After giving up makeup for two weeks this summer, I had a realization: my usual makeup routine was way, way too complicated. Two weeks was enough to get used to the whole “zero-get-ready-time” thing, and along the way, I completely lost my tolerance for time-consuming cosmetics. Before my makeup fast, I was spending at least 20 to 30 minutes on my face every morning. These days it’s more like 5 to 10 minutes. And let me tell you: it’s awesome. If you’re looking to streamline your own makeup routine, read on for some tips…
1. Seek out products that do double duty. Tinted moisturizers, concealer/highlighters, powder foundation, fat eyeliner pencils that double as eye shadows, etc. This is pretty much a no-brainer: any time you can check two things off your beauty to-do list with one product, you should take advantage of it. I’ve found that even having two separate products in one compact, like this blush + bronzer duo, saves a noticeable amount of time.
2. Keep two makeup bags. One for regular, everyday makeup, and one for the products you use to get super fancy and/or don’t wear as often. This cuts down on time spent rooting through eye glitters and red lipstick looking for your casual basics. Life saver.
3. Choose your daily product lineup and stick to it. Speaking of casual basics, your daily makeup routine will be infinitely easier if you create a neutral makeup routine using one of each of your favorite products — one powder, one mascara, one eyeliner, one eye shadow, one blush, one lip color — and don’t deviate too much. I keep my go-to basics in an Elvis mug on my bathroom counter so they’re easy to grab every morning. If I feel like digging out my electric blue eyeliner on a random Tuesday, fine, but on most days I save tons of time by just using the easily accessible basics in the mug and not overwhelming myself with tons of choices.
4. Throw away anything you haven’t worn in 5 months. As with the two makeup bag approach, less clutter means less time digging around for the item you’re looking for. It can be heart-wrenching to throw out a $30 blush you only used twice (I’ve done this way too many times to count, unfortunately), but come on, it’s not worth the space it’s taking up in your makeup bag, and it’s probably crawling with bacteria anyway. Let it go.
5. The more products you can apply with your finger, the better. I’ve become a big fan of cream eyeshadows for this very reason. No need to fumble with brushes! I love Jane Iredale’s Eye Gloss and CoverGirl Shadowblast Cream Eyeshadow, which — bonus! — also doubles as a primer. I’ve also swapped out powder blushes and bronzers for NARS Orgasm Illuminator, which does the job of both and can be quickly smeared on my cheekbones with my fingers.
6. Choose one feature to accentuate and go subtle with the rest. It may be cliche, but the advice to either play up your eyes or your lips is not only very wise, it’s super helpful for simplifying your makeup routine. Even on special occasions, a dramatic lip color + crazy bright eyeshadow can seem like overkill. If you’re doing a bold lip, just swipe some black mascara on your lashes and call it good. If you’re doing a smokey eye or dramatic cat eye, dab a bit of sheer gloss on your lips and be done.
7. Get organized. Whether or not you’ve pared down your makeup stash, a key tenet of the streamlining process is getting your products organized and easily accessible. Check out these Pinterest-approved makeup organizing techniques for some ideas.
8. Taking really good care of your skin = less makeup needed. This was another aha-moment I had when I briefly gave up makeup. When you take great care of your skin, a lot of the products you thought you “needed” becomes obsolete. Shift your beauty priorities a bit by investing in a great skin care regimen and sticking to it (also drink a TON of water), and you’ll find that your makeup routine will start to simplify itself as your flawless skin and inner glow take center stage.
9. Swap out high maintenance lipsticks for tinted balms and stains. Bold-colored lipstick is very high-maintenance. It requires constant touch-ups and mirror checks to make sure it’s not smudged. Unless a bold lip is your signature look, I’m a big fan of downgrading to a lip stain or a tinted lip balm. My current obsession is Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments. They come in beautiful sheer colors and they really do make your lips feel amazing. I wear Petal (a warm, subtle pink) every day, and Cherry (a sheer red) when I want to dress up a bit. Honestly, it’s been weeks, maybe months, since I’ve touched my stash of traditional lipsticks, but I still get tons of compliments on my lip color. Revlon lip butters are also a great option at a lower price point.
10. Make peace with your face. In my experience, the makeup routines that take the longest are the ones that involve trying to make your facial features look fundamentally different: contouring to minimize your nose, false eyelashes, layers of lipstick and gloss to plump up your lips, complicated concealer techniques to hide the scar on your chin, etc. When you make the decision to use makeup to highlight your face instead of hide it, not only will your makeup routine get a whole lot simpler, you’ll also have a lot more fun.
[Photo of makeup via Shutterstock]