Ultimate Five-Minute Makeup Routine

A five-minute makeup fix for the perpetually late

The number of “five-minute fixes” you can find in print or online seem absolutely endless, and it can be pretty overwhelming since nearly every one is spewing some different sort of advice. “Smear on some brown lippy!” “Purple eyeliner!” “Just focus on your foundation!” But which one do you choose? If you go the lipgloss-and-mascara route, you’ll spend all day worrying about your brows and uneven complexion. If you go foundation-only, you’ll be worried about looking like a cadaver all day. As for brown lipstick…see here. When you look at your face post-“quick fix” and compare it to the photo of red carpet-Leighton Meester or Zoe Saldana, whose faces yours is now SUPPOSED to resemble, it can feel kind of soul-crushing. And when you’re standing in front of the mirror with 4:59 left on the clock before you absolutely must go, it’s tempting to just throw in the towel and say “fuck it, I don’t need any makeup, I’ll just wear a Trader Joe’s bag over my head and cut out some eye holes.” But fear not, helpless child! As someone usually running behind schedule, I have mastered (sort of) the art of 5-minute makeup. Here are my step-by-step instructions that will actually have you ready to go with AT LEAST 5-10 seconds of time to spare. Obviously, those seconds are for practicing kissy faces. You’ll look natural, refreshed, and relieved–like you just walked off the set of a commercial for birth control. You’re welcome.

bye bitches

STEP 1: SKIN – Prime & perfect

After moisturizing, use a brightening eye cream and dab a bit under the eyes to lightly mask dark circles. Skip under-eye concealer. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Spread a pump of primer over your face and give it ten seconds to set. Squeeze a dollop of tinted moisturizer onto your fingertips and spread over your face. BE SURE TO BLEND THOROUGHLY AT THE EDGES OF YOUR FACE. Give it ten seconds to set. BAM! First minute down.

Hourglass primer, Bobbi Brown tinted moisturizer, Origins Ginzing eye cream

Recommended products: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15, Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer, Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream

STEP 2: FACE – Add color so you don’t look like a dead person

Lightly swipe some bronzer under your cheekbones. Be sure to only go from the center of your ear to mid-cheek, or else you will look like Skeletor, and make a 3-shape so the color goes up and around your brow to your temple and along your jawline. You can use the edge of a bronzer brush for this–no need to get fancy with a contour brush. Use the bronzer left on the brush to swipe over your forehead, nose, and chin. Pick a neutral/natural blush. Gently swipe across the tops of your cheekbones–from the apple of your cheek to the top of your ear–in a figure-8 pattern to pull the color in and out evenly. It looks waaaay more natural this way, and the distribution is easier to control (thank you, Make Up For Ever boutique angels, for this priceless advice!). Using a large brush, blend together. BAM! Second minute down.

Nars blush and bronzer

Recommended products: Nars blush in Orgasm, Nars bronzer in Laguna

STEP 3: BROWS – The anti-Whoopi (nothing against Whoopi personally! I love Sister Act!)

Brows are the frames of the eyes, which are the windows to the soul…or something like that. Brows are important. Go with a powder since filling in is more important than defining when you’re racing against time. Taking an angled brush, apply powder in short strokes starting in the middle of your brow and working your way outwards. Go back to the front of the brow, without adding more powder to the brush, and do some quick strokes (following the direction of the brow hair) from front to center-brow. You now have one brow. Do the other. Take a spooley brush and brush your brows up and out. You now look like Cara Delevingne. (Not really, but close enough.) BAM! We just breezed through minute #3!


Recommended products: Smashbox Brow Tech

STEP 4: EYES – Keep it simple

SKIP THE EYELINER. DO NOT TOUCH THE EYELINER. When people start applying eyeliner, THEY LOSE TRACK OF TIME IMMEDIATELY. Apply one coat of mascara base to your lashes. Give it a second to set. Then sweep over them with two coats of the mascara of your choice. Eyes are done. BAM! One minute left!


Recommended products: Lancôme Cils Booster XL, Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Baby Doll

STEP 5: LIPS – Finishing touch

I have yet to meet anyone who can do full lipstick in just one minute. If there is someone who can do it, I am definitely not that person. Reach for a gloss. Since your face is pretty natural right now, you can go with either a natural gloss or a more funky/daring one. Choice is yours. Fifty seconds, tops. Make some faces. Say, “That’s hot.” BAM! You’re done. You look like a rock star.


Recommended products: Literally any lip gloss in the world. If you made it this far, I think you can trust your own lip gloss choices.

Hope this helps all you Biddies. You can officially repurpose those Trader Joe’s bags for something more environmentally friendly now. TTFN!

bye now

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