How to Apply Makeup in 10 Minutes or Less

10 minutes is all it takes for perfect daytime makeup

Woman applying make up with products in background
Dougal Waters / Digital Vision / Getty Images

The most important part of your beauty routine is to get your skin in tip-top shape. Once you have a fresh, gorgeous palette to paint on, you only need to highlight your eyes or your lips or perhaps your bronzed skin (hello, bronzer!) for the perfect look. Feel free to skip any of the steps below if, for example, you aren't into eyeliner.

Start With Sunscreen

A dewy, fresh complexion is sexy and youthful.

Starting with a clean face, apply sunscreen to your face. Rain or shine, you should get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day. I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF 50 so I can skip the foundation step. Because I have dry skin, I apply moisturizer before my sunscreen. If you have oily skin, rinse face with warm water and pat dry before applying sunscreen.

Apply Concealer

Apply concealer with your ring finger to the spots that need it most (under the eye, in the hollow sockets on the inside of the eye, along the nose, on the chin). Blend in by patting — never rubbing — the concealer.

Note: I like to use a concealer brush to apply concealer. I find that it works better than my finger to get into the spots I need it most.

Foundation Is Next

Apply a tinted moisturizer or foundation to your face, making sure to blend along the jawline so you don't have a tell-tale line. I love to use a foam sponge when applying foundation or tinted moisturizer (read about my passion for Laura Mercier's sponge).

Few people need to apply foundation all over the face. Simply apply where you have uneven skin tone (usually along your nose). In wintertime, if your cheeks tend to get ruddy, apply there as well. For more sheer, natural coverage, consider a tinted moisturizer, which goes on much lighter than typical foundations

Next Up: Blush, Bronzer

Apply blush on the apples of your cheeks (see How to Apply Blush). If you want to appear sun-kissed, apply a bronzer as well. At this point, I love to use a highlighter pen to brighten my face.

Apply Eyeliner

Now that your face is set, it's time to make up your eyes. Apply eyeliner to lids. There are many different ways to apply eyeliner. You can go for the basic eye, a smokey eye, a cat eye, and much more. For a basic eye, simply apply liner to the upper lashes and the lower lashes, smudging along the lower so it doesn't look drawn on. 

Prime Your Lids

If you wear eyeshadow, be sure to set the eye first with an eyeshadow primer, otherwise, the shadow will melt into your eyelids. Don't have eyeshadow primer? Concealer will work in a pinch.

Shade in Your Lids With Eyeshadow

Just as there are many ways to apply eyeliner, there are many eyeshadow looks you can experiment with. For a basic eye, simply apply a base shade on the lid of the eye. Apply a darker contouring shadow in the crease. Make sure to blend it all in well. 

Curl Those Lashes

Curl your lashes with an eyelash curler. You can blast your curler for three seconds with a hairdryer to make the curl hold better, just be sure to test the metal to ensure it's not too hot first.

Move on to Mascara

Apply mascara by wiggling the wand from the roots of your lashes on through to the ends. Do it twice for a touch more drama.

And Finally, Your Lips

Once you have your face made up you can see exactly what type of lip treatment you need. You can either fill in lips with lip liner and apply lip balm or gloss over it, or you can line lips first then apply lipstick. Some women opt for just gloss or balm. 

Set Your Makeup

Set your face with loose powder or a spritz of Evian spray. For aging skin, dewiness is desired. Makeup artist Bobbi Brown likes to warm up a moisturizing face balm in the palms of her hands. She then presses the balm onto the cheeks and any places that seem too matte.