I Chucked 80% of My Makeup: Here's My New 5-Minute, 5-Product Routine

Updated 02/10/18
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Amanda Montell - Makeup Routine
Amanda Montell

About six months ago, I woke up one morning with a sense of spontaneous motivation to clean out the bottomless abyss that was my makeup collection. I was going through a transition period in my career and personal life, and you know how life works—one thing changes, and before you know it, you've turned your whole entire world upside down. So that's exactly what I did with my makeup: After feeling an under-the-surface sense of agitation about how many products I owned but never used, I took three hours one Saturday a.m. to capsize my makeup bins and drawers and sort them into three categories: essentials (to keep), half-empty, half-spilled junk (to toss), and unopened samples I once thought I might use but honestly probably never would (to donate).

By the time I'd dropped off four tote bags of makeup at the Los Angeles LGBT Center (did you know it has a cosmetic donation program, by the way?), I was left with one single travel case full of makeup. It was a big travel case, but still: This was the most pared-down my collection had been in years. I instantly felt a sense of liberation. As an exercise, getting rid of 80% of my makeup forced me to be honest with myself about which products I actually love and want to use every day—which products I want to remain loyal to and which I need to just let go.

Of course, special occasions call for certain glitters and eyeliners you might not use every day, and I still have a tiny separate stash of those supplies. But over the past six months, my minimized makeup collection has forced me to nail down an everyday makeup routine that I feel is so modern, fresh, and perfect for 2018 that I simply had to share it with you. Down to look effortless while actually feeling effortless? Keep scrolling to discover the five-minute, five-step makeup routine I've been following almost every day.

5 Minutes, 5 Products…

5-Minute Makeup Routine: Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer
Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer $27
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Foundation has no place in my routine on five-minute makeup days, but with a really good concealer, you don't even need it. In my experience, Tarte Shape Tape is the absolute best bang for your buck—just the tiniest dot of product under the eyes, on the tip and either side of the nose, and over any blemishes gives full but natural coverage that stays all day long. Better yet, it comes in 14 shades, so it covers a good range of skin tones. I pat this into the skin with a Beautyblender and am impressed with the results every time. Plus, I use it almost every day and still haven't run out of that original tube I opened six months ago.

5-Minute Makeup Routine: Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist
Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist $50
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This product is at the crux of my five-minute makeup routine because I literally smear it all over my entire face. I'll admit it is pricey (very pricey), but it is so versatile and yields so many compliments featuring the words "glowy" and "goddess" that I swear it's worth it. Here's the deal: These crazy-pigmented, too-hydrating-to-be-true lippies from Sisley have the feel of a lip balm but the color payoff of a lipstick, and I use them everywhere—on my eyes, lips, and cheeks (I just apply directly from the stick and blend with my fingers; it's so easy my cat could do it)—for a fresh monochrome look that always goes over like gangbusters. Whenever I wear the product in Coral this way, people always ask me what I'm wearing and are shook to learn it's the same creamy lip product on every quadrant of my face. (The shades Litchi, a subtle brownish nude, and Candy, a bright bubblegum pink, are my two other favorites.)

5-Minute Makeup Routine: Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel
Palladio Medium/Dark Tinted Brow Gel $8
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Listen: I've tried practically every tinted brow gel on the market, and this Palladio pick gives you the best bang for your buck. The brush is perfectly sized, and the formula isn't too watery or too goopy but rather, as the Goldilocks of brow gel might say, just right.

5-Minute Makeup Routine: Glossier Haloscope
Glossier Haloscope $22
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Sisley's lip stuff brings enough life to my cheeks that I suppose highlighter isn't totally necessary, but I'll admit I feel a little naked without it. After patting Glossier's subtle, creamy Haloscope highlighter in Quartz on my cheekbones, my Cupid's bow, and the tip of my nose, it just serves that natural, youthful, lit-from-within glow that everyone's always talking about. Thus, it earns a spot in the five-product routine.

5-Minute Makeup Routine: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara $23
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The mascara with the catchiest name in history also happens to be the mascara I have settled on as my tried-and-true. I'm not unique in my love for this flake-free, stay-all-day product that provides the perfect balance of length, volume, and curl, but I do have the power to confirm its superiority in writing, so that is what I'm doing here.

After I've concealed and colored in my face with the products listed above, I coat the undersides and top sides of my lashes with five or so flicks of this stuff, and then I am ready to conquer the planet. Or at least my next Byrdie story.

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