Beauty at the bottom of your office drawer

WHILE life can’t be all networking and nights out, sometimes an invitation comes that’s too good to be passed up. But how do you solve the dilemma of going from desk-bound to diva in the cramped office toilets, without access to your usual cosmetic stash and no time to get home first?

Or maybe you just want to be able to freshen up during the day, before a big meeting or presentation, without lugging the contents of your bathroom with you. There is an answer.

Clear out your desk’s bottom drawer and use the space for an essential collection of compact beauty maintenance items.

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A concealer is a must-have for touching up dark shadows, which can often look worse after a long day in front of a computer screen. NARS concealer (18.50, Space.NK, George Street and Harvey Nichols) is a clever double-ended product with a white primer and concealer, each with its own tube and applicator brush. The primer works like an eye cream and is cooling, while the concealer goes on top and really works to eliminate shadows and bags. Or try Boots No.7 Quick Cover Blemish Stick (6.50), a high performance, non-pore blocking product that will cover everything from age spots to uneven skin tone. Its new formula is creamy yet light, comes in four shades, and will last 12 hours.

Shiny faces will be a distant memory thanks to Clinique stay-matte oil-blotting sheets (7.50 for 50, department stores), a handy pack to remove all traces of perspiration.

A pocket mirror is also a sensible investment. The Boots Travel Mirror (5.85) is ideal. It has two mirrors with different magnifying strengths, both are big enough to see properly, and it folds flat.

Keeping a four-way nail buffer, shaper, smoother and shiner by your side will sort out any nail problems and give them a healthy shine when there’s no time for polish. Try Ms Manicure 4 Way Buffer (1.99, Boots and Superdrug).

Offices are not kind to skin. A gentle and calming facial mist spray will refresh and revive tired faces and soothe frayed nerves. Try a spritz of Fresh Rose Marigold Tonic Water (21, 250ml, Jenners).

Your hands can also suffer during the day; paper cuts and dry atmospheres are workplace regulars. Apply a gentle hand cream, which will not only nourish your skin but, by massaging each finger in turn, clear your mind for a couple of minutes too. Try Dove Regenerating Care Hand Cream (2.29, 75ml, chemists and supermarkets) which has Vitamin F and moisturisers.

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When it’s really not practical to cart a full-scale make-up bag with you, a neat and practical multi-use product is a must and beauty companies offer a vast array. For a classy saviour for eyes, lips and cheeks try a stick of NARS The Multiple (26, Space.NK). It comes in a range of shades to suit all skin tones and will give a hint of shimmer to pale faces.

Stila’s Convertible Colour compacts are also good and come with a mirror, which makes life easier (18, at Space.NK).

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Another multi-talented item to have on hand is a tin of Vaseline (99p, chemists). This can be used on chapped lips, dry skin, even on cheekbones and eyelids as a quick highlighter when time is scarce.

There’s no doubt that a waft of favourite scent can improve your mood. Keep either a body spray, like Impulse Zen (1.55, 75ml, Sainsbury’s), which is very fresh, or a small bottle of perfume in your drawer to give you a lift and clear the air. L’Occitane’s Spicy Orange Solid Perfume Cubes (13.50, Frederick Street) come in a dinky tin, while Neal’s Yard’s have Remedies to Roll (3.25, Hanover Street), a range of handbag-sized essential oil blends to roll over pulse points and make you more energised or relaxed.