10 Minute Maquillage

makeup mirrored vanity
The bathroom of my dreams, complete with a vanity table and plenty of natural light. Source.

As I may have mentioned on one or two occasions, mornings chez nous are rushed affairs that require multi-tasking and superb time management. Getting everyone up, dressed, fed, and out the door in time for school and work doesn’t leave much time for complicated or lengthy beauty routines.

When I changed my hair color from red to blonde, I was worried that I might look a bit more washed out and feel the need to amp up the maquillage, but actually I’ve found the opposite to be true. My hair color seems somehow more harmonious with my skin tone, and I’ve found I need less makeup rather than more.

Applying makeup generally takes me 5 to 7 and never more than 10 minutes. I generally prefer “le no makeup look” and have learned to focus on the areas and products that provide most impact for least effort. I use a lighted, magnifying mirror, and always lay out all of my products before I start. I’ve also found that waiting a few minutes after applying my moisturizer and sunscreen helps everything go on more smoothly.

Curl Eyelashes: 1 minute or less. Even if I don’t plan to apply any other makeup, I always do this as it opens up the eyes and makes me look more awake. I still love the shu uemura curler best, but everyone has their favorites, so try until you find one you like and that works for your lashes and the shape of your eyes. (Don’t forget to warm your curler just a bit with a blow dryer for 3-5 seconds before use, to make lashes curl more easily and curl to last longer.)

BB Cream: 1 Minute or less. Still a big fan of Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream in place of primer and foundation. If you’re looking for sheer, light coverage to smooth and even skin tone, this might be all you need. I love that it minimizes pores without settling into them. The additional 35 SPF is icing on the cake. (My friend Karen loves Maybelline BB Cream and has been pushing me to try it. I’ve just picked up a tube and will give it a whirl. Great price!)

Concealer: 1 minute or less. I’ve been using Laura Mercier Concealer No. 3 for the past few weeks. I find that applying with my fingertip gives best result, and avoids that cakey look. I use for dark under eye circles, and also on dark spots.

Brows: 1 – 2 minutes. I probably pay more attention to filling in and shaping my brows than any other single aspect of applying makeup, as I find it has the most impact. Overplucking as a teen and thyroid issues have left me with very sparse brows. I’m absolutely smitten with the Tom Ford Beauty Brow Sculptor in Taupe. This never looks too dark on me, and stays put all day.  The shape of the product allows for an almost calligraphy-like precision of application.

Eyeliner: 1 minute. I use the Tightlining technique to apply along the lash line of the upper lid, and just a hint on the outside corner of the lower lid. Powder or gel eyeliners applied with a flat edged brush will work, but for staying power I love the Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof liner. It gives just a bit more definition to the eyes, and makes lashes look thicker without a harsh line.

Eyeshadow: 30 seconds. I dab on just a bit of Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eyeshadow in “Cement” on the upper lids to even out color. This is a wonderful shadow that won’t budge or settle in creases over the day. I use a clean fingertip for a light application, but a brush will also work.

Mascara: 1 minute or less. For years I was a faithful Diorshow user. But earlier this year, a sample of Le Volume de Chanel Mascara seduced me away. Le Volume is a superior product that really does add noticeable volume without clumping or flaking. I use on my top lashes only.

Color: 1 minute or less. While we were in London, I tried and loved a new Chanel product, “Les Beiges” powder. This will be available in the US in August, and once it is, I’ll write more about it. But in the meantime, Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder remains the gold standard for adding just a bit of a glow without looking orange. (And don’t forget that it works as a natural looking eye shadow in a pinch.)

Lips: 30 seconds or less. As I mentioned above, with my new hair color, I’m comfortable with a neutral lip, what is known on makeup discussion boards as “MLBB” (My Lips But Better). My two favorite lines of lip color are Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine and Dior Serum de Rouge. The latter especially is great if you tend toward dry lips, as it contains lip treatment. I find it lasts quite long for a moisturizing, sheer lip color.

Do you have any tricks for quick and easy makeup application? How much time to you spend daily on makeup?



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  1. Greetings and thank you for this! What brand mirror do you use? Am a bit overwhelmed by the choices at Amazon and need magnification *and* lighting to avoid the Baby Jane look!

    1. Hi Bluestocking, I’m not sure of the brand of the mirror. My husband picked it up at Costco several months ago. The magnifying side is probably a 5x factor which is plenty.

  2. I haven’t tried the Shiseido BB cream, I’ll have to give it a try when my current BB cream (Trish McEvoy) runs out.

    And maybe I’ll try the Chanel Stylo Yeux – I usually can’t get a pencil eyeliner to tightline …

  3. This is very helpful. I think you always look fresh and finished, never made-up. My routine is more or less the same, but I picked up some new tips!

  4. Great post! Have been enjoying the Chanel Rouge Shine line since you suggested it. PS: also love the new “look” to your blog!

  5. Great post. I have to try a BB soon, I have loved Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer for years so it’s hard to get away from it. I have Chanel “Lotus” eyeshadow and it is one of the best I have ever used, so great for the ‘no makeup’ look (for ladies with fair skin) but with a bit of shine. I also loved Le Volume de Chanel, the best mascara out there! XO, Jill

  6. I, too, love Shiseido BB Cream. In addition to my other products, I use Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch as a primer for my large pores, not all over my face, just in areas beside my nose. Sometimes, I even dab it on after foundation which gives me an even smoother appearance. I must say that your blonde hair and makeup are stunning.

  7. Another fabulous neutral that beautifully evens out eyelid discoloration in the Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadow line (and I agree it does not budge) is “Malted”. It was suggested by a BB counter artist for my medium skin tone.

  8. I think you hit on something we don’t always take into consideration – that a good hair cut/color saves precious minutes every single day.

  9. I always enjoy hearing about new products and those that deliver great results. I like the no make up look but insist on a bit of coverage to even out my skin tone which has some red in it due to rosacea and I have been using Bobbi Brown foundation which goes on like silk and blends easily.
    I would like to try some new mascara so I will drop by the Chanel counter and have a chat with the rep.
    Fun post today !

  10. I barely spend any time on make-up in the morning – though as I get older, I realise that this is something I need to address. Having said that, I have recently discovered Laura Mercier BB cream, which I like.

  11. I love that you are including a drugstore brand: Maybelline. I’ve tried several BB creams, and this humble tube delivers the best! I am hooked on many higher end cosmetics, but it would be nice to feature some more affordable ones, for readers who don’t (or can’t) spend big bucks at Nordstrom’s, Barney’s, etc. Ditto for some of the clothes and accessories.

  12. You are very quick in ” making your face “. I understand, that working off- home requires paying attention on what to wear and on how you appear in your office
    Gee, I must be about the only one, who really liked your red hair. It made you look so young and energetic!

    A few minutes X 2 / day in front of a magnifying mirror.
    I am almost finished with changing all my makeup stuff into Chanel. I like Chanel´s colors and quality, and having everything in similar packages, pleases my aesthetic mind.
    Yes, I am t h a t vain.

  13. I think you look beautiful, and I suspect it’s not the makeup but the face underneath that’s responsible.

    So, this’ll be a YouTube video on my site at some point – who knows, it may also end up on America’s Funniest Home Videos as well. Yes, I wear makeup. Like you, I’ve found my brows are so light and sparse that a little brow pencil goes a long way towards making me look polished. I also wear mascara, a little blush, and mineral powder. However, not only do I have CP, but I’m also borderline legally blind without my specs. Even with my 10X magnifying mirror I still have to pretty much Braille it on ;-P

    1. I’ve known some amazingly well presented blind/ partially sighted ladies! One lady I embarassingly didn’t realise was blind when first visiting her house as she had perfect make up and was moving about so confidently without any mobility aids. It wasn’t until my workmate commented on her guide dog that I realised!

  14. It’s always good to get tips and just hear how other people do their make-up. My routine is pretty simple and similar to yours, but I think you look way better! More polished.

    I just use moisturizer and sunscreen, but I think I need to try some BB stuff!

  15. I tried this today, since the excuse I use most often for not wearing makeup is that I don’t have time. Also, I use a lot of the products you do, so it was a good benchmark for me.

    The best tip you gave is to have all your makeup and tools lined up before you start. Also, I don’t have a magnifying mirror, and did it mostly by feel, so I can only hope that I don’t look like Baby Jane!

    It took me about 10 minutes, but I didn’t put on mascara or blush until I got to work. With practice, I’ll get faster, I guess.

    It took me about 10 minutes, too, though I didn’t put on blush or lipstick until I

    1. In terms of saving time, I’ve always done my makeup in transit, either on public transport or in the car (i.e. mascara at traffic lights) or sometimes even when I first get to work (especially if I’m the first one in). I can pretty much do it by touch ‘cos I’ve been wearing the same basic stuff for some years.

      On days when I’m not seeing anyone and I can’t be bothered, I usually still do a powder with decent coverage (especially under my eyes), a quick swish of blush and some kind of lipbalm or light lipstick. The ‘can’t be bothered’ look probably takes less than 5 minutes and makes me look healthier and a bit more polished. One more step after that would be mascara.

      With eyeliners, I highly recommend Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer – it’s initially blendable then doesn’t smudge or fade all day, the Perfect Plum colour is very flattering on brown eyes (it doesn’t look purple, just a bit softer than black) and can be dramatic or subtle. And it’s cheap!

  16. I use basically the same products you do. I need to time myself though, because I feel that it takes me way longer than 10 minutes to do my face, especially if I do the “tightlining” technique. I love the way it looks, but it takes me a while to get it right. Most of the time I just use a dark brown eyeshadow applied near the lashes.

    Could not get along without my magnifying mirror! I’m quite nearsighted, and put makeup on before I put my contacts in. So I really need to get up close & personal with the lighted magnifying mirror.

    Think how much time, effort, & money we’d save if we went barefaced! Problem is, I look a wreck without some makeup and it’s totally worth the effort to make me feel that I look halfway decent. Even pretty, on a good day!

    —Jill Ann

  17. I, too, prefer a more natural make up look and have never heard of tightlining. I just purchased the gel liner you recommended and am going to give it a shot! Also, I recently discovered your blog when googling “Paris lifestyle” or something to that effect. I am enjoying your posts!

  18. Bwa-ha-ha, “le no makeup” look.
    Are you insane? A lighted MAGNIFYING mirror? Maybe you’re not awake yet. I’d run shrieking if I looked into one of those instruments of torture first thing in the morning. You are a braver femme than I. But then, that might explain why sometimes when I leave the house my eyebrows seem to be blue.

  19. I love BB cream and will never use foundation again. By the way, I think your hair colour change is very flattering and suits you so well. I have grey hair and every so often I have a few streaks just for variety…

    Much as I liked your red hair you look super with blonde hair.

    1. How do you like the maybelline bb? It rates as one of the best. Shisheido just wasnt enough moisture for me. So back it goes.

  20. GAH, I am hoping to land a job interview soon and will have to come to terms with my presentation all over again–it’s been nearly 8 years since I interviewed for my current position, and this new possibility is in sales training, so I suppose I will need to jazz things up and hang my mom jeans back in the closet after wearing them to work lo these many years. AND I will have to consider a new macquillage routine–to replace the lip-balm-and-go one I rely on most days. I’m 58 and seem to fool people most of the time despite the silver shot running through my once-dark hair–perhaps it’s my 10-year-old twins who act as camofluage… So, taking notes, and hoping for outfit suggestions from you soon! Biotech/pharma in the Boston area, keeping my fingers crossed! Thank you for your wonderful blog!