Beauty Wednesday: Desk to Dinner Makeup

desk to dinner makeup 2Which makeup do you find indispensable for the desk-to-dinner refresh/transformation? I just realized the other day that we’ve never really talked about this (although I’ve certainly touted the individual products that I love enough), so I thought we should discuss.

For my $.02, if I’m meeting my husband or friends after a long day of work, I tend to do more of a “refresh” than any crazy transformation. To me that means:

  • Skin: Touche Eclat under my eyes, over my browbone, and around my nose for a lighter “wakeup” than straight concealer
  • Cheeks: Nars Orgasm The Multiple on my cheeks to add back some color (and also some sparkle for the evening)
  • Eyes: a bit more eyeliner, usually, and if it’s officially a Dinner Out kind of night, I’ll add dark shadow to my crease and along my lash line (the “bigger” the night is the darker I tend to go!)
  • sometimes a bit more brow liner if I’ve had a head-in-my-hands kind of day
  • Lips: I’ll usually wipe off whatever lipstick is still left and do a fresh application of lip — if it’s a party or networking situation (where I expect to nibble instead of eat, if that makes sense) I will usually put on at least L’Oreal Paris Infallible LipColour, usually with their Never Fail Lipgloss layered on top. (I’m a fan of the one-shade-darker-than-my-natural-lips look, which for me is Nutmeg and Barely Nude.)

I tend to save a “full eye” with multiple colors and shadows and the occasional false eyelashes for when I’m starting with a fresh face, instead of makeup I applied many hours ago.

(Aww, my first image map! Click on the pictured products above to go to their product pages. Or: Touche Eclat / Nars Orgasm the Multiple / Infallible Lipcolour / Never Fail Lipgloss.)

Readers, what products do you swear by for your desk to dinner makeup needs?  Do you tend to do a “refresh” or a total transformation? (Or, do you skip it and just hope your morning makeup lasts all the way through dinner?)


  1. Threadjack- anyone else struggle to work from home? I am terrible at it, so normally never attempt it, but today it is a necessity due to blizzard + deadlines…I managed to clear off my kitchen table and set up my stuff, but keep getting drawn to my comfy couch and the internet….

    If you’ve been there and found a solution, I would love to hear it!

    • Wildkitten :

      Put in laundry and work hard until the machine bings. Then put laundry in the dryer and work hard until the machine buzzes. That system doesn’t work if you don’t need to do laundry, but I always do.

      • Clever! Powering through limited chunks of time often works well, such a clever way to track. Also, scheduling out your day and projects and setting timers (on phone or appliances) may help.

      • Thanks! Unfortunately I don’t have laundry machines. But, your method is basically the pomodoro method and I certainly have timers!

    • Similarly, the Pomodoro method works well for me. Also, it’s helpful to have dedicated office space away from the messy kitchen/bed to made/etc. But I have worked from home for 6 (!!) years full-time so I am pretty good at it by now.

    • I actually get a lot done. BUT. I’m struggling with the refrigerator being so close. Any suggestions to end the snacking, while we are discussing telework?

      • I’m having the opposite problem. All of my snack foods are in my office.

        • Cornellian :

          hahaha. BigLaw?

          • Government, actually. I guess I just don’t snack much at home. I cleaned out some odds and ends of crackers, chips, and hummus at 10 am…

      • Can you set up your snacks to be at similar intervals and serving sizes to what you get when working in an office? Once the snacks are gone for the day, you don’t get to rummage around for more in the pantry or fridge.
        Or, make the snacking more enjoyable by eating something that you wouldn’t normally eat at work. For me, that would be popcorn or some other smelly snack.

    • Whenever it is bad weather, and I do NOT have court date’s or depo’s I work from home. This mean’s I log on to my email useing my OWN wireless ROOTER on my MacBook air, then handel e-mails. If there are call’s I have Lynn tell them to call me at home, and I answer the call’s from home.

      I also do all my laundry, watch the Today Show, includeing the after show with Hoda Copy, and also do my laundry. I also catech up on all of the magazine’s I can NOT read at work, and figure out a way to make sure that I bill at least 12 hours. It is NOT as easy to bill 12 hour’s from home as it is billeing 16 hour’s from work unless I have to work on pleeding’s that have to be filed. For those, I can bill 4 hour’s even if it takes 10 minute’s, so that is why my WIRELESS ROOTER come’s in so handy! YAY for tecknology! The guy from the cabel company want’s me to upgrade to 100 Gigabities, but I think mine is OK as is. I will see what the manageing partner want’s me to do and if I can bill the cabel bill to the firm and our cleint’s. YAY!!!

  2. I’m pretty low key about it – a makeup bag lives in my desk that has (1) powder compact, (2) the most recent “almost used up” eyeshadow and blush from home (these are probably 2 years old at this point, but I’ve never had any issues with irritation so d*mn the beauty industry and their “throw out after 3 months” lines), (3) a little hairbrush, and (4) a few shades of lipstick.

    But I almost never make weeknight plans unless it’s a work event – so I’m never shooting for a look that’s other than my normal workday makeup.

    • Nope, 1L was the worst year. I wouldn’t take a week off.

    • Ack! I replied to the wrong comment!

    • Who ACTUALLY throws out makeup after three months? My blush and eyeshadow generally last me a couple of years. I do throw away mascara after a few months, but otherwise my budget couldn’t handle it!

    • Pressed powder makeup, like eyeshadow and blush, doesn’t go bad, really. You can spray a little rubbing alcohol on top and let it dry if you’re worried about contamination, but it doesn’t really go bad. Mascara and any liquid product can and will go bad, and grow all sorts of nasty buggies, so you definitely should be tossing that every few months.

  3. Comment on L’oreal Infallible products – although they do work great (and I love the nutmeg color!) I found through some trial and error that they were giving me headaches. Not blaming/complaining – just a heads up to watch out for similar issues if you decide to try them!

  4. Anonymouse :

    Early threadjack, but I need some advice – I’ll be starting law school in the fall, and I’ve been invited to take a (free) vacation sometime in February. For those of you who have been to law school or are in it now, is it absolutely out of the question to take a week off in the middle of classes?

    I’ve told the vacation planner that it probably won’t work with my more intense schedule, but I wanted to see if anyone has done something similar and pulled it off. I’d hate to turn it down only to find out that it probably would have worked out fine.

    • You have to look at your calendar and see where this week falls relative to exams. If it is very early in the semester you might get away with you. You will also have to find out the attendance policies of the various professors.

      Finally, you have to ask yourself whether you are the kind of person who can take some time to do the required reading/studying even while you are on vacation (or do extra reading ahead of time) because if you can’t do that this is definitely a bad idea. (See my post upthread, I definitely am not that kind of person).

      Basically, I think it may be doable depending on the answers to the considerations I listed. Also, how upset would the planner be if you backed out last minute? That will always be a possibility and if they will be very pset it may not be worth the risk.

    • Lady Tetra :

      Since you’ll be a 1L, I would be very hesitant to commit to something like this. I would recommend waiting until you are in your first semester and get a little bit more of a feel for how you will be using your time in law school. You might also be able to scope out your spring semester professors (i.e., will they take attendance and call on you at random, or will you have assigned weeks on-call, etc).

    • Senior Attorney :

      I just don’t think there’s any way to know until you’ve started and are able to get the answers to the very good questions Dulcinea poses. So if the person who invited you can keep the invitation open until the last minute, it might work. If not, I’d pass.

      That said, I took three weeks off at the beginning of my second year of law school because I had a baby, and lived to tell the tale. Although I suspect everyone was more accommodating for a baby than they would be for a vacation.

      • Agreed. I was barely able to function for half of the second semester of 1L due to a severe cold/flu/ mono situation. I was not in the top 10% but I wasn’t completely out of the running either.I would tentatively accept the vacation and have a story ready about why you are traveling that makes it seem more important than it is. Maybe you are competing in a marathon or raising money for your grandma or this is a once in a decade family reunion and you happen to be related to Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

    • I’d say no – 1L grades and in some jobs, professor recommendations, are too important, aside from the practical questions others have posed. But I’m the personality type that wouldn’t be able to really enjoy myself on the trip, knowing I was shirking what I was supposed to be doing and paying an obscene amount of money per class hour for.

    • Wildkitten :

      Out of the question in 1L. Fine in 2L or 3L.

      • Eh – I’ll take a different point of view. I missed one of my close friend’s wedding 1L year because I bought into the notion that I needed to do law school all the time/no matter what, basically, the 1L crazy that comes with law school. In retrospect, I could have gone and I think you can take a short vacation. February is pretty early in the semester & I don’t think missing a week is that hard to catch up on if you’re diligent the rest of the time.

        • Anon, this is the way it’s supposed to be. You want your regret to be that you should’ve relaxed a little more during 1L (like attend a wedding, or go on a vacation). You don’t want your regret to be that if you had only skpped out on that vacation, maybe you would’ve gotten a better grade in that one class.

        • Wildkitten :

          Does a wedding require you to miss an entire week of classes? Aren’t weddings usually long-weekend-type ordeals?

          • I went to school across the country from where the wedding was & it had a lot of surrounding events so it would have been about a week off w/ travel. I agree generally with the idea that it’s nice I don’t regret getting a worse grade, but I think there’s a lot of law-student imposed stress 1L year that’s quite unnecessary. Looking back, I don’t think one week out of a year would have mattered, especially if it came at the right time. Right before finals, no, but early in a semester, could be okay.

    • During 3L? Totally. 1L? Definitely not.

    • Apart from classes, you’ll likely also be looking for a summer job at that time of year.

      • I took my spring break to go to Paris during 1L but definitely used Feb to find a summer job.

        If you’re not super involved, or hiking/camping a week in the woods for the free vacay, it might be nice to go and just tell yourself you need to be mindful of that while on winter break and work really diligently to figure out 1L summer.

    • I took 2 weeks “off” 2L fall (traveled for a school clinic I am in – not a vacation) and it was a mess, but it was possible. You’ll have to live in the library 2-3 weeks before you go – reading for the classes you’ll miss ahead of time and outlining parts ahead of time. Make sure you have 3 hrs/day of your “vacation” to watch/listen to the recorded lectures as they happen, otherwise you will feel overwhelmed when you get back. If you think you can go without breaks/fun for several weeks while you prepare/catch up, or are prepared to spend Spring Break with your head down, it could work.
      Even though I think it is possible, if it were me as a 1L, I would have been way too terrified to miss that much class.

      • just Karen :

        and this assumes that there are recorded lectures – my law school did not record classes, so it would mean relying on other people’s notes when I get back, missing the lecture completely. Being able to see the lectures on vacation might be a game changer for me – otherwise my answer is unfortunately I think it’s a no-go.

      • Wait, schools record lectures now? I’m class of 2011 and mine wouldn’t even do that if a student had a documented illness keeping them from class–they just sent out e-mails asking for volunteers to donate their notes.

        I feel old…will someone explain these things like Twitter and Foursquare to me again? ;)

    • I’ll fess up – I often skipped class during the second semester of my 1L year and did much better 2nd semester than I did first. But ymmv. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Also, what about spring break?

    • lurky-loo :

      I took a week off in February my 1L year for an event related to my pre-law school career – it was a one-time event related to something I’d put in a huge amount of work on a few years before and I hated the idea of not being there, even though I’d made the decision to change careers. I didn’t have a problem staying caught up with my reading and friends gave me their notes from the classes I missed. I should note that I otherwise never skipped classes in law school (except for once or twice when I was sick), so I don’t think it hurt me.

  5. hellskitchen :

    Do you all wipe off your makeup to start with a somewhat fresh base? Or refresh it in any other way? After a full day at work, I find the my base primer + foundation just doesn’t look fresh and no amount of highlighters are going to mask that. On days that I have after work events, I end up not applying too much makeup at the start of the day so that I have a somewhat fresh face to work with in the evening. But perhaps there are other solutions to address this problem? Do other people use wipes or mists or anything to freshen up your makeup base?

    • kjoirishlastname :

      I keep a pack of makeup wipes in my drawer along with some random makeup. I don’t go from work to “out”, ever, really, but I do often have post-work meetings/public hearings that sometimes I don’t get home between.

      Even though the wipes have now dried out, I can still refresh them with water from the sink and start over pretty fresh. I will usually just go over t-zone and under my eyes to basically start with a clean slate, then apply new makeup.

      I also +1 to previous poster who never throws out old makeup. Never had a problem with irritation or infections, so it seems to be a waste to toss perfectly good blush/eyeshadow/lip color. I don’t wear a lot of mascara, so I just buy the cheap and toss it when it runs out/gets clumpy. Sometimes, if it has been a super-long time since I’ve used a product, I will scrape off the top layer with a credit card to reveal fresh powder (as for blush or eyeshadow). I always will reapply brow filler and blush, as I find that those 2 things, if nothing else, makes me look at least presentable.

      • hellskitchen :

        I need to practice doing this at home a few times to see how quickly I can reapply my makeup after wiping it off. I have after-work events all the time so this is a recurring need

  6. Joanna Toews :

    A reapplication of mascara, some darker lipstick/gloss/stain, and ye olde Nars Orgasm Multiple for my eyelids and cheeks.

    • Joanna Toews :

      (Context: I have deep-set eyes and uber-pale lips.)

    • TO Lawyer :

      Ya i usually touch up my eye makeup, add some more blush (these stay in my desk drawer) and reapply lipstick (usually whatever is lying around in my purse. I also occasionally do my nails. Unless it’s a big night out, I don’t usually reapply foundation or anything like that

  7. latecomer :

    Would you ladies permit me to vent?
    I got in a bit earlier than usual this morning – 8:15 instead of my standard 8:40-8:50. A co-worker of mine walks in later and says, “What? Do my eyes deceive me? How did YOU beat me in?” Another guy near by said, “Disconcerting, isn’t it?”
    I found this irritating. Isn’t it rude to call people out for getting in later than you? I think it’s obnoxious to even take note of that sort of thing.

    • Eh, certain people in my group are known for getting in ridiculously early. It throws them for a loop when someone beats them in so they may comment. I usually just shrug that sort of thing off as an awkward attempt for humor/bonding.

    • Short answer: yes, it’s obnoxious. But it still happens and will always happen.

      Longer answer: I’m very much a “come and go when you want, but if you get your work done, who cares about your schedule” kind of person. Most people in my office are like that, as well. However, we also have self-appointed hall monitors who really care about who comes in when. They are the kinds of people who make comments like your coworkers. Eventually, I just decided that I wasn’t going to let their views on when people should and shouldn’t be in the office bother me – I’m getting my work done, billing over my hourly requirement, etc. If you’re in a similar situation (I wouldn’t recommend this approach if you’re missing deadlines and the like), I’d recommend doing the same thing.

    • That is rude no matter what, talking like that in front of you. We have an issue in our office where the official policy is 8-5 even for management, but some lower-level employees take advantage of our office manager and basically make their own hours (think 9ish to 5ish w no lunch). I’m not suggesting you are taking advantage, but really these people are in my office. It has caused some bad feelings, but I would never myself make a sarcastic remark about it to one of those people, nor have I seen anyone else do so.

      • latecomer :

        nah, not at all. our official hours are 9 to 5, and i get in before that, usually. but i kind of just hate the notion of “face time.” i’m highly productive – on more projects and workgoups than either of these two people, and i know that only bc we’re on the same team – but i think i do a good job of getting everything done and done well and still leave on time. i guess i’m against the idea just being here early or staying late for the sake of it.

    • Anne Shirley :

      But you do usually get in later than them. I think you’re bring overly sensitive about this one.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I agree. I think the appropriate response is “I KNOW, RIGHT??? You early birds had better watch your backs!”

      • latecomer :

        thanks, anne shirley (sincerely). but you don’t think there’s an implied judgment in that? oh wow, YOU’re here before ME? As if I get here at noon every day. it seems in corporate america, the prevailing idea is that more hours/getting in early/staying late is better, so to suggest that you’re getting in SO LATE seems pretty out of line.
        i should add that the office itself is very focused on output, and not face time (thank goodness.) but i think these two people are focused on face time.

        • Yes, the implied judgment that *I* am so important to their daily lives.

          FTR, I agree with Anne Shirley and Senior Attorney. My coworkers pull that nonsense on me all the time and I make fun of them and myself.

    • My suggestion would be to laugh it off. Getting bent out of shape about a comment like this is a good way to spoil relations with your colleagues. My workplace is very casual with hours – some of us come in early, some late, and as long as the work is done it doesn’t matter – but we still good-naturedly rib one another about our working preferences.

    • I think “you’re here early” would have been more appropriate than the comments made, but I don’t really think it’s generally rude to comment on it in all cases.

      I got a comment along the lines of “wow, you are running late” when I was riding up in the elevator with the person who supervised the vacuuming of our office space. It was just kind of weird, especially because I had been at my desk & working already and had just run out to get a soda. Not that any of that is his business.

    • NWanalyst :

      I think that’s fairly obnoxious. If people need to keep score in their own heads, well, I suppose that’s no business of ours, as distasteful as the idea may be. But sharing those judgments in the workplace is rude, and openly discussing someone (as the second commenter did) in front of them is also rude.

      If it were me, I’d take this as valuable evidence that these two individuals might not be friends to me, and/or politely confront the implied judgement. I’d also be asking myself the uncomfortable question of whether my manager was likely to concur with the coworkers…

      • latecomer :

        nah, not at all. our official hours are 9 to 5, and i get in before that, usually. but i kind of just hate the notion of “face time.” i’m highly productive – on more projects and workgoups than either of these two people, and i know that only bc we’re on the same team – but i think i do a good job of getting everything done and done well and still leave on time. i guess i’m against the idea just being here early or staying late for the sake of it.

        • latecomer :

          my manager comes in even later than me, i think. and produces more than all of us: )

    • I’d say it is fairly to very obnoxious. ESPECIALLY because they are not coming in extraordinarily earlier than you stated in this posting. I’m much more focused on my day and what I have to do than to notice comings and goings within a 30 minute window. a 10:00 am person arriving at 8:00 am would be noticed (but STILL shouldn’t be remarked upon like this!!)/

      • latecomer :

        thanks so much, everyone, for your responses! much appreciated. i definitely laughed it off this morning, and think i did a decent job of hiding my ire. (grrr).
        some suggested i’m being too sensitive, and i appreciate those perspectives. but honestly — getting in to work early is always seen as an attribute, isn’t it? i mean, if i was a manager, i truly wouldn’t care (and mine doesn’t) and would be focused on productivity/quality of work. but let’s face it – it’s seen as a good thing to get in early, and to stay late. so to comment that it’s shocking, basically, for someone to get in early definitely seems uncool. and a weird way of trying to make yourself look better, though i don’t know that they were necessarily going for that.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Look, in the very narrow category of “who spends more time in the office?,” these two are one-up on you. That’s just the fact. They are focused on face time because that is an area in which they look better than other people. So they took the rare opportunity to score points at your expense. Probably no malice aforethought involved, just guys being idiots.

          If everything you’ve said is true — that nobody really cares about face time and that you’re more productive than they are, then let them have their tiny little pitiful moment in the sun, laugh it off, and get on with your day.

          On the other hand, if you are this irked because deep down inside you think there might be some vulnerability here, then maybe that’s something worth looking at, and maybe they did you a favor without knowing it.

    • Sounds familiar. Sometimes I may more likely to take time in the morning even when I am ready early, just because I don’t like dealing with it. I’ll admit that this is over-sensitive of me, but it doesn’t make me like the comments.

  8. I just add eyeliner, or touch mine up, touch up blush, swipe of lipstick.

  9. This is a good reminder to me that I need to get a “nighttime” shade of lipstick. My daytime go-to is Nars Tonkin (kind of a matte, rose color, very neutral). I’m thinking maybe a plummy shade, but not too dark? Any thoughts? I’m late 20s, Asian and my style is probably best described as “classic,” not dowdy, but not cutting edge fashion either.

  10. Well, for those of you following the gripping story, I am now having a problem with my work laptop and actually can’t do work at the moment until tech support calls me so, yay?!

  11. Besides the make-up, I recommend a small set of toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth rinse and facial cleanser in your desk drawers. I don’t like reapplying make-up on top of make-up because it can actually clog your pores and you get a yellow tint to your face from the oxidation. Freshening up to me really means being fresh-faced and no bad breathe from a 8-10 hour day of coffee and lunch.