Face Time

Whether you have just a few minutes or half an hour to spare, here’s how to get your gorgeous on.

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When you’re being tugged in every direction, it’s easy for a once-meticulous makeup routine to be replaced by encounters with the rearview mirror. But as with family time, getting dolled up is a case where quality wins out over quantity. McLean-based makeup artist and mom Sally Sagarese of Platinum Case Makeup shares her tips for looking pretty and polished even if you’re crunched for time.

The 5-Minute Face

The look: Fresh and well-rested in case you run into someone you know.

Tools: MAC Mineralize Concealer ($20,, Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Rose Petal ($7.99,, L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Balm in Tender Mauve ($7.49,

1. Apply your favorite moisturizer to prime and hydrate the skin. Not only does it keep your makeup from looking chalky, but it’ll help it go on smoother, too.

2. Choose a creamy concealer that’s the exact color of your skin—no lighter. Using your ring finger, start at the inner corners of eyes and slowly press in the cream, roll, and press some more until the color melts into your skin and erases any darkness. Make sure you’re not rubbing or you’ll wipe off more color than you apply. Repeat on any other areas where you have redness or discoloration (like around the nostrils).

3. Dab a pink or coral cream blush onto cheekbones using your fingertips, and gently rub up and back. “Creams really are idiot-proof,” says Sagarese. “And they look so much more natural than powdered blush because they keep that young, lustrous glow in the skin.”

4. Swipe two coats of black mascara on top and bottom lashes.

5. Apply a tinted lip balm or sheer gloss with just a touch of color so you look “finished” without trying too hard.

The 15-Minute Face

The look: Polished and pulled together for work, a school volunteer day, or brunch.

Tools: The above, plus Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki brush ($21,, Korres Quercetin & Oak Anti-Aging Foundation ($39,, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Quad in Boudoir ($60,

1. Start with moisturizer, but hold off on the concealer until you’ve applied foundation. Choose a creamy texture so it applies smoothly and doesn’t dull skin; place a pea-size amount on the back of your hand, and, using a stippling brush (which is round, with a flat top), apply color onto the center of the face—which is where most discoloration occurs. Pat foundation onto the chin, nose, between eyes, and forehead, then buff and blend using light circle movements. Go lighter as you move out toward the edges of the face, so there are no harsh lines.

2. Apply concealer and blush as above.

3. Using a fluffy eye-shadow brush, swipe a wash of neutral matte color—just one—across your eyelid, starting from the inner corner and moving out. Stop at the crease. Save the rest of the colors in your quad for your 30-minute face.

4. Before applying mascara, curl your lashes. Start at the base of lashes, press, hold, and slowly walk the curler toward the ends to ensure a curl instead of a kink (just like using a curling iron on your hair).

5. Finish with your favorite lipstick, applied straight from the tube.

The 30-Minute Face

The look: Ready for photographs, an event, or date night.

Tools: The above, plus Lancôme Teint Miracle Instant Retouch Pen ($29.50,, Benefit Gimme Brow Brow-Volumizing Fiber Gel ($22,, Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner ($22,

1. Repeat moisturizer, foundation, concealer, and blush steps from above.

2. Apply the lightest color in the eye-shadow quad on the inner corner of the eye and brow bone, the medium shade in the crease, covering the lid, and the darkest on the outside corner, blending well to avoid harsh lines.

3. Try a gel eyeliner, applied with a small angled brush. If you prefer a pencil, make sure it’s sharp, and lay it on its side across the base of lashes (not pointed at your eye). Tilt your head back and lift up brow skin “so you can get the color right at the base of lashes to define them and make them look thick and plush,” says Sagarese. “The goal is not to see any skin between the lashes and the liner.”

4. Groom brows by swiping on a tinted brow gel, which quickly shapes and adds a hint of color.

5. Curl lashes and apply mascara.

6. Tap a bit of the illuminator onto the tops of your cheekbones and down the bridge of your nose for a glowy look, and add a bit to your cupid’s bow to make lips look fuller.

7. Grab a large, fluffy brush and lightly dust translucent setting powder where you need it to control shine and help makeup last.

8. Apply lipstick.