Makeup rocks – but let’s face it, sometimes the whole shebang can take way too much time in the morning. Plus, our skin could always do with a breather, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive skin issues like pigmentation or acne.
If you’re looking to cut down on time spent on doing your face in the mornings or want to transition to wearing less makeup, here are the things you can do to still put your best face forward.
Just a disclaimer, this is not the same thing as a no-makeup-makeup look, which actually requires lots of makeup and time to pull off. We’re all about the fast and easy life, really, and who has time for all that in the morning?
The best tool for the job? A damp makeup sponge! You don’t need a Beautyblender specifically, but any damp makeup sponge like it will give you much lighter coverage while still making you look airbrushed. Even using a sponge with your full-coverage matte foundation will make a world of difference in cutting out cakiness. The trick is to start light and build up gradually with thin layers until you’re happy. Doing it this way will keep your foundation as natural as possible while still affording you the coverage you desire.
Alternatively, you can also switch out your foundation for a tinted moisturiser to achieve dewy, radiant skin. To save a step in your makeup, you can choose one with an inbuilt SPF like the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser (SPF 20), $86. This cult favourite comes in twenty shades to cater to more skin tones. Plus, it is also packed with skin-loving ingredients like Vitamin C and E to soften fine lines instantly and over time.
On a personal note, I attempted a makeup detox last year that’s given me a huge confidence boost. I went completely makeup-free for two weeks because my acne was getting a bit out of hand, and while my skin looked a little worse for wear at first, it improved over time and cleared up! I’ve since stopped wearing foundation on a daily basis and my skin is much happier. So if a makeup detox is something you’ve been considering, I would highly recommend it.
For a lit-from-within glow, sheer out your liquid foundation with some moisturiser. Start with equal parts foundation and moisturiser and mix them up on the back of your hand. Try the CHANEL Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream which imparts the most beautiful glow and makes skin plump and dewy. If you want more coverage, add more foundation to the mixture you’ve created. With a damp sponge, stipple the mixture into your skin for a natural finish.
Acne can be a huge confidence killer which makes us unwilling to go barefaced. Instead of going heavy on the foundation and concealer to cover up your cysts, you still want to look as natural as possible. ‘Spot covering’ acne with a green colour corrector first then dabbing on a thicker concealer with a small brush will give you the most natural finish while still covering up any pimples or scars.
Go with a green-hued colour-correcting concealer like the Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment that does more than just cover up your spots and blemishes. The all-in-one colour-correcting cream soothes sensitised skin, provides daily sun protection, and rapidly neutralises the look of redness, while improving your skin tone over time. Apply this after your sunscreen and be sure to add a pea-sized amount and rub it with your fingers before applying it to your skin.
While it might not give you the best coverage for dark eye circles, you don’t really want to cake a lot of concealer under your eyes to brighten the area as an everyday look. It can look very heavy and obvious, and is an especially tedious process that (quite ironically) will sit best with bright-eyed and bushy tailed morning people who probably won’t have dark circles to grapple with in the first place. That said, the goal here is to look fresh-faced and more awake while still correcting discolouration or darkness. A good concealer that we find ourselves going back to is the Hourglass Vanish™ Airbrush Concealer. Not only does it give good coverage but it also has a beautiful, natural finish.
A tinted brow gel is your best friend in the mornings. It keeps your brows in place, adds colour, and even helps to fill in some bare spots which is all you really need if you want to keep things natural but polished.
Take, for instance, this eyebrow gel from Anastasia Beverly Hills. While it may be on the pricier end, we love this trusty eyebrow gel as it fills in bald spots, lengthens your brow and creates the illusion of thicker and fuller brows. If you’ve got very sparse brows, a tinted gel isn’t going to cut it which is where a brow powder comes in handy. While a thin brow pencil might give you the best results, it will take a lot longer to perfect the short hairlike strokes. Brow powders are easy to diffuse so you won’t make any harsh lines and can easily wipe away any mistakes. Use it to fill in the very sparse areas and follow up with a brow gel to set it all.
Instead of spending five to 20 minutes on the perfect winged liner, opt for an easy smudgy liner instead. An easy way to get definition that’s really close to the lash line is to take an eyeliner pencil — like the Stay All Day ArtiStix Micro Liner from Stila — and fill in the gaps between your lashes, then smudge it out when you get to the outer corner of your eye. You can also line your lower waterline with an eye pencil if that suits you, though I find that using a beige colour is more flattering and daytime-appropriate than a black waterline. Plus, it leaves you looking more awake.
Besides creating the illusion of a more wide-eyed, brightened eye, a nude liner is also fabulous for other uses. You can trace a fine line on your cupid’s bow to emphasise your pout before applying a little highlighter. This will help to define your lips for a truly kissable pout.
When I’m in a rush, I use my bronzer as a light eye contour, and highlighter on my brow bone and inner corner of my eyes as well as the tops of my cheeks. I find that using one product for several areas of the face also ties the whole look together and somehow makes it appear more natural. If you’re not a fan of highlighting or bronzing, a dusting of blush will still give your face a hint of colour and some definition.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to always have some colour on your cheeks, even if you’re going minimal on the makeup. You can also use a strobing blush (shimmery blush) to streamline your routine since it deposits colour and shine onto your cheeks in one fell swoop. The Nars Blush in Orgasm adds a pretty wash of colour to your cheeks, along with a luminous glow. The induced shimmer helps it to strike the perfect balance between blush and highlighter.
To complete this no-makeup makeup look, coat your lips with a hydrating tinted lip balm. The best part? It’ll stay all day and complement the rest of your natural-looking makeup. A tinted lippy like Decorte’s Rouge Decorte Tinted Plumper which requires less precision and upkeep than your regular bullet lipstick, but still adds life to your face.
Decorte Rouge Decorte Tinted Plumper, $46, available at Decorte boutiques.
If you’ve applied too much foundation and blush, sheer down your makeup with a hydrating setting spray. A trustworthy setting spray like the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray will help your makeup last all day without losing its ethereal glow.
If you have a hardworking multi-tasker on hand, you can actually use it in place of other beauty products. Instead of using a lip balm, for example, you can apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on your pout. You can even dot some Vaseline along the highest planes of your cheekbones to highlight your mien.
Now, go look amazing.