Okay, friend, as you read this please keep in mind that I’m calling this the 6-minute makeup routine ANY mom can do! I am not a beauty school graduate, nor would I call myself a makeup maven. In fact, I’m actually feeling a little nervous putting this out there because I’m sure the pros would find it exceedingly basic.
I’m not sharing this for makeup professionals. I’m writing for all the moms out there who might like a few pointers on how to speed up their makeup routine. Or those moms who think that makeup is too much of a hassle. Or those moms who feel like they need a confidence boost. And I’m definitely writing to all those sweet mamas who are tired of looking as exhausted as they feel.
The Lipstick Effect
Researchers from Harvard Medical School conducted some really interesting research regarding the “lipstick effect” in 2017. The lipstick effect is a known psychological phenomenon where the simple of act of wearing makeup helps women to feel more physically attractive. This positivity then increases self-esteem, attitude, and confidence. But the studies at Harvard showed something beyond: women wearing makeup actually did better on an academic test than those who did not! Awesome! Wearing makeup can even make us smarter!
Related article: 7 Reasons Why Getting Dressed is Worth It
While I definitely like makeup, I’m also a mom who doesn’t want to spend forever on it! Over the past few years I’ve developed a simple 6-minute makeup routine that I do almost daily. Here’s a video so you can see what I’ll describe throughout the rest of this post.
If makeup has been something you’ve enjoyed in the past, but feel you don’t have time for as a mom, I hope this will be encouraging to you! I would love to help you feel more confident (and maybe even smarter) on the daily.
Before you begin your 6-minute makeup routine, you’ll want to have a freshly washed face and applied your favorite moisturizer. I absolutely love this Gogi Peptide Perfecting Cream from Andalou Naturals. It isn’t too heavy or oily, has a lovely, natural scent to it, and is super affordable. I typically get dressed while my moisturizer soaks into my skin, leaving it ready and prepped for a quick application of makeup. Let’s get this party started, shall we?
The 6-Minute Make Up Routine
Minute 0:00 – 1:00: Foundation.
Begin by dabbing the moisturizer on your face into nickel-sized blobs on the chin, cheeks, and forehead. Then use a big, flat, round foundation brush to apply your foundation evenly in a circular pattern all over your face. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies and creases of your skin. Check around your nostrils and lips to make sure it is well blended, without obvious lines. Work the foundation all over your face, making sure to get back towards your ears and under your chin.
I highly recommend L’Oreal True Match foundation. The entire line is divided into foundations for cool, warm and neutral skin tones. (And if you aren’t sure what skin tone you have, come back next week so I can tell you more!) It also contains a titanium dioxide sunscreen with SPF 17, which I particularly appreciate.
For the foundation brush, I really like the line of It brushes available from ULTA. I have found them to be worth every penny. The one I use is the It Foundation Buffing Brush.
Be sure to take off your earrings or wait to put them on until after doing your makeup! I’ve made the mistake of walking around all day with earrings covered in foundation! Oof.
Minute 1:00 – 1:46: Contouring.
Contouring can really be so easy and it is absolutely worth taking the time to do it! I neglected this step for years myself. But now that I’ve learned how simple and effective it is, I can’t leave it out of my 6-minute makeup routine. The point of contouring is to create some shadow and light to emphasize the natural curves of your face, while a face made up only with foundation looks flat and unnatural. You’ll need a three-color palette for this: one darker shade for contour, a medium pink/peach/beige shade for blush, and a light shade for highlight.
You’ll want to start with the darkest shade first to create your shadow areas. Using a midsize contour brush, work the color into the hollows of your cheeks by dabbing it in a small circular pattern. Next, using the same stippling with your brush, apply the dark contour color to either side of the bridge of your nose and along the hairline at the top of your forehead. Also, add a little dab just under the center of your bottom lip. Avoid back and forth brush strokes to keep a natural look.
For blush, smile big and apply the blush color right to the apples of your cheeks, in line with the iris of your eye. Work it in a large circular motion all the way back towards your temples, lightening your pressure as you go. Now not everyone loves a pink cheek, and that’s perfectly fine! Because I am so fair and have neutral to cool skin tone, pink blush is my jam. But if you have warmer skin tone, you will want to stay away from the cool pink and opt instead for a peachier blush.
For the highlight shade, brush the lightest color just above the blush on your cheeks and above your temples, down the center of your nose, and across the widest part of your forehead. Also add a little dab just above the cupid’s bow of your top lip. Voila!
I love the Hamptons Weekender Contour Palette by Tarte. While I don’t buy high end for a lot of my makeup, I really feel spending more for blush and contouring is worth it! With drugstore blush and contour products, I often had to reapply throughout the day (if I had the energy!), or more often than not, I’d look like I’d done my makeup but forgot the color for my cheeks because it would fade away so quickly. As you can see in the video, my palette is almost ready for a refresh, but as I purchased it 9 months ago, it has lasted a very long time with nearly daily use! #winning
For the highlight and contour brush, I recommend the Love Beauty Fully Highlight and Blending Brush from Ulta’s It line. For the blush brush, you want a fluffy round brush that is rounded just a bit on the bottom and will give you those perfectly flushed cheeks. I like the Airbrush Soft Focus Blush Brush, also from the It line at Ulta.
Minute 1:46 – 2:30: Eyeshadow.
This is the quickest and funnest (most fun?) step, in my opinion! I love eyeshadow mostly because it’s really hard to mess it up. For this 6-minute makeup routine, I go with a very simple application method, and have a much more detailed plan for those fancy occasions (which as a SAHM, aren’t super often, right!?) This is a 3-shade application intended to enhance the size of your eyes, so choose a light, medium and darker shade.
Starting with the lightest shade, apply in a sweeping motion over you entire eyelid. With your medium color, take your brush and starting the the middle of the crease of your eye, make a semi-circular motion along the crease like a windshield wiper, back and forth from the inner corner to the outer corner of your eye. Finally, for the third and darkest color, start in the center of your crease, lightly add this color in a soft swiping motion or dab in the crease only towards the outside edge of your eye. If I feel like I have too much shadow on my brush, I’ll dab it first on my hand to get some of the color off.
Just like with the contour palette, I highly recommend a top notch beauty store brand such as Tarte, Urban Decay or Anastasia Beverly Hills. I love that the shadows in my Tartlette are made from Amazonian clay because they go on as smooth as butter and blend really well. A large palette is definitely an investment, so I tend to get smaller palettes like this one with only six shades because I know I don’t need a wide variety of colors. If you’re all about speed and saving a little money, go for a smaller range of colors in a more limited palette.
For eyeshadow brushes, (and you definitely want brushes – no little sponge applicators!), you’ll need three small brushes of varying widths. Mine in the video were gifted to me by my sister, but this set from Ulta is a really close match.
Minute 2:30 – 3:07 : Eyeliner.
Now it’s time to start slowing our roll just a bit. Anytime we’re working close to the eye will be a time to concentrate and avoid poking ourselves in the eye. Good idea, right?!
To save time, I find a pencil liner to be quicker to apply than a liquid liner. You want to start applying on your upper lild from above the center of pupil. Follow the inside of the lash line (away from your eyeball) toward the outer edge. Then start on the lower lid about half way in and draw a thin line back out to the outer corner of your eye. Make sure your lines meet at the corner. Lining the outer half of both lids makes the eye appear larger. If you prefer a fully lined eye, go for it! I typically save full lining for fancy events.
I’ve used Revlon Color Stay eyeliner in charcoal for years. It goes on smoothly and doesn’t break, which is pretty much all I want and need in a liner.
Minute 3:07 – 4:12: Eyebrows.
The first rule of eyebrows is one I learned from my sister. And it is this: Your eyebrows just need to look like sisters, not twins! That means you don’t need to spend forever obsessing over getting them to look like mirror images of each other. I’ve gone by this rule of thumb forever and just a few months ago, one of my Instagram friends sent me a DM asking for my eyebrow shaping tips! So there ya go, social proof that your eyebrows can just be sisters. 🙂
First, make sure your eyebrow pencil is sharpened! You want to start by making a strong inside vertical edge that lines up with the outside edge of the bridge of your nose. Then lead your pencil line along bottom of your eyebrow for the inner 2/3 of eyebrow, or on the outside edge of your pupil. Then complete a long sideways triangle from inside vertical edge to the end of the bottom line. Fill this section in with your pencil. The outer tip of this triangle is where you should form the arch of your eyebrow. From that point above the outer edge of your iris, you’ll create an angled line that leads from top edge of your eyebrow to form the outer 1/3 of your brow.
My favorite eyebrow pencil right now is from Burt’s Bees. It goes on really easily, is simple to work with and sharpens nicely. It’s a softer pencil, but still lasts for several months before it needs replacing. (Did you see how stubby mine is in the video? I just bought a new one!)
Minute 4:12 – 5:48: Mascara.
A few months ago I had a day where people kept telling me how tired I looked. And while I typically am somewhere on the scale of tiredness (hello, five kids!), that day I didn’t feel too particularly exhausted. It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror in the afternoon that I realized why I looked so spent: I forgot to put on mascara.
This is the longest part of my makeup routine because it obviously requires the most precision. Pump your mascara wand only once – the more you pump, the more air you send into the bottle, causing it to wear out sooner. Then open your eye wide and start applying as close as you can to the root of your eyelash. Opening your mouth into a small circle helps to open your eye nice and wide. I start on the outside of the lash, and then do a few strokes on the opposite side of the lash. Then I move on the next eye. This first coat does not have to be perfect – consider it to be like a crumb coat on a cake! You just want to get some product onto your lash so your next round will have something to stick to really well. To coat the bottom lashes, turn your mascara wand vertically and carefully coat your bottom lashes. I always go back and apply a second round of mascara. On the second coat I focus on adding length and getting an even coat all around the lashes.
There is no need to go high end with mascara. I’ve tried tons of mascaras, from very expensive department store names to direct sales products to drugstore brands. I keep coming back to Maybelline Full N Soft mascara in soft black.
Only wear waterproof mascara if you’re actually planning to be in water! Waterproof mascara can make your lashes brittle and takes more effort to remove.
Minute 5:48-6:00: Lips.
The last few seconds of my 6-minute makeup routine are focused on applying a little bit of color to my lips. I go really simple and just rub some Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm or Lip Shimmer and call it good! For fancier events, I do like to take my time and apply real lipstick and liner, but for the day to day, a little bit of color does the trick.
Be sure to remove your makeup every night! When I was teenager, I was told that sleeping with makeup on ages our face three times as fast as sleeping with a freshly washed face. There’s no need for a fancy makeup remover. I just use fractionated coconut oil for the skin and a cotton ball to take off my eye makeup and a good face wash for the rest.
Finally, while I do believe that wearing makeup is a positive thing, I don’t think it is the cure all for overcoming all the stresses of motherhood. We can wear all the makeup in the world and feel depressed if we are focused on the wrong things. Finding things to be grateful for and smile about will have a deeper impact on our countenance than makeup will. If mom guilt is something you struggle with, read this post here.
But if you’re looking for a quick boost to help you feel empowered and put-together, give this simple 6-minute makeup routine a try! You will get faster as you practice and learn. As with most things, tell yourself that DONE is better than perfect and you will be good to go!
Are you excited to try the 6-minute makeup routine or to create one of your own?
I was not compensated for any of the products or tools listed in this article. These recommendations are solely mine.