Let me set the scene for you. Miguel or Drake is blasting from the speakers in my apartment in Brooklyn (the best borough in New York, I might add). I'm robed and singing along with a glass of bubbly to the left of me on my vanity or a "get-ready" cocktail that my lovely roommate Jasmine, the resident bartender of our friend group, made for me. I've spent a lot of time debating my outfit for the night and texting friends about the plans. Before sitting down at my vanity, I took an extra-long shower, cleansed, exfoliated, and face-masked an hour before, and then slathered on my favorite body oil. It has a hint of golden shimmer that sparkles on my skin even at night. Between all of this, I've laughed and conspired with Jasmine about who I'm going to see that night out. As you can tell, the ritualistic process of getting ready is my favorite part.
Now that I've spent time tending to my skin, I have to actually do my makeup. Oh shit—I look at the clock, and I legit have 25 minutes left to get ready before all my friends show up at my apartment to pregame. This means I have 10 minutes for makeup, 10 minutes for hair, and five minutes to change. A night out with my friends means a lot of snaps and recorded footage, aka I need to look camera-ready. Plus, I want to feel my best, and I honestly feel like I can do anything (in my The Carters voice) with a beat face. It's 9:30 p.m., and these are the products I reach for to do my entire nighttime routine in 10 minutes flat. Here we go.
9:30 p.m. Of all the full-coverage foundations I've met, this one has the most coverage. I could talk about how amazing Rihanna's Fenty Beauty is for forever, but I'll start with this silky, smooth foundation, which for real looks like second skin on my face. I have dark spots, and I love how lightweight this foundation feels even though it flawlessly covers them with a matte finish. It's fast-absorbing and doesn't take too much effort to blend. The best part about it is it stays put for a night that might turn into the morning. No lie: I've watched the sunrise after partying and my skin still looked airbrushed. So yeah, this stuff is staying by my side.
9:32 p.m. Next is concealer, which might be the most game-changing makeup product I use. I love a bright, radiant look, and the brand calls this one "Facetune in a bottle." I can confirm that this statement holds true. I'm obsessed with a snatched, sculpted look. I apply this under my eyes, on my jawline, and on the sides of my nose for contouring. Then, I use a damp Beautyblender ($20) and dab this onto my skin. It's so creamy it melds right onto my skin, and I instantly look like I got a face-lift. And this is the one concealer I've found that does not crease—at all. At this point, I only have about eight minutes left, and I can skip the setting powder because it truly never moves or looks shiny.
9:33 p.m. Next I take the middle shade in the second row of this cream contour kit with a large angled brush and swipe it on my jawline, hairline, and the sides of my nose. After a while, this cream kit does get a bit dry. So to combat that, I spritz my brush with setting spray to make the blending process easier. Once I've applied this to the areas where I want to look super-sculpted, I take my damp Beautyblender and blend it in. The marriage between my concealer and this cream kit is my secret for elevating my bone structure in photos.
9:34 p.m. Now, it's brow time, which might be my favorite part. This pencil is the truth. I've been using it for years and no other pencil out there has the same effect on my brows. I love a full, feathered, and bold brow because they're the center point of my face, so they need to look close to perfect. This dark-brown shade allows me to build the depth of my brows, depending on how much help they need that day. First, I take the spoolie end and brush my brows back and forth. Ultimately, I comb them up because it's the look I prefer. Then, I take the pencil and follow the natural arch of my brows in hairlike strokes to fill in any sparser areas. To make them look natural, I comb them again after filling them in. This gets rid of any harsh lines. When I want to spend time on my brows, here's my full routine.
9:35 p.m. Did you think I was finished with my brows yet? Nah. Brows aren't their best without brow gel. This tinted brow gel has the perfect amount of color to add dimension to my brows. A quick comb-through gives them extra definition. Plus, the formula is A-1, so it doesn't leave my brows feeling hard or tacky, which is a problem I've had in the past. This takes me 30 seconds max.
9:35 p.m. Moving on to bronzer. I love the subtle glow this Guerlain bronzer leaves behind on my skin. It gives me that sun-kissed, I-just-left-vacay, lit-from-within look. And I use this chocolate-toned shade as a double-duty powder contour because multitasking makeup products are key. Using Tarte Slenderizer Bamboo Contouring Brush ($34), I apply this to the hollows of my cheekbones, hairline, and the sides of my nose. I essentially dust this powder on top of the same place I put my cream contour to set the sculpted areas of my skin.
9:36 p.m. Fun fact: Mr. Nars created Exhibit A blush for Naomi Campbell. In other words, this blush is fit for a queen. It's a high-impact shade, so a little goes a long way on my dark skin tone. I use a fluffy brush and swirl this onto the apples of my cheeks. It adds a gorgeous flush to my skin tone, the kind I love right after I work out. This takes me like 20 seconds.
9:36 p.m. It feels like the Mother of Makeup, aka Pat McGrath, created this highlighting palette for me. I mean, scroll through her Instagram and watch her iconic selfie videos. The glow is next level. When I tell you these shades are out of this world, believe me. I take my Laura Mercier Powder Fan Brush ($32) and run the top of my brush across all three shades. I'm extra with highlighter—I know. The combination of all three hues leaves this iridescent sheen on my skin and gives my cheekbones a glow looks like it dropped down from the heavens.
9:37 p.m. Next, to add allure to my eyes. I use the doe applicator to apply a hint of this glimmering liquid eye shadow to the inner corners of my eyes. It gives my lids this extra pop of sparkle that I love. I don't have to blend it all. I just dab a touch and then go, which takes no time.
9:37 p.m. I'm very into the falsie effect. Anything that'll make my lashes look lengthy, dramatic, and glam sans fallout is for me. This mascara seriously gives my natural lashes the look of extensions. I've posted photos wearing this on my Instagram Story, and people usually mistake my natural lashes for extensions. Plus, a few wiggles from root to tip is all you need to bring the drama. This no-bullshit formula is under the radar, so keep it our little secret.
9:38 p.m. A red lip makes me feel so, so powerful. I have naturally full lips, and I'm head over heels for this shade because it's so sultry, fiery, and unapologetic—the woman I aim to be. Who doesn't want to wear a lipstick that'll match their mood? This red is such a vibe and truly works for all skin tones. The teeny tip on its applicator allows me to skip liner altogether. I start by lining the rim of my lips with this and then filling in the rest. It dries in five seconds without drying out my lips. Its comfortable matte texture stays put. I've worn this through meals, several glasses of wine, and the sweltering sun—no reapplying necessary. It's my favorite lipstick of all time.
9:40 p.m. Don't sleep on setting spray. It makes a big difference in the staying power of your makeup. I'm devoted to Urban Decay's All Nighter. I swear my makeup will last a full 24 hours with this, and it gives my skin this dewy, glowy finish. A quick spritz of this has me set for the night.
And my time's up. Here's my finished look:
After getting my routine down to 10 minutes, I've learned that spending a million hours on my makeup is overrated. I'd rather use that time making memories. Next is hair. Then, it's time to dance.