First of all, let me say that there is nothing wrong with having oily skin. As a matter of fact, my dermatologist has told me not to worry when I complained about my face having enough grease to fry an egg. Apparently, it’s a natural preservative, and people with oil-prone skin are likely to ward off wrinkles a little bit longer.
That said, there are moments in life when you don’t want a shiny forehead or nose, like when you’re about to take your passport photo or when you’re about to present at a meeting. But especially if you wear makeup, you don’t want to dab with a rough paper towel or, even worse, your sleeve.
As a beauty writer, I always carry a stash of blotting papers, which are highly absorbent thin papers that soak up sweat and oil. In the past, they were necessary for blotting fountain pens, and they still are used today for watercolor painting, chromatography, and, as the US Drug Enforcement Administration found out in 2008, distributing doses of LSD.
Cosmetic blotting papers are too expensive to be used anywhere except for your face, though. I’m a longtime fan of Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers, which contain gold leaf and are made with natural abaca leaf, a makeup hack supposedly borrowed from the geishas. I also use Too Cool for School Dinoplatz Dear Brachiosaurus Blotting Paper made with mulberry pulp, which is a traditional handmade paper in Korea. The papers are so nice that when I feel guilty for spending upwards of $10 for a tiny pack. I joke—to myself—that my face is a canvas for art.
But I learned (from a beauty editor at British society magazine Tatler, no less) of an easily accessible, free face blotter, found in the least likely place: your sterile, linoleum-floored office bathroom. Yes, the room with all those unflattering fluorescent lights.
Here’s the drill: Walk into a stall. Take out a toilet seat cover. Don’t put it on the toilet. Dab your face with it, focusing on the nose, forehead, and any parts prone to shine. Walk to the mirror and look at yourself. You look great! Now go kill that presentation.