I have to admit, no matter how early I set the alarm and pull myself out of bed, I am never left with more than a few minutes to put on makeup before I leave for work. During the work week, I lack both time and the inclination to cake up my face, first thing in the morning. But who wants to leave home looking like a zombie?
So, I’ve devised the perfect 5-minute routine that helps me wake up and makeup, quite literally. It’s simple, efficient and works just fine, even for evenings when you are pressed for time but need to look dolled-up! Plus, the look is weather-proof and stays put even in Mumbai’s humid weather. Without further ado, here’s what I do:
1. Cleanse and moisturise
Cleansing is obviously the most important part of your skincare routine, so pick a cleanser that suits your skin. I have extremely oily skin that tends to attract dirt and grime, so I use a face wash for oily skin (Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash). Once the skin feels clean, I go for the next step. But instead of a traditional moisturiser, I use a moisturising sunscreen with a high SPF (Neutrogena Sunscreen SPF 50). Since I have oily skin, a moisturizer just adds to the grease and hence, I avoid it completely. You can also use a BB or CC cream with SPF to prep your skin. That will protect your skin from the sun, and cover up pigmentation and spots. This entire process should take no more than 2 minutes.
2. Highlight a feature
Personally, I like to highlight my eyes with a stroke of eyeliner and kajal. Choosing to focus on one feature will make your routine brief, and stop you from going overboard with makeup. For me, a liquid eyeliner works well and I can get a wing done in under a minute (yes, practice makes one perfect). A felt tip eyeliner or eyeliner pen works well for quick application on work days. I prefer to wear either kajal or eyeliner in the day and not both, just to keep the look simple.
3. Pick the right lipstick
There’s nothing a good shade of lipstick can’t hide. I love wearing lipsticks and seldom step out without dabbing my lips with some colour. Pick a bold colour if you want to attract attention, or settle on a nude to keep it subtle. I wear a pinkish nude shade to work every day, and my all-time faves are – Gul from Nykaa and Gossip Girl from Huda Beauty. Both are matte lipsticks that work well for a toned down, day look but will liven up your face. Pick shades that are easy-to-apply and long-lasting, so that you don’t have to worry about refreshing them frequently. This step takes me less than 30 seconds.
4. Highlighter and blush
The Mumbai weather can be cruel to your makeup, which is why I often prefer to go concealer-free. However, I do dab on some highlighter or blush, to give my face some oomph and colour. Use a highlighter stick or lip and cheek tint for the same. I use the Maybelline New York Gigi Hadid Strobe Cream, a cream-based highlighter that is super easy to apply. It adds a nice glow to my face. Another lip and cheek tint that friends swear by for daily wear, is the Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Rose-Tinted Lip & Cheek Stain. This will take you another 30 seconds.
5. Do a rain check
With a full minute to spare, it’s time to do a rain check. Make sure your eyeliner is neat, and apply a coat of mascara to open up your eyes. Brush your hair, put it into a sleek bun or a ponytail. Don’t forget to add a pleasant perfume that’ll last all day. I often dump my lipstick for the day into my bag, along with a comb/brush and eyeliner for touch-ups. Finally, give yourself one good look and see if something’s missing. If not, you are in luck and ready to head out. If there is something wrong, you’ve still got 20 seconds to fix it.
I’ve been using this makeup routine for as long as I can remember, and it’s worked well for me all these years. The only change I make for after-work events is covering up dark circles with concealer and swapping the neutral lip shade with a brighter and bolder shade. The eyeshadow, primer-concealer-foundation routine is saved for special events that are few and far between. I can’t be thankful enough for that because honestly, on work days 5 minutes is also too much to spend in front of the mirror when all that’s on my mind is how to beat the traffic to reach my desk on time.
You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Kommunity where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.