Raid The Office Supply Closet For Your New Favorite Beauty Aids

You'd be surprised what Post-its, clips, pencils, and highlighters can do for you in a beauty pinch.
Publish date:
September 19, 2013
lip stains, eyeliner, quick fixes, improvising, pencils, office supplies, paperclips, post-its

As hard as I try to keep myself organized and prepared for anything, I cannot, for the life of me, keep my hands on hair accoutrements. You’ll find bobby pins, barrettes, and hair ties of all types scattered across my personal landscape like tumbleweed in a desert. There’s probably at least four or five in my purse right now, but when I really need one, they seem to go missing. It’s a strange curse.

A few weeks ago, I was struggling through several hours of paperwork while chained to my desk. Due to the special circumstances of my job, of which I will spare you the boring details, I don’t spend much time in my cubicle, and therefore, I have not built up a personal, comfortable space for myself. Long story short, I needed desperately to pin back my growing-out bangs and, alas, I was once again without hair fixin's.


Actually, it wasn’t that exciting. Well, it was exciting, but not ALL CAPS exciting. The clips held my hair while giving a little punk-rock-safety-pin-in-the-nose edge.

I did experience some tangling on removal, so I made sure to glossify my hair with some serum before trying it again. Heed my cries and remove paperclips carefully! I found that bending them open a bit before sliding helped as well.

I was hooked. “What else?” I thought. I already know that Sharpies can be quite versatile.

First, I listened to some Dolly to get me in the “screw yer boss” spirit, (Not really, boss! I love you!)

Then, I raided the supply room at my very own office. I do non-profit, community-funded mental health care, so the pickin’s were slim. Now, put away your sad trombones. Just because we don’t get free staplers or nice ink pens doesn’t mean I can’t make it work. Also, I promise that I will use these supplies when I’m finished, so no one gets hurt!


Binder clips come in many sizes. They’re pretty fun. I basically followed Rachel’s instructions for twisting hair into an updo, but I used large binder clips to secure hair along the way. The clips were helpful because my hair is so thick. Bobby pins just in the back of the ‘do won’t cut it for me.

Of course, you’re probably not going to wake up one day and secure your hair with binder clips ON PURPOSE, but if you’re stuck in the office and feeling bored or kooky or pretty, it’s an absolute mind-scrambler of a time.


I learned from Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion that Post-its® were invented by Art Fry at 3M in 1980. Sticky notes will revolutionize the business world! They’re also great in a pinch for blotting greasies from your face.

The adhesive edge of the note can also act as a guide for some super-fly eyeliner action.

An eyeliner flick, so to speak, should more-or-less follow the same line as your lower lash line. Use the note to act as a template for that angle.

Then, fill in the wing.


I wanted to make this work on my nails, but the results were sheer and smeared. Plus, my nails are too short for major nail art right now. (I wanted to make a plaid pattern, dangit!) I’m sure some nail genius out there can figure it out, but I am not that genius.

Me? I’m the genius who tried highlighter as a lip stain.

You probably shouldn’t really try this. My Internet research uprooted a thread about dogs eating highlighters. Apparently the ink isn’t toxic, but I still wouldn’t recommend it unless you were in the midst true BEAUTY EMERGENCY. Or, like, you wanted your lips to glow under a blacklight at a rave?

I lightly dotted this on and topped it with a swipe of Carmex. It looked like a cheap knockoff of a good lip stain. Unfortunately, I did not get to test it out for glow-in-the-dark effectiveness. It came off with makeup remover, thank goodness. Do NOT eat it! And save up for a proper lip stain.


I could write a sonnet about a pencil. What CAN’T it do?

I pondered making a cream eyeshadow with pencil shavings and Vaseline, and then I came to my senses. I’ve already put too many foreign substances next to my face holes for this article.

Instead I opted for the pencil curl. That shouldn’t be too painful.

As you section off your hair, spray with water.

I chose water because my hair will hold curl forever and I wanted to go for a less-defined look. Use a styling product if you want your curls to be more defined; and remember, different hair types will need more or fewer pencils, depending. I went through a 12-pack.

Place the pencil at the base of the section of hair, and coil the hair around the pencil.

Secure the end of the hair with a small binder clip.

Continue to attach pencils to your head.

When you get all of your hair onto pencils, you might look like this.

I drove home from my mother’s house--a 45 minute drive--with my head looking like this. Later in the evening, as I removed the pencils, I realized that my hair wasn’t completely dry. The curls took on a looser wave, or what my mother might call a “body wave.” Keep this in mind for your own hair. If you want to avoid using heat, plan ahead. Then again, if you plan ahead you probably won’t need to use pencils as curlers.

I ended up with a volumizing effect rather than full-on curls. Next time I might put a styling product in my hair or take more time to wrap my hair perfectly. (I think we both know I’m only doing this again for Halloween. I’m lazy.)

So, which office supplies do you use in a beauty supply capacity? I know rubber bands have to be good for something.