My 10-minute Makeup Daytime Look for the Busy Office Gal


I was talking to my friend at a holiday party she hosted (which was adorbs, by the way! She’s the one that came up with the signature drink recipe souvenirs). We were talking about makeup (shocker, I know) and she told me that it was frustrating that after all the money she spent not only on the right makeup at Sephora but also in having purchased a duplicate set for travel, she still could not crack the secret of a quick and dirty, but awesome, makeup routine. I told her part of it was practice: after having done my makeup like a bajillion times, it really all just came second nature to me and I had it down in 10 minutes flat. But, it did occur to me that part of it is just getting the right routine down pat from the outset, eliminating the superfluous items you don’t need, and making one product work for multiple applications.

So that’s when I decided to tackle the task that Amelia challenged me with: create the perfect 10-minute makeup routine for the girl on the go. I’d say this would need to be customized for your own skin needs and level of skill (not much really), but overall this should work for the average woman.

I’m going to break it down into five main steps
1. Primer
2. Eyes/Concealer
3. Mascara and Foundation (Optional)
4. Bronzer/blush/finish
5. Lips


Add your favorite moisturizer to your skin to ensure sun coverage and to give your makeup something to hang on to so it doesn’t smear or budge throughout the day.

Try not to apply too much on your eyes as it can mess with the eyelid primer, which we will discuss next. You may be wondering, why not combine Primer/Foundation steps together? Truth is, I haven’t been able to find a BB Cream, CC Cream or tinted moisturizer that I’ve been happy with. They mostly looked too cakey or did not help me achieve the flawless, even coverage I wanted.


Always do eyes first. Except for mascara, which we will discuss separately. You don’t want to apply your foundation and concealer, then when you apply all your eye makeup have that fall onto the sticky, creamy concealer- it’s going to be tough to get that out. So here is my best advice:

    • Prime: Apply primer of your choice all over your lids and under eye area. Apply an even layer and don’t go overboard!
      • Products: Too Faced Shadow Insurance or Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Potion (as I mentioned in my previous post) or any drugstore primer is fine. Nothing fancy here is necessary.
      • Tools: Fingers.
    • Highlight your brow/lids: you can use concealer (see below) here to create a base for your eye shadow. Just apply liberally along the brow area, and very lightly on your lids if you have reddish eyelids (like I do) or other discoloration.
      • Products: your concealer or you can also use the High Brow pencil from Benefit for a more dramatic look.
      • Tools: Fingers or small concealer brush
    • Eye shadow: Since this is a day look, probably for the office, just go with matte shades. If it’s the holidays maybe you can get fancy with a little shimmer, but I usually try to stick to neutral colors that complement my eyes. Everyone’s eyes are complemented by earthy neutrals though, so you can’t go wrong with a palette that includes these (below, I reference shades from the Naked Basics palette, but you can use any basic palette. The brushes I am referring to can be found in the Coastal Scents Smokey Eyes Brush Set, linked below).
        1. Apply a light highlighting color, like Venus in the Naked Basics palette, all over your brow area using a large shadow brush.
        2. With a medium shadow brush, choose a medium colored shade to blend into your crease line, like Naked 2 or Faint.
        3. Use a big fluffy blender blush to blend that all out if you got a little too crazy with the color.
        4. Go over your lid with another light color like W.O.S. to make sure you aren’t getting raccoon-y eyes.
        5. Line the upper lash line with a darker color using an angled liner brush. If Crave is too dark for you, just choose any shade deeper than the one you used on your crease, or you can just skip this step altogether.
        6. Finally, highlight the inner corner of your eye with a light color like Venus using a pencil tipped brush or your finger. You can also use the High Brow pencil from Benefit.
      • Products: An easy palette with some basic neutrals is the Naked Basics palette, and its compact size also makes it great for travel. I also love the Chocolate Bar palette from Too Faced if you are looking for something more playful and with more variety.
      • Tools: If you want a set with some solid brushes that are easy to take on the go, affordable, and effective, go with Coastal Scent’s Smoky Eyes Brush Set.
    • Eyebrows: Use your angled liner to shape and fill as needed, using the color of shadow on your eyeshadow palette that most closely resembles your eyebrow color, but don’t go too dark. Alternatively, you can purchase the Anastasia Brow Powder Duo that best matches your brows.
    • Concealer: I use this primarily in my under eye area, since I tend to have dark circles, but others might not need that much coverage. Choose a concealer that is right for you. My dark circles call for a color correcting concealer, but if you have redness you will need to use a concealer with green undertones to cover problem spots. If you don’t share either of these concerns, you can simply use a highlighting concealer or illuminator, like Dior Skinflash, to accentuate your eyes. If you are concealing, whether under the eyes or blemishes, take a bit ofconcealer, place it in on the back of your hand and dab it around to soften it up a bit, then pat it under your eyes (or the problem area) with your finger and blend. For a look that’s1000xs better, use a damp beauty blender sponge to blend that all in but, on-the-fly, your finger will do.


  • Mascara: The reason why mascara goes after your concealer is that, while you do risk having the mascara flake off and fall on your concealer, this probably will not happen if 1) you’re careful and 2) you use the little business card I mentioned before, only this time you can cover your under eye area while you applymascara. Mostly importantly, I find that I usually smudge my lower-lashmascara when I applyconcealer after I put mymascara on. So, save this step for last, IMO.
  • Foundation: It’s important to choose a foundation that really gives you even coverage and color correction, but won’t make you lookcakey. This depends heavily on your skin type, of course. Once you’ve found your favorite, place a little on the back if your hand and work it in with a flat buffer brush.
    • Products: L’Oreal True Match. I think this stuff is great, reasonably priced, and works with many skin types.
    • Tools: Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki brush. If you are going to wear liquid foundation, a good brush is necessary for even application.


  • Bronzer: take a small face brush and applybronzer from the part of your cheek that lines up with the top of your ear, at an angle down towards the side of your mouth. Bronze from your temples up around your hairline and also lightly around your jaw if you have a sharp jaw.
    • Products: Too Faced Chocolate Soleil
    • Tools: Small contour brush like Sigma’s F05
  • Blush: apply to the apples of cheeks, but not too close to your nose, or else it will look like you over-did it. Powder slightly on nose, chin and forehead.
  • Finish: if you end up with somedewyness and want to set yourconcealer, apply a tiny bit of powder using a highlighting or setting brush.


Here, I like to keep it simple. I usually am good with just applying chapstick and generally making sure that I have no stray foundation on my lips. However, if you are pale-lipped and are looking for a little punch, Beautypedia has a few suggestions that you might consider checking out, while you make your way out the door looking fabulously polished.

Like I mentioned, a big part of this is also practice, practice. This should be enough to get you on your way. Go forth, and master the art of beauty in a New York minute, young grasshopper.


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