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A 5-Minute Makeup Routine for Busy Moms

Four products, a few minutes, and you’ll be out the door.

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Whether you used to have a full makeup routine or have always been a minimalist at heart, your days of leisurely getting ready left when you became a mom. If you’ve got an important meeting on the calendar, a coffee date with friends, or just want to look a little more awake than you feel, a makeup routine that helps you look refreshed is something to keep in your arsenal of beauty tricks. 

The secret to doing your makeup in five minutes or less and looking presentable is a few key products that are easy to apply and look good with everything—even joggers and a messy bun. Here’s how to apply a quick face of makeup in the time it takes for your toddler to put on one shoe. 

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Your 5-Minute Makeup Routine

The most important factor to doing your makeup quickly is to have everything laid out in front of you where you can see all the products, says Amy Nicole, a Global makeup artist, founder of Chic Studios Denver (along with two other locations in LA and NYC), and mom of two. Lay the following items on your counter or vanity and let’s get started!

Start With Your Skin

On days when you’re especially sleepy—and look it—begin by addressing the obvious signs. If under eye puffiness is the culprit, stick your eye cream in the freezer for a few minutes before applying, Nicole says. The coldness constricts blood vessels and brings down swelling, fast. Swipe on the Peach & Lilly Cold Brew Eye Recovery Stick ($28, peachandlilly.com), which uses the same ingredient as your morning cup of Joe, caffeine, to de-puff. 

peach and lily

If your complexion appears dull and has that “even my skin is tired” quality, then pick a moisturizer to bring back that healthy sheen. “I love a luminous SPF, like Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40 ($34, supergoop.com), to protect my skin and get a glow,” Nicole suggests. 

Supergoop glow screen

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Spot Conceal

Less is more when going for a natural makeup look. The goal is to cover redness, dark circles, and blemishes, and leave the rest of the skin bare. Use a light hand to dab on Maybelline Super Stay Longwear Liquid Concealer ($12, target.com), the liquid-y formula feels weightless on your skin and is crease-resistant. It also blends in quickly with a damp sponge, a brush, or your fingers. 

Maybelline liquid concealer

Optional: It’s an extra step but a color corrector before concealer makes a big difference if you’re dealing with super dark blue or purple under eyes. Color theory says to use a shade opposite on the color wheel to neutralize the tone. Circles that are purple, should opt for a peach, Nicole says. Blue tones should go with an orange. We like L.A. Girl HD Pro Corrector Concealer ($5, ulta.com). 

LA Girl concealer corrector

Easy on the Eyes

An absolute must-have step is mascara. A few quick swipes lifts and defines your lashes, which makes your eyes look more awake and adds polish. Nuzzle a mascara wand at the base of your lashes and wiggle back and forth to the tips to deposit the inky pigment. The fluffy brush on MAC Cosmetics MAC Stack Mega Mascara ($28, maccosmetics.com) grabs each tiny lash for length and volume with a clump-proof formula. 

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MAC mascara

Optional: Got a few extra seconds to spare? A neutral-toned shimmer eyeshadow makes eyes look brighter, and a liquid can be applied with your fingers for a natural look. Dab a bit just at the center of your lid to draw attention to your pupils. Nicole is a fan of Chanel Ombre Premiere Laque Longwear Liquid Eyeshadow ($36, ulta.com), because the formula makes makeup application quick and easy. We suggest the shades Quartz Rose, a pale pink, or Rayon, a champagne. 

Chanel Liquid Eyeshadow

The finishing touch for eyes is quickly brushing through brows with a tinted brow gel, such as Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Volumizing Eyebrow Gel ($22, sephora.com), to define and set any stray hairs. 

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Add Color to Cheeks and Lips

If you’ve retired all your colored products during the last few years of no-makeup makeup (or truly, no makeup), then pull them out from the back of the drawer. Adding a soft wash of color to your cheeks is a quick way to give that healthy, post-workout flushed appearance. “A pop of blush is a game-changer to brighten up the face and make you look alive,” Nicole says. Choose a multi-purpose product, like Wander Beauty Double Date Lip and Cheek Tint ($24, sephora), that can be tapped onto cheeks, eyes, and lips for a hint of color and shine. Plus, the color is so natural-looking there’s no mirror required for touch-ups. Just pat a bit more color and hydration onto lips as your next Zoom meeting connects.

Wander beauty blush

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