There are days when you just DON'T have any time to spend 20 minutes getting your full face on.
Here are the essential steps and tips (for me) to get out the door looking put-together:
Step 1: Pick a good medium-coverage foundation (Dior Nude and Bourjois Healthy Mix are my favorites for being lightweight+good-coverage) with a great skin-like finish. This will even out your skin and minimize time needed for your concealer application later. Dab it on around the areas where you need the most evening out, as the coverage will be thickest in that spot.
For me thats under my eyes, and around my nose.
And - IMPORTANT - use your clean hands! This is the fastest way to get foundation well-blended into your skin.
Step 2: Conceal any redness, discolorations, spots.
A wax based concealer (pots or sticks) will be easier to spot apply and build up than liquids. I'm trying out Revlon Photoready Concealer but MAC Studiofinish is my staple on most days. If you have really dark pigmentation or circles, get something with peach undertones. Apply with a brush, but press with your ring finger until it blends seamlessly into your foundation.
Don't rub or it will take you forever to build up precise coverage, and DON'T try to erase every single flaw you have. It's too much work and never really hides anything that well.
Step 3: Set with a powder. If you need something with a little more color, try something like MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, because if you've got the shade that matches your skin tone, this is a powder that gives extra coverage without taking the glow away from your skin.
Step 4: Blush. Go for something that's a nice fresh pink (or stronger if you have a deeper skin tone) like MAC Well-Dressed if you're fair, and NYX Pinky if you're medium-toned. (I mixed both here!) Very lightly dab on with a loose, soft kabuki to add the base layer of color first. Then check to see if you need more, before buffing lightly to build up a bit of color.
If you tend to be heavy-handed, my suggestion is to go for a lighter shade than you would normally wear.
Step 5: Set your brows with pencil or powder (or brow mascara), and move on to your eyes. You need 2 basic shades. A deeper, matte shade, and a lighter (shimmer is optional) which can be neutral or otherwise.
With your ring finger, pick up some dark shadow (MAC Concrete) and smear it firmly along the lash line from OUTSIDE-IN so it's darkest near the roots. Don't worry about precision or blending.
Step 6: Next trick; pick up the lighter shade (MAC Mineralize Eye shadow in Snow Season) and use a clean finger to smear it INSIDE-OUT from the inner corners, until it slightly overlaps the darker shade in a sheer wash. That's your eye shadow done!
Step 7: Apply mascara (Bourjois Volume Glamour Max) and comb out if you need to.
Step 8: On the lips, pick your favorite everyday lip color (MAC Faux for me), apply straight from the tube, then kiss the back of your hand to remove excess. Lip gloss (DiorAddict Ultra Gloss #557 is a sheer candy pink with blue reflects) is optional!
And finally, a more presentable face in 5 minutes!