Five Minute Face

Just got back from vacation in San Francisco (yay!) Today I’d like to talk about something a little different, but in keeping with my goal of being Uniformly Dressed every day–I’d like to talk about dressing up our faces.

Confession: I’m terrible at makeup. I’m in my twenties and I still haven’t bought a proper bottle of foundation (nor do I really know how to use it.) Until last year, I really didn’t care what I did to my face. At best I washed it for work and put on some SPF protection before leaving. Maybe a layer of pressed powder on top, but that was if I had time before work. I also would routinely go outdoors and into the water sometimes with sunscreen, sometimes without, and I’ve always had small pimples/breakouts crop up on me even beyond my teen years. Never grew out of it. So I’m not really entirely qualified nor am I terribly comfortable about talking about what to do re: makeup/skincare.

What’s new this year? I’m trying to take better care of myself, and I’m growing up. I’m recognizing that wanting to feel beautiful is not hubris and learning how to put one’s self together ultimately helps me think better of myself, which is a worthy endeavor. I also believe people make snap judgments and I want to be perceived positively–hopefully as someone of health and good capabilities. No one will believe it if I look tired, rumply, or slovenly.

With that being said, I’ve been going around asking the women among my family and friends about their makeup/skincare routine. I am most interested in their ideas for their every day face, or what I call “Five Minute Face.” What is a Five Minute Face? To me, it is the bare minimum of what one would consider public-ready or put-together. If you only had five minutes to get your face ready for work, what would you put on, and why? I am interested to know what people consider a must. Here are the tools and potions I use for my Five Minute Face:


Face: Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion, Rimmel BB Cream Matte, L’Oreal True Match Super-blendable Powder
Eyebrows: Wet n Wild Coloricon Brow & Eye Liner, Dark Brown 652, Sonia Kashuk Eyebrow Comb/Brush
Lips: Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me

I like simplicity so I’ve hardly deviated from light coverage options (which I think are simple enough–they don’t require a sponge to apply or precise skin tone matching.) I’ve used the same tinted moisturizer since high school–CoverGirl’s CG Smoothers. Last year a few friends told me about BB cream, so I’ve been trying that. I like the Rimmel BB Cream in matte so far–it doesn’t have too strong a scent, doesn’t feel greasy or heavy going on my skin, and gives some light concealing coverage to blemishes and pimple scars (at least the fading ones.) I’ve only had it a week and so far no bad reaction to it, and it’s affordable at only $4.99 a tube (at least at Target.)

Since the BB cream already has SPF 15 in the formula, I’ve been using the PM Cerave Facial Moisturizing lotion underneath the BB cream for hydration. And here is where my lack of face science shows. My T-zone (especially my chin and cheeks) have been dry lately, to the point of peeling. I don’t know what’s different this month, or why it’s peeling, but I’m guessing that because I run regularly and am outdoors more, I could be getting sunburnt. I also have some topical medicine for the one or two stubborn pimples, and I know that gel has light-sensitive and skin-drying chemicals. I generally don’t have peeling, so let’s hope moisturizing will help alleviate that.

Once the lotion is on and dry, I just cover my face with the L’Oreal True Match Powder. I flip between the N3-N4 shades, depending on how tan I am. The brow fill-in is new–I learned that when I attended my friend’s wedding. I keep my brows full-grown and thread/pluck the strays, but there are some patches that are thinner. Those get filled in with the pencil and brushed out. I like doing my brows–who would have thought? They’re fun to define, and I feel like my smirks are jauntier with a fuller brow. I kid. A quick swipe of some kind of lip balm (I show the Maybelline Baby Lips here, but I am mighty fond of Cherry Chapstick as well) and I’m out the door. Sometimes I’ll just pocket the balm and put it on in the car, which happens more often than not.

All that production looks like this:

It takes longer to write about it than just to do it.

I can live with this amount of work for every day, but I’m open to learning new things/hearing suggestions. What is your daily face like–what are your must-dos? What are your favorite products to use, and do you have any tips for those of us still learning the ropes?

26 thoughts on “Five Minute Face

  1. ah, a topic dear to my heart! i’ve ALWAYS worn a ‘le no makeup’ look. I feel that hair, makeup and accessories are crucial parts of a style story. They don’t have to be over the top or changing all the time, but they do need to be thought out if you want to have a consistent, coherent style.

    you have wonderful skin, great brows and eyes and a fantastic smile 🙂 Since you asked, i have a couple ideas for taking things a bit further along the line of a flattering, polished look. Using BB cream/powder/foundation can even out skin tone nicely but it tends to wash out a person’s natural color and make your face look a bit ‘flat’. To counteract this, add in a bronzer/contour color and a blush/lip color. The easiest approach would be to get a mineral face color in a color two to three shades darker than your skin tone and apply it with a bronzer brush on cheekbones, top of forehead, under chin and on collarbones and also as a wash over your eyelids. Then, get a decent lipstick or a multi-use color (like NARS the multiples but maybe not that shiny) and apply color to your cheekbones (not too close to the nose, use your fingers or a brush and start out lightly then build up color) and use it on your lips as well.

    A nice, popular color is NYX Fig. (NYX’s a great source for less expensive but very nice cosmetics.) Fig is popular because it’s a coral but it has nice depth to it – it has some caramel and pink tones in there which help it to blend to your skin. It’s worthwhile to look for these type of more sophisticated colors and also to use better tools (brushes) to apply your makeup as it’s your face and it’s out there everyday! Fig is a full on lipstick, which is why it lasts great as blush, but can be intimidating for a newbie. Just dab it on your finger and press it into your lips to get a nice subtle finish. You can apply chapstick or other lipbalm over the lipstick for a ‘dewy’ look and also to blend it out a bit.

    So if that sounds interesting, you can just get two products and maybe a brush for bronzer and try that for a while to see how you like the look. It’s kind of counterintuitive, but if you want a more natural look it’s better to use actually a few different products, just choose more natural colors and apply sparingly with a lot of blending. As opposed to just putting on bright red lips! One product, it’s ‘less makeup’ but it looks like a lot more! Probably not fair, but oh well. Have fun and HTH!! steph

    1. Thank you for your wonderfully kind words and insights Steph! I’ll have to look more into bronzer and how to use it to see if it will fit in my routine, but a blush and lip color couldn’t hurt for right now. Time to see how to shift resources around to building a small makeup kit.

  2. I do moisturizer/sunscreen, concealer for my dark circles, eyeliner, red lipstick. That’s it. I always found my skin broke out if I messed with it too much or wore foundation or powder. But I do love the idea of taking care of your skin as being part of growing up.

    1. I feel like I’m doing a lot more now because of “growing up.” I’m exercising more, dressing better, trying to be better, because I’m increasingly more responsible for the life I am leading, and others are counting on me to show up.

      Skin and teeth and our body is hard to replace. I don’t want to get melanomas or cavities :/

  3. It’s true that it’s difficult to know wht to do to look polished/pulled together (I like the French word “Soignée” for that), without feeling like a walking painting. I’ve been asking myself the same questions when I started working, as I’ve never really been interested in make-up before, and my mother always preferred spending time with us, walking or cooking rather than putting on beauty products in the bathroom.

    To answer your question, after a bit of trial and error, here is my daily routine:
    – I put on a hydrating cream (from Clinique, no scent, and adapted to my skin) – in Winter it’s a more moisturizing one, and in summer it’s one with sunscreen integrated. That’s a bit of an expensive product but I use it everyday and it’s directly on my skin so I thought it was important.
    – Like one commenter also suggested above, I use a type of bronzer powder with a big brush – under the cheekbones, on the T-zone to highlight my face. I use Guerlain’s Terracotta powder. Again, it’s a bit expensive, but they have shades according to skin tone, and it lasts for over a year.
    – I have a small concealer that I use under my eyes, and in small touches if I have a red spot somewhere.
    – I finish with a bit of mascara and a lip balm. Sometimes I don’t even put on the mascara, and sometimes I add a bit of nude/mineral eye shadow but that’s more for either formal days with meetings, or evenings out.

    I don’t use any type of foundation or covering powder at all because I realized it made my skin drier, as if it didn’t breathe enough. In the end, the hydrating cream and the terracotta powder seem to be the best combination for my own skin, but you’ll need to test different things to adapt products to your own skin. What I can suggest is to buy mini-sized products that they sell around these days for travel. That way you can try various routines and see the effect on your skin before buying a full sized product. That’s what I do, at airports 🙂

    1. I’m curious about that terracotta powder–you said it’s multi-use? Or just strictly a bronzer?

      My mom is the same way. She does powder, lipstick, mascara, maybe eyeliner on some days. I mostly remember her reading or talking to me while I was growing up (and trying to gather all my hair up in a ponytail or a bun for school.) More often than not we were wrestling my hair than her doing her face 🙂 Btw she also reads this blog so don’t be surprised if she pops in with a comment 🙂

      1. I don’t think the Terracotta powder is a bronzer per se, as in, it doesn’t have chemicals that make your skin actually tan. The one I use has several colours mixed in (brown, shades of pink and peach) that create a “fresh” effect, right out of an afernoon in the sun. They have various shades depending on your overall skin tone, and I use mine all year long to liven up my overall complexion. And hi to your mum if she pops around 🙂

  4. Ah I don’t know much about makeup either so my face is a five minute face too. Generally if I’m super tight on time I’m confident enough with my skin now to go bare-faced, but lately I’ve liked to do my eyebrows – I think filling them in makes me look a lot better.

    1. Doesn’t it make a difference? I had a nice slow morning today so I took my time and did mine, and it feels so much neater and cleaner when I clean them up and fill them in.

      I just want to have great brows like Emilia Clarke (Daenaerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones”) or Lana Del Rey. 🙂

  5. It looks like you’re wearing nothing! Very polished yet effortless 🙂 I wear about the same amount of makeup daily as well – just mineral powder that doubles as both concealer and foundation. Though I am trying to grow out my eyelashes (ugh terrible stress habit of pulling them out!) so I can add a bit of mascara and eyeliner to my routine in order to look a little less fresh/baby faced at job interviews -__-

    P.S. Like everyone else has said, you’ve got quite the killer eyebrows!

    1. Thank you! It’s mostly lotion. Which mineral powder do you like? I’ve wanted to try some but I feel like I’d drop most of the product on myself or the ground, so I’ve stuck to pressed powder.

      I am fortunate re: my brows. Thank you genetic lottery! And good luck on those job interviews! I dislike summer interviews because how the heck do you wear a full blazer in to the meeting? I ended up carrying mine in to the room awkwardly, or in some cases sweating it out and feeling stuffy by the time I got in with the panel.

      1. I use the Loreal True Match Mineral Foundation, and yes, mineral makeup is as messy as it seems! However, the benefits definitely outweigh the hassle (protip: keep some cleaning wipes on hand for the inevitable post-application cleanup). I’ve found that putting a little bit into a separate container helps so you’re not dealing with a mountain of powder all at once. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried Bare Minerals, but after an unsuccessful trial period (it broke my face out horribly, but I’m also the only person I know who’s ever had that happen so do with that what you will) I did keep the foundation container because its perfect for rationing powder as well as taking some with me for touch ups throughout the day. I also kept my Bare Mineral brushes. The concealer brush is absolutely perfect and it helps me save on product since I can just dab/blend my foundation onto trouble spots instead of searching for a whole different concealer (another point for mineral makeup – it works double duty). I also use the “full face” brush, and while its effective and I like the result (very natural… I remember a girl told me after knowing me for several months that she’d always thought I was “one of those au natural people” – I hated to have to burst her bubble), it sheds like crazy so now that it’s effectively reached the end of its life I’m looking for other options.

        Whelp! I’ve completely exhausted all my makeup experience/knowledge, so I hope it helps since I’ve got nothing more to say!

      2. That sounds amazing. I haven’t had the opportunity to try BareMinerals–I think I just got sticker shock looking at it for the most part. I know a few friends did it and it looked pretty easy to put on, so that was nice. Would you say the coverage with mineral powder is enough to mask pimple scars half-way? Or is true concealer still needed to decrease its appearance?

      3. It definitely is. I have supper uneven skin (and some not-fading acne scars) and they’re covered almost completely…. I’ve had people comment on how *even* my skin is and I just sort of cackle internally as I decide whether or not to tell the truth. I guess it really depends on the brush you use with regard to coverage. I’d definitely recommend the Bare Mineral one. And to be honest, breakouts aside, I personally didn’t feel Bare Minerals was worth the money. My $15 drugstore makeup provides just as much coverage, lasts longer, and actually blends better with my skin than Bare Minerals ever did.

      4. cackling internally is the best! I guess the BM brush was good but not necessarily the powder, huh.

        Good ideas. I will eventually mosey on down to these makeup counters/pharmacy aisles to try everything 🙂

      5. PS: I guess I forgot to mention the rest of my 5-minute routine – face wash (Cetaphil followed by the St. Ives apricot exfoliating scrub once a week), then Oxy spot treatment, and finally face lotion with SPF. Lately I’ve been using some Neutrogena face lotion that I like, but I plan on switching soon since it’s only an SPF of 15. Then goes the aforementioned makeup process! I’m 110% a drugstore customer since beauty/skin care isn’t really a thing I’m super into spending a lot of money on. As long as my face is reasonably clear, I’m happy… still have yet to step foot into a Sephora 😛

      6. Amen to drugstore beauty! I’m not opposed to learning about a premium product, but I gotta keep it real–limited resources means I’ll be flying that pharmacy boutique flag high. And I really do like L’Oreal and Rimmel thus far–I’ve not had adverse reactions from their powder and BB cream. A win for the wallet.

  6. My five minute routine consists of moisturiser, sunscreen, foundation where i need it, filling in eyebrows, eyeliner, blusher and a quick drag of hairbrush through hair.. I can’t say for sure that I do more than you, I like to keep it simple and it sounds like you do too!

    I switch products up like crazy though. Mostly to help my skin cope with the weather. Some days I might use some argan oil, it’s nice on skin and also on the ends of hair when it feels particularly dry. Someone’s mentioned NARS multiple which is really handy to carry around with nice colour payoff too.

    You have such nice skin! My biggest bit of advice is to wear sunscreen every day.. and remove everything before you sleep.

    1. That sounds pretty simple! How does one shop for blush though? I’m not as fair as you are, but I guess I have yellow undertones in my skin? I don’t really know what color I’m supposed to go with–coral?

      My skin was cooperating last week so I shot a bunch of selfies 🙂 I definitely agree with sunscreen–I gotta figure out something for the body when I run, like on my chest, because I’m tanning quickly now that the sun is ramping up.

      1. I generally go for a kind of just flushed look – i use lorac’s powder cheek stain in rosy glow, they have a few other shades. i love them because you only need a tiny bit and they last the whole day! i’d probably pop into a sephora and try them on in person tho. NARS’ ‘orgasm’ seems to be a really universal colour as well.

      2. Sounds like a Sephora research trip is needed! I’ve heard much about NARS Orgasm, but I’ll have to see it on me. Where are we supposed to test blush on? The backs of our hands–like lipstick?

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