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.


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  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.

  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.

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