A Toronto woman says she turned down a job interview with The Body Shop, which declares on its website that "beauty is much more than a pretty face," because she was told in an email that she needed to wear a "full face of makeup" to the meeting. 

"It isn't right," Brenna MacPhee, 23, said in an interview with CBC News.

"I can't work for a place that expects female interview candidates to wear a full face of makeup."

MacPhee, who is from Nova Scotia but moved to Toronto while studying for a master's degree, says she applied online for a part-time job as a "customer consultant" at the cosmetics and skin-care company.

After The Body Shop called her back to say she had been selected for an interview, MacPhee received an email last week that gave the time and location. The email, obtained by CBC News, also said: "***DRESSCODE: Please wear all black business attire and a full face of makeup as it is our dresscode in the store."

'True beauty comes from the heart,' website says

MacPhee was surprised at the requirement.

"I thought [they] would hire me based on my previous experience and qualifications, not based on how I look."

She also says the makeup demand is "problematic" for a retailer that, on its website and in its branding, claims to "celebrate diversity and reject a stereotype of beauty" and believes "true beauty comes from the heart."

"It's just really, deeply hypocritical," MacPhee said. "If you're promoting your company as beauty is more than a pretty face and it comes from within, then you should accept that some women don't want to wear makeup."

The Body Shop

The Body Shop has said it will investigate MacPhee's complaint. (CBC)

CBC News reached out to Body Shop Canada for comment on MacPhee's experience. Late Monday, the vice-president of marketing and corporate responsibility in Canada thanked the CBC for raising the matter and said the company would investigate.

The Body Shop's website says the company "celebrates the diversity of people and rejects a stereotype of beauty."

A job posting says candidates "have to possess a high standard of personal image and style in compliance with corporate guidelines."

MacPhee says she explained in an email why she was declining the interview, but didn't get a reply from The Body Shop.

"I never got a word."


On Tuesday, the Body Shop issued a statement on Twitter about the situation.