The Expert Guide to Applying MAC Makeup When You Literally Have 5 Minutes

The Expert Guide to Applying MAC Makeup When You Literally Have 5 Minutes
Photo: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

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I am so passionate about cutting corners with my beauty routine that I actually buzzed my hair off. No, I’m serious: it’s a lifestyle, not a pipedream. So when I say I want a makeup look that takes no more than five minutes to finish, I absolutely mean it. Give me coverage that covers period pimples, a brow pencil that won’t crumble as I’m using it, a mascara that delivers payoff in a couple swipes, and eyeshadow that Iooks halfway decent when I smear it on my lids. Oh, and if everything actually stays on without a midday touch-up, consider me sold (and camera-ready). Unsurprisingly, the MAC method for a fast routine is actually possible and budget-friendly.

After MAC Senior Artist Fatima Thomas schooled me on the trends that will dominate 2020, she also blessed me with her personal, tried-and-true guide to applying all of the brand’s best-selling products on a time crunch. Whether you wanna keep it under five like me or have a little more time to spare, here’s how to get it done and look better than how you feel during a rushed morning. The overall gist is to take a maximum look and deconstruct it backward, depending on how much time you have. Just keep your priorities in mind and do them first to avoid an unfinished result. Let’s. Get. To. It.

mac concealer brow gel The Expert Guide to Applying MAC Makeup When You Literally Have 5 Minutes

MAC Cosmetics.

5 Minutes

When you hit the snooze button one too many times and have 15 minutes to get it together and look decent, there’s no time for full coverage, unless you have a steady hand and don’t need a mirror. For the rest of us, Thomas recommends going straight for the under-eye area with the Studio Fix 24-Hour Smooth Wear Concealer ($23).

“I don’t have to do it all over” she said. “I just get a little under my eyes, maybe with color corrector.” From there, she’ll simply curl her lashes since that makes them look longer and fuller. Mascara is optional. “I may not fill them in, but if I can brush my brows with MAC’s clear Brow Set ($19) and put on a lip color, that’ll get me out the door.” And just like that, you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed.

mac extended play The Expert Guide to Applying MAC Makeup When You Literally Have 5 Minutes

MAC Cosmetics.

10 Minutes

With 10 minutes or less, you can do a little more. Start with everything in the five-minute routine, but add mascara, blush and a little contour if that’s your style.

My favorite [mascara] is Extended Play Giga Black ($20) because it’s a really dark, rich carbon black. I can pop that on my lashes and because they’ve been curled, that helps keep them curled.” And since you already have on concealer and lipstick, there’s time to fill in the brows if you want, too.

mac woodwinked The Expert Guide to Applying MAC Makeup When You Literally Have 5 Minutes

MAC Cosmetics.

15 Minutes

With another five minutes, you can also throw in a single eyeshadow color. According to Thomas, “it’s easy when you have an eyeshadow that’s slightly lighter or slightly deeper than your skin tone because you can just wash it over your lids quickly.”

However, choose your finish wisely. If you want maximum impact and leave extra time for this step, go with something satin or shimmer. One of Thomas’ favorites is Woodwinked ($17), a classic MAC shadow with a gorgeous cocoa brown shimmer that has yet to look unflattering on any of her clients.

“It works on every skin tone. It’s not too golden. It’s just right. It has this almost champagne tone to it, but it is brown, so it looks good on everybody,” she said. “If you’re on the train, you can dip your finger in it, smooth it over your lid, and it’s going to look good.”

mac copper feline The Expert Guide to Applying MAC Makeup When You Literally Have 5 Minutes

MAC Cosmetics.

20 Minutes

Eyeliner is another add-on when you’re in 20-minute territory (bless you, if you are). “With a kohl pencil like Feline ($19),” says Thomas, “I can add some smokiness around my eyes or Iine my waterline, and top it off with another layer of mascara.”

From there, you can up your glow with a highlighter, like the Extra Dimension Skinfinish ($36) or a cream color base, like Thomas’ favorite Improper Copper ($24). “I’ll take my fingers and tap those onto the high points of my cheekbones and maybe the Cupid’s bow to give myself a little more glow.”

Once again, MAC for the win.

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