An Easy Work-Morning Routine
Like the foolproof dress + shoe combination that pulls everything together instantly, a streamlined a.m. routine reduces decision-making, and leaves you looking amazing—all day (and, if need be, into the night). The right amount of makeup for work, of course, depends on you and your particular job, but getting the moisture/primer/SPF/glowy-skin equation right is the key, no matter how much or how little lip/eye/cheek you wear with it.
Skin Is (Just About) Everything
People tend to focus on coverage, but think instead in terms of showcasing the great skin you do have—which, even if you suffer from breakouts or other imperfections, is still the majority of your face. The trouble spots are just spots, so maximize beauty by focusing on what’s great. People tend to think of skin as the backdrop—when truly, it’s the main event. So spend most of your in-front-of-the-mirror effort on skin protection, moisture, and texture.
When you wake up, smooth on face oil—if you like, cleanse first, but it’s fine to do on bare skin. For normal and dry skin, the oil from goop by Juice Beauty smooths and hydrates like crazy, leaving skin soft and glowy. For oily or breakout prone skin, the Lapis oil from Herbivore helps calm, so skin feels smoother, beautifully hydrated, and less vulnerable to breakouts.
goop by Juice Beauty Enriching Face Oilgoop, $110
This nourishing, potent miracle oil sinks instantly into skin and starts to work. Made with a pure blend of organic oils, it leaves skin remarkably supple, soft, and glowing. It turbo-charges any moisturizer, but also hydrates beautifully on its own. It can even be patted on over makeup for a mid-day pick-me-up. The Enriching Face Oil is formulated with USDA certified organic ingredients and contains approximately 99% total organic content.
Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oilgoop, $72
Without a doubt the most gorgeous, luxurious troubled- or combination-skin treatment ever: This ultra-soothing skin solution gets its name from the Egyptian gemstone lapis lazuli, and its color from precious blue tansy oil made with azulene, a powerful compound that helps clarify skin. Combination, oily, and blemish-prone complexions need this drop-dead-beautiful bottle in the medicine chest.
Let the oil sink in for a few minutes; in the next, most critical step, you’re looking to amp up glow and freshness. Whether that ends up being a single product or several depends on your skin. It’s worth spending the time it takes to find your perfect product, or combination of products: If you watch a professional makeup artist, the number of products they blend together to create the ultimate combination is kind of mind-blowing. Once you’ve found yours, it becomes a quicksilver moment of prep—a quick massaging-in as opposed to a lengthy, technique-heavy procedure—that leaves your skin feeling and looking its best all day, and does more to keep you youthful-looking and glowing than any nighttime routine.
How important is daily SPF? There is truly nothing more effective–not creams, not Botox, not plastic surgery. And the truth about conventional “daily moisturizers” is that most are made with chemical sunscreens, which, besides being known skin irritants, degrade in sunlight, so that SPF you’re counting on could be gone by the time you step out to lunch. Clean, mineral SPFs sit on top of skin until they’re washed or sweated away, they soothe, and they can reflect light to subtly blur imperfections.
You can use SPF with or without a primer, which treats skin to extra glow, imperfection-blurring, and makes any makeup you put on afterward stay put much longer. Unlike conventional, largely silicone-based primers, these give an extra dose of light moisture, which is why most makeup artists smooth primer on right before applying makeup. GP often wears little on her face but Juice Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer, which casts a glowy, candlelit effect on skin.
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primergoop, $36
Featherweight and silicone-free, this primer brilliantly combines skin care—organic, antioxidant botanical extracts, cold-pressed organic oils, and juices—with a high-tech serum that blurs imperfections and leaves a healthy glow for an instantly more flawless complexion. At the same time, it hydrates deeply with coconut alkanes and organic glycerin.
Primer/SPF combinations (clean ones, mind you) can give you everything you need in a single shot: Pot of Shade from Kypris gives skin a gorgeous, subtle gleam and a solid mineral SPF 30.
Kypris Pot of Shade Heliotropicgoop, $68
This broad-spectrum, beautifully translucent formula is perfect for everyday protection. Boosted with moisturizing botanicals (and no essential oils so it’s ideal for reactive and sensitive skin) and zinc oxide, it’s brilliant as primer, leaving skin radiant and smooth. It feels incredible going on, blends like a dream, soothes any skin type, and makes serious, long-lasting protection a luxurious daily ritual.
If you like a bit of color, Beautycounter Dew Skin rolls all the above functions into one, delivering SPF, moisture, and skin tint in one fell swoop.
Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20goop, $45
This glowy, translucent, instantly perfecting SPF 20 has to be the ultimate no makeup-makeup of all time. It’s less about masking flaws, and more about looking and feeling like you—but better. The delicate, deeply hydrating formula smoothes in like a dream; zinc oxide soothes all day; black currant, peony-root extract, and vitamin C enhance brightness, and powerful moisturizers leave you with smoother-looking skin. If you’re looking for coverage, this is not your product—but we guarantee it makes anyone’s skin look instantly more beautiful. It’s so sheer that different shades work for many different skins; if you’re in doubt, try No. 2, which works for practically everyone who tries it.
For true foundation fans, Ilia’s hydrating liquid allows your skin to be the star while smoothing, evening, and subtly perfecting it. It is best layered over SPF; the combination is incredibly flattering.
ILIA Foundationgoop, $44
A soft, whipped-cream textured makeup that both moisturizes and mattifies, with light coverage that’s easily buildable and excellent for all skin types, including sensitive. Made with a new ingredient sourced from the island of Chios in Greece that shrinks the look of pores and reduces shine, the formula blends aloe vera for moisture and tightening, plus antioxidant green tea and rosemary extract to cushion skin. The shades are named for (and match the colors of the sand in) beautiful deserts around the world.
Foundation is no match for hiding undereye circles, or for breakouts, or age spots; for true coverage, you need concealer and a brush. Cover imperfections once, and keep the coverage local—you only want concealer on the part that’s discolored.
For the undereye-circle obsessed, “prime” the undereye area with a lighter, liquid concealer—smooth in like you would a moisturizer to brighten the area and smooth any lines. Then, using a concealer brush, apply a thicker concealer like “Un” Cover-Up from RMS only to the area you’re trying to cover, then pat lightly (don’t rub) to blend.
For breakouts or age spots, use the same concealer brush technique with a slightly drier concealer, like Phyto-Pigments Perfecting Concealer from Juice Beauty—the drier texture will help it stick to the area.
RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Upgoop, $36
This moisturizing cover-up smoothes blemishes and blends easily, leaving flawless skin behind.
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Perfecting Concealergoop, $24
An easy-to-use, miracle skin-perfector, this creamy, highly pigmented formula conceals imperfections and dark circles like nothing else, allowing you to wear much less makeup overall. The buildable full coverage blends like a dream for a flawless, utterly natural look. Hydrating and smoothing, it helps soften the appearance of dark circles, blemishes, and discolorations.
Powder isn’t always necessary—it depends whether you like a dewier or more matte finish. If you don’t like it, use oil-blotting sheets like the gorgeous ones from Tatcha throughout the day as you need them. Or, apply translucent powder with a big fluffy brush; dip in powder and shake a little off on your hand before smoothing over your face.
RMS Beauty “UN” Powdergoop, $34
Free from talc, silicone, perfume, and parabens, this powder sets any base without leaving any toxic residues behind.
Beautycounter Powder Brushgoop, $39
Tackling powders, bronzers, and blushes with ease, this all-purpose brush could quite possibly become the hardest working tool in your arsenal.
Eyes-Lips-Cheeks Are the Icing on the Cake
Beyond great-looking skin, you might need nothing, or you might want a bit of blush like Tata Harper’s bestselling lip/cheek tint; Very Popular looks good on an incredible range of skin tones. If you’re amazing with eyeshadow, a slight smoky eye or neutral lid might make sense, depending on your job, but for the most part, focus on defining your eyes and looking as alert and awake as possible, as opposed to artfully made up. If you find yourself applying multiple coats of mascara, do a bit of (invisible but super-defining) black or dark brown liner, only at the base of your upper, outer lashes. Using a dark pencil, like the ones from Ilia or a flat liner brush and dark shadow (wet or dry), work the pigment as close to the base of the lash as possible. Your eyes should be more noticeable, but not noticeably lined; then finish with mascara, which you’ll need fewer coats of; we’re obsessed with the Juice Beauty one.
Tata Harper Lip and Cheek Tintgoop, $36
Strictly natural pigments and soothing elements earn these hard working two-in-ones pride of place in every purse, desk drawer, and makeup cabinet. Whether applied to cheeks or lips, the color goes on sheer for a natural yet sexy, flushed look.
Ilia Pure Eyelinergoop, $24
This eyeliner is made with coconut and shea butter, plus vitamin E and sesame oil so it glides on effortlessly. Wear it crisp or smoky; build for more drama. The color twists up from the pencil and comes with a built-in sharpener—easy to care for, easy to use…a perfect essential.
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascaragoop, $22
You won’t believe this mascara is as clean, natural, and organic as it is: The intense pigment, high shine, and serious volume-building capability rival that of any conventional mascara. Plus, it leaves lashes lush, long, and feathery soft without the toxic chemicals commonly used in conventional mascara; the formula is ultrasmooth and glides right on. GP’s personal tip: Smooth on one coat, wait a few seconds for it to dry, then build color and length with a second coat for a look that instantly wakes up your whole face.
Lips are up to you, from highly pigmented gloss to a lowest-key slick of balm. Below, some of our current favorites:
Olio e Osso Balm in Berrygoop, $28
This citrusy, super-moisturizing tinted lip/cheek balm delivers all the cushy hydration of the original No. 1 Balm, with the addition of the most flattering-to-all-skin-types sheer pigment out there, period. It’s the sort of your-lips-but-better color that brightens up your whole face, yet doesn’t read as “lipstick” or even “gloss”—just all-natural prettiness, pure and simple. Bonus: The stick fits the shape of your lips perfectly, so it feels especially fantastic going on.
Beautycounter Lip Sheer IN NUDEgoop, $30
These gorgeously tinted lip sheers are intensely moisturizing, completely safe, and colored with the prettiest, most flattering shades. They are made with completely clean, nontoxic ingredients.
Kosas lipstick in Rosewatergoop, $28
These hydrating, everyday-wearable lipsticks are made with organic oils and botanical extracts (antioxidant green tea, rosehip, grapeseed, and sweet orange), plus deeply hydrating mango and shea butters. The eight universally-flattering shades are perfect everyday lip colors; depending on your style, they range from full-on dramatic to subtle and natural. No matter which one you choose, it’ll instantly compliment and brighten a natural complexion.
Bamlyard Baby Love Balm Lip and Cheek Tintgoop, $32
This sexy, just-bitten lip- and cheek-color gets its gorgeous pigment from Caribbean hibiscus; the color is buildable from sheer flush to deep stain. Made with deeply nourishing coconut oil and cocoa butter, it’s also super moisturizing.