How to Get the Look of a Full Face of Makeup with Only 3 Little Products

I'm the type of gal who likes to pile on the products, but in a pinch, this totally works.
Publish date:
April 5, 2016
kat von d, Benefit, bobbi brown, multitaskers, lipstick, concealer, mascara

A week ago, my makeup creativity was put to the test, and it fundamentally changed the way I see my cosmetic products.

I was at a training for work and had to remove my beautifully beat and baked face.

*internally screams*

After work, my friend texted me, begging to get drinks at our favorite local bar. Now, being the full-faced gal that I am, I basically had a panic attack. But after the terror subsided, I reached into my bag, pulled out the three products I had with me, and made it work.

We've all been there. That moment when you have an impromptu date, meeting, celebration, etc. and you just need a little face pick-me-up. These three products may be small, but they pack a high-glam punch.

Bobbi Brown Retouching Face Pencil

This product is my new holy grail. These creamy, matte sticks come in nine colors (plus an illuminator). Each can be used as a color corrector, foundation, concealer, highlighter, contour — pretty much anything. And because these pencils have a powder built in, they can even mattify oily areas throughout the day, replacing potentially messy powder compacts. I'm the oiliest person of all time, and they even work on me.

I use the Retouching Pencil on the areas where I have a little more "color discrepancy": blemishes, under-eye bags, redness and sallow patches. I have it all! I apply the stick straight to my skin, and then pat with the warmth of my finger to blend it in.

It's important to pat the product as opposed to swiping the product so you get more coverage and less texture. (By the way, only apply the stick in the areas where you need a little extra boost. If you have areas where your skin is looking, why cover it?)

Benefit They're Real! Mascara

Ah! My favorite mascara!

I have the tiniest little baby lashes you ever did see, and this is the ONLY mascara that makes them actually visible. I always get compliments on the length of my lashes thanks to this formula. But I also use it beyond the usual mascara function to give my small, hooded eyes more dimension.

I start by coating my top and bottom lashes. I then turn the brush vertically and push the tip of the mascara way up into my lash line to create a dashes-between-the-lashes effect. By lining the top of my eyes only, I'm creating balance and a more wide-awake appearance.

Without placing the wand back into the tube, I then use the remaining product to fill in any gaps in my eyebrows. (Important: if you have lighter hair, I suggest opting for a brown mascara instead.)

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick

Now here's where things get a little interesting. I chose a matte formula because I'm applying this lipstick to my lips and my cheeks. Shiny or shimmery lipsticks can feel sticky on the cheeks and can disrupt any foundation or color beneath them. Matte lipsticks, however, function similarly to a cream-to-powder blush.

I used the shade Underage Red, which is a very classic, pin-up, blue-toned red shade. Reds always make me feel sexy and pull my look together, even when I feel like I'm falling apart.

I applied the lipstick straight from the bullet into my lips. I then applied a minimal amount of lipstick to the apples of my cheeks using the warmth of my pointer and middle finger. Applying to the cheeks with fingers, rather than straight from the bullet, allows me more control to work in sheer, natural layers. I can always add more lipstick-blush if I want, but it's definitely harder to take away once it's there.

I apply to the apples of my cheeks first using swift, swiping motions, and then blend upward along the cheekbones toward the hairline. Since I used such a saturated shade of blush, I made sure to keep the placement at least an inch away from the nose on either side to prevent it from looking clownish. The blush helps to give me some color, now that the rest of my skin has been neutralized.

I'm pretty proud of the finished look. It's chic and simple. Would I rather be wearing a face full of 50 products? OF COURSE! However, I made it work.

This task taught me a lesson in the importance of makeup creativity. We are only limited by our imagination. When stuck in a tight situation, use your lipstick as a blush, or your mascara to fill in your brows. Rules are always meant to be broken.

  • Have you ever created a makeup look in a pinch before?
  • What are your minimum three products?