Eight women, eight common makeup issues—well, nine, if you take into account that the women had all invested in makeup that ended up frustrating them to the point that they rarely used it. What they wanted: easy cosmetics routines, new tricks, and solutions to their particular makeup problems.
Enter makeup artists Melissa Silver and Tanya Rae, who were given two directives: Each routine they created could take no more than 15 minutes—enough time for a finished look, but not so long that the women couldn’t do the routine before dashing to work. And the two artists should use the readers’ own makeup, supplementing it only when necessary.
For their “Before” shots, all of the women arrived at the photo studio with their makeup on as they normally do it. Silver and Rae started each makeover, once they’d removed any makeup, by applying moisturizer: Silver used Joanna Vargas Daily Hydrating Cream ($75, joannavargas-skincare.com) and Rae likes Desert Essence Daily Essential Defense Lotion SPF 15 ($19, amazon.com). And with the exception of one makeover candidate, Ivy Pittman, who has naturally curly lashes, they both used an eyelash curler before applying mascara. Silver likes Laura Mercier’s ($25, birchbox.com), while Rae used the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler ($20, shuuemura-usa.com). (Hairstyling in this story: Dax Anderson for Cutler Salon.)
Help! I Want to Wear Makeup, but I Want to Look Natural!
Before: Anu Menon, 35
An accountant and mother of two from New Jersey, Anu kept her makeup minimal (“Literally a quick smear of lipstick and then the same lipstick as blush”) because she feels that she doesn’t apply cosmetics well. “Most of the time I don’t know what colors work,” she says. Her goal: a makeup routine that allows her to look like she’s put-together but “not trying too hard.” (American Apparel T-shirt.)
What Rae used of Anu’s:Maybelline EyeStudio Color Plus Eye Shadow Green With Envy 40 palette ($10,walgreens.com). The Color Workshop palette ($33,amazon.com). Maybelline Volum’ Express the Falsies Mascara in Blackest Black ($7,ulta.com).
For someone who would rarely wear makeup—never mind experiment with it—Anu fully embraced the addition of foundation and eye shadow, happy to learn how to play up her eyes with warm browns and ready to dive back into her makeup palette to try other tones. Her new strategy adds about 10 minutes to her morning routine: “This definitely takes more effort and time but nothing that can’t be possible with a little planning and, of course, practice,” says Anu, who adds: “I love the results. Definitely makes me look more pulled-together.”
1. Using fingers, apply foundation, then blend with a damp makeup sponge.2. Brush on taupe shadow from the Maybelline palette. 3. Using an angled brush, line the upper lids with the dark green color from the palette, “smooshing” the color, says Rae, into the top lash line. 4. To warm up the eyes and create definition, apply slightly shimmery bronze color from the Color Workshop palette in the creases of the eyelids. 5. Curl lashes, then brush mascara on the top lashes. (Skipping the lower lashes will look more natural, less “done.”) 6. Lightly line the outer halves of the bottom lids with the dark green shadow. 7. Dab concealer under the eyes. 8. Apply shimmery pink blush from the Color Workshop palette. 9. Brush loose powder over the face to set the look.
Though Elizabeth’s makeup bag held a healthy amount of products (she likes to browse makeup counters and regularly buys when a gift with purchase is involved), she admits that she almost never wears any of them. Her usual routine consists of mascara, a bit of lip color, and a swipe of pressed powder. But Elizabeth recently landed her dream job—managing the brand-new Serena & Lily store in the Hamptons area of Long Island—and realizes she has to up her game. “The environment is business casual chic, with an emphasis on chic,” says the mother of one. “The pressure is on to represent the brand.” (T-shirt by C & C California.)
What she added:Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Buff ($27,sephora.com). Chanel Ãclat LumiÃ¨re Highlighter Face Pen in Medium ($40,chanel.com).
5 of 17Elinor Carucci
After: Elizabeth Jamieson
What does Elizabeth think of her new pumped-up but professional look? “I feel natural but more put-together,” she says. “[Melissa] gave me the confidence to try more looks and step out of my comfort zone.” Two key tips she picked up: to use primer on her eyelids (it works not only as a base shadow but to brighten the eyes and help eye makeup stay on longer; it can also act as a shadow on days when Elizabeth wants to keep her routine pared-down but polished) and to use a small makeup brush to soften the color under her eyes. “I was lining my eyes straight,” says Elizabeth. “But smudging the shadow a bit makes my eyes look bigger.” Though she tends to reserve eyeliner for evenings out, her new lipstick is a daily must, she says: “Two Ton Tomato has become my favorite go-to lip color.”
1. Brush primer over the lids. 2. Apply eye shadow in Ivory Slipper just under the brows and at the inner corners of the eyes to brighten the skin, act as a highlighter, and add some dimension to the eyes. 3. Line the upper lids as close as possible to the lashes with pencil. Using a small brush, smudge the liner a bit at the corners of the eyes, extending the natural line of the eyes to add drama. 4. Apply tinted moisturizer. 5.Dab highlighter under the eyes, down the bridge of the nose, in the cleft of the chin, and above the brows.6. Using a big, fluffy brush, dust pressed powder over the face. 7. Fill in brows with pencil. 8. Under the eyes, use a small brush to apply Smoky Ember eye shadow; the line should be thick but diffused and soft.9. Curl lashes; coat with mascara. 10. Apply blush. 11. Color in lips.
“I have good-looking skin and eyes, but I really need to play them up!” says Ivy, a saleswoman and an aspiring novelist from New Jersey. Her normal makeup routine—foundation (or bronzer in the summer), blush, eyeliner and eyebrow pencil—was, she says, “not complicated, just boring.” It was also, perhaps, a little too uncomplicated, which may be a cause of her dissatisfaction. One crucial eye-highlighting tool missing: mascara. (T-shirt by Splendid.)
“Who would have known? Something as simple as mascara!” says Ivy about her new look. While the ramped-up, eye-focused routine Silver created for her involves more products and steps than she was used to (“I find it easy but it takes me about 20 minutes as I take caution in applying the makeup correctly,” says Ivy), she likes the results, and “the fact that I have [almost] everything is an incentive.” And though she’s still getting used to the process (and prefers her usual gold lipstick), she’s experimenting more with makeup—and using mascara daily.
1. Brush primer across the eyelids and up under the brows. 2. On the lids and in the creases, brush on the bronze shade from the Anastasia eye shadow palette. 3.To help minimize wide-set eyes, apply a second, darker color (Silver used eye shadow in Saddle) over the entire creases. 4. Line the top lids with pencil; smudge it slightly. 5. Lightly run a dampened makeup sponge over the face to apply foundation. Dab some on under the eyes, too. 6. Using a big, fluffy brush, set the makeup by lightly dusting the face with loose powder. 7. Fill in brows with eyebrow pencil. 8. Line the lower lashes with eye-liner pencil. 9. Brush on mascara. 10. Color lips with lip gloss. 11. Line the upper lip with pencil (when you have a natural lip line, as Ivy does on the bottom, you don’t need liner). 12. Pat blush on the high point of the apples of the cheeks, above the eyebrows (to give face and skin tone a lift), and a tiny bit on the bridge of the nose. This will add warmth and color: “Foundation takes away color to even out the skin tone, then you have to add some back,” says Silver.
About to return to work after giving birth, Jessica, a Connecticut attorney and mom to three girls, was “nervous about pulling off a beautiful makeup routine appropriate for a professional office while getting all of us out the door to work, school, and day care.” She also felt that she was on repeat, buying the same colors (purples and gold/browns) over and over, and was looking for something new. Her ideal regimen would take 20 minutes—tops. “I don’t have time for an intricate routine,” she says. “I need a simple but grown-up style.” (American Apparel tee.)
After doing the makeup routine on her own for a week, Jessica says, “it’s very easy to follow and I was pleased I was able to do the majority of the look with things that were already in my bag. My absolute favorite thing I learned was how to blend my eye shadows to make my eyes pop, especially on days when I am tired from being up all night with the baby. It definitely makes me look more awake and I have received tons of compliments.” While she’s learning the steps, Jessica is finding that the full routine is taking too long to do daily, but she does her eye makeup faithfully (skipping lining the corners: “I just ended up with smudged eyeliner”) and loves the blush stick. “The overall look,” she says, “is more polished.”
1. Apply foundation; blend with a damp makeup sponge. 2. Apply concealer to eyelids, then under the eyes in an upside-down triangle; blend with fingers. (This will help brighten the under-eye area and create a little contour on the face.) 3. To create a quick, soft smoky effect and add depth to the eyes, apply pencil in short, little strokes on the outer corners of the upper eyelids. Blend with a round contour brush. 4. Brush eye shadow in Texture onto the creases of the lids and the outer corners. 5. Apply a light dusting of loose powder over the lids: A subtle touch of shimmer will make the eyes pop. 6. Line the upper lashes and the outer half of the lower lashes with pencil. To set the liner and give it an extra boost of color, use an angled brush to trace over itwith eye shadow in Twinks and in Sketch. (Blend shadows into the outer corners of the eyes for more drama.) 7. Curl lashes, then brush on mascara. 8. Apply a bit of Cream Stick on the cheekbones, forehead, chin, and tip of the nose—anywhere the sun would hit naturally, which lights up the face. Blend with fingers or a makeup sponge. 9. Fill in brows with pencil. 10. Blot the T-zone and the sides of the nose with pressed powder to reduce any shine. 11. Finish with lip color.
Help! I Don’t Know How to Play Up My Makeup With Glasses
Before: Violaine Gonzalez, 46
A coordinator for a major accounting firm, Violaine, the mother of two grown sons, restricts her makeup most mornings to a BB cream, mascara, and lipstick. “I really don’t know how to apply makeup correctly and I’m afraid to look silly doing it!” she says. On her wish list: to learn how to master makeup, to create a flawless and finished look in under 15 minutes, and to find eye makeup that is work-appropriate but distinctive enough to make her eyes noticeable under her glasses.
What Rae used of Violaine’s:Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette–Saint ($45,amazon.com). MAC Eye Shadow in Swiss Chocolate ($16,bloomingdales.com). Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Intense Charcoal ($16,clinique.com). Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara in Extreme Black ($19.50,clinique.com). Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream in Light/Medium ($13,ulta.com). Sephora Collection Colorful Blush in Cinnamon Spice ($15,sephora.com; color no longer available). Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick in Apple Brandy ($15,clinique.com).
“Wow,” says Violaine, who loves that “you can tell I have makeup on even with my glasses and it doesn’t look like too much.” The warm, slightly smoky look that Rae created for her brightens her eyes, making them look big but not overdone, utilizing products that she owned but never used. But Violaine equally appreciates that she now knows tricks that will play up her eyes even when she is pressed for time (brown shadow on the lids, a lighter shade in the creases, white shadow on the brow bones to highlight, dark brown as a liner) or extremely pressed for time (curl lashes, put on mascara, and go). In fact, for Violaine, learning to properly apply mascara was the most (literally) eye-opening tip: “Curling my lashes and then applying mascara by starting at the base and wiggling up can make a huge difference.”
1. Brush eye primer across the eyelids. 2. To make eyes appear bigger and pop under glasses, apply eye pencil on the corners of the eyelids in short strokes. Blend upward with a round contour brush. 3. Brush buttercream-colored shadow from the Kat Von D palette over the lids, to the creases. 4. Stroke eye shadow in Swiss Chocolate lightly over the creases and outer corners of the eyes. 5. To add brightness, brush on Sunny shadow from the Kat Von D palette, starting from the inner corners of the lids and working up to the creases. 6. Line the upper lids and the outer half of the lower lids with pencil, making the liner just a bit thicker at the ends of the lids. 7. Apply dark brown Caravaggio shadow from the Kat Von D palette over the liner with an angled brush to add depth. 8. Curl lashes, then stroke on mascara. 9. Apply pearly white Heavens shadow from the Kat Von D palette just under the brow bones to highlight. 10. Using an angled brush, apply Caravaggio and Bookworm, a pearlized brown, from the Kat Von D palette along the lower lash lines and connect to the top in the corner, to give the illusion of an elongated eye. 11. Apply highlighter under the eyes and in inner corners to brighten. 12. Apply BB cream to the face to even out the skin tone. 13. Brush Cinnamon Spice blush on the forehead, nose, chin, and cheekbones. 14. Dot Shimmer Mandarin Sky blush on the cheeks, blending upward. For a little extra pop, add a touch to the center and the creases of the eyelids. A peachy-pink in the creases has a hint of sexiness. 15. Finish with lipstick.
12 of 17Elinor Carucci
Help! I Don’t Know How to Pick Colors
Before: Claudia Rose, 61
“I have had a lifelong struggle to find makeup products and techniques that work,” says Claudia (“Grandma Cookie” to her 12 grandchildren). “My skin tone is somewhat olive and somewhat light—a difficult combination to work with.” The New Jersey resident has rosacea, too; she says her skin tone “never stays the same color during the day.” In addition, she never seemed to buy the right colors, she says, and wanted makeup in hues that were flattering and more modern. In fact, Silver found some of that in Claudia’s bag. (Claudia is wearing her own top.)
“Melissa showed me quite a few tricks to enhance the look I wanted,” says Claudia, who credits Silver with teaching her how to play down her rosacea, choose the right mascara, and apply foundation correctly (pat it on rather than rub it in). Plus, “she showed me how to apply the eye makeup in a way that highlighted my eyes, yet the procedure is quite simple and quick,” says Claudia. “I feel younger, prettier, and perkier! This can all be achieved in about 10 minutes, and I am thrilled with the results.”
1. Apply primer to face. 2. Brush Eye Basics primer across the lids, up to the brows. 3. In the creases of the lids, brush on the darker shade from the Twice the Spice palette. 4. Dampen an angled brush, then use it to line the upper lids with the darker shade in the Coffee Shop palette. Press the brush into the eyelids, pushing it up to slightly diffuse the color. 5. Brush the same shadow into the corners of the eyes to give them a lift. 6. Dab on foundation. 7. Apply under-eye concealer. 8. Set makeup by brushing on finishing powder. 9. Fill in brows with pencil. 10. As close to the lash line as possible, line the lower lids using the same powder and technique as on the upper lids. 11. Curl lashes, then coat with mascara. (Use a gel-based mascara, which is smudge-resistant, if your eyes tend to water, as Claudia’s do.) 12. Line lips with pencil, then fill in with lipstick, using a brush, for a pretty but crisper look. 13. Brush on blush, but because the redness of rosacea tends to become more noticeable on the cheeks as the day goes on, restrict it to the tops of the cheekbones. 14. For a healthy glow, brush bronzing powder on at the hairline, temples, jawline, bridge of nose, and neck.
Elizabeth, who handles social media marketing and Web communications for entrepreneurs and small-business owners, told Real Simple that she has been following the same multistep makeup routine “for so long I can recite it in my sleep.” The New Jersey resident estimates that she’s been using the same colors and/or brands “for about 30 years.” Silver helped her shake things up—a bit. “A subtle, incremental change is better,” she told Elizabeth. “A radical change will freak you out!” (Elizabeth is wearing her own T-shirt.)
What Silver used of Elizabeth’s:Amway Artistry Eye Colour in Truffle ($12,amway.com, color no longer available). Clinique Cream Shaper for Eyes in Chocolate Lustre ($16,clinique.com). Mary Kay Day Radiance Cream Foundation in Antique Ivory ($16,marykay.com). Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque ($24,bobbibrowncosmetics.com). NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder in Blonde ($6,nyxcosmetics.com). Mary Kay Sheer Mineral Pressed Powder in Ivory 1 ($16,marykay.com). Mary Kay Mineral Cheek Color in Shy Blush ($12,marykay.com). MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl ($15,maccosmetics.com).
What she added:Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Flax ($25,lauramercier.com). Clinique Lash Power Mascara in Black Onyx ($16,clinique.com). Clinique Vitamin C Lip Smoothie in Pear-Fection ($29,amazon.com).
15 of 17Elinor Carucci
After: Elizabeth Osterhoudt
True to her word, Silver made only small corrections to Elizabeth’s regular makeup, but they had big impact. “I added eye primer to my routine,” says Elizabeth, listing the tips she picked up. “It makes a difference in how long my eye shadow lasts and gives my skin tone a consistent look. Melissa switched out my usual taupe eyeliner for a chocolate one, which made a big difference in how my eyes look. Wetting the makeup sponge helps the foundation glide on and blend easier. Using the eyelash curler opens up my eyes.” At first, she says, the new routine seemed a bit cumbersome (“I’m not a makeup girl, so I fumble around”), but now she has it down cold. “I’m still using the same amount of time, but I’m getting results that are 10 times better.”
1. Brush primer across the eyelids. 2. Brush Truffle eye shadow in the natural crease of each lid, then extend the shadow to the outer corners of the eyes and onto the upper portions of the eyelids. “This will give more warmth and shape to the eyes,” says Silver. 3. Line upper lids with pencil, drawing it as close to the lash lines as possible. 4.Dab on foundation, then, using a damp sponge, blend into skin, including under the eyes, with additional dabs where more coverage is needed. 5. Dab corrector under the eyes, at the outer corners of the eyes, around the mouth, and at the outer corners of the nose: anywhere there’s redness. 6. Fill in brows with Cake Powder, using small, quick strokes. 7. Dust face with pressed powder. 8. Add eye pencil to the bottom lash lines. 9. Curl lashes, then stroke on mascara. 10. Apply blush on the upper parts of the cheeks; brushing it up toward the sides visually “lifts” the face. Dust a bit at the temples, too. 11. Line the lips with pencil, then finish with lip color.
Jesse, who works in digital marketing in New York City, was hoping to trim down the time she devoted to doing her makeup: at least 30 minutes every morning. But she was reluctant to cut any corners that meant she would need to reapply her makeup later in the day. Beyond that, she’d just chopped her hair into a bob, so she was craving an equally crisp makeup look, maybe to experiment with colors. Rae subtly tweaked her routine, shortcutting it to save time and introducing a new nude lip color. (T-shirt by Velvet.)
What Rae used of Jesse’s:Maybelline SuperStay 24HR Concealer in Medium Beige ($8,maybelline.com). Maybelline EyeStudio Eyeshadow Quad in Pink Persuasion 80 ($10.50,drugstore.com). e.l.f. Studio Compact Blush/Bronzer ($3,eyeslipsface.com). Maybelline Illegal Lengths Fiber Extensions Washable Mascara in Blackest Black ($9.50,drugstore.com). Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse Cream Whipped Foundation in Natural Beige 240 ($10,drugstore.com). Sonia Kashuk Crème Blush in Rosey 02 ($10,target.com). Maybelline DreamMatte in Sand Medium ($15,amazon.com).
What she added:Maybelline ColorSensational Lip Gloss in Luminous Latte ($8,drugstore.com).
17 of 17Elinor Carucci
After: Jesse Jordan
Though Jesse’s look didn’t change substantially—with the exception of the nude lipstick Rae swapped in—she learned to reorder the way she puts on her makeup: Under-eye concealer, for instance, goes on after her eye makeup so she won’t have to redo it if she messes up her shadow or mascara. That, plus a few new techniques (e.g., priming her eyelids so that her shadow lasts longer), shaves off time not only in the morning but throughout the day, since she doesn’t need to reapply her makeup as often. Come the evening, the look can easily be transformed with a few simple additions, eliminating the need for Jesse to take off her makeup and start from scratch if she is going from day to night. And that means even more time saved—and a problem solved.
1. Apply concealer to the eyelids; like a primer, it will help keep makeup intact. 2. Using an angled brush, apply the black shadow from the palette along the top and bottom lash lines. 3. To warm the eyes, apply bronzer from e.l.f. Studio compact to the creases, then brush soft pink shadow from the Maybelline palette across the lid. 4. Curl lashes, then brush on mascara. 5. Apply foundation; blend it with a damp makeup sponge. 6. Dot concealer under the eyes and on the bridge and sides of the nose. 7. Apply blush to the cheeks and the forehead; blend with fingers. 8. Swirl the brush blush from the e.l.f. Studio compact around in the palette to mix the brush and bronzer together, then brush on. 9.Apply a bit of white shadow (from the Maybelline palette) on the brow bones to brighten and highlight; add the same to the outer corners of the eyes as well. 10. Brush powder over face to reduce shine and set the look. 11. Finish with lip gloss.