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The 5, 15 and 30 minute make-up bags; beauty essentials for getting ready in a hurry

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A third of us use our commute to apply make-up but it needn’t be that way. Whether you’ve got five or 30 minutes, Stylist proves you can fit your routine in before leaving the house

Words: Shannon Peter 

Photography: Amy Currell

The Five-Minute Make-up bag

The Five-Minute makeup bag

(For full product list, scroll down)

Think a fully made-up face in five minutes is a myth? Think again. Time may be the enemy, but by ditching superfluous extras and employing a strategic routine of fast-working multi-taskers, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve in a short time. Rulenumber one: never neglect skincare. Get your skin glowing and you’ll cut your make-up time in half.


Stock your shower shelf with a bottle of Sarah Chapman’s Rapid Radiance Cleanse (£29) – we’re yet to find a quicker route to glowing skin than this creamy cleanser. It exfoliates away dead skin cells, cleanses deep into pores and brightens the complexion by plying it with radiance-boosting vitamin C. Massage in and because it’s so silky, simply blast it off under the shower.


Primer is the ultimate time-saver. Not only does it instantly improve the visual condition of your skin (read: less foundation required), but it will also make your make-up last a lot longer. This Works In Transit Camera Close Up (£30) is a genius product which fuses the make-up perfecting properties of primer with a moisturiser and SPF. Three-in-one. Follow by dotting the eyes with La Prairie’s Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Eye Cream (£161). Ultra hydrating, it nourishes the eye ares, erasing dark circles right away and maintaining brightness over time – meaning no need for under eye concealer. Plus, it disappears into your skin in seconds.


Clinique’s 2-in-1 Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer (£25) is the most efficient foundation we’ve ever used. It’s super lightweight, meaning less time blending and a reduced potential for tidemarks, but it’s also highly pigmented so it does the colour-correcting job of a concealer (and it comes in 20 different shades). Use the applicator to dot along the nose and across the cheeks and then blend with your fingertips, patting slightly more formula over any imperfections.


Paper make-up may seem an unusual concept but Mai Couture’s clever Trio Papier Poudre in Glow-geous (£17) will have you bronzed, blushed and illuminated in seconds. Sweep one of each pigment packed sheet over cheeks and buff lightly with your fingertips for a streak-free, realistic glow. A touch of balm is all lips need when you’re in a hurry – Dior’s Backstage Cheek and Lip Glow (£27) hydrates with a pretty sheer pink tint which you can then pat onto the apples of your cheeks to deepen the blush.


You’ll want to stockpile Benefit’s latest invention – Roller Lash mascara (£19.50). Finally negating the need for fiddly eyelash curlers, tiny little hooks on the mascara wand (inspired by old-fashioned hair rollers) grab the lashes, gently pulling them into the perfect curl.

Full product list (from left to right): Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Eye Cream, La Prairie (£161), Roller Lash Mascara, Benefit (£19.50), Trio Papier Poudre in Glow-geous, Mai Couture (£17), 2-in-1 Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer, Clinique (£25), Rapid Radiance Cleanse, Sarah Chapman (£29), In Transit Camera Close Up, This Works (£30), Backstage Cheek and Lip Glow, Dior (£27). 

The 15-minute make-up bag

The 30-minute make-up bag

(For full product list, scroll down)

With 15 minutes to spare you can use contouring to give shape to your face. Choose products that offer easy application with impressive results.


Start with a quick swipe of Aveda’s Outer Peace Blemish Relief Pads (£23]. These exfoliating pads feel cool to the touch and freshen skin instantly, wiping away the dead skin cells that clog pores without wasting precious time over the sink.


A few drops of Darphin’s Exquisage Beauty Revealing Serum (£75) will protect your skin from the elements and boost radiance, thanks to a plankton extract that eradicates the grey tone veiling tired morning skin. Let it absorb while you brush your teeth. Follow with a spritz of Aesop’s Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol (£17) to stop skin feeling tight.


 Acting as your moisturiser, foundation and powder in one, By Terry’s ultra-silky Cellularose Moisturising CC Cream (£57) works fast to correct any redness. Target stubborn blemishes with a dot of L’Oréal Paris’s True Match Crayon Concealer (£5.99). It’s so smooth it won’t cake over any dry patches.


Armed with the right tools, a supermodel bone structure is only two minutes away (you can quote us on that). We rate Topshop’s new Contour Cream (£9). It’s much sheerer than the pot suggests; apply with your fingers underneath the cheekbone then blend following the curve towards your temples. We’re smitten with Guerlain’s Météorites Compact (£40) – sweep on the highest point of the cheekbones for immediate light reflection.


There might not be enough time for a full brow job but a swipe of Bobbi Brown’s Natural Brow Shaper and Hair Touch-Up (£16) will have them neat in an instant. The pigment clings to hairs so there’s no risk of going overboard.


However long you have, always make time for mascara. Japanese brand Fairydrops has updated its bestseller – Scandal Queen Quattro Mascara (£18.50) – with a new four-domed brush which catches all lashes in one coat (promise). Apply a second for extra volume.


There’s just enough time left to pay attention to the lips. YSL’s new Volupte Tint-In-Oils (£23.50) are a shortcut to subtle colour – they come in eight glossy shades that don’t require the accuracy of a lipstick. Your lips will slowly absorb the hydrating oil but the pop of colour will remain all day.

Full product list (from left to right): Cellularose Moisturising CC Cream, By Terry (£57), Météorites Compact, Guerlain (£40), True Match Crayon Concealer, L’Oréal Paris (£5.99),  Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol, Aesop,  (£17), Scandal Queen Quattro Mascara, Fairydrops (£18.50), Volupte Tint-In-Oils, YSL, (£23.50),  Contour Cream, Topshop, (£9), Outer Peace Blemish Relief Pads, Aveda, (£23), Natural Brow Shaper and Hair Touch-Up, Bobbi Brown, (£16), Exquisage Beauty Revealing Serum, Darphin, (£75)

The 30-minute make-up bag

The 30-minute make-up bag

(For full product list, scroll down)

The more time you have, the better your make-up, right? Only if you make the most of it. Half an hour allows time for greater skincare commitment and breathing space to perfect your technique.


Who doesn’t like the sound of a daily facial? In the shower, massage Skin + Tonic’s aromatic Steam Clean Cleansing Balm (£27) onto the skin and place a warm damp muslin cloth over your face, breathing in the calming aroma before washing off. Post-shower, follow with Charlotte Tilbury’s Goddess Skin Clay Mask (£45). The clay clings to impurities, washing them away as you rinse. Use the 10-minute wait to blowdry your hair.


Facial massage stimulates circulation to create plump and radiant skin. Warm a few drops of Estée Lauder’s Resilience Lift Restorative Radiance Oil (£50) in your palms and massage firmly over the entire face for a few minutes using upward sweeping motions to get the blood flowing. Leave to absorb for two minutes while you finish styling your hair.


Spritz on Smashbox’s genius Photo Finish Primer Water (£20); it contains electrolytes to help your skin retain moisture throughout the day. It’s virtually impossible to be left with streaks if you use a damp Beauty Blender Classic (£16) and Elizabeth Arden’s Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin 24hr Makeup (£29) – it melts into the skin to give a dewy finish.


Correct any discolouration under the eyes with Mac’s Studio Finish Concealer Duo (£23) – blend the two shades for your perfect match. A warm blush with iridescent particles will double up as your highlighter. Nars have perfected the sparkle level in their Blush in Reckless (£23).


Fill in brows with Giorgio Armani’s Brow and Eye Maestro (£27) and an eyebrow brush. The creamy formula fakes hairs far better than a pencil and you can smudge a little onto the eyelids for subtle colour.


Liquid liner isn’t easy to get right first time but Tom Ford’s Eye Defining Pen (£42) has a long nib for effortless application. Max Factor’s Masterpiece Glamour Extensions Mascara (£10.99) has bristles that load lashes with the optimum amount of formula to lengthen and darken in a few flicks.

1 MIN TO GO Finish the look with a bold lip. The gel-based formula of Burberry’s Kisses (£25) is more like a high-pigment balm, so requires less maintenance than lipstick. The dream.

Full product list (clockwise from left to right):  Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin 24hr Makeup, Elizabeth Arden (£29), Masterpiece Glamour Extensions Mascara, Max Factor (£10.99), Kisses, Burberry (£25), Studio Finish Concealer Duo, Mac (£23), Brow and Eye Maestro, Giorgio Armani (£26), Blush in Reckless, Nars (£23), Eye Defining Pen, Tom Ford (£42), Photo Finish Primer Water, Smashbox (£20), Goddess Skin Clay Mask, Charlotte Tilbury (£45), Resilience Lift Restorative Radiance Oil, Estée Lauder (£50), Steam Clean Cleansing Balm, Skin + Tonic’s (£27), Beauty Blender Classic (£16) 



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