beauty

I Tested 5 Office Beauty Hacks To See Which Ones Really Work

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

Pretty much every woman has a beauty routine, even if it’s as simple as getting out of bed in the morning and whipping her hair back.

Mine has been more or less the same since I first discovered how to use mascara without impaling any of my body parts: mascara, combing my hair back, and adding a few dabs of concealer to my face. That’s it.

Needless to say, you won’t find me ogling at new products or hanging around makeup counters, seeking out expert advice (although, I could probably use it).

My laissez-faire approach to beauty is sometimes at odds with working a full-time job. Not only do I want to put my best foot — or rather, face — forward at the office, but it’s also hard to find time during the day to freshen up.

It’s also worth mentioning that, in general, I’m not quite as fresh-faced as I was during the less labor-intensive periods of my life.

There’s no chance I’m going to suddenly turn into someone who spends two hours getting ready in the morning, but still, I want to at least set the bar at looking professional and polished.

With that in mind, I decided to put to the test five time-saving office beauty hacks that beauty bloggers swear by to find out which ones really work, and which of those I could potentially add to my daily routine anytime I am in a pinch.

The Plan:

The Plan:
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

In order to separate fact from fiction when it comes to office beauty hacks, I decided to do what any sane person would do and try a few out for myself — even the really, really weird ones.

My Morning:

My Morning:
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

When I leave my apartment for work in the morning, everything is in place in terms of my face. However, it all immediately begins to go downhill on the commute.

My neatly styled hair gets an unwelcome wind treatment, my face makeup slowly begins to melt away, and my lips will inevitably become even more chapped than they already were.

Areas I Could Use Help:

Areas I Could Use Help:
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

By the time I arrive at the office, I have a few key issues that could use some work: flat hair, shiny skin, under-eye bags, rough lips, and, sadly, adult acne.

And it goes without saying: I don’t have much time in my day to deal with these things.

Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Since the last thing I want to do is start lugging makeup to work, the hacks I decided to experiment with were creative. Hey, if they could help my cause, why should I care?

Office Beauty Hack #1: Post-Its For Tackling Shiny Skin

Office Beauty Hack #1: Post-Its For Tackling Shiny Skin
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

With my body temperature changing constantly throughout the day thanks to things like steaming-hot subway cars, wind chill, a heated office, and a seat by a cold window, my face sweats a lot.

Unfortunately, sweat takes my face makeup right along with it and leaves a shiny layer in its place.

Since I usually don’t have blotting papers around, which are what is traditionally used to alleviate this problem, I decided to reach for the next best thing in the office supply world — Post-it notes.

It’s a hack that magazine editors swear by: using the adhesive section of the Post-it to lift shine.

What office doesn’t have stacks of Post-it notes lying around? This is a very easy hack to try.

After giving it a whirl, it did remove some of the shine, but it also removed what little of my face makeup was left. Note to self: This is probably best to do before you have any makeup on.

In retrospect, a toilet seat cover might have worked better, because its thin paper is super absorbent — instead of just being sticky.

Office Beauty Hack #2: Dry Shampoo To Give Flat Hair A Boost

Office Beauty Hack #2: Dry Shampoo To Give Flat Hair A Boost
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Keeping any volume in my hair is a losing battle as soon as I leave my apartment in the morning.

Part of this has to do with battling the elements, but another reason this happens is due to grease buildup.

I always thought that dry shampoo was something best left for people who like to skip showers. However, I was game to try it if it meant giving life back to my ‘do, and people on the internet live for this hack.

This only took about 10 seconds to do. I sprayed some of the contents onto my roots, let it dry a little, and then ran my fingers through my roots a few times to set the spray.

I was pleasantly surprised by the results and am going to keep a bottle on me at all times from now on. This was definitely a winner.

Office Beauty Hack #3: Creating A Foundation Triangle To Hide Under-Eye Bags

Office Beauty Hack #3: Creating A Foundation Triangle To Hide Under-Eye Bags
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not always get enough rest and am often plagued by under-eye bags that reveal that bad habit.

That 2 p.m. feeling is made even worse when it’s visible.

Now, I’ve spent most of my life thinking that concealer should be applied under the eyes in dots that you then dab to blend into your skin.

That’s why I decided to try a trick that I read about in Marie Claire that recommend applying concealer under your eyes, in an inverted triangle shape.

Using so much concealer had me a little worried. What if it doesn’t blend properly, and I have to walk around for the rest of the day with a very obvious makeup fail on my face?

Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by how effective this technique ended up being. With a little blending, you could barely even notice that makeup was there unless you were looking for it.

More importantly, the bags that used to scream “take a nap” ceased to exist. It almost made me feel energized. Almost.

Office Beauty Hack #4: Hand Sanitizer To Get Rid Of Acne

Office Beauty Hack #4: Hand Sanitizer To Get Rid Of Acne
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

I am by no means immune to adult acne.

While I have plenty of lotions and potions at home for this, I try to keep my skin problems and work as separate as possible.

Of course, that doesn’t stop a zit from erupting during the workday. In a panic, I am usually willing to try almost anything to make it go away.

Even though the very name hand sanitizer suggests that it’s only for your hands, using it, and its drying alcoholic content on acne, is what people on acne message boards swear by.

The sanitizer felt cool and gooey on the pimple I tried it on, and stung the way something does when you know it’s working. I let it dry for about 30 seconds before applying foundation with a brush to cover up the evidence.

My pimple didn’t get better, but it also didn’t seem to get worse as a result of this. I think your best bet would be trying this without using foundation or concealer to try to get the best results. It wasn’t a clear winner for me, but I realize that everyone’s skin is different. If you are in a pinch, I can vouch that it doesn’t seem to make things worse.

Office Beauty Hack #5: Baby Wipes For Treating Chapped Lips

Office Beauty Hack #5: Baby Wipes For Treating Chapped Lips
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

A seasonal problem that I often encounter is chapped lips. While the obvious solution to this problem is lip balm, my coffee-drinking habit means no balm stays on my lips for long.

More importantly, during the day, I need something to help remove some of the dead skin on my lips that’s just perpetuating the chapping problem.

I decided to see what would happen if I used a baby wipe to wipe off some of the excess skin, while hopefully moisturizing in the process.

Let me tell you, baby wipes are good for a lot more than wiping infants’ bottoms! The moisturizing formula was gentle enough to be around my mouth, and the wipe itself was soft enough to brush away the excess skin.

I am adding this as a step before putting on lip balm going forward — it was that effective.

Final Thoughts:

Final Thoughts:
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

I’m never going to turn into the type of person who brings a ton of makeup to work, but I will start keeping a few key things in my desk drawer from now on.

Most importantly, I can now look at things like baby wipes and hand sanitizer with a new appreciation.

If I could do it all over again, I’d skip the Post-its — but definitely add the rest to my midday routine.

Be sure to SHARE these hacks with anyone you know who is on the go and on the hunt for quick beauty hacks.

Photo: Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings