I Forgot to Set My Alarm Today: Please Meet My 5-Minute Face

Emily Algar Byrdie Beauty
Emily Algar

Generally, I am an obscenely early riser. As far as I'm concerned, a 7 a.m. wake up is for the weak, and I'd rather sleep in my makeup than snooze until midday on the weekend. On an average day, I've exercised, scrolled the 'gram, applied a face mask and commuted to the city before most have even brushed their teeth. But, before I start sounding like more of an as*hole than I already do, I'll be the first to admit I am shocking at remembering to set an alarm. 

And when I don't, does my body rouse naturally to birdsong pre-dawn? No it does not. It is for this reason that I am prone to running late. But, as a beauty-industry professional, I do my best not to turn up to a day of meetings with pillow face and sleep in my eyes. So, I present to you, my no-BS, five minute beauty routine.


I don't generally use cleanser in the morning, but when I'm racing against the clock, I will absolutely skip it. Instead, I'll splash my face with cold water, pat dry with a clean towel, and apply my normal day cream (no time for serums, but one day won't kill you). My go-to basic moisturiser is Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Moisturiser ($88). It's low-maintenance, and comes in a hygienic pump. 

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream $88


For makeup, I'm going to recommend four simple steps that will have you looking put together in a pinch: A tinted SPF, cream blush, groomed brows, and a quality lipstick. Healthy colour, no fiddly brushes or application methods, but a groomed final result. Piece of cake. 

A good tinted SPF is hard to find. Because my skin is currently quite clear and even, Omorovizca's new Complexion Perfector BB Cream is my favourite right now. It's sheer, glowy, but still evens out skin tone. Chanel's Sheer Healthy Glow Moisturizing Tint is another favourite, and great for drier skin types. If you desire more coverage, you can't go past It Cosmetics. All can be applied using only your fingers. 

Next up, dip into a cream blush and apply to the apples of your cheeks, and across the bridge of your nose with the excess. Add a smidge to your eyelids too. 

Groomed eyebrows are important if you want to look put together. Use a fine crayon (my favourites are the Kat Von D and Benefit options below) to fill in sparse areas, and brush through well with a spoolie. 

Last but not least, you want a good lipstick you can apply as you run for the bus. My tip is to go for something neutral, but a shade or two deeper than your regular lip colour so you look more alive. Kosas in Stardust is the best I've found. It's sheer enough to be low maintenance, but pigmented so that it actually looks like lipstick. The brand has a range of other colour options too that work with varying skin tones. If you are seriously under the pump, you can even double it as your blush. 

Tinted SPF

Chanel Sheer Healthy Glow Moisturizing Tint SPF 30 $78
Omorovizca Complexion Perfector BB Cream SPF 20 $118
IT Cosmetics CC Cream SPF 50+ $61

Cream Blush

Shiseido Makeup Minimalist Whipped Powder Blush $48
Maybelline Dream Matte Blush $11
Bite Beauty Multistick $37

Brow Pencil

Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brow Pencil $43
Kat Von D Signature Brow Pencil $30
Kosas Weightless Lip Colour in Stardust $41


A sleek bun has always been my go-to when I'm rushed, but ever since I cut bangs in about two months ago, it's no longer a basic exercise (and 47 bobby pins holding everything down isn't chic, so I've been forced to seek out other alternatives). Another beauty editor recommended I try R+Co's new pomade stick, and now I cannot live without it. It takes baby hairs, partially grown-out bangs, and frizzy bits and smooths them out, as well as locking them in place. I promise a sleek, exceptionally smooth bun will look intentional, and a lot more polished. 

If you don't want to spend on the R+Co, the Fudge product below works in a similar fashion (just warm it up in your hands before). For extra wow-factor, add a barrette. It will appear as if you spent ages on your hair, when in fact it took you less than a minute. Finito! 

R+Co Dart Pomade Stick $28
Fudge Matte Wax $10
Scunci Barrette Clips $5

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