The Three-Minute Face

The Three-Minute Face

For all my love and talk of makeup, I actually leave home most days without having any on my face. It’s not that I have suddenly embraced my natural beauty, it’s just that I’m constantly late. And it’s OK, I can handle my bare face. Do I feel better at an important meeting with mascara indicating where my eyes are, though? Yes, I do. I have therefore developed a pretty fool proof 3-minute makeup routine that I can easily do in the taxi, at my desk or half asleep. As we are approaching 1 July – the beginning of the Estonian EU Presidency – I foresee much deployment of said routine.

The three main principles of this style of makeup are: 1) things have to be quick to apply (obviously), 2) you don’t want anything that requires much precision and 3) no experimenting with new things (especially foundation!). Here are my six steps:

1. Cushion foundation.
If your skin is fantastic, you may want to skip base or use only concealer, but for me, this is the most important step. When my complexion looks even and somewhat polished, I don’t mind skipping the rest. While sticks and compacts can be relatively convenient, cushions are in my opinion the best options when on the go. The application is fast, you don’t need a brush and your hands will remain clean. In addition to the format, also consider the colour. Foundation should be very close to your skin tone anyway, but especially when in a hurry or in the absence of natural light. If you happen to blend badly, a good colour match will save you a lot of embarrassment.

2. Stick concealer. Optional, but if I’m having a bad skin day, I’ll use my Cle de Peau around the nose, on blemishes and maybe a little bit under the eyes. I skip the powder (CDP works without setting), although I realise that with oilier skin this may not work. A stick is best because of the ease of application.

3. Stick eye shadow. I often skip this step, too, but I can fit it into the 3 minutes if I want to be a little bit less basic. My absolute favourite option is by Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock – it’s completely effortless, works with everything and looks great.

4. Mascara.
Yes. And no, I don’t curl my eyelashes.

5. Blush. I say, pick your poison. If you are in a hurry, you cannot do bronzer, contour, highlight and blush. I look dead without blush, so that’s what I go for. Lancome cushion blush is great, but Kiko stick works very well, too.

6. Lip gloss. I love lipstick, but a sophisticated lip gloss (or even a tinted balm*) is usually what I wear when I really can spare 3 minutes only. They don’t demand as much precision and are easier to correct, if you somehow still manage to get them wrong. I love Dior lip glosses – the three I own have become my default work choices.

The most controversial thing here is that I have left out the brows, the focus of a modern face. The truth is, though, that I leave them out quite often. When I have had my brows done recently, I feel I can afford it – they look good as they are. Once they’ve outgrown, I feel like whatever I do is not going to improve matters much anyway. I can imagine that something like Glossier’s Boy Brow would be a great, quick way to address the brow situation.

By the way, I did test it today to make sure that I really can do it all in three minutes. I can. My skincare routine is a different matter, though… What are your fool proof staples?

*When you can only bring a very minimal selection of products, something that works both for lips and cheeks (like the Korres lip butter on the picture) is excellent.


Add yours
  1. 1

    I don’t use much makeup anyway but my mirning routine is pretty similar. Chanel
    Vitalumier Aqua – blended quickly in the T-Zone to even and brighten the complexion; neutral brown brow gel(Lumene); a bit of Becca highlighter under the brow above the lup and cheekbones- if I can bother. And the most important thing for me is blush- I have been using Other Stories ones lately. Most mornings I dont do mascara cos my eyes are so sensitive they aways react and it is so annoying to tale off. Plus I live the look of undone eyes – slightly vulnerable and childish 🙂 When I want to be “done up” I contour a bit and ise a bright lipstick +mascara

    • 2

      I’m actually with you on mascara-less eyes, I really like the look (even if it doesn’t necessarily look very flattering on me). But when I do a quick conventional look for work, I tend to use mascara, as it’s one of the quickest ways to get impact – especially if I don’t want to go with a stronger lip. IF I use highlight, it’s very likely from Becca, too.

    • 3

      Oh, and re sensitive eyes: have you used tubing mascaras? So much less irritating and the never, ever smudge.

  2. 6

    Oh!! That’s my topic!!! I always try to find ways to reduce time for make up! What about hot weather? Sticks don’t work for it ((( I try to make highlighter and blush… BB creams working good… Brows always take a lot of time (((

    • 7

      Frankly, I would simply skip eyeshadow in the heat, although some of the sticks last really, really well. Laura Mercier caviar sticks for example never budge, especially if you use them more like a liner (not all over the lid) as I do. Or you could just use a waterproof liner, there is a pretty good colour selection these days. For blush, I find some of the stain-like versions are good for warm weather – like Benetint and Stila’s Watercolour blushes. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. 8

    This was fun – I love lists and insights into how other people approach daily grooming! I for similar reasons find The Top Shelf interviews on Into the Gloss rather fascinating. Kiko blush is not one I had heard of before and will try.

    Your approach seems to strike the right chord between being streamlined and making sure you have done all those elements one hopes to before a meeting etc.
    I must say I too am rather quick with make up (its everything else that seems to take time in the morning) and enjoy playing and trying out other looks only when I genuinely have time. The main difference in my approach is probably that I focus on lipstick quite often (if my skin is ok) as I often feel that can pull everything else together – and a slightly soft red lipstick seems to make me feel more together. While I love the glamorous red lip in the mornings and in summer I tend to go for a more gentle effect of patting it on with my finger tips or gently tapping the stick directly on (so not a real swipe). Plus it’s always enjoyable to have a good looking lipstick to pull out and re apply throughout the day, time permitting.

    • 9

      I do love lipsticks as well and if I really need to look pulled together, I’ll definitely wear one. Although I think I do wear them less than I used to and if I’m genuinely in a hurry, I tend to go for something forgiving. If I want to be noticed or very assertive, a bright lipstick is still my first pick.

      And yes, a fan of the top shelf for the same reasons.

  4. 10

    On the subject of eyeliner, Marc Jacobs highliner gel crayon is the best I’ve tried (even more durable than Chanel’s stylo yeux waterproof) and the range of colours is terrific. My fast face is a quick dusting of powder (Estee Lauder Double Wear or Chanel Vitalumiere) and cream blusher as a minimum, and usually brows (a Lancome gel brushed through, a Dior chalk pencil (?) brushed through, or a cheap pencil scribbled on and forgotten about, and lipstick. The Dior Care and Dare summer collection has a gorgeous soft shade called Gentle Red which seems balmier than the usual Rouge Addict range, it looks good even on a bare face and it lasts really well. The newish YSL volupte tint-in-balm is pretty but quite scented. I love make up but hardly bother in summer. Hard to look polished with sunblock anyway!

    • 11

      Not Ykinna but in terms of sunblock I had to mention Elta MD SPF 46 clear (or tinted). It almost acts like a primer so subject to your needs can be worn as a decent base (I have found it so useful to have a sunblock I can wear with everything else I feel compelled to share the good news – it was recommended to me by a dermatologist). Meanwhile I have heard lots of good things about Marc Jacobs make up and will investigate the eye sticks you mention, thanks!

    • 13

      Your fast face sounds very classy. Must try the Marc Jacob cryons! And that Dior lipstick, too. And if you see the Biore SPF anywhere, do try it, it is cheap but so good. I’ll keep an eye out for the Elta MD as well.

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