Woman Seeking: A 15 Minute Morning Makeup Routine

We all have those mornings where we press the snooze button one too many times. That’s what happened to me on this day. Not only did I go to bed super late, but I woke up every single hour throughout the night so when my alarm sounded in the morning I was not having it. Although I’m lucky and don’t need to wear makeup to work everyday, when I finally managed to drag myself out of bed and in front of the mirror, I realized my sleepless night had taken it’s tole. So I ran out and started my car (winter in the Midwest…ugh), grabbed my iPhone, and documented a quick Wakeup, Makeup look. Prepare yourself, the first few images are not pretty!


Oh yeah. I’m b-e-a-uuutiful first thing in the morning. But after a rough night, waking up and taking a picture is probably not going to have a great outcome. I wanted to be honest about what I was working with however, and although my problem areas or “main concerns” are listed in my “About Me” section, which of course you’ve checked out haha, sometimes a visual helps. We’ve all met the girls who say “I have terrible acne!” when in reality they only get three pimples, and that’s when they’re on their period. So here ya go. I don’t get dark circles too intensely, even if I’m exhausted, but I do get lines under my eyes. Does anyone else have this problem? People always talk about bags and dark circles but I get lines. I also have my typical redness, which is actually acne scarring, and if you look closely (don’t look closely), super enlarged pores around my nose/cheeks and between my brows. Oh, and a new zit near my eye. Lovely. There are other “imperfections” visible like uneven lip lines, and random freckles (like the ones above and on my lips, which so don’t help my uneven lip lines) but…least of my worries, folks. And yes, my bathroom has awful yellow toned lights, so that’s going to be a thing in all of these pictures. It actually tones down my redness, if you can believe it. Anywho. Moving on.


Since I had washed my face well the night before and I was pressed for time, I used my Vichy cleansing water (which you can find in my December empties post, and it will also be featured in my upcoming Skincare post) on a cotton round and gave my face a quick wipe. Normally, I think you’re supposed to style your hair after doing your makeup, but I have no skills when it comes to this area, so I try to do it before my makeup because sometimes even a simple ponytail takes a few tries (thin and fine hair, remember? Scalp peeking through and creating a weird bald spot is an everyday struggle). I also changed my clothes. This already helps.


First I apply a tinted moisturizer or BB cream. Since lack of sleep leaves your skin dull and dehydrated (even those with oily skin…I have oily/combo skin, and I know firsthand that this doesn’t mean it can’t get dehydrated! Half the time that makes your face even oilier as it tries to overcompensate), I wanted something that was going to benefit my skin and not look caked on, which heavier foundations can do if your skin is feeling worn out. I went with my Napoleon Perdis Off Duty Tinted Moisturizer, which is nice and light and tends to fuse with my skin fairly quickly, so I don’t have to wait the recommended 5 minutes for it to dry before continuing with my routine like I do other foundations or BB creams (sidnote, if you’re foundation has been looking piled on, try waiting between layers or powdering for 5 minutes for some of the liquid to dry and for it to combine with your skin! This can make a huge difference! Same goes with primer and spot concealer, wait for them to dry before moving on to the next step). Typically I would use a primer to help fill in my pores and smooth my skin out, but I have some breakouts happening, and I don’t think throwing a silicone primer on top is going to help that situation, so I decided against it. I do have two or three pores that are ridiculously large at times, and occasionally I will go through AFTER my foundation and use a QTip to place primer on just those tiny areas that need it.


Next I applied a medium consistency concealer, Maybelline’s Fit Me Concealer does a fantastic job, to areas where I tend to get discoloration. I do get discoloration on my forehead as well, but I don’t want to use concealer as if it were foundation, that would defeat the purpose and be much too heavy, so I just place it where I feel I really need extra help with my redness. I patted this in using my ring fingers and called it good enough.


I was definitely lacking radiance, so I went through and did some basic highlighting. I had already used concealer on my eyes so I just needed a touch to brighten up that area and counteract any bags or lines, some along my nose and forehead for luminosity, and above my cupids bow and chin for balance (think of highlighting as an upside down triangle). I used a very battered looking Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer. I’m actually not in love with this stuff, but it works decently for a quick face. Again, I patted this is with my ring fingers, focusing on smoothing the edges of where I applied my product so it wasn’t “face face STRIPE OF HIGHLIGHT face.”


I used a combination of powders to set my work. I used the ELF Translucent Powder to lightly set my under eyes, because I didn’t want any extra color, just a bit of powder to keep it from creasing but still allow the highlight to show and brighten my face. This is the only time I don’t really wait for my makeup to dry before going straight into another product. I usually try to powder my eye area fairly quickly after applying my concealer or highlight. I don’t know if this is right but it works for me. I then used Revlon’s Nearly Naked powder to set the rest of my face. Remember when using powder to tap, not brush or swirl, because you will move any makeup that hasn’t completely dried and set itself yet, plus it will kick up any baby facial hairs you have. To apply both of these powders I used my ELF blush brush, which I never use for blush. It is actually a inexpensive all around brush that I highly recommend. I use it for under eye setting, full face setting, powder contouring, and any other random need I have.


I didn’t want to mess with eye shadows and brushes (or all my brushes might have been dirty, ya know, whatever), but I did want a little something to bring out my green eyes, so this light bronze NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in (611) Yogurt fit the bill. I swiped it over my lids a few times then blended with…you guessed it, my ring finger. Bam. Done. I have oily eyelids as well as hooded eyes, and honestly should have used an eyeshadow primer, but I forgot because it was so dang early and I was so dang tired! This pencil does do a decent job fighting the creased up mess my eye wants to make of any shadow I put on it though, so I’m glad this is what I was using on a day I forgot primer.


On the days I don’t wear makeup, I still curl my eyelashes. It opens up the eye and makes you look so much more awake and fresh faced. I absolutely love my Shiseido curler. Revlon curler’s do a great job too, but this one fits my eyeshape in a way that makes curling so much easier. I have smaller, more almond-ish shaped eyes and this curler is a lot flatter than traditional curlers, which tend to be too round for me.


Brows are another thing I almost always do on my low maintenance days. My brow game was not strong this day, I admit, but I think it still helped my overall look. Eyebrows frame your face so keeping them in check will help you look more pulled together. My eyebrows are naturally super light and somewhat sparse, so I fill them in. This day I used my NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder in Blonde with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Angled Brush #15. I also run an old, clean mascara wand through my brows to blend once I’m done. If you have darker or naturally well shaped brows, you could forgo the fill-in and just a quick run of the old mascara wand or spooly with a bit of wax or hairspray to set them should do the trick.


And now for mascara. I wanted a waterproof formula because it helps set my curl as well as fight any smearing from oils on my lids. This Maybelline Full ‘N Soft gives a natural look that adds a bit of volume and definition. I actually have very long eyelashes, but they are very thin and blonde at the tip, so this helps them to stand out a bit without having me look like I’m wearing falsies (which isn’t a look I hate, but not what I’m going for on a day I’m trying to look healthy and awake). If you notice, I bent my brush so that I’m pushing my lashes up when I am applying my mascara, as opposed to pulling. Before I learned to bend my brush, I would usually pull outward more than upward, which I think is a common mistake among people with hooded eyes especially, because pulling up results in hella mascara on your eyelids. Pushing up not only allows me to really keep my curl, but avoids the mascara eyelid, and helps me get into the base of my lashes really well. It did take me a minute to learn how to get the tips of my lashes with my wand at this angle if I want that look, but because my lashes are so long I rarely bother with it unless I’m going out. I didn’t add any mascara to my lower lashes, because they are also very long, and not only does this make me look overdone at times, but creates shadows, which is what I was trying to disguise in the first place.


I wanted a simple lip that could be easily applied and was nice and moisturizing, so I pulled this Sephora Kiss Me Lip Balm in (02) Cotton Candy out of my stash. It claims to have subtle color but in my opinion it shows up pretty intensely for a lip balm. It smells wonderful and really does feel creamy and moisturizing on the lips. I figured with my jeans, grey shirt, and grey and white fleece, the baby pink lips matched and helped give me a fresh look.


Last but not least I used my Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray (super attractive action shot, right?). I suppose this could be an optional product, but because I work for 10 hours, as well as commuting an hour there and an hour back, AND I have a tendency to get oily, if I’m going to wear makeup then I’m going to need something to help it stay in place. This really makes a difference. It also helps get rid of the powdery look that naturally comes with using any powder product and blend my makeup into my skin gorgeously.


And that’s it! It literally takes me 20 minutes to get ready, and 10 minutes of that is me doing my hair and getting dressed. It helps keep my time down that I’m comfortable and familiar with all of these products, which is why I titled this “A 15 Minute,”…wiggle room is a glorious thing. A late morning is not the best time to try crazy new products or techniques. Simply use what you know and only things you really need and workfor you. For example, many articles on how to look fresh faced include using blush as a way to bring some life to your face, but I already have a problem with overall facial redness (not just by my nose like many women experience), so the only times I use blush is if I’m going for a full face look with a heavier foundation or a contour. So when I need to get out of the house and am trying to pull myself together, I’m not going to mess around with blush. I’m going to use concealer only around where a blush shouldn’t be, and have my natural redness work FOR me by letting it act as my blush. So easy! If you have naturally clearer skin, concentrate on playing up your eyes and skip messing around with foundations and concealers.

As I said before, I’m lucky to have a job where I can go makeup free and let my skin breathe most days, but occasionally I feel I need a little extra help and didn’t plan enough time for me to do anything drastic. Hopefully if you find yourself in this position, you’ll now have an idea of how to do the same in a short amount of time. What are your go-to’s, tips, and tricks for a quick and simple morning look?



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