Makeup Tricks for Looking Polished and Put Together in a Hurry

Follow these three easy steps, says our expert.

Whatever your signature makeup look, your ultimate goal is to feel polished and put together post-application. But every now and then, life happens and we just don't have the time to cater to every detail. That doesn't mean that you have to skip out on products altogether (though, we are all for embracing a fresh, bare-faced look!). Ahead, we asked Fatima Thomas, a MAC Cosmetics senior national artist, and Megan Curtin, a makeup expert and educator at Cover FX, for their best last-minute makeup tips and tricks. Turn to them when you're seriously pressed on time.

woman applying brow makeup
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Focus on the brows, lips, and skin.

Thomas says the best way to achieve a balanced, well-groomed makeup look is to focus on three parts of the face: the brows, the lips, and the skin. She advises first using a luminizing moisturizer like MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream ($35, on areas you want to conceal or a sheer foundation for general coverage. Curtin agrees. "The easiest way to look polished with minimal effort is by focusing on the complexion," she says. She recommends pairing a concealer like Cover FX's Power Play Concealer ($30, with a tinted moisturizer, like the brand's Luminous Tinted Moisturizer ($39, she calls this a "life-saving combo." "It will even out your skin tone without looking overdone," she says. "If you pick the right tinted moisturizer, it will likely have some great skin care benefits long-term."

As for the brows? Thomas suggests using a brush to groom them and a pencil to fill in gaps if need be. The next and final step is a bold lip—it's best to choose a color that pops ("It doesn't have to be red, but red is a great option," she says). If you have an extra 30 seconds, she also recommends curling those lashes and swiping on some mascara.

Use multi-use products.

Nothing kills time like searching for 10 different products in your makeup bag. So, if you want to add some color to your look, but need to do so stat, Curtin and Thomas suggest using formulas that are multi-functional. "Multi-use products are great timesavers because they're easily used in several areas of the face," says Thomas. "A product that can act as a lip color and an eyeshadow that also looks good on the cheeks—these kinds of products are convenient."

Brushes are also great multitaskers, Thomas adds; they are the "unsung heroes" of applying makeup in an easy, efficient way (they can be quicker than fingers!). Curtin recommends an iteration like Cover FX's Monochromatic Blush Duos ($38,, which you can use on both your cheeks and eyes; this will help you apply a single formula across both areas, resulting in a chic monochromatic look.

Think of your priorities.

At the end of the day, a makeup look—even a quick one—should be one you like, which is why Thomas stresses the importance of thinking about your desired outcome. She says to think about which part of the face you really want to emphasize and, once you've made a decision—whether it's the eyes, brows, or lips—focus on grooming that specific part over the other features. "Everyone can have their own baseline beauty routine. It's all about each person knowing their priorities," she says.

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