When I first began working in an office full time, I struggled with a professional makeup look. My student years of dark lipstick and dramatic eyeliner weren’t really appropriate. After some trial and error, I figured out a cosmetic routine that complemented my face and fit into my professional style. The next challenge was keeping my makeup looking just as fresh and flawless at 5 p.m. as it did at 9 a.m. Again, through trial and error, and YouTube tutorials, I was able to maintain a polished look throughout the day. Here are the some tips and tricks I’ve learned to help your makeup look flawless all day, no matter where you work.
First things first, exfoliate regularly. Exfoliating your skin will give you a super smooth base to work with and will help your makeup stay on longer. If you have sensitive skin, try exfoliating every other day so as not to irritate your face. If you have larger pores and/or tend to breakout regularly, then, by all means, give yourself a good hard scrub every day. I recommend exfoliating in the shower. It saves time and is less messy than washing at the sink.
With a squeaky clean face — your next step is to apply primer, which will make your foundation just about bulletproof. Primer not only boosts the long-lasting wear of makeup, it also preps your skin to wear a full day’s worth of makeup. All the major beauty brands now have primers. My personal primer beauty hack is using Aloe Vera gel after I fully moisturize my face. Aloe is gentle and doesn’t clog my pores. Plus, it’s fairly inexpensive and has multiple uses, like soothing sunburns.
Of course, one primer may not cover your entire face. If you get oily eyelids or a shiny nose, help your makeup stay put with a second coat of primer. This time, apply an eye shadow primer (yes, even on the nose) with your fingers to downplay your shine before you apply your base.
Once you’ve finished applying your foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer, etc., set it with a generous coat of translucent powder. Give it a minute, then brush off the excess. This is called “baking your makeup” and it helps your face stay in place all day and night. If you tend to get oily, this is the best way to keep your skin completely matte. I’m a big fan of bareMinerals’ Mineral Veil as a setting powder. To further set your makeup, use a setting spray with a matte finish. Yes, it may seem counterintuitive to spritz your face after you’ve “baked” it, but the combination of powder and spray will keep your makeup in place for hours, and keep it from cracking as the day wears on.
To keep your look flawless throughout the day, don’t forget to reapply as needed. Touching up your lipstick, blotting off excess oils, powdering your nose, and checking for raccoon eyes makes all the difference for a long-lasting face. No matter how busy your day gets, take a couple of minutes to refresh, reapply lip color, spritz a face mist (not your primer spray, but a hydrating spray), run a comb through your hair, and check your teeth. This will not only refresh your face, but can also re-boost your spirits as you take on the second half of your day.
Lastly, plan ahead. If you know you have a full day of meetings, give yourself enough time in the morning to prep and polish, as well as scheduling “refreshers” between meetings. Also, give yourself time to perfect a new makeup look. Trying contouring for the first time on a Monday morning before work will most likely end in disaster. Then there are days you may not need, or want, a full face of makeup. For those days, two primers, translucent powder, and/or finishing spray are unnecessary. Every woman’s makeup routine is different, as are every woman’s cosmetic needs and preferences. For the times when you want to put forth your best made-up face, these steps will help you achieve a near-flawless and long-lasting appearance.