Makeup for busy people: How to look your best even when time is tight

1st August 2023 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

If you’re anything like us, life moves quickly. In between trying to do a good job, keeping a tidy house and being a good parent, partner and friend, our own self-care tends to fall by the wayside.

This is despite the fact that wearing makeup can vastly improve our mood and our self-confidence.

If you’re struggling to fit everything in, or you simply want an extra half an hour in bed in the morning, we’ve put together a five-minute makeup routine to suit busy people. It involves prioritising certain steps, and using others as optional extras.

FURTHER READING: Makeup for beginners: The essentials you need in your makeup bag

Nail your skincare routine

Nail your skincare routineGetty Images/iStockphoto

All makeup routines can be shortened by instead donating the time to your skincare.

As Beauty Courses Online explains in its guide on how to build a skincare routine, the two most important steps are cleansing and moisturising, morning and night. Toners can be used where appropriate, as can serums and oils but if you only have time for two, make sure it’s cleaning the skin, and hydrating it.

The more natural you can make the products you use in this routine, which means using products with natural ingredients, the fewer problems you will have when balancing your skin. 

FURTHER READING: Skincare ingredient checker: Get to grips with what’s in your skincare with our ingredients guide

Concealer over foundation

Apply concealer to under eyesEmma Osborne

Concealer is the go-to for a person looking for a quick and easy makeup routine. Instead of using foundation all over the face and blending for ages, just apply concealer to key areas.

A concealer in the shade lighter than your skin tone will help to brighten those areas of the face that look dull or dark. It works particularly well under the eyes, on the chin and some in the centre of the forehead.

Bringing these parts of the face forward will help reduce the sunken appearance that we often fight with our makeup. 

It is especially important to conceal under the eyes to get rid of the eye bags that come with a busy and stressful life.

A concealer can also even up skin tone, and we use a concealer on our eyelids in place of a light eyeshadow when time is tight.

To add a natural flush to this concealer, dab some blush on the cheekbones and across the nose, and you will immediately look healthier and more alive in minimal time.

If you do have time, feel free to add foundation before you use your concealer.

If you do this, you can reduce any redness or other discolouration in your face, and your concealer can then deal with the blemishes and duller areas.

FURTHER READING: Where to put concealer? A makeup artist reveals how to apply concealer like a pro

Draw attention to the eyes

Eyeshadow looks for beginnersKiko Milano

Eyes are one of most important parts of a makeup routine and can make or break how you see yourself in the mirror.

If you are time-poor, paying attention here and leaving other areas with draw people to your eyes and away from other areas of the face you may not have had time to work on.

Always make sure you have some brown or black eyeliner hand and highlight the upper waterline of the eye. This gives the appearance of fuller lashes and is technically known as tight-lining. If you have an eyebrow pencil, you can kill two birds with one stone and lightly brush the pencil over your brows before tight-lining.

Pop on a coat of mascara and you’re ready to go. If you are constantly dogged by inaccurate mascara application, try using a spoon. Place the spoon over the lid and apply as normal in sweeps. This not only helps you get right into the roots, but if you’re in a hurry, you don’t have to be super careful and precise.

If you have a little more time to spare, you can also add some eyeshadow for some additional depth. We’ve got a list of eyeshadow looks, from easy to complex, for different eye shapes here.

FURTHER READING: How to apply eyeshadow: Learn how to do eyeshadow like a pro with our expert tutorial

Lips are next in line

Laura Mercier nude lipstickLaura Mercier

For lips in a hurry, opt for healthy over bold. We use a tinted lip balm to add both moisture and colour, without overdoing it. Some natural lip balm tints can give a look of plumpness without too much effort, too.

You can make sure that your balm always looks smooth by exfoliating your lips during your skincare routine. Using a lip scrub can remove the debris of dry skin and make the most of the quick application of balm.

If you have more time, and your mouth is your best feature, you can also over line your lips with a shade that’s close to your natural lip colour. Then, finish the look with nude lipstick.

Using this routine will draw attention to your lips without the feel of being overly made up. It also requires less maintenance throughout the day.

Your makeup routine should be anything but stressful. By focusing on the just the base, eyes, and lips, you can easily maintain your look through the day while looking and feeling more confident.

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