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?
#1 Look flawless with less foundation
The best tool for the job? A damp makeup sponge (here's how to thoroughly clean your makeup sponges and brushes)! 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), $77. This cult-favourite comes in eight shades to cater all skin tones. Plus, it is also packed with skin-loving ingredients like Vitamin C (here are the best Vitamin C-infused serums to try now) 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.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 50ml, $77 from Sephora.
#2 Get your acne under control
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.
Go with a green hued concealer like the Urban Decay Naked Skin Colour Correcting Fluid in Green, $40, that does more than just cover up your spots and blemishes. The antioxidant-rich (here are the best antioxidant-infused serums you'll love) formula hydrates and protects skin, while improving your skin tone and texture over time.
Invest in a small synthetic brush for this, as it will pack on the most coverage exactly where you want it. Do this step after you’ve applied your foundation so you don’t accidentally take off any of the concealer.
Urban Decay Naked Skin - Color Correcting Fluid, $40 from Sephora.
#3 Avoid brightening with concealer
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. Apply some concealer or a colour corrector to only the darkest areas under your eyes, and then use a brightening pen on the rest of the undereye area for a sheer brightening effect. It’s not about the shade of the pen (don’t go three shades lighter to look more awake); rather, zero in on a brightening concealer pen that has light-reflecting particles in it like the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Anti-Aging Concealer.
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Anti-Aging Concealer, $42 from Sephora.
#4 Define and thicken your brows in one step
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.
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel has a great shade range (seven shades in Singapore), $40, more than most eyebrow products out there. Whether you are an ashy or chocolate brown, ABH has you covered. This eyebrow gel might be pricey but on top of filling in bald spots, it also helps to lengthen brow helps and create 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.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel, $40 from Sephora.
#5 Define your eyes
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 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 like the Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in 80 In The Buff, 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.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in 80 In The Buff, $38 from Sephora.
#6 Double up with your highlighter/bronzer
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 Unlawful 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.
Now, go look a-mazing.
Nars Blush in Unlawful, $52 from Sephora.