My Go-To Makeup Routine for When I'm Hungover, Sick, or Only Have 5 Minutes

Considering my job as a beauty editor, you may be surprised to know I live about 80% of my life completely makeup-free, 10% of my life somewhat makeup-free, and the last 10% balls-to-the-wall done-up. (When it comes to beauty, I clearly have a very all-or-nothing approach.)

I'm so steeped in new products that I find myself less willing to actually wear the stuff at a matched ratio. I'll swatch and swipe, but most of the time I arrive to work with completely bare-faced. That said, when I do apply makeup, I'm all in—foundation, blush, mascara, eyeliner, powder, and every other conceivable product you can imagine. It is, to be honest, a bizarre dichotomy. (Although I know quite a few other people in the industry who have the same M.O.)

But let's not forget that other 10%—when I'm doing the limbo between bare-faced and fully made-up, usually because I need to look a little perkier than my makeup-free aesthetic, but chose to prioritize beauty sleep, woke up sick, or (eek!) had one too many cocktails the night before. (It's not a habit, but it happens to the best of us, right?)



It's in those instances I have a specifically reserved makeup routine with a separate and smaller slew of products to tackle everything in five minutes or less. Call it my lazy makeup vibe, my hungover saving grace, or chicken soup for the face when I'm sick, but it gets me by every single time. Ahead, my quick seven-step process for looking less tired, sick, or hungover in five minutes' time, including the products I keep tucked away in their own special makeup bag. (Like a first-aid kit, but for my face.) Keep scrolling!

Step 1: Conceal

First things first, concealer. Normally, when I'm applying makeup, I'm a foundation-concealer-powder type of person, but when I have less time and patience, my main objective is to camouflage the damage. Think shadowy under-eyes, a pimple or two, residual acne scarring, plus redness. However, I'm insanely picky about my concealer when the rest of my complexion will be bare—it has to blend seamlessly and look like my actual skin. Therefore, anything that's too high-coverage is off the table.

I'm being honest when I say there are only two formulas that make the cut—these skincare-meets-makeup pens from Clé de Peau Beaute and Charlotte Tilbury. Both are lightweight and easy to blend, and once they melt into your skin, they really have that your-skin-but-better effect. Thanks to the nifty design, they take about two seconds to swipe onto your face and just a few more to blend. (I use my fingers and skip my normal BeautyBlender.) Neither formula gives me too many issues with creasing, but given their silky consistency, it's easy to touch up throughout the day.

Step 2: Blush

I know a lot of people rely on bronzer to reawaken their skin, but I prefer a pop of blush instead. It immediately adds color if you're sick ever-so-slightly hungover, and I think it looks more natural. When I'm doing my full makeup routine, I actually prefer powder blush because it layers more seamlessly over my foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, etc., but when I'm going for a more barefaced vibe, a creamy consistency is easier to apply, blend, and smudge wherever you want it. Bobbi Brown's formula in Fresh Melon, Nudestix in Poppy Girl, and Lilah B. in B. Real are always on standby.

3. Shimmer

No matter how minimal my makeup look is, I feel incomplete without highlighter. Not only does it bring some much-needed life to dull, tired-looking skin, but it's also a quick, easy way to add dimension to the high points of your face. I love rubbing my finger into Glossier's Haloscope and adding quick pats of highlight to my Cupid's bow, cheeks, chin, and—depending on how greasy I'm feeling—maybe the tip and bridge of my nose. Tata Harper's newest launch is also gorgeous, although it's temporarily sold out. (It's worth the wait, though; I promise!)

Step 4: Lashes

My five-minute makeup routine is all about prioritizing the features I love most, and a quick hit of mascara is of the utmost importance. Usually I'm all about adding lots and lots of layers to make my lashes look as thick and long as humanly possible, but when I'm rushing, I grab my lash curler and swipe on one or two coats of a mascara that won't weigh down my lashes. These two make the cut and are great for creating a long, fanned flutter in about 10 seconds flat. Plus they layer really well, so if you decide to add more makeup later on, you can continue to build without having to start over. If you want even more separation, I recommend brushing through post-mascara with a lash comb.

Step 5: Brows

When I'm short on time, I sometimes simply comb through my brows with a lash serum or primer. That way they're brushed and tucked into place, but I don't have to mess with more products or taking the time to shape them. However, if I feel like they really need it or I have a few spare moments, I'll add a few flicks of Glossier's Brow Flick, which delivers a durable, super-natural-looking payoff with minimal mess or effort. Otherwise I'm using Joey Healy's magical growth serum or Benefit's primer. The latter dries stiffer—a great option if your brows march to the beat of their own drum.

Step 6: Lips

I always have to have something on my lips, but if I'm going practically bare, it has to look and feel natural. I want just a touch of color—nothing dramatic—but something that will also help keep my lips plump, hydrated, and maybe just a little bit shiny. Tata Harper's Be Adored lip treatment is honestly one of my top five makeup products ever—I don't say that lightly, and I panic when I run out. I also love this formula from Ilia, which is a sheer berry. This balm from Buxom is another favorite (and requires the least maintenance, because it goes on like a normal balm but has subtle plumping action and pH technology so your lips change color for your own unique result). Again, a your-lips-but-better moment.

Step 7: Cover

My last trick? A bit of extra coverage in the form of strategic non-beauty accessories. Fashion isn't my lane house here at Who What Wear, but if I'm under the weather or super rushed, my hair takes absolute last priority, so a hat works wonders. Also, the visor acts kind of like a shield, adding an extra layer of camouflage for my face. I'm not normally huge into hats or hair accessories, but these are cute and look like a strategic addition to your outfit—not just a sneaky way to hide the fact you accidentally overslept.