little color.
Hair: Get your hair trimmed every few months in a work-appropriate style, and take the time each morning to brush, straighten, curl, whatever is that makes you look your best. If you color your hair, make sure that you keep up with regular colorings, highlights, etc. On those bad hair days, or mornings when life throws you a curve ball, opt for classic low bun or french braid to pull your hair back.
Eyes: Under eye makeup/concealer is your new best friend, get to know her! For those sleepless nights, invest in a great under eye cover up, and no one at the office will know that you’re running on minimal sleep. I also avoid heavy eye makeup and opt for light, neutral colors and nothing with glitter/shimmer in it.
Teeth: This is tough at work because bringing a toothbrush and toothpaste is impractical. I keep a stash of Wisp brushes in my drawer and will sneak away to the restroom before a big meeting or presentation to make sure my mouth is fresh. And mints … lots of mints.
Body Odor: Purchase a few trial sized perfumes or a roll-on of your favorite scent to dab a bit throughout the day to mask any smells that might develop.
Here’s the endgame, you want to feel good when you leave for work in the morning, and the benefit of this feeling impacts your performance in the workplace. You’ll project confidence and a positive attitude. And this, in turn, will draw your colleagues to you. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to rule you out because you didn’t feel like taking the time to maintain proper grooming habits in the workplace.
What are your secrets to keeping up with personal grooming at work?
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