How to Perfect Your 5-Minute Makeup Routine

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I love makeup so much, and I can happily watch beauty video tutorials for hours. My favorites are those that involve a whole bunch of brushes and assume the viewer knows her way around advanced concepts (from contouring to “not dropping the powder brush in the toilet”).

These lofty tutorials are so inspiring. So hopeful. And so utterly, utterly unlike my real-life makeup routine, which needs to (1) be something I can do before I’ve had coffee, and (2) be quick enough so that when I wake up incredibly late in a panic, I still have time to do my makeup in my bathroom, and not on the bus, using my phone camera as a mirror. Because I have my dignity.

I wanted to get some pro advice on a mad-dash makeup routine, so I chatted with Sonia Kashuk, the famous and award-winning makeup artist with her own wildly popular makeup line, who has lots of ideas for getting out the door in five minutes or less. Thank god. Here’s our play-by-play conversation.

Base

“On a rushed morning, the absolute minimum is best. Your daily makeup routine should include core basics. You’ll want to start with a good foundation to ensure the skin looks its best,” says Kashuk. When I ask her, in a panic—what about concealer?!—she maintains her stance. She says foundation can easily do double duty as concealer to spot-treat redness, under eye circles, or any other imperfections. “Remember, you don’t have to apply foundation all over the face. Only apply it on an as-needed basis, which will also save time,” says Kashuk. I don’t know it never occurred to me to use foundation just where I need a little evening out. I thought it was all-in or all-out (“No time for foundation, must go!”).

Approximate time: 1 minute
We used: Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation in 123 Desert

Cheeks

Kashuk is a big proponent of cream blushes, because they make your skin look dewy. She explains: “Cream blush or lipstick is a makeup-bag must, especially when you travel, because you can use either formula on the lips and cheeks. If you have a red or pink lip color in your bag, you can always apply a little lipstick on your cheek for a pop of brightness.” In other words, you’ll look more awake and pulled together in a time crunch with subtly tinted cheeks.

Approximate time: 30 seconds
We used: rms beauty Lip2Cheek in Promise

Lashes

Then, Kashuk says it‘s time for everyday makeup tenet 101: curl your lashes and add mascara. This goes quickly, depending on how many times you have to lick a cotton swab to remove tiny flecks of ill-applied mascara. (Just me?)

Approximate time: 1 to 1.5 minutes
We used: Inglot Cosmetics False Lash Effect Mascara

Lips

Lastly, Kashuk recommends a natural-looking lip color like her Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in Sheer Mauve or Sheer Berry. “I like a berry, mauvey shade that looks like your lips only better,” she says.

Approximate time: 30 seconds to 1 minute
We used: Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in Sheer Berry

Finishing Touches

And so we still have room to spare. What should we do with these extra two minutes?Kashuk says, “One thing to not save time on is the final process of blending. Always have a blending brush for the eyes and one for the face as part of your arsenal. The biggest mistake I see people make in applying makeup is not buffing out harsh lines on the face.” Whether in the eye area, at the lip line, or across your complexion, you should never be able to tell where color is ending or beginning. It should all be seamless. “Quick, simple application is kind of like ‘anti-definition’—everything is soft, not strong, and smooth and well-blended. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to make everything so perfect!” explains Kashuk.

Approximate time: 1 to 2 minutes

QUICK MAKEUP TIP! Kashuk also reminded us about the powers of multitasking: “Remember that several products you already have in your makeup bag can do double duty. Don’t be afraid to use your bronzer as eye shadow, for example. You can create a more monochromatic face by simply applying bronzer with a large eye shadow brush over the whole eyelid, from the lash line to just beyond the crease.”

What are your favorite time-saving tips for hectic mornings? Share in the comments.