The 5 Levels of Makeup For Entrepreneurs

I don’t put on primer for less than $1000.

Brit McGinnis
Feb 6, 2018 · 4 min read

In a certain exclusive group for copywriters, a conversation came up about makeup and self-care.

Turns out, some of the most brilliant minds in the copywriting biz are doing their work in yoga pants and nothing-but-moisturizer today. Beautiful picture, right?

It’s here that I let slip that I have “levels” of makeup for every occasion.

It caused… a commotion.

It honestly surprised me. Didn’t everyone rank their makeup routines? Didn’t everyone add and subtract different parts of their routine depending on the occasion?

Of course people do. They just don’t put it into tiers like my crazy a*s.

So here it is, for your consideration: The 5 Levels. May they cause curiosity and conversation.

Also: If you think makeup-wearers go all out for every occasion, you’re crazy. You are hopelessly crazy and Heaven forbid you ever run an HR department.

Level 1: Dungeons & Dragons.

This level is titled thus because it’s tied to a particular life lesson: You have to dress for the occasion and the audience, not necessarily for your own comfort levels.

I learned this in one of my D&D groups. Before you ask: Bard and a sorcerer, 5th edition.

Anyway, I realized after a while that the people in one of my D&D groups didn’t seem all that friendly to me. I was being my normal striving-to-be-polite self! What was wrong?

I soon realized that it was all in how I was presenting myself. Namely, my makeup.

Being polite is great. But being polite, plus dressing nice, plus wearing what I now realize was Level 3 makeup… I didn’t look like someone who was ready to drink booze and fight imaginary dragons. I looked like a snob.

So today, my D&D makeup consists of foundation and mascara. That’s it. Not even cover-up.

And you know what? I have a much better time when I go out to cast spells once a week. It’s all about playing to the audience.

Level 2: Going on a video chat.

Video chats came up a lot in the entrepreneur group. We love our clients and we love our customers.

But putting on makeup in the middle of the day for an hour or less of face time is the worst thing ever.

I always keep it simple: Concealer (undereyes and elsewhere), foundation, mascara, and filling in brows. Always the tiny notch of highlighter in the inner eye, so as to look more awake.

Sometimes I only do foundation in my T-zone so I look dewy AF. No one notices. The camera loves me, baby.

Level 3: Going out in the day.

This is mostly full face makeup, with some exceptions. Use concealer as you wish. Mascara is mandatory. Blend all your angles, and use blush if you’re feelin’ fancy. For me, filling in brows becomes mandatory from this level onward.

The distinguishing factor for this level is that you pick one main feature to highlight: Eyes or lips.

Eyes are the main go-to. If I want to look extra alert or cute, I go for the eyes. People notice a fun eyeshadow when you wear it to an agency introductory meeting. Even if you do a basic shimmer—shimmer impresses. Ditto with cat eye eyeliner.

But if it’s a more fun outing (or you’re trying to make it fun), the lips take center stage. Nothing screams “I AM A CREATIVE AND I AM HERE TO F*CK YOUR SH*T UP” more than a white/beige eyelid and purple lips. Agency heads eat that up.

Level 4: Going out at night.

This is a definite full face job, with both eyes and lips involved.

Go Hollywood with creamy white eyelids and a bold red mouth. Do up pastels on the eyes and a pale lip. If you’re me and this is a date night, it’s all about the eye-popping eyeshadow and tinted lip gloss.

But no matter what, Level 4 is about bringing your all to the table. You’ve used concealer everywhere you wish to. Mascara? Done. You’ve even whipped out the eyelash curler if you’re feeling particularly battle-ready.

In the 1950s, this was probably closer to Office Job Standard. But today, it’s what a female entrepreneur might wear when it’s time to bring it.

Level 5: Lana del Rey video.

This level is hardly reached ever. At least for me. Blame living in the Pacific Northwest, where a clean North Face jacket is considered fancy. It’s black, isn’t it.

This is where we go all out. Primer, foundation, concealer, contouring/blush if we feel like it, filled brows… you get the idea.

But this level differentiates itself because at this point, we’re not just wearing makeup. We’re using makeup to make ourselves works of art. It’s an attitude.

We are going for LOOKS at this level: Golden Goddess. Hard-Edged First Lady. Windswept Ingenue.

Level 4 is about presenting ourselves as put-together and beautiful. Level 5 is about us feeling beautiful.

And damn it, we have the skills to do it.

Ideally, you get more Level 4 and Level 5 days the more success you earn. But this isn’t the same for everyone. Maybe the dream for you is to never go above Level 2 ever. It’s all good. But it’s okay to switch it up according to the situation at hand. Everyone does!

Though I’m sorry to burst your bubble if you thought we’re always at Level 5. It’s just not true. Makeup is fun, but it’s work. And sometimes we’re too busy running the world to want to spend eternity putting on our face.

Actually, I’m not sorry for you at all. What were you thinking?

Brit McGinnis

Written by

Copywriter and CEO of Black Bow Communications. Author of several books. Host of the You’re Not Helping podcast. Tips and leads: @BritMcGinnis

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