The At-Your-Desk Survival Kit

Caudalíe Beauty Elixir & Rohto Eye Drops
Lather Clear Head Balancing Balm
Altoids, Colgate Wisps, Marc Jacobs Lip Lock Moisture Balm
Twistbands & Bumble and Bumble's Tin Pin
RGB Pads, Dior Crème Abricot, Dior Huile Serum, Deborah Lippmann
Tatcha Beauty Papers, Red Flower Towels & Clarins Balm
Eyelash Curler, Dolce & Gabbana Eyeliner, Anastasia Brow Gel

Got a case of the 4-o’clock-and-it-already-feels-like-midnights? And you still have so much work to dooo. No matter how pink your lenses, there are days when you just can’t. And maybe you just can’t because, pizza. No matter what’s to blame—your late night at the office, your late night out, your food coma, the premature sunset, or the fact that being at the same place for 8+ hours a day, five days a week is tough—your body language is reading ‘sulky teenager’ and you’re seeing double (unless you have dual computer monitors, in which case, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’VE MADE IT). Rather than whining, “Do I have to?” here’s how to arm your desk drawer with a few essentials to get you through the day, so you can get home and live your dreams, LOL.

First things first, WAKE UP: Aside from an espresso IV drip, your next best bet is a blast of Caudalíe Beauty Elixir to the face. The bright herbal solution of grape, orange blossom, rose, rosemary, and organic mint will tingle your skin and make you feel like a person again, and spraying a mist is less dramatic than plunging your face into ice water. Your face will feel a little more hydrated, and the mint will remind you to take a deep breath. Then, apply a light dose of Rohto Eye Drops. These are like breath mints for your eyes! You know how chewing mint gum makes water feel cold on your teeth? The same thing is about to happen to your eye sockets. It’s extremely scary the first time you try it—it may feel more like burning than cooling—but trust us when we say that after the second go-round, you’ll never buy any other eye drops. If you’re still not feeling all together born again, re-awaken the muscles in your face with Ranjana Khan’s Face Yoga, especially those deep blinks.

Or maybe RELAX?: Maybe our five-minute at-your-desk meditation isn’t your jam, or maybe you don’t even have five minutes. Try rubbing Lather Clear Head Balancing Balm onto your temples, forehead, jaw, and back of your neck for immediate tension release. Menthol relieves pain by cooling and desensitizing nerves, while lavender and eucalyptus soften your expression, and again, remind you to take a deep breath. Which brings us to our next point:

Clean Your Mouth: Eat a mint, will you? It will wake you up! Or, at the very least, it will make you a more pleasant person to work with. Remember, a tin of Altoids does not a meal make, so beware of filling up just because they are conveniently located right there. Seamless exists. After consuming actual food, rid your mouth of residual grossness with Colgate Wisps. The teeny single-use brushes are equipped with built-in mouthwash and a toothpick. It’s a tooth-tongue-and-gum emergency response system, no water or rinsing required. Then, seal in the freshness with ever-so-minty lip balm. Here, you can rely on personal preference—Nick likes Burt's Bees, Mackenzie goes for EOS Sweet Mint—but today, we’ll recommend Marc Jacobs Lip Lock Moisture Balm in Makeout, a non-greasy, non-shiny, hydrating stick that will look good on/in your desk.

For Your Hair: Clocking long hours at the office is not always conducive to looking your best—or your most...showered. Your hair is the first and most obvious giveaway of things going south, so if you don’t have dry shampoo, a hair refresher, or a hair zhoosher at your disposal, tie it back with Twistbands. These hair ties are of utmost importance because they don’t impart that telltale my-day-was-hard ponytail dent. If your hair is too short for a ponytail, more unruly than a simple hair tie can manage, or if this morning’s Heidi braids have become this afternoon’s sagging tragi-comedy, bobby pins are here to help. Bumble and bumble’s Pin Tin provides multiple types of pins organized in a very clean case (organization at the work place? Someone’s about to get a promotion) with idiot-proof descriptions for how to use each—“finishing pinches,” “neat hold,” “chignons and twists,” “heavier updos.”

Time to Get Handsy: Haven’t had time to get/give yourself a manicure? Read through the day’s TPS reports (see below) while cleaning off your chipped nail polish with RGB’s Scentless Nail Color Remove Pads. Store extras in your purse. Thank us later. Now go apologize to your cuticles for your recent neglect with a very thin coating of Dior Crème Abricot. This thick, tacky balm has been recommended for overnight recovery, but at your desk, it’s suitable for cuticlemergency situations. Then, for day-to-day maintenance, Dior Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive Serum should do the job just fine. Extend the hydration all the way down to your wrists with Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl paraben-free SPF 25 hand cream. (Ignore the name.) Made with shea butter, jojoba oil, and avocado (remember how great avocados can make your skin look?), the peony-scented lotion will make you forget your hands were ever thirsty, without alerting your entire office that A LADY IS PRESENT. The powder-dry finish will ready your hands for a day of acting as chin rests, and the SPF will prepare you for the few minutes of sun exposure you may find time for one of these days (self-fulfilling prophecy, c'mon).

Face It: We at ITG often break into mini panic attacks of “Has anyone seen the Tatcha Beauty Papers?” These gold-flecked blotting papers wipe off a day of delivery-food, hands-on-face grease without effing up your makeup (or lack thereof). Later, when you need to cool down or clean up, try Red Flower Blood Orange Towelettes. Our recent substitute for Mustela Facial Wipes, we’ve been taking these citrusy towelettes everywhere, because they’re slightly more hydrating and adult-smelling. And, if that’s not enough, remember that time we held the your-face-is-oily-because-it’s-dehydrated intervention? You do? OK, so: hydrate. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is a Top Shelf favorite because, as Emily once admitted, “a blob on your cheekbone/under-eye area really does wonders in the plumpness department” and it’s ideal “if you really need some luminosity.” Shine without shine. Get it?

Open Your Eyes: Supposedly your soul sits on the edge of your eyes, and yours is probably communicating Grumpy Cat, or Verge of Death. Even if the whites of your eyes have been restored thanks to Japan’s greatest import, Rohto (see above), the surrounding eye area is just as revealing. To deal with that situation, offer that area a swipe of the Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage to politely ask your eye bags to wait for you at home. Then, take a cue from Julia Restoin Roitfeld’s route to brightness by relying on an eyelash curler to fake it ‘till you make bed. Dolce & Gabbana The Eyeliner Crayon in Intense Nude on your bottom water line à la Harry Brant will also give you that youthful, eight-hour, what’s-a-weekend glow. Finally, heed the words of James Kaliardos—lift your brows and you’ll lift your whole face. Take thy Anastasia Brow Gel and brush up those brows.

Now get to work, bitch.

Photos by Mathea Millman. 

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • ikillplants

    ITG, I love you. Thank you. Special props for the creative photography--very nice use of negative space.

  • edie

    This probably sounds ridiculous, but if you're in NYC you can go to a place like M&J Trimmings and get decorative elastic in all sorts of great colors and patterns--and make your own hair-ties for less than half the price of store-bought.

  • Dressed with soul

    With this tips each hard day in the office will be easy to manage in future for me :) Thanks a lot!

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  • mh

    props on the photography!

  • Leslie

    Definitely all great things to keep in your desk!

  • Cantik Malaysian

    Totally in love with this! Decorating the office and this is a must!

    <3 - Morgan | Cantik Malaysian Hair

  • Christine

    Really great. Thank you! These tips also double nicely for an overnight/travel bag. LOVE it! :-)

  • bluesky557

    Most of these are great, though I'm failing at envisioning a scenario in which I'd need an eyelash curler at the office.

  • Capt Obvious

    Yeah its VERY hard to sit at a desk 8 hours...

  • Marleen

    I have a few staples always in my bag for on the go. Lipstick, a mirror, an eyepencil and a bright pink blush. The last one gives you a super pretty healthy flush!

  • cat butt

    Tatcha blotting papers are hands-down the absolute best ever. No other brand comes close. I love how big they are too; even for my shiny self, just one will mattify my entire face.

  • delina

    haha best blog post yet

  • tessamarisol

    that clip literally happened to me as i was leaving work today

  • woodwinked64 .

    This is so organised compared to my makeup bag which i carry everywhere with me

  • Three Girls One Apple

    All of these things are must haves. Seems like an excellent kit. Thanks for sharing from

  • Alice S

    I'm still in high school but I confirm that sitting for 8 hours is horrible! I keep a whole stash of makeup in my bag to keep me look a bit presentable after 7 classes

  • Maha Maven

    Such a great guide! Who doesn't need one of these


  • Cait

    I laughed out loud at the Altoids; I am totally guilty of absent-mindedly consuming a tin of them. Those Colgate wisps are a favorite for long flights because I can feel like my mouth is genuinely clean, but don't have to brush and swish in an airplane bathroom.

    I am currently experimenting with Tata Harper's Aromatic Irritability Treatment, in the hope that it will keep me from killing a few particularly difficult colleagues.


Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Rohto Arctic
Rohto Arctic Lubricant Eye Drops
Cost Plus World Market
Cinnamon Altoids
Colgate Wisp Peppermint Mini Toothbrushes
marc jacobs
Marc Jacobs Lip Lock Moisture Balm
Lather Clear Head Balancing Balm
Bumble and bumble
Bumble pin tin
Twistband Angela Hair-Tie Set
Nail Color Remover – 20 Pads
Deborah Lippmann
Deborah Lippmann 'Rich Girl' Hand Cream SPF 25
Clarins Beauty Flash Balm
Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage
Shu Uemura
Shu Umeura Eyelash Curler
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana The Eyeliner Crayon Intense Nude
Dior 'Huile Abricot' Daily Nutritive Serum
Red Flower
Red Flower Blood Orange Hand and Face Towelette
Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers