I am not a morning person.
I have never been a morning person.
Even with years of practice, I will probably never truly be a morning person.
I am really good at staying up until 3 a.m. and until this past year, I’ve never really had a reason not to. My past career paths have included bartending, late-start office gigs, and freelance design/writing, so I have historically embraced my night-owl tendencies with abandon. It wasn’t until I took a job as a manager of a local coffee shop that I felt the sharp pang of necessary change:
I have to wake up for work at 4 a.m. almost every day.
As much as I love wearing a full face of makeup to work, complete with stark brows, sharp liner, and blinding highlight, sometimes that seems as far away and impossible as the fact that I will, eventually, be off work again and able to take a nap. Or sometimes I am really good at being an adult human and I manage to hit snooze until 15 minutes before I have to be at work (with a 10 minute commute). There’s no time for coffee! There’s no time for a shower! There’s no time for makeup brushes! There’s no time to think!
It’s on these days that I resort to critical maintenance mode, or what I like to call doing just enough so every single regular customer we have doesn’t ask me if I am sick for 9 hours straight. Throw these products in your cart and thank me later.
Batiste Instant Hair Refresh Dry Shampoo
$7.99 at Ulta
I survive winter solely through Batiste’s dry shampoo. Having dark hair is a challenge when it comes to dry shampoos, and I’ve tried no less than ten different formulas and I always come back to Batiste. They have a ton of formulas with different scents, functions, and brightly-colored packaging. My favorite scent is Cherry, but it’s difficult to find locally sometimes so I also readily pick up the Bare version. When first applied, it does leave behind that little bit of white residue that dark haired folks have to deal with, but if you apply it as soon as you begin your rush routine and let it set as you’re brushing your teeth, you’ll be able to shake it out with no problem–all that’s left is fresh smelling, clean feeling hair.
TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream So Cool Eye Stick
$12.00 at Ulta
It’s not so much that applying moisturizer is difficult, per se, as much as having a cute little panda lip balm-esque applicator is a little something to smile about before the sun comes up in the morning. Enriched with bamboo extract, this stick serum cools and plumps the undereye area, making the skin there look tighter, brighter, and ready for the day.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream
$20.00 from The Body Shop
This multi-purpose BB cream is great for a quick fix for any less than perfect skin situation. The formula is lightweight and, when applied with fingers, provides light to medium coverage to even out your skin tone in a flash. Mattifying tea tree oil reduces the appearance of pores, soothes blemishes, and dries down well enough that you don’t even have to set it with powder!
Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter in Lunch Money
$8.00 at Colourpop
This is the first highlighter that I’ve ever used an entire pot of. The formula is unique in that it feels almost like a cream in the pot, but applies like a powder. A fingertip across the pan and then across the cheekbones is like a magic trick for brightening skin still pale with sleep. As a bonus, you can tap a little in the corner of your eyes to make them look wider and brighter. This formula applies and blends best with fingertips, so no need for a brush!
Covergirl Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Vitamin Infused Lip Balm ($3.99 at Ulta)
A good tinted gloss can go a long way in taking you from “just woke up” to “moderately presentable.” I love formulas like this one that go on sheer enough that application takes less than 15 seconds but still bring a subtle pop of color to the table. A little bit smudged into the apples of your cheeks brings out a dewy flush that’s (definitely intentionally) perfectly coordinated. I got mine in the shade above, Gumdrop, which is a nice warm berry tone, but the whole line is really great!
The Brow Gal Skinny Eyebrow Pencil
$23 from The Brow Gal
I received this brow pencil from an ipsy bag eons ago, and while I have historically been underwhelmed with eyebrow pencils, this one is remarkably good for what it is! It’s a basic approach to brow filling–a cedar pencil filled with a firm wax pigment that deposits a moderate amount of pigment without being too heavy or creamy. It has its own spoolie attached to the end that you can use to blend and frame out your brows, as well as its own sharpener built into the cap. If you’re like me and require at least minimum brow attention to step outside, this is a great product for a quick look with no fuss.
What are your favorite products for throwing together a quick look before your morning coffee?