Upwork Client

American client requested an article on self-development and confidence with the sole purpose of empowering women

November 2017

Why you need to start wearing red lipstick to work

You’re getting ready for work, just about to leave. Can I just add, you’re having a pretty damn good hair day girl! Purse – check, keys, check. One last look in the mirror before you head out, maybe a flush of colour won’t hurt. Hey, what about that Ruby Woo you bought from the store over the weekend? Ahhh, but you’re not sure. A bold, red lip for work? Really? You decide to pass.

If you question the professionalism of red lipstick or make up in general, you’re not alone. A study published in October last year examined how wearing make up to work projects success, but can also lead to objectification.

In the first of two experiments, 40 female college students were photographed with and without make up, and their photos were presented to another group of 128 (mostly straight) male and female undergraduates. Observers had to rate the pictures on ‘attractiveness’ and two components of social status – ‘dominance’ and ‘prestige’, although the words were left undefined.

The study revealed that women wearing make up were seen by men as more prestigious and by women as more dominant. Researchers felt that this was because men have a tendency to not see us ladies as physically threatening (they obviously haven’t seen me on a bad day); therefore our make up doesn’t affect how dominant we appear. Our fellow woman may see us as sexually competitive, and as a result, socially dominant. Previous studies have shown that attractive people are assumed to be competent, hence the prestigious label (my appearance has correlations with my brain power? Err I beg to differ…). To top it all off, there were also assumptions that women were more attractive, more promiscuous, and also garnered jealousy (Insane right? Getting the claws out because of a little Beauty Blender and lipstick action).

As crazy as it does sound, I do get it. We’re almost conditioned to think that way. You only have to do a Google search on the connotations of red and you get adjectives like “passion, desire, lust, romance, danger, and wrath”.

Personally, I don’t wear red lipstick, not because of its connotations, or because of what I’m worried about its professionalism, but because I’ve yet to find a shade that perfectly matches my skin tone (triracial problems). But I love seeing other women rocking a bold red lip, I think it’s empowering, unapologetic and an effortless addition to ANY ensemble.

Andddd I’m not the only one that thinks so. Make up artist Victoria Barnes told The Debrief “it’s a great tool in the boardroom, or for public speaking, because it makes your mouth such a focal point. Red lipstick works if you really wanted to be listened to.” Non-verbal communication as it’s best, at work, or elsewhere… (you know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t be coy now, get it girl!).

The icing on the cake comes courtesy of Fashion industry veteran Aliza Licht. She found that from a pool of 460 people, including lawyers, bankers and government work professionals, over 90% of women saw red lipstick as totally appropriate for the office, but nearly 80% felt it also projected confidence at work. Opinions were split about whether it was appropriate for work.

Tomorrow morning, when you’re applying the last finishing touches to your visage – don’t rule out red lipstick, or any other colour for that matter, as an option. You can wear whatever the hell you like, wherever you like, and you don’t have to answer to anyone. P.S, don’t forget a good lip liner too, lipstick bleeding is the worst.







Upwork Client

American client requested an article on self-development and confidence with the sole purpose of empowering women

October 2017

Scientifically speaking, you need to stop apologizing

Remember One Republic’s 2007 hit “it’s too late to apologize, it’s toooo lateeeeeeee…” have you ever questioned why there’s a supposed time limit on dishing out an apology, or in fact, why we need to apologize at all? What if we skipped the awkward ‘mmms’ and ‘ahhh’s’, racking our brains, thinking of the best way to express how we feel? What if we didn’t write and rewrite that text (which, thanks to the iMessage bubble, means that they can almost feel you panicking). What if we avoided apologizing all together?

New research by Tyler Okimoto and colleagues in Australia may just be the best news since sliced bread. It suggests that refusing to apologize goes way beyond the surface. People who refuse to show remorse maintain a greater sense of control and power; feel better about themselves, and more consistent in their thoughts and actions, than those who take no action at all.

We’re not encouraging narcissistic behaviour of course, and we know that the social norm is to take responsibility and say sorry when you need to. Let’s look at this in an everyday situation. So, you’re at a conference with a Q&A session, you’ve thought of a question (a pretty damn good one too). Although questions are encouraged, you don’t want to interrupt the flow of the speaker, but the auditorium is filled with likeminded people, confidently asking question after question. You manage to muster the words in what could almost be described as a whisper, a voice that completely contradicts your usually confident self, “sorry, can I ask a question?” The speaker can either accept or refuse your apology, to answer or not answer your question, to forgive, or refuse to forgive you. You’ve placed the speaker in a position of power, and this is one of the many reasons people choose not to apologize. We don’t want to feed the psychological need for power that’s innate within us all.

Secondly, when you apologize, you’re admitting that you were in the wrong, that you didn’t mean to engage with the session, and that it completely goes against your personal views and beliefs (e.g I shouldn’t be acting out of intrigue and expanding my intellect in an environment that avidly encourages it) and you would be understanding if you were in the speaker’s position – but you probably wouldn’t be, so you look like a hypocrite, and errr… who wants to be labelled a hypocrite? Excuse you.

Ultimately, making the decision not to apologize is about independence, and staying true to yourself. The unwavering desire to be unapologetic, to stand strong within your personal views and beliefs, no matter what the situation, is the root of your personal power.





Written January 2016

For many women of black descent, relaxing your hair is considered a right of passage, a transition from childhood to adolescence or adulthood, from an unruly bed of hair to smooth, soft, free flowing silk. The underpinning rationale behind this supposedly joyous, momentous transformation shouldn’t be overlooked….


Originally published on BuzzFeed’s Community page

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