A hack isn't really a hack if it requires a significant amount of your time—and during our morning routine rush, just one minute qualifies as "significant." This is why we tend to favor the tips makeup artists swear by when they're throwing exquisite looks together backstage at fashion week, when time is of the essence but quality can't be spared. Every time we observe these geniuses at work, it's a reminder that a polished beauty look and spending just a few minutes in the makeup chair are not mutually exclusive.
But sometimes we also need reminding that we don't have to apply makeup for a living to borrow these face-changing, time-saving tricks. Case in point: these 14 expert-approved tips that take mere seconds to put in action, but make a world of difference.
Bonus points if the product you're using is specifically advertised for both, but swiping on a thin layer of any kind of clear brow gel is a really easy way to define and extend lashes before adding mascara. The result: an ultra-lush clump-free fringe.
Sweep eye shadow along your lower lash line for a polished, wide-awake look
Instead of lining your lower lash line with pencil, which can make eyes look smaller, consider sweeping a sheer layer of light brown or taupe eyeshadow along your bottom lids instead: It instantly makes your eyes look wider and more awake, helps under-eye concealer look seamless by hiding any creasing, and adds a professional-looking touch to your eye makeup overall.
It seems so random, but using concealer around your nostrils is like an Instagram filter for your face IRL: By effectively making your nasiolabal folds disappear, you immediately brighten up your face in a way that covering up your dark circles can't. (It's the kind of game-changing hack that you'll wish you had known for many a photo op past.) Celeb makeup artist Fabiola recommends using a pea-sized amount concealer, and make sure you blend well.
Especially if you usually just highlight your cheekbones, cheek color can seem like an unnecessary afterthought. But makeup artist Matin, who works with Claire Danes, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie, says not to skimp on it—a bright blush provides an instantaneous, healthy-looking glow, and prevents you from looking washed out. (Just make sure you know where to apply it according to your face shape!)
Tip #1 for applying foundation like a makeup artist: Don't just use foundation. Instead, mix it with your favorite serums, creams, and/or primers for a custom, seamless-looking finish that will keep your skin looking hydrated and glowy all day long. You can blend your formulas of choice before applying, or take Kelsey Dennihan's approach (she works with Kate Bosworth and Cindy Crawford): "I dab a bit of Egyptian magic on the cheeks, nose and forehead and follow with foundation as usual," she says. "There's no quicker way to achieve realistically dewy skin."
So says Kira Nasat, who works with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jamie Chung, and Margot Robbie. "I really takes five seconds (or less) and many people tend to skip this step," she adds. "Plus, most people who curl their lashes end up using less mascara, which means more natural-looking lashes."
You know those slightly unruly-looking hairs at the front of your eyebrows? Playing them up rather than combing them back (or worse, tweezing them away—don't do it!) is the quickest to give yourself that very natural, "virgin brow" look. Use a tinted gel for even more oomph.
A "no makeup" makeup tip: Even if you're not going for a full eyeshadow look, just brush on a sheer layer of coral-hued powder to add a touch of warmth to your eyes and cancel out any blueish tones that are making you look tired.
Most of us just brush on mascara from the bottom of our lashes out, but Byrdie editors Lindsey and Deven make a good point: You're not coating them evenly unless you're also using the mascara wand above your lashes, too. Brush from the bottom out, and then from the top out to reach your full lash potential.
And that means going beyond just your under-eyes. Nasrat likes cream concealer as an eyelid primer for eye shadow, and Dennihan swears by this genius trick: "When I'm tired and need a quick pick-me-up, I place concealer on the outer corners of my eyes and blend up toward the end of the eyebrow. The end effect is an instant eye-lift and tricks people into thinking you're actually awake."
Use a nude pencil along your waterline instead of a white one
It'll still open up your eyes a ton, but it looks more natural.
Adding highlighter or shimmery white eye shadow to your cupid's bow is a classic trick, but I like to take it a step further by lining my entire top lip with Touche Éclat, extending that line up into my cupid's bow as well. I dab with my finger until the line looks blended in, and either leave it at that or add a swipe of nude lip liner for good measure. By highlighting the entire lip, the light catches it in a way that makes it look more pillow-y but still very natural.
You're emphasizing the shadow below your pout, which creates the illusion of a thicker lip.
Dabbing highlighter around the eyes makes for an instant pick-me-up
Byrdie editor Faith swears by applying a bit of shimmery highlighter to the inner corners of her eyes whenever she's feeling tired. Sweeping it along the brow bones has a similar effect.