Help me be low maintenance, without looking low maintenance.
April 3, 2014 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I want to look more put together and polished for work, but I don't have a lot of interest or time for beauty/fashion/etc. What are your tips/tricks/hacks for looking put together and polished with minimal fuss?

A few examples that I've found useful recently:
  • The no heat hair styling techniques mentioned in a previous ask.
  • Using a BB cream, so my skin looks smoother even if I still am not wearing any other make up.
I'm also interested in what folks think are the most important things for appearing well put together. Is it a great hair cut? The right hair color? Accessories? Basically where can I get the most bang for my time. Personally I'm more interested in saving time and brain power ("does this go with that?") than money.

I'm curious about people's general thoughts, but a few specifics about me just in case anyone wants to give more targeted advice/links: late 30's, blah dishwater blonde (looks better lighter) easy hair (long, healthy, decent waves), taller and slimmer end of average, middling fashion sense but non-existent fashion intuition (if that makes sense), moving into something of a management position so want to reliably look put together, not looking to be a fashionista at all, have a one year old and second baby on the way (thus time limitations).
posted by pennypiper to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (39 answers total) 182 users marked this as a favorite
Having your eyebrows done. It's cheap at most salons and if you specify that you want your natural brow line, but cleaned up, you'll be amazed by how much more polished you look without trying.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:53 AM on April 3, 2014 [28 favorites]

I'm the same way. My hair is constantly a giant frizz ball, so I generally flip my (medium length) hair over and spray some hair spray, then spray some on a soft brush and lightly brush down my frizzies. Looks super soft and takes almost no time. Also an eyelash curler goes a long way.
posted by Kestrelxo at 11:59 AM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding eyebrows!

A good haircut and natural-looking hair color is really helpful. Striking the right balance between easy-to-maintain and professional/polished can be a challenge but it's worth putting the effort in to find the right cut/color for you.

I am also not especially fashion-forward, but I try to incorporate structured and fitted pieces into most of my work outfits to avoid looking sloppy. So think blazers, pressed shirts, etc. No wrinkled clothing ever! I have lots of neutrals and a few bright pieces which makes getting dressed a cinch every morning.

Also, and I hesitate to make this suggestion for Reasons, but I recently started wearing a small amount of eye makeup to work. (Usually plain black eye liner and mascara, takes me about one minute to apply.) I am shocked at how much more awake, alert, and put-together I look.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 12:02 PM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Accessories matter - by that, I mean, shoes should be somewhat dressy (no sneakers or teva sandals), wear a watch, necklace, earrings.

For me, I also like to look polished and fashionable but do not like to wake up early. So I have a few tricks.

1) All my clothes fall into the "goes with black shoes" or "goes with browns shoes" - no weird complexity sorting out if I can wear these blue shoes with those blue jeans.

2) I lay my clothes and accessories out the night before
2a) I have 4 necklaces - 2 go with my "black" outfits, 2 go with my "brown". I wear the same watch every day, the same earrings every day, and the same ring every day.

3) Eyelid Primer + Eyeliner Pencil + Swipe of Mascara - it takes 2 minutes and will make you look 100X more put together. If you use lip balm, find a nice tinted one (I like Nivea) - it will perk up your face.

4) Keeping your clothes wrinkle and lint free will help you look more put together. Pilling and collars that curl up look ragged.
posted by dotgirl at 12:02 PM on April 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Polish and clean your shoes regularly.
posted by susanvance at 12:03 PM on April 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Thirding eyebrows, and will also add that in my opinion it's really worth it to fill in your eyebrows, especially if you're fairer and/or with lighter hair. You can get them tinted at a salon or at home (Godefroy's that they sell at Sally is good), or just shade them in every morning with either pencil or an appropriate non-glittery shadow, which should take about 30 seconds per brow. It really goes a long way towards anchoring your face and making the rest of you look more put together. That and a tinted lip gloss, with your BB cream, and you're good to go.
posted by stellaluna at 12:09 PM on April 3, 2014 [9 favorites]

Get basically all of your clothes tailored. Yes, even tshirts. This is the big money vs effort vs time thing. How do celebrities look good in street photos, or in basic separates during red carpet events, or on casual talk shows? Their clothes are all tailored. Why do rich people often give that same impression? Tailoring, again.

You're in a good position for this because you want to look classic and nice but not overly fashionable and fussy, and good tailors will almost always aim for that, since once you start getting your wardrobe adjusted to fit perfectly you're in it for the long haul. It's not actually as expensive as you might think, and since you say you are tall and slim most of the alterations will not be too expensive (unlike me, I am short and busty so the tailoring I need to be seen in public is often complex.) The key is to get clothes that fit your largest measurement, so you'll be getting things that are for their length, most likely.

You can do it in chunks. First get one suit done right, with three blouses you would wear with it. Then another suit or just jacket. Then a pair of trousers. Continue in installments until you're done with what you have, and then tailoring just becomes another part of buying clothes.

The other big trick is to always hang your clothes. If you don't fold them they don't get wrinkles. This can be hard if you're lacking space or if you're traveling.
posted by Mizu at 12:10 PM on April 3, 2014 [9 favorites]

I think tinting and shaping my fair eyebrows is by far the most bang-for-buck beauty task I do. And I don't do many.
posted by samthemander at 12:11 PM on April 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Eyebrows for sure. Oh my god eyebrows. Taking a second (and I mean a second, it is super fast) to use a brow pencil to quickly fill out your brows a bit can really sharpen your look up too. I have dark hair and dark eyebrows, and just taking a second to fill them in a bit so that you don't see my pasty white skin shining through makes a significant difference.

Quick swipe of mascara is fast, easy, and can make a big difference. Get waterproof so that you don't get smudgy raccoon eyes by the end of the day.

My father burned in to our psyche that earrings are important. Wearing earrings, even small stud earrings, can make you look a lot more put together (in my opinion). If you don't want to have to think about it or worry about choosing earrings every day, just get a pair of simple sleepers and just never take them off. That is what I did as a teen. I had a pair of hexagon gold sleepers that I simply never took off unless there was a specific pair of other earrings I wanted to wear.

I would argue keeping your nails nice helps too. They don't have to be manicured every 2 weeks or anything, but rather keep them clean, even, and nice looking. I keep mine pretty short but filed and clean. I occasionally buff them to be shiny, but I never use any polishes. Raggedy bitten nails are about as unprofessional and unpolished as you can get.


Ponytails don't look polished to me, unless they are very nicely done stylish ponytails, and even then, not so much. For a pony to look work appropriate it requires added styling and fussing than just a pull back and there ya go. They often (to me) look childlike and (bygones) lazy. The only time I wear a ponytail to work is if I am sick or overslept. Wearing your hair down almost always looks more professional.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:13 PM on April 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Lots of good advice, and I totally agree with eyebrows and structured pieces. A relatively unstructured jacket still looks a lot more polished than a cardigan.

As I get older I find that "serious" or "faux-serious" jewelry is really my go-to for this sort of thing. Like, a pearl choker or a big fat gold-link necklace or, well, that's it for me because I actually hate wearing jewelry, but it makes my outfit look much more put-together. I have decided that boring is really totally fine for this purpose.

[PuppetMcSockerson, I sleep in gold studs! I wake up and I'm wearing jewelry! Huzzah!]
posted by chocotaco at 12:17 PM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do a little research on and put together a "capsule wardrobe". I have one for cold temperatures and one for warm temperatures. Search Pinterest for some ideas on this.

Splurge on a mani pedi so you keep your nails looking good without having a cabinet full of manicure accessories and nail polish. A minimal beauty cabinet is part of being low-maintenance. It's really easy to accumulate bottles and tools and bottles and tools and more bottles.

Similarly to mani pedis, your eyebrows: if you don't tweeze already, see if you've got an eyebrow threading place in your area. Aim for strong eyebrow game and you don't need a ton of makeup.

As for makeup, my makeup bag contains mascara, a nude shadow trio with one dark color to function as a liner, a double-sided shadow and smudge brush, a favorite lip balm and a BB cream. Hairbrush and nail clippers.

Consider using oils like Jojoba or Argan oil in place of moisturizer. I used to have three different moisturizers for different parts of the day and my body, but it's all been consolidated to a few drops of oil morning and night on my body and my face.

Simple gold or white gold jewelry will last forever and look nice. Check out Dogeared for some examples.
posted by theraflu at 12:24 PM on April 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

+17 or whatever to eyebrows, I feel SO much more like a put-together person when mine are done

+3 to the earrings - when I got my ears pierced, I realized I LOVE the sparkle on my face, it makes me feel like I am sparkly already when I wake up, and I feel more grownup (ahem, I am 30, and I got 3 holes in each ear at 27-28, plus my nose, and they all match).

Necklines also matter for me, I look more grownup in v-necks than crewnecks.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 12:26 PM on April 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yes, eyebrows. Totally.

Also I get a lot of compliments when I smudge this gold eye pencil along my upper lash line like eyeliner. The gold color really makes your face look fresh and awake. It takes two seconds and people always tell me that I look like I'm "glowing" when I have it on. I use the color Gentle Gold.
posted by sockermom at 12:27 PM on April 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

Figure out a couple of outfits that work best for you and make them your "uniform". For example, my personal look is a pencil skirt, a knit top, knee high brown leather boots, and a blazer if I'm going to meetings. I buy multiples of the same thing in different solid colors, and then I can get dressed quickly in the morning without worrying about my look. I keep things from looking too samey by adding on a scarf or a necklace, and that's about it. It's not high fashion, but it's a consistent, business appropriate look that flatters me.
posted by MsMolly at 12:30 PM on April 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

Almost forgot hair. Keeping your hair neat goes a long way. You don't have to get a super hip cut, but keep it neat and don't go too long between cuts.
posted by MsMolly at 12:31 PM on April 3, 2014

I regularly stay up wayyyy later than I should, and (in addition to eyebrow maintenance), I think the following help me look reasonably "fresh" in the morning:

- saline eye drops
- this or this to give the effect of a dewy sheen, or at least to show that I have cheekbones.
posted by magdalemon at 12:33 PM on April 3, 2014

Tinted lip gloss. Find a shade that suits you and keep it around. I hated wearing lip make up for years, when I finally succumbed I realized how much more pulled together it made my face look. Between that some mascara and the BB cream you are good to go. Oh if you have faint eyelashes having them tinted can work wonders, you'll look like you are wearing mascara without all the fuss.

The most important thing is make sure that whatever clothes or shoes you are wearing are in good repair and fit well. No loose threads, no weird faint mystery stains, no scuffed shoes. You can have the most trendy fashion sense but if it fits badly or is damaged in anyway you will look like crap. The best investment I made was simply to sit down and honestly go through my wardrobe and throw out anything that didn't flatter me or had stains I (or my drycleaner) couldn't remove & to do all those little repairs I'd meant to do to various jackets etc (some of them had been pinned with safety pins in places for 2 years).

Invest in a good moisturizer that works for you, everyones skin is different so you might have to try a few to find one you like. Use it.
posted by wwax at 12:34 PM on April 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding a few things: eyebrows, having a tailored work "uniform" so that you don't even really have to think much about what you're wearing day-to-day, and a swipe of mascara before you head out the door.

I happen to think that maintaining your hair in a flattering but no-fuss cut is one of the most important things when it comes to looking put-together. I can be in a hoodie, jeans, and chucks at the grocery store, but people will tell me how nice I look followed by, "your hair is great!"
posted by singinginmychains at 12:36 PM on April 3, 2014

Make sure all your clothes fit you well (no clinging, no weird puckering, no pants legs dragging on the ground) and are in good condition (in addition to wrinkles and lint, check for loose threads, pilling, and signs of wear).

Make sure your shoes are in good repair, too. For shoes, err on the side of simplicity, i.e. understated, unadorned pumps and flats. Have a few pairs in rotation instead of one pair that you try to force to go with everything.

Get a few accessories: necklaces, scarves, bracelets. Try to strike a balance between bold and tasteful: you want them to read as part of the outfit, but you don't want them to look too costumey. Good accessories will make any outfit look more put together almost instantly.

Get a full-length mirror and get into the habit of looking in it, fully dressed, before you leave the house. Every so often, when you have some free time, experiment with trying on various pieces in your closet in front of the mirror. Try combining pieces you normally wouldn't, and take mental notes on what works and what doesn't. The more you get used to seeing yourself in various outfits, the more your sense of style will develop.

Make sure your hair is cut/trimmed regularly; if you ever find yourself thinking "I need a haircut," it's been too long. (I'm personally awful at this, and my hair and general put-togetherness suffer as a result.) Find a regular stylist whom you like. Throughout the workday, check your hair in the mirror to make sure it's not stringy, frizzy, etc.

And +10000 to well-groomed eyebrows. It's surprising how much of a difference it makes.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:38 PM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

1. Eyebrows

2. Capsule wardrobe

3. Great haircut

4. Exact same makeup every day

If you want help with the capsule wardrobe, make an appointment with a personal shopper, you'll probably enjoy Nordstrom, but Macys will have as well. You tell them your size and what you want to accomplish and then you show up in a huge dressing room with all SORTS of things to try on.

So make an appointment and say, "I'm interested in building a capsule wardrobe, I'm X months pregnant now and typically a size X, but I need some things that can transition from pregancy to life after. I'm interested in low maintenance fabrics, easy to wear separates and things that let me look polished without a lot of effort. I can spend $$$." Let them do the work for you.

For your pregnancy wardrobe, Target has the best stuff, it's very nice looking and affordable.

Good Luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:39 PM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hair: it should be neat and clean, always. Even "coiffed" if it suits you, like a long layered bob. An intentional hairstyle. Since your hair is long, curl it and spray it if you have flyways or frizz. Use mouse at roots and brush through ends to increase hold and volume. If it's too long it can look less professional and more "young" in my opinion. Take some time with your hair each morning, even if it's a simple bun or french braid if you are in a hurry. No to hair clips or scrunchies, since they never look professional or polished.

Nails: filed, shortish, polished in a tasteful color like Mademoiselle from Essie or Sally Hansen in Pink Pong or Shell We Dance.

Clothing: Figure out what neutrals look best on you and invest in some pieces. Buy blouses and shells in prints and solids that coordinate with your neutral suit pieces (pants, skirt, jacket,) so you can mix and match. Choose a few cardigans in complimentary colors for non-jacket days or to throw over a sheath dress. Outfits should have structure. Nothing too flouncy, casual, sheer or something you would wear on weekends. Lace is out. Tank tops or camisoles with shelf bras should never be worn at the professional work place in my opinion. They are too young and too casual and pajamas basically. Hosiery is always a good idea in my opinion. Either nude or sheer off-black. Sometimes sheer pure black can be too sexy or evening. Proper pant length always helps to look more polished. A too short pant length can throw an outfit off in a hurry.

Shoes and watches: Buy shoes (low heel leather pump, loafer, flats) to coordinate or match with your neutral suit pieces. Invest in one professional looking watch (nothing too flashy or sporty) in silver or gold, depending on your skin undertone. If you have a warm undertone choose gold watch and gold jewelry. Silver for cool undertone. Stick to one metal and do not deviate from your best metal. I wear a small hoop earring or studs and watch only. A necklace would be good but sometimes I have to lean over patients and it's not practical. Sometimes I wear a leather watch to match my shoes. A matching leather watch and shoe looks pulled together and the eye notices these little details.

Cosmetics: A "my lips but better lipstick", even skin tone with foundation, blush, mascara, groom eyebrows. Here is a work makeup look video.

Here is another.
posted by Fairchild at 12:55 PM on April 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

I have always said this, but...



You can be the laziest SOB/DOB known to man but if you put on a skirt and a pair of shin-high or knee-high boots, you suddenly look like damn girl!

Pro tip: if the boots are high enough, you don't even have to shave your legs.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:57 PM on April 3, 2014 [20 favorites]

I read somewhere that people who always look put-together cultivate a habit of regularly checking themselves over. Never leave the house without checking yourself in a full length mirror, and make a habit of regularly checking certain things that are likely to get out of place, your hair, smudged makeup, rumpled clothes.
posted by catatethebird at 12:59 PM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you don't want to wear eye makeup, curl your eyelashes. Takes five seconds and it can make you look more awake/alert in addition to put-together.

If you want manicured nails that you rarely have to think about, maybe look into gel manicures.
posted by in a dark glassly at 1:00 PM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Everything everybody says about eyebrows, a good haircut and a nice jacket with structure. Blazers make everything look so professional. Keep a lint roller and those nailpolish remover pads on hand. I try (and fail, but I try) for zero tolerance for chipped nailpolish and lint. Makes a big difference.
posted by pazazygeek at 1:43 PM on April 3, 2014

Dresses. With blazers / jackets / cardigans depending on desired level of formality.

This way you start the day by pulling a dress from the wardrobe and then looking for shoes/accessories/jacket. For some reason this is WAY EASIER than when you have to start with TWO items and then look for the shoes and whatever.
posted by emilyw at 1:45 PM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding skirts-and-boots girl. In my case it's usually knit dresses, but it's the same principle. No one has to know that it was actually easier than putting on a whole matching outfit. The only downside is the sadness you will feel when tights season is over.
posted by Jane Austen at 2:30 PM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nothing in the whole wide world makes a worse impression in the corporate zoo than
beat up rundown worn out shoes.

Eyebrows - you might be able to go six weeks on a $10 threading. Yes yes yes.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:37 PM on April 3, 2014

Jersey/knit wrap dresses (or faux wrap--the important part is the fabric). No wrinkle (low maintenance--seriously, I have some I can roll up in an overnight bag), very elegant.
posted by blue suede stockings at 3:14 PM on April 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Properly groomed nails and hands has to be at the top of the list. You don't necessarily have to use nail polish, but nails constantly kept at the ideal length (not long), filed (just please don't groom your nails in public), and if not polished then buffed. And dry spots on hands or cuticles look really bad, so keep them moisturized even if you have to use a thick cuticle cream. I often notice how many people who otherwise look really great have gross skin around their nails.
posted by Blitz at 4:17 PM on April 3, 2014

I was just going to say that if you're short on time, skip polish and just buff your nails to a high shine. It's quick, you can do it while you're waiting for your bread to toast or your coffee to brew, and it doesn't chip or clash with any of your outfits. This really does give a crazy lasting shine.
posted by looli at 5:45 PM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm not marking best answers because there are just so many good ones! Thanks everyone!

(And keep them coming if there are more :)
posted by pennypiper at 7:52 PM on April 3, 2014

Definitely keep your eyebrows groomed, and keep wearing BB Cream or tinted moisturizer. Those two things can make a world of difference.

I highly recommend Clinique Almost Lipstick; it's as comfortable to wear and as easy to apply as plain old Chapstick (no mirror needed), but it looks more polished.

Keeping your nails and hands looking nice helps, although personally I don't bother with manicures or polish. I keep my nails short with a glass nail file so I can control the shape, and I carry a cuticle trimmer so I can quickly snip any ragged cuticles. And I use a lot of hand lotion and cuticle cream.

Make sure your shoes are in good shape. I have a bad habit of wearing shoes way too long after they've worn out, and I know it looks sloppy. I think Ecco has some great-looking shoes that are actually pretty durable and water-resistant.
posted by neushoorn at 12:54 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I use a little light brown eye shadow but don't bother with mascara. Try putting a small amount under the eye too. It actually looks very put together without being "made up". I prefer trimmed longish hair, so much easier to pull up than style short hair (if that would be needed). Keep nails clean and cuticles neat. B&B lotion. Burt's Bees colored chap stick. Silk or cotton scarves over a simple and monochromatic outfit along with great earrings (especially with minimal or absent makeup). Nice (and clean) eyeglasses (if needed). High quality large purse and shoes.
posted by waving at 6:41 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Has anyone mentioned incredibly well-fitting bras and panties? That's really important. I, personally, don't find shapewear uncomfortable and also think it increases how "pulled together" even really simple outfits look. But I know many people disagree. Commando underpants are a little expensive, but they really don't show.

Not that I particularly practice what I preach anymore, but my tricks are:
1. eyebrow grooming
2. simple haircut with regular trims
3. routine shoe maintenance (polishing, either at home or the shop & heel repair)
4. well-fitted undergarments
posted by crush-onastick at 7:21 AM on April 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

I think make-up is (maybe unfortunately) necessary for looking pulled together though you can keep it really basic and easy. Focus on: evening out skin tone and by extension concealing eye area darkness, then adding a little pop to eyes and cheeks.

I use a light creamy foundation very sparingly just on certain parts of my face (especially eyes!), sometimes I finish it with a light dusting of mineral foundation powder and spritz of rose water. I curl eyelashes and use mascara, and maybe some beige and brown shadow. My BIG thing which I don't think anyone has mentioned is BLUSH. I highly recommend a cream or liquid blush that you can dab just a little and blend into the apple of the cheeks. I actually currently just use a lipstick that I rub in with a little lotion or jojoba oil. Super natural looking result. Blush seems like something you could forget but it's great for making you look healthy, bright and glowing. More vital than mascara IMO. If you use a BB cream all over you may end up looking flat or washed out if you don't go back in and add just a little touch to eyes and cheeks.
posted by dahliachewswell at 11:05 AM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Eyebrows for sure. A scarf and a nice pair of earrings turns even a pair of jeans and a v-neck tee into an "outfit". Neat hair.

Easiest makeup routine ever - this is my "get out of the house in a hurry" deal - light coverage in the T-zone with L'oreal True Match to tone down the redness, brows groomed with Benefit brow wax and a touch of powder, a light champagne shadow all over eyelids (I use Urban Decay 'Sin' or Bobbi Brown 'Champagne'), a deep shadow applied closely along the lashline with a flat, stiff brush (Bobbi Brown 'Espresso'), curl lashes, mascara (Lash Blast Length in Black/Brown), blush (MAC 'Tempting'), and a light lipstick or gloss (Revlon Lip Butters are the gold standard here). I can do this in about 4 minutes flat, and I look awake and pulled together.
posted by ersatzkat at 12:54 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I cycle to work and shower when I get there, so I have my 10-min routine down (you really can't spend half an hour in the work bathroom putting your face on).

Dye your lashes! Instant, smudge-free mascara! If your lashes aren't naturally jet-black that may well be all you need on your eyes, it's certainly enough for me (I just use BB cream, concealer and lip gloss). I am generally still scarlet from cycling, so no need for blusher. I also dye my brows, but my brows are naturally white-blond so I am only actually dying them to match my hair colour, if yours are dark I would just make sure they're neat.

If have hair long enough to wear up, that looks much more polished than a ponytail. I have really curly hair and it looks like Merida from Brave when it's down, so I always have mine pinned. It's really no effort, I put mine up while its still wet from the shower. It takes about 2mins once you're used to it and know how to use hairpins properly. There are a million easy updo how-to's on youtube, this person's videos seem pretty straightforward.

For clothes, I don't know, just don't wear tatty clothes to work? Most people know what clothes in their wardrobe look smart, just make sure you do laundry often enough not to run out? I think most of it is just reaching for the first thing in the morning with no thought, so if you have specific work clothes you've bought in advance to look smart, get them out the night before and never get into the situation where it's 8am and the dress you were planning to wear needs dry-cleaning so you put those slouchy trousers on with that sweater that doesn't fit right.
posted by tinkletown at 4:03 PM on April 4, 2014

Think about the minimal amount of makeup that you require to look like yourself, only better. I'm not talking about the makeup you'd wear to a wedding or a night out. What each person is going to need varies greatly. I'll talk you through my "bare bones" makeup:
- I have a very ruddy skin tone, so I like to wear a tinted moisturizer or BB cream to even everything out. If you're lucky enough to have beautiful skin, skip this step!
- Because my skin is naturally always kind of flushed, I can skip blush. Sometimes I'll even wipe the tinted moisturizer off of my skin where I would otherwise apply blush--natural blush! EASY. If you're naturally pale or don't have pink tones to your skin, a little bit of blush can take you from corpse-like to fresh as a daisy. Find a color that suites you, and use a very small amount.
- No matter how well-rested I am, I always have blueish under eye circles. A light-reflecting concealer is a must for me, but you might not have this issue! If you have zits/spots you need to cover, you might want a more densely pigmented concealer.
- I have sad eyebrows that are sparse and quite light. I use the spooly end to tame them into the right shape, and then gently fill them in with this eyebrow pencil. If you were blessed with thick, dark eyebrows, I am very envious of you. You could just use a little hairspray or eyebrow gel to get them to behave if needed.
- My lips are naturally quite pink and I usually don't wear anything other than chapstick after I gently exfoliate them with my toothbrush. If you like to add a little color to your lips, try a tinted lip balm in a natural color.
- I'm really minimalist with my eye makeup. I use an eyelash curler to perk up my straight eyelashes, and then I swipe on a couple coats of mascara. Putting on mascara is probably the most time consuming step for me, but it has the biggest pay-off.
- Do whatever little thing you think gives you the best pay-off. My best friend never leaves the house without eyeliner on, but she also can do both eyes in about 30 seconds, and it makes her green eyes POP, so the effort is worth it for her. My mom dislikes how red her eyelids are, so she always pats a little bit of a neutral eye shadow or concealer or these genius things on. My sister uses a bit of a light, shimmery eyeshadow as a highlighter on the tops of her cheekbones, beneath her eyebrows, the inner corners of her eyes, and her cupid's bow. Gwen Stefani always wears red lipstick. You get the idea.

The point of the minimalist makeup is that it requires only a few products, is relatively quick and easy, and makes you look like an even better version of yourself (but not necessarily a "not wearing any makeup" version of yourself--I mean obviously you're going to look like you're wearing makeup if you've got mascara on, but you're not going to look like you have gobs of foundation and blusher and bronzer and eyeshadow piled on.) That's my every day makeup look, and takes me 5 minutes. If I have more time or I want to put a little more effort in, I'll pull out the eyeshadow palette and the lip glosses and the bronzer and the primer and foundation and blah blah blah.
posted by gumtree at 12:27 PM on April 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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