The Bare Minimum: My Work-Makeup Basics

16 Jul

Presently, I work in one of the large chain department stores, the kind whose big business is in Guess, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein. Consequently, it is expected that we dress appropriately, including business casual black and, as my manager eloquently put it, ‘nice’ makeup.Before working there, my standard was something along the lines of heavy goth eyeliner and not much else, or wide winged liquid liner and matte red lipstick. I only ever wore foundation if I knew I was going to be with my old roommate, who makes pictures entirely unavoidable.

Now, my pre-work routine is actually fairly concrete, and while rather involved by my standards, I know some people might benefit from a “Ten-Minute Work Face.”

First, the ‘ingredients’: I use Revlon’s Photoready BB cream right now, because as a former Japanese major, I’ve heard all about the magnificent qualities of BB cream. I might review it properly later, but for now, suffice to say that it works for my purposes. On top of that, I use an Avon loose powder, black eyeliner (in liquid or pencil–NYColor for Liquid, Wet’n’Wild for the pencil), E.L.F. highlighting eyeshadow (Or, more recently, Urban Decay’s Ammo Shadow Box), Maybellene’s Full&Soft waterproof mascara (which I once bought specifically for a funeral, but became addicted to), and one of a variety of Maybelline’s Baby Lips lip balm.

I’ll have to add pictures eventually, but for now, here’s the basic process:

I lay down the BB Cream with a sponge applicator. This always looks a bit silly, since I have to hold my bangs up out of the way do do so, but usually about a quarter-size dollop gets my whole face. Smoothing this over and making sure it’s even is literally the hardest part of my face. Next, I powder my nose and upper cheeks. I never use blusher, since my skin is ruddy enough that I don’t need highlighting. I don’t bother powdering my forehead unless I’m pinning my bangs back.

My eyes are more simple. I sweep a light neutral over my browbone, and something slightly deeper over my lid. Liner is next. I tend to go heavy on my liner, since my glasses frames are fairly heavy themselves. If I’m using a liquid, I wing it out anywhere from an eighth to a half inch; if I’m using a pencil, I fill in my waterline and try not to get too much on the top lid (I usually fail. Years of practically coloring my top lid entirely has trained me). Mascara comes as soon as the liner is dry, and I only ever do my top lashes.

I finish with one of Maybelline’s Baby Lips. I have three; Pink Punch gets the most use. It’s delightfully pink, and I don’t mind reapplying it when it feels so lovely going on. Cherry Me comes out if I want to look a little more mature, and Peach Kiss is more like a regular balm with a hint of shimmer. I tend to carry all three and occasionally switch it up through the day.

I finish with Urban Decay’s All Nigher setting spray, because the running around and forced smiles tend to take a toll on one’s face. I’ve only used it since I got it two weeks ago, but it’s become indispensable, especially when I’m wearing the pencil liner, so that I don’t get smears in the outside creases of my eyes.

With that, I’m done! Usually, hair included, I can go from stepping out of the shower to stepping out the door in twenty minutes (Honestly, I twist my hair up while wet; it stays better and looks just fine on me). It won’t work for everyone, but I tried to be a little vague on the details, because it’s probably a very adaptable process, and really could work with any makeup at all. I really think that the key is to get a routine down, and do it the same way every day. Leave the experimenting for your evenings and off days!


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