The Perfect Smoky Eye, And More Tips For Your Office Bathroom Cry

‘Until there’s a concealer that can hide your vast inner darkness, do what women do best and gracefully settle for the next best thing.’

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work bathroom cry-illustration of a woman putting on makeup in a bathroom mirror as she looks very sad

Illustration: Leeandra Cianci.

Perhaps the only thing more timeless and enduring than the sultry smoky eye is the silent meltdown in the bathroom at work. For years, women have known it’s simply not enough to hyperventilate from the crushing weight of their professional and personal responsibilities beside a Dyson Airblade moments before a 2 p.m. team meeting; they also need to look good doing it. Here’s how to avoid getting caught unprepared for that next full-body-shake session in an office bathroom stall.

Step 1

A little prep goes a long way. While no one prepared you for society’s expectations that women be endlessly emotionally available, ambitious, creatively fulfilled and fit while appearing cheerful and radiant at all times, at least you can set your eyelids up for success. Just lean in to the mirror and carefully apply gel- or cream-based primer — it’s so easy!

Step 2

Fight the shadows. Until there’s a concealer that can hide your vast inner darkness, do what women do best and gracefully settle for the next best thing: hiding those under-eye bags. As you slide down the tiled wall of the seventh-floor bathroom, questioning your life choices, gently dot on and blend in concealer to conquer the mini darkness under each eye.

Step 3

Choose your true colours. Select a shade of eyeshadow that brings out your natural glow — you know, what’s hiding under all the stress created by the wholly unsustainable pace of your day-to-day life.

Step 4

Blur the lines. To give your eyes that sexy, smoky allure, take a $109 smudge brush and, while trembling, soften the outer edges of your eyeshadow, not unlike the way motherhood has blurred the once crisp, well-defined boundaries of your identity. The borders of your eyeshadow should have a muted quality, much like the choked sobs you’ve been trying to hide from Suze in the next stall, who is muttering to herself and texting shade about Clara’s perfume.

Step 5

Lock yourself in. The only thing worse than poorly defined legislation around equal pay for women in the workplace is a poorly defined eye. Apply some classic black eyeliner and a whisper of mascara as a finishing touch, and voila: You’re ready to feel all that seductive perfection seep slowly down your face.