Regardless of whether you’re arriving home from a day of making foamy cappuccinos in Starbucks or have just limped into your flat sporting only one high heel after boogying into the early hours of the morning at Digi, every makeup-wearer knows the ‘full-face for far too long’ feeling. The oily, tingling, cakey feeling you get after wearing makeup for hours on end is the absolute worst - I’m reaching for the micellar water and cotton pads just thinking about it. But imagine having that feeling at work, on a thirteen-hour flight from London to Singapore and being able to do nothing about it, because that is exactly what all female Virgin Atlantic cabin crew members have been experiencing for years.
Thankfully though, in early March, Britain’s Virgin Atlantic lifted this requirement meaning that, much like their male co-workers, the ladies of the air will now be allowed to travel in all their bare-faced glory if they so please and I for one am thrilled. Up until this point many airline policies, from the 1990’s onwards, required all female employees to partake in a mandatory makeup class to meet a set level of presentability in the working environment ... while male employees were given the day off. However, this progressive decision on the part of Virgin shows a positive move towards greater equality between the men and women of the skies. Objectification of the female-flight attendant has indisputably been a problem for years, with some air carriers such as Malaysia-based AirAsia being brought under criticism over the years for putting young female employees in tight fitting uniforms and as a result presenting them as sex-objects in varying degrees. However, alongside Virgin allowing female flight attendants to decide for themselves whether they want to wear makeup they have also made it easier for them to select a pant-suit opposition as opposed to the familiar Virgin red skirt uniform. This is all very promising and was brought about following Virgin taking into account employee complaints and recommendations, both demonstrating the care Virgin shows to their employees and entirely confirming the true horror that is a greasy T-zone after a long day of full cover foundation.
Besides the comfort aspect of a makeup-less flight though, it is important to recognise that some women don’t like to cover up blemishes or sport a cherry-red lip every day (as was asked by the company) because it isn’t their preference and that is A-Okay. The same goes for the fact that some women just don’t want to wear makeup at work, instead choosing to only put on their fancy-pants cat eye liner and highlighter on a night out and that’s perfectly justified too! There is the slightly disheartening factor that despite this progress for Virgin Atlantic’s makeup regulations their employees are still limited to makeup which is deemed conservative, professional and complementary to their complexion and uniform though. That means no fuchsia pink brows or sparkly star-stickers on cheek bones which is such a shame. Regardless of whether or not this is deemed professional is a whole other matter, however, I for one would love to see companies like Virgin Atlantic making this their next step when regarding makeup regulations. I mean who wouldn’t want to be served a wine-cooler by an airhostess rocking a sunset gradient cut crease with a burgundy liquid lip?