make-up uniform

10 women share the failsafe “make-up uniforms” they swear by for work and play

Praised for its efficiency, effect and versatility, a make-up uniform seriously streamlines busy schedules.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, the majority of us have a “make-up uniform” – a routine we return to day after day for its efficiency, our skill at doing it and the effect it gives. While make-up uniforms change (what you swore by in high school is not likely to be the routine you enjoy today), the core aspect never does: they require minimal thought and never let you down. 

Now, with the great, albeit stilted, return to the office in full swing, make-up uniforms have never been more necessary. The morning routine requires precision and speed – especially if you have a tendency to set three alarms and ignore them all, à la yours truly. Here, 10 women break down the make-up routines they swear by to carry them through the working day and beyond.

Jazmin, executive editor digital

make-up uniform jazmin

“It’s taken me a long time to hone a quick-and-easy routine that makes me feel good. I have very sparse eyebrow and eyelash hair so it all hooks on giving those two areas some extra definition – Glossier’s Brow Flick and Boy Brow duo have been a trusted and faithful combination.

“For my lashes, I do one coat of No7’s Age-Defying All-In-One serum, and then follow with generous coatings of Rimmel Scandaleyes mascara to give my otherwise invisible lashes some dramatic volume. I was gifted a Selfridges voucher for Christmas and used it to buy my first ever “grown-up” concealer (read: one that was matched to my skin tone, doesn’t crease every time I blink and actually serves its intended purpose).

Chanel Le Correcteur is now a staple in my routine. If I’m feeling a bit on the dull side I’ll sweep a subtle brush of a warm pink-peach blush on my cheeks – I tend to go for ones with a hint of shimmer – and do a matte lip. At the moment I’m rotating between Morphe’s Matte Liquid Lipstick in ‘Jealousy’ and Body Shop’s Matte Lip Liquid in Mauritius Dahlia 017.”

Amy, digital writer

make-up uniform amy

“I’ve never considered myself “good” at make-up, so I tend to lean on products that do the work for me in a minimal amount of time. On any given day, you’ll find me with Winky Lux’s Tinted Veil on my face, which is a light yet smooth and creamy tinted moisturiser that balances my complexion like no other. Then it’s a puff of standard matte powder (I’m not fussy) before going in with my Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look Palette which is a bronzer, highlighter, blush and three neutral eye shades in one handy compact.

“With a dash of an eyeliner pencil over my brows and a sweep of YSL mascara, it’s time for a spritz of Iconic London’s Prep Set Glow hydrating setting mist. Then I’m ready.”

Molly, designer

makeup uniform molly

“My routine is super quick and leaves my skin feeling dewy and moisturised but still natural. Spot-using concealer after Glossier’s Future Dew serum provides light coverage for day-to-day use, but a good enough one in case I happen to end up somewhere fun in the evening. 

“It starts with The Ordinary’s Niacinamide serum followed by moisturiser and The Ordinary SPF. Then, I use Glossier’s Future Dew and Stretch Concealer on my cheeks, forehead and chin, Elf’s ‘I Love You a Latte’ eyeshadow, a slick of Glossier’s Boy Brow and Benefit’s Bang Bang Mascara.”

Alex, commissioning editor

make-up uniform, alex

“I’ve been performing the same “everyday” make-up routine since I was a teenager. I’ve tried and tested different products over the years, but the regime has stayed resolutely the same.

“I always start with Factor 50 La Roche-Posay SPF, then Nars tinted moisturiser and Il Makiage concealer. Then a quick sweep of Nars bronzer and a scrub of brown Rimmel pencil through my very fair eyebrows, before lining my upper eyelids with a bold flick of black eyeliner and lashings of black Rimmel mascara.

“It’s a formula I’ve used for the last 15 years and it’s become a reassuring constant in the turbulent throws of life. My little black eye flick feels like part of my identity – it helps me face the world.”

Miranda, Strong Women editor

Stylist's fitness editor Miranda Larbi poses in front of a pink background for Strong Women magazine editors letter
Miranda Larbi, Strong Women Editor

“My make-up uniform is very simple. I cleanse my face in the shower, following up with toner by Fresh, a Kiehl’s serum, and Tropic’s overnight eye cream (it says overnight but I use it during the day) for my eye bags. I massage in Bare Minerals moisturiser, brush up my eyebrows using the Refy Brow Sculpt, add a bit of Bare Minerals mascara and sometimes a flick of Rimmel liquid eyeliner. The last step is a dab of the Refy Gloss Highlighter on my cheeks.

“I used to wear foundation, bronzer and a lot of eye make-up – part of me now does wonder why I can’t get myself together to be more like that but, to be honest, my skin has changed so much over the past two years that foundation doesn’t sit the same way. Instead, I’m more conscious of practising good skincare as I want my skin to breathe and feel nourished.”

Chloe, senior fitness writer

make-up uniform chloe

“I streamline my beauty regime by adding a tiny bit of Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops into my nightly moisturiser. It smooths my complexion and gives an effortless glow, so on busy days I can forgo foundation and throw on my non-negotiable vitamin C (The Ordinary 23%), a simple oil or serum – I like squalene, but am also just testing Glossier’s Futuredew – and a dab of Clarins Everlasting concealer and be on my way.”

Leah, senior digital writer

make-up uniform leah

“If I’m in a rush to get out quickly, there are three make-up basics that are an absolute must for me. First, I fill in my brows using the Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil then some concealer (the L.A. Girl HD Pro Conceal is great) followed by the NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink eyeliner and Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb lipgloss – then I’m good to go.”

Jenny, deputy production editor and food editor

Make-up uniform – Jenny

“I have to be out of the door at 7.30am to catch the train so my morning routine needs to be as speedy as humanly possible. I use Lancaster Sun Perfect Infinite Glow after moisturising, which is brilliant for some all-important SPF30 and gives my skin a subtle glow. My brows and lashes are naturally fair to the point of being barely visible, so I have them tinted every couple of months.

“All I need to do first thing is curl them (using my trusty Shu Uemura curlers), add a slick of Benefit Gimme Brow and maybe some Nars blusher (in Impassioned or Orgasm) if I’m feeling in need of a bit of colour to perk me up.”

Lauren, digital writer

make-up uniform lauren

“My routine is incredibly simple – I usually blow dry my hair a little (if I have time) and spend 10-15 minutes putting on some foundation, concealer, blush, mascara and some lip balm. I spend the most time on my eyebrows – I love the process of brushing them through and filling in any sparse bits. It may not take long, but this little routine makes me feel great. Now I’ve gone back to the office, when I’m working from home and don’t get “ready”, I definitely notice a difference in my mood and productivity.”

Meg, contributing writer

make-up uniform meg walters

“My go-to make-up routine has served me well since about 2010 (with a few tweaks). Because I break out quite easily, I usually avoid heavy liquid foundations. Instead, I start with a primer (The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer) and then use concealer (the Nars Creamy Concealer in ‘Chantilly’) under my eyes and on pigmentation or blemishes. I just use my finger to blend that in.

“Then I put on a cream blush (usually Glossier Cloud Paint) and use a brush to blend that in. Then, in a very rogue move, I put a powder foundation on over the top of my blush (Laura Gellar Balance-N-Brighten) as I’m very pale and like to tone down the blush a little. I finish off with a nude-y eyeshadow in my creases to create definition, eyelash curler, mascara (Too Faced’s Better Than Sex), eyebrow gel (Glossier) and tinted lip balm (Glossier, again). The last touch is a new addition – Charlotte Tilbury’s setting spray.”

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