Makeup in the Time of Lockdown

Makeup in the time of lockdown image

With Covid becoming the new norm, many of us are finding ourselves either trading our office jobs for a home office (with help from technologies like Zoom), pivoting and adapting our own businesses from home during lockdown, or are sadly without work. Just as the celebrated Nobel prize-winning author, Gabriel García Márquez, wrote of the struggles South American communities experienced during the late 1800s in his book Love in the Time of Cholera, so too are we facing similar upheavals during our time. One such upheaval is our loss of ‘normal’ brought about by lockdown and, for many women, the loss of things that once made them feel beautiful. Hence the title of this post, Makeup in the Time of Lockdown.

If you are anything like me, it is easy to fall into these new roles wearing nothing but pjs, slippers, hair haphazardly tied up and no makeup, unless of course, you have a few Zoom meetings lined up.

Makeup in the Time of Lockdown: This woman is is working from home during Covid lockdown and not putting the effort in to make herself look and feel better about her new norm.

Looking good takes effort, right? Right! But… looking good also makes you feel good, right? Right again!

With the financial and emotional pressures linked to this new life of Covid and Lockdown, it is more important than ever to keep our morale and positive attitudes up, and one of the easiest ways to achieve this is by getting up and showing up for life… every day. There is nothing normal about the way things are, but we sure can add a little normalcy to our morning routine.

I don’t mean you have to get dressed to the nines and go full glam with your makeup (although, if you want to, why not!), what I mean is make a little effort to get out of your pjs (keep the slippers if you like, I draw the line here) and put on a fresh face of basic makeup. Nothing makes a girl feel better and ready to take on the world than a clean face and a bit of warpaint. Right? You betcha!

So, here is my 10-step minimal, natural makeup routine that literally takes no more than 10 minutes to do and will have you looking and feeling put together and ready to tackle the day!

But before you start, cleanse! Your skin is like a canvas. Everyone has their own cleansing routine that they prefer based on their skin type, but what is important here is that you realise that when you exfoliate, cleanse, tone and moisturise you are preparing your canvas for makeup. Your makeup will look so much smoother and more radiant, and will last longer! See Clartici’s article on Why Skincare is So Important Before Every Makeup Application.

Makeup in the Time of Lockdown: Before you apply your makeup  cleanse and get your skin ready for makeup.

P.S. Don’t forget to exfoliate your lips too! These are often forgotten.

STEP 1: Primed To Be Pretty

You don’t have to use a primer, many women don’t, but the reason why it is a good idea is that it creates an extra layer/barrier between your skin and the makeup. This is particularly helpful if you are prone to breakouts. Priming products are predominantly used to help makeup last longer, smooth the skin’s surface, and even out the skin tone.

Apply primer using a foundation brush or damp beauty blender. It’s okay to even use your fingertips for this step. Make sure you apply it well to areas where you feel your makeup usually moves around.

Apply primer to smooth and protect the skin prior to makeup application.

My go-to primer is the Prime+ Studio Hydrating + Skin Refreshing Primer by Essence, it’s affordable for everyday use and gives me great results personally and for my clients. Higher-end products like Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer and Maybelline’s Baby Skin – Primer & Instant Pore Eraser (not recommended for oily skin types though) are good too and have great reviews, but really, it is all about your personal preference.

STEP 2: Tame Those Tigers

If you have unruly brows like mine use brow gel and a spoolie to encourage them to submit. I like filling in my brows first with either a brow powder or a pencil. I personally prefer a powder and a great pallet to use is the Inspiring Brow Kit by LA Girl.

Perfect your brows and give them shape and definition.

Give them a quick once over with a spoolie to make sure they are blended evenly and to add more definition to the brow. To set the hairs in place, go over them with a brow gel. I love the Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara by Essence. Other products on the market with good reviews are La Girl Brow Bestie Longwear Gel and the Micro Precise Eyebrow Pencil.

STEP 3: Back to Base-ics

Depending on your needs you can either go full foundation, tinted moisturiser or if you have been blessed with porcelain skin, you can get away with just concealer here and there to brighten up some areas.

Apply foundation in a shade that matches your skin tone as closely as possible for a natural look.

I like a light to medium coverage foundation for my minimal natural look which allows the glow of my freshly washed dewy complexion to show through. Again, personal preference here and mine is Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation by Essence. Other good products include Total Control Pro Drop Foundation by NYX Cosmetics and Pro Coverage Illuminating Foundation by LA Girl.

Again, apply with a foundation brush or a damp beauty blender, whichever gives you even product distribution.

STEP 4: Set For Success

A little goes a long way so try not to be too heavy-handed at this stage or you could end up looking cakey. The trick is to just set the areas that need a little TLC if you are oily in your t-zone, and under the eye area to stop creasing and eye-liner running. It really helps prevent the racoon-eye look at the end of the day.

Makeup in the Time of Lockdown: Set your foundation with loose setting powder, also know as baking.

I am currently enjoying the benefits of My Skin Perfector Loose Fixing Powder by Essence but you can also try ColorStay Pressed Powder by Revlon or Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder by MAC.

STEP 5: Sun-Kissed With Bronzer

A bronzer is optional because you can easily get away with skipping this step and going on with a contour pallet. I like a little bronzer because it adds warmth to your face that foundation tends to take out and gives you a healthy glow.

I LOVE the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Matte Bronzer. Others to try are Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer Murumuru Butter Bronzer by Ulta Beauty and Pure Nude Sunlighter by Essence.

Apply a little bronzer just below your hairline around your forehead, under your cheekbones and jawline with a fluffy brush. You will instantly feel like you’ve just come back from a holiday in the Greek Isles.

A new thing I’m doing a lot these days is applying the bronzer to my eyelids and below my lower lash line as well. This really makes my eyes look natural and effortless and somehow just pulls everything cohesively together. Use a large fluffy eyeshadow brush and apply it to your crease, lid and lower waterline and you’re good to go. No other eye shadow necessary. I know right?!

Makeup in the Time of Lockdown: Give your face warmth and contour with the use of bronzer and contour.

STEP 6: Chisel With Contour

Again, this may not be something you usually do, so skip it if it isn’t for you. I particularly like contouring because it helps bring out my cheekbones and give the illusion that I have a narrower jaw because I have a round face shape. I’ll be writing an article on contouring for different face shapes in the near future so keep a lookout for it. Using an angled contouring brush, brush a little product just under your cheekbones – not too much, you don’t want to look muddy, you are trying to create the illusion of a natural shadow in the hollow under the cheekbone.

I use contouring on my nose too – I have a wider end to my nose that I trim down with the help of illusions from my trusty contour pallet. My concealer brush does the trick here and I apply the product to where a natural shadow would fall on the sides of my nose down to the end.

My contour pallet is from LA Girl, the PRO Contour Cream but I’ve used the Contouring Duo Pallet by Essence in the past with similar results.

STEP 7: Highlight the Best Parts

Now is a good time to add some highlights to really make your contouring look natural. What you are trying to achieve is shadows in the hollow areas and light on the higher areas that the light naturally touches.

Makeup in the Time of Lockdown: Finish the contour with highlights in key areas.

With a medium tapered fluffy brush, apply a little highlighter to the highpoints of your cheeks, nose and cupid’s bow on your lips. I like to go in with my fingers for smaller areas like the inner corners of my eyes, to brighten them and make them look more awake, and on my brow bones.

Important, you don’t want to look like a shiny star with excess highlighter all over. Just a little to the key areas to give you a natural glow. Less is definitely more in this case.

My favourite, favourite highlighter is Highlight Drops Liquid Illuminator by Essence. Other great products include Glowin’ Up Jelly Highlighter by LA Girl and Strobe Cream by MAC.

STEP 8: A Touch of Blush

There is nothing more girly and pretty than a little blush. With a big blusher brush apply your shade of choice to the apples of your cheeks. One of my favorite blushers is The Blush by Essence.

Not only does the girl smiling back at you in the mirror lift your spirits (this is a good time for me to remind you to be kind to yourself… always!) but it also helps show you just where to put the color.

Makeup in the Time of Lockdown: Add some blush for a healthy glow.

Again, just a little, be subtle, we’re going for the natural look, remember.

STEP 9: Mascara Magic

We’re almost done! Beautiful eyes deserve a beautiful frame and mascara is our weapon of choice. You can add an eyeliner if you like, but I quite like the subtle, no-makeup makeup look without liner.

We all have our personal preferences when it comes to our lashes, some like fuller, some like longer, some like them to be more separated. Whatever your preference, now is the time to apply a layer or two of your favourite mascara. I personally like my lashes to look like I’m wearing false lashes and I often feel naked if I’m not wearing them so I use Lash Princess False Lash Mascara by Essence to really make them POP!

Makeup in the Time of Lockdown: Frame your eyes with your favorite mascara.

As you may have already guessed, I am an unabashed lash addict, so if I’m feeling up to it I will put on a pair of lashes. I’m using HUDA Beauty Lashes with the Peel Off Lash Glue by Essence at the moment and it’s my all-time fav! Please be careful though, this lash glue is latex-based and is NOT recommended if you know you have a latex allergy! For a non-latex-based lash glue, I recommend Ever EZ Strip Eyelash Adhesive by KISS.

STEP 10: Luscious Lips

This is a difficult one these days. Lipstick/Lipgloss and masks don’t like each other at all! But, if you’re staying home, a nude lipstick with a touch of gloss or just a tinted gloss completes the look!

Makeup in the Time of Lockdown: Using lip pencil instead of makeup makes your lip makeup last longer and doesn't transfer onto your mask.

For days when you have errands to run and have to don a mask, a lip pencil is your friend! It gives you the colour you need, doesn’t transfer and it lasts. Combine two shades if you like – a slightly darker shade for outer corners and the lighter, more pink tone for the rest of your lip. A great lip pencil that isn’t in a pencil, (makeup “pencils” and sharpening them are the bane of my existence as a makeup artist) try out Essence’s Stay 8h Waterproof Lipliner.

And wallah! You’re done and ready for the day!

This look is not just for those stay-at-home days, you can wear it for any occasion. Plenty of my clients prefer a more natural look. The object of the exercise is to make you feel put together and to make you feel beautiful. The psychology behind this makes you feel more positive, motivated and capable of taking on the things that need doing for the day, even when you don’t feel like doing them.

Makeup in the time of lockdown doesn’t need to be a lost part of our lives. With just a little effort we can still hold onto a little bit of normal.

Life is hard at the moment, yes, but you’ve got this girl, be kind to the girl in the mirror, do what you have to do and get it done. And remember, a little makeup along the way makes all things better. I believe in you!

Lots of love,

Courtney signature

The stunning Brianna Fox has a great video on this very topic, so check it out!

Courtney Cullen

A full-time professional makeup artist and a free-spirited, unabashed makeup and lash addict blogging about all things beautiful! Makeup is art, but beauty is spirit...

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1 Response

  1. 08/07/2021

    […] you’re stuck in lockdown like me and are rarely putting on makeup at the moment (read my article on why this isn’t a good idea), having something leak in your bag with the brushes and going unnoticed for some time, until you […]

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