Use a fail-safe formula, like a stick or a compact, and focus on oily areas and redness around the nose and chin. Buff out any uneven spots with a sponge. For stubborn under-eye circles or breakouts, warm up a creamy concealer between your fingers and tap it where needed. “Tapping increases circulation around the eye area and helps wake up your skin,” says Pinkson.
For a realistic-looking, goofproof flush, reach for a creamy blush stick. “It’ll create a more youthful, seamless finish,” says Pinkson. Use your fingers to dot a tiny amount onto the apples of your cheeks, and blend away any excess until it’s sheer. (Powders require brushes—and tools run down the clock.) Pro tip: “Do not apply the stick directly to your face. People think that’s going to be faster, but it’s easy to overapply. Less is more, hands down.”
Sisley Phyto-Blush Twist in Papaya and Fuchsia, $68 each, sisley-paris.com.
Gel brow-grooming products add density and hold with just a few quick swipes. Choose a shade that matches your current brow color. “Even if you have sparse eyebrows, a small amount of tinted gel brushed upward creates fullness and will keep them in place,” Pinkson says. A bonus: It gives your complexion a lift. “I’m a big fan of huge brows. When you groom them you look gorgeous, period.”
Make Up for Ever Brow Gel, $20, makeupforever.com.
Shimmery champagne, peach, or taupe cream shadow—shades that are a bit brighter than your skin tone—makes your eyes look alert. Dip your finger in the shadow, then sweep it over your lids, just up to the crease. (Don’t go higher—glitter will settle there.) “It’s a simple way to enliven your whole face,” says Pinkson. Next, nuzzle a mascara wand at the base of your lashes, then jiggle and twirl it up toward your eyebrow for a long, thick fringe.
A lipcolor pencil is ideal when time is tight because it gives you control, which allows you to skip lip liner. Outline and fill in lips, then pat and blend with your finger for a soft yet skillful result. (Always keep your pencils sharpened and this step goes much quicker.) “If you’re doing a bold color, you want it to be clean, but sometimes when it’s too sharp it looks pasted on,” Pinkson explains. “When you pat it on, it’s more like a stain, but it still has definition.
Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur in Framboise and Rouge, $37 each, chanel.com.