I don’t know about you, but I like to sleep. I like hitting snooze; I like my blackout drapes. I like rising out of bed at just about the last possible second.
But I also like looking like I put time into my makeup. And I like getting to work on time. Normally, one can only choose two out of three: sleep, makeup, punctuality. But what can I say? I want it all.
I figured there had to be loopholes—ways to hack the getting ready process, so one doesn’t have to sacrifice her makeup routine in order to get to work on time.
Fortunately, I was able to find a few sneaky, sympathetic beauty experts to help me out.
Want to learn simple, genius tricks for cutting your makeup routine to 10 minutes? Keep scrolling!
Time Saved: 2–6 minutes
Track the time you spend curling your lashes, applying five (or 50) coats of mascara, eyeliner, and falsies, and you’ll soon understand why you’re always late. Lashes are a top priority in everyone’s morning makeup routine, so not having to worry about them is relief on par with waking up and realizing it’s Saturday.
Executives, busy moms, and women who work long hours are some of the most common consumers of eyelash extensions, says Tirzah Shirai, founder of Blinkbar in Los Angeles. They’re extremely low-maintenance once applied; plus, they open your whole face up in such a way that (on a good skin day), you could head out the door with nothing but flick of tinted balm on your lips.
Now, what sort of time commitment is involved in the lash extensions process? Your very first appointment will take between an hour and two hours (after all, you’re signing up to have synthetic, silk, or mink strands painstakingly glued to each of your individual lashes). And you’ll need them refilled every 3–4 weeks. That said, the original time investment will save you that morning quandary of having to choose between mascara and coffee.
Time saved: 5 minutes
We save time on our hair by showering and styling it the night before, but, sadly, we can’t really prep our makeup the same way. (That slept-in lipstick look is not so cute.)
However, there is a way to get your bronzer out of the way ahead of time, thanks to semi-permanent contouring, or “tantouring,” a trick from makeup artist Vanessa Ungaro.
“This gives ‘I woke up like this’ a whole new meaning,” says Ungaro. What you’ll need is a gradual self-tanning cream for the face, as well as a darker gradual body tanner. We recommend Vita Liberata Self Tanning Night Moisture Mask ($45) used with Vita Liberata Fabulous Self Tanning Gradual Lotion ($30).
The night before, apply the gradual tanner all over you face with a buffing brush, such as E.l.f.’s Ultimate Blending Brush ($6). (Your fingers will also work, as long as you wash them well afterwards.) Then take a contour brush, such as Tarte’s The Slenderizer Bamboo Contouring Brush ($34), and apply the darker self-tanner where you’d normally contour with bronzer: underneath the cheekbones, around the hairline at your forehead, on either side of the nose, and under the chin. “Remember to blend!” Ungaro says.
Finally, smooth your favorite moisturizer all over your face. This further ensures an even blend. In the morning, you’ll find a natural contour and overall bronzed flush.
Time Saved: 5 minutes
If you have sparse brows, you know that it can take at least five minutes every morning to groom, shape, and fill them in with product. Eyebrow embroidery eliminates this time suck entirely.
“Eyebrow embroidery is semi-permanent makeup, also known as cosmetic tattooing, and is the best way to achieve natural-looking, bold brows,” says Ungaro. “The process involves a technician using a fine blade to push colored pigment into your skin, creating the effect of natural hair growth.”
Done properly, the results look incredibly natural and last for about two years. (An unexpected number of people are springing for this seemingly extreme procedure—Rihanna for one.) Just make sure to do your research before choosing a technician so you end up with the look you want.
Time Saved: 3 minutes
You’d be surprised by how well you can fake a full-coverage look just by applying the right concealer in the right places. For this, use RMS’s “Un” Cover Up ($34), a lightweight, hydrating concealer that melts into your skin, instead of sitting unnaturally on top of it.
“Use the concealer under your eyes, around your nose and chin, and to cover any imperfections,” says Ungaro. Placing concealer in just these areas brightens and softens the entire face, creating the same illusion that a full face of foundation would.
“Simply use a setting powder on top, and you’re all set,” says Ungaro. Try NYX Cosmetics HD Finishing Powder ($10).
Time Saved: 3–5 minutes
Getting your daily product count down to three or four items will shave time off your morning scramble without compromising your look. (Trust me.)
On rushed mornings, I swear by my Tarte Showstopper Clay Palette ($40), which contains six eye shadows, blush, bronzer, and a gorgeous highlighter. Having all the products I want on my face in one compact palette means I’m not wasting minutes clambering to find a million different products in my makeup bag.
And remember: Powder is powder, and cream is cream. Just because something’s labeled bronzer or cheek stain doesn’t mean you can’t also use it on your eyes or lips. For instance, Viviana Martin, director of global artistry and pro-artist relations for Kevyn Aucoin, says that even though Kevin Aucoin’s The Creamy Glow ($26) is intended for your cheeks, it also makes a gorgeous lip stain. Feel free to wield this knowledge freely.
Time saved: 2–4 minutes
We can all agree that eating a slice of pizza is faster than eating a salad, right? That’s because pizza doesn’t require any utensils. The same logic applies for makeup. By nature, products that require the use of brushes, sponges, and other tools take longer to apply.
In a rush, try cream blushes and eye shadows, which also offer a more natural, day-appropriate finish than their powdery counterparts. “Creams are easy to wear, easy to blend, and can be applied with a finger,” says Creative Director of Bodyography Cosmetics Lori Lieb. “I love a simple wash of color over the lid in a foolproof champagne shade.”
Time saved: 3–5 minutes
Liquid liner on a weekday morning? Probably not so necessary. Neither is crafting a multilayered eye shadow look or a high-maintenance, vampy lip. At the end of the day, the key to doing your makeup in less than 10 minutes is good old-fashioned simplicity.
Still, there are ways to sneak in your favorite makeup elements efficiently. Can’t live without primer? Lieb suggests mixing one pump of your favorite primer with a lighter coverage foundation, such as Guerlain’s Météorites Baby Glow Sheer Liquid Foundation ($54), and applying both at once. “Who says this needs to be a two-step process?” she says.
Want a lightning-speed smoky eye? Try L'Oréal’s Infallible Smokissime liner ($10), whose unique applicator allows you to achieve a sultry, smoky effect in about 30 seconds (no lie).
And if you’re dead set on a bold lip, opt for a stain or tint that you can quickly dot on your lips with a finger. Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks in Chocolate Cherry ($29) should suit your fancy.
What’s your favorite trick for doing your makeup super fast? Leave a comment below to let us know!