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Makeup Shortcuts

When time is not on your side, having a makeup routine with shortcuts can be helpful whether for work or play.

To get you started we’ve put together an array of different makeup shortcuts in order of time – quickest to longest.

Simply mix and match the shortcuts to suit your makeup ‘threshold’ – what you can’t live without and what you can. Enhance and/or disguise the feature/s that matter to you most; everything else should either be makeup free or done with the minimal amount of application.

Try creating different look combos and time each one from start to finish. You’ll soon have a range of ‘go to looks’ to pull from whether you have 5minutes or 40minutes up your sleeve.


No matter how limited your time, don’t forgo the prep – cleanse and apply moisturiser to damp skin – it will make your skin look more radiant and help with the speed of your foundation and/or concealer application.

Pro Tip: To ensure your makeup stays put allow 5-10mins for your moisturiser to absorb, so get dressed, have breakfast, make the bed or organise the kid’s to utilize that down time.

Base shortcuts

If you have even skin tone & no blemishes:

  • Apply a primer only, to enhance skin texture and finish.
  • Favour a BB Cream or Tinted Moisturiser for a quick super light hydrating cover.
  • If you need or want more colour only, apply a bronzer – use a large powder brush and rotate quickly over your face and neck.
  • If you’re adept with a foundation brush, then apply a liquid foundation as usual. A buffer style brush, which works best with circular motions, can be the fastest option.

If you have uneven skin tone/redness:

  • Conceal or apply foundation and/or CC Cream only to area/s that need coverage.
  • Only apply foundation or CC Cream (as you would normally) without other correctors.
  • Apply a primer or CC Cream and foundation for a little more base perfection.
  • Apply primer or CC Cream, foundation and concealer if full coverage is essential.

If you have blemishes/dark under eye circles:

  • Go foundation free but apply concealer only where needed – individual blemishes and/or to dark under eye circles.
    Pro Tip: To ensure your concealer blends well with your skin tone mix a little of your foundation with it, especially if it looks too light.
  • Apply a basic cover of foundation then add concealer only to the most obvious blemishes.

NB: Mineral foundation is great for blemished skin and is known to help improve skin problems. Apply lightly and quickly by rotating it on with a larger powder/kabuki brush.

Brow and blush shortcuts

These are the areas that most women tend to forgo but you shouldn’t.

Great shaped brows make the perfect frame for your eyes and will enhance your makeup finish and blush adds a healthy flush to your skin ensuring no matter how ill, flat or tired your feeling you look vibrant; blush is a secret weapon to looking great no matter what.

  • Comb any wayward hairs into place (assuming your eyebrows are naturally fab or perfectly maintained) and if particularly unruly, shape with brow gel or a little hairspray.
  • If you have noticeable gaps in your brows then only fill where needed with a brow powder, eye shadow or brow pencil in a shade 2-3 times lighter than your natural brow colour or 1-2 shades darker if you’re fair.
  • If perfect brows are your ‘thing’ then shape and fill as usual.
  • Apply blush to apples of the cheeks and lightly along the cheekbones.   Time wise, powder formulas are best applied with a full sized blush brush and cream formulations are best applied with fingertips – only use a brush if you’re confident in doing so.

Eye makeup shortcuts

  • Curl (optional) and mascara lashes only.
    Pro Tip: To save time cleaning up any mishaps do your top lashes first then apply your blush before doing your bottom lashes.
  • Forgo eye shadow and instead sweep a little blush over your lids after you’ve done your cheeks, followed by mascara.
  • Apply a soft wash of your favourite eye shadow hue over your lids only then mascara as usual.
  • Define eyes by applying eyeliner, with or without a little lid colour, in a neutral colour (grey, chocolate, navy or black) along top lash line. Smudge to soften look with a brush applicator or cotton bud.
  • Create a quick smoky eye with a neutral eye shadow (as mentioned above). Sweep a light wash along your lids then build intensity just at the outer corners by pressing shadow on in layers using a daubing motion.  Add a smudge of colour along your bottom lash line (optional) then mascara.
  • Repeat the above technique but with eyeliner added in. Apply before your eye shadow.

Additional pro tips:

  • Opt for a satin finish eye shadow, as they will be quicker to blend than a matte shadow.
  • Choose an eye shadow shade that compliments your eye colour – one in a tone to suit your eye size.  Light to mid tones are best for small and deep-set eyes and mid to dark tones suit large and protruding eyes.
  • Have eye shadow brushes that are sized and shaped to suit the area/s you wish to colour.

Lipstick/gloss shortcuts

Lips with natural colour/depth:

  • If you’re lucky enough to have this kind of lip then you could potentially go ‘naked’ otherwise just add a little lip balm or clear gloss to enhance.

Lips without colour:

  • Opt for a nude lipstick/gloss, a few shades darker than your natural lip colour. This can be applied directly with or without lip liner.
  • Apply your lipstick/gloss with a finger to create a quick stained lip look.
  • If you prefer a defined bright or dark lip look and have a great lip shape then apply directly. If your lips aren’t symmetrical (which is often the case) then correct the shape with a lip pencil first.

Pro Tip: If you are going for a bright or dark lip colour, then you will save time by keeping your eye makeup as simple as possible.

Best time saving products…

  • Bronzers can also be applied as a blush, contour and/or as an eye shadow.
  • Lipstick can also be applied as a blush if the colour suits.
  • Matte eye shadows in browns and taupe can also be used as a brow powder and eyeliner (dampen a liner brush for more intense results).