10 minute makeup routines

5-10 Minute Makeup Routine for Moms on the Go

As moms we all need a 5-10 minute makeup routine. I’m pretty sure that I went a whole year without wearing makeup the year my third kiddo was born. Quite frankly, I was just too exhausted.

But alas, #adulting came calling and I had to find a way to show up to work without looking like a zombie, in a short enough amount of time that didn’t make me late for work, which is why I had to come up with a 5-10 minute makeup routine for moms on the go.

Keep in mind that most makeup stores have a return policy that allows you to return makeup that isn’t right for you. Take advantage of this!

A general rule is to ensure that you return the product with at least 80% remaining; although some stores allow you to use more and still get your money back.

Skincare first

I cannot stress enough how important healthy, clean skin is when it comes to makeup application. You can buy all the high end products you want, but if you don’t start with a clean slate, it’s like washing a muddy car with a muddy rag.

Dry skin will just become crepey or begin to flake and skin that is not clean may look sallow or tired.

If skincare seems overwhelming to you, start simple. A good facial cleanser and hydrating lotion will do.

Make sure that the lotion you apply for daytime has an SPF in it, as the sun ages our skin and leaves it unprotected from harmful UVA/UVB rays.

The Why To Products And Recommendations

makeup products and tips

If you want to skip straight to the application portion, scroll down to the 10 step process at the end of this blog. If you need a fresh update on makeup skills, keep reading!

I also included my recommendations for “splurge” and “save” products by brand, most of which can be purchased at Target, Ulta, or Sephora.


Primers are great to use because they create a barrier between your skincare serums and your foundation or tinted moisturizer. I have found that it prolongs the wear of my makeup as well.

Splurge: Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer (for dry skin) $38, Smashbox Oil and Shine Control (for oily skin) $39

Save: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser $6.99, Nyx Studio Perfect Primer $6


Personally, it has been several years since I have worn any kind of full coverage foundation. The older we get, the more fine lines and wrinkles start to pop up, and anything heavy that is applied to the skin will have a higher chance of settling in to those fine lines, making them look more prominent.

For ladies with more mature skin, I recommend a tinted moisturizer, BB cream or CC cream. The only difference between the two latter options is that CC stands for color correcting. These products help cover up issues like redness, dark marks, and sallow looking skin.

Splurge: Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer $47

Save: Maybelline Dream Fresh 8 in 1 BB Cream $8.99


Your concealer should be 1-2 shades lighter than your foundation because you want that area to appear bright, especially if you have tired mama eyes like me.

Again, this is something you are going to want to have color-matched, as the wrong shade may have the opposite effect of what you’re going for.

Splurge: Tarte Shape Tape $27

Save: Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer $7.99


Oh blush, how I adore you! We sure have come a long way from the chalky caboodle blushes that made you look like a porcelain doll or 80’s rocker. Blush comes in so many shades and textures these days that even those weary of color can find a shade suitable for them.

Blush brightens the face and breathes life into cheeks and should definitely not be skipped.

Splurge: MAC “Melba” or “Warm Soul” (this one looks the best on all skin types and tones) $30, NARS “Orgasm” $30

Save: Milani in “Luminoso” $9.49


Highlighter is one of my absolute favorite makeup products to use and apply to clients. Who doesn’t love a kiss of dewy glow to brighten your face?!

BUT, highlighter can go very wrong, very quickly, especially on more mature skin. This is one area where I suggest to splurge on a higher end product.

Highlighters are not all created equal and some can make your skin look chalky, settle into fine lines and wrinkles, and in general, make your skin look older.

The secret here, other than investing in a quality product, is to apply sparingly and only to the areas that you want to stand out.

Its purpose is to reflect light so stick to the high points of your cheekbones, your cupid’s bow (arch point of top lip), and the bridge/tip of your nose.

I like to use my blush brush for dual purposes. After applying blush, I lightly dust the brush in highlighter and lightly sweep it on to the areas I mentioned above.

Avoid placing highlighter near the eyes and forehead, as those are the places where the product is more likely to settle into wrinkles.

Splurge: MAC “Soft and Gentle” $36

Save: Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter $11.49


Bronzer can be used for a variety of reasons. To add a healthy sun kissed glow to the face or to reduce or pull back the appearance of facial features.

Whereas highlighter is used to cast light on places you want to stand out, bronzer can create a shadow effect to recede areas. For example, giving you a faux cheekbone.

Splurge: NARS “Laguna” $40

Save: Maybelline City Bronzer $8, Rimmel Natural Bronzer $5.79


Even if I am going makeup-free for the day, I almost always apply mascara. Mascara really is a personal preference but in my opinion, there are so many great drugstore mascaras that I just can’t justify spending $40+ on mascara anymore.

Also, if you have not tried a lash PRIMER, you need to head to CVS right now and pick one up. I thought they were a total scam but they make my lashes look so much fuller and it’s a step I never skip these days.

Loreal makes my holy grail primer, as well as my favorite mascara, Lash Paradise.

Makeup Tools

makeup brushes

While I own probably more than two dozen brushes, those are mostly for freelance makeup, or for the rare night I put on a full face.

For a 5-10 minute makeup routine for moms on the go, I only use 3 or 4 simple brushes, plus one of my favorite tools, my hands! My favorite go-to brushes are by Morphe, and come at a great price point.

A beauty blender is also a great tool to have on hand. It’s a small sponge that you dampen and then use to apply things like foundation, concealer, and even highlighter. Beauty blenders help distribute product evenly and keep it from building up in your wrinkles.

makeup tips for moms on the go

Putting It All Together

Listed below are ten steps, each taking less than one minute. This will help you achieve the perfect 5-10 minute makeup routine for moms on the go!

Step 1

Make sure your face is clean, dry, and moisturized, especially under your eyes. Allow 10-15 minutes for your skincare products to absorb into the skin.

Starting before your skincare has been absorbed may cause your makeup to slide around and not set. Starting too long after your skincare routine may cause your skin to appear dry or crepey.

Step 2

Apply a pea-sized amount of primer (optional) with your fingertips and allow to set for 1-2 minutes. Start in the center of your face and work outwards in circular motions.

Step 3

Apply a small amount of foundation, tinted moisturizer, or whatever you use to even out skin tone. Avoid the area under your eyes where concealer will go.

Step 4

Apply your concealer in a triangular “v” shape under your eyes, extending the distance of about half way down your nose. I like to take the applicator and place a small amount on my fingertips.

Yes, the secret is to apply your concealer AFTER your foundation and use the rule of LESS is more!

We all watch YouTubers apply half a tube of concealer like wrinkles don’t exist in their world. That’s because they’re all like 20 years old so that is most likely true for them.

I use my ring finger to tap the product and blend it in gently, but a damp beauty blender works well too, especially if your concealer tends to settle easily.

Here, you want to make sure you “set” the creams you have applied to your face, especially if you are using something that is more on the sheer side. For under your eyes, I recommend a translucent powder and a mineral-based powder for the rest of your face.

If you don’t want to use powders, make sure, at the very least, that you set the concealer under your eyes. This prevents your mascara and eyeliner from transferring and decreases the chance of product settling into the fine lines around your eyes.

Step 5

Apply bronzer around your hairline, and under your cheekbones with a large fluffy brush to add warmth to the face.

Step 6

Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks, working in circular motions, upwards towards your hairline.

Step 7

Lightly apply highlighter to the tops of your cheekbones, your cupid’s bow, and the bridge/tip of your nose.

Step 8

Run a tinted eyebrow gel through your brows. A good brow can change the entire look of your face!

Step 9

Curl your lashes and apply primer, then a quick coat of mascara.

Step 10

Spray your face with a makeup setting spray. This is the final step and makes a huge difference in the longevity of your makeup! My absolute holy grail is the Urban Decay ALL Nighter Setting Spray. It is seriously a game-changer.

make up tips for moms

Helpful tips:

  • Preventing your makeup from oxidizing: this occurs when your skin’s natural oils and acidity react to the pigment and formula of your makeup. I notice that the wrong combo of primer and foundation causes my makeup to oxidize. For example, if I use a matte primer with a hydrating foundation. Try mixing and matching different primers. Setting your foundation with powder may also help. Also, make sure you EXFOLIATE your face frequently, especially the nose and forehead.
  • Flashback: Have you ever taken a photo and noticed that your under eye area turns bright white? Avoid this by using concealers without SPF, avoid over-application, blend well, and use a flesh-colored setting powder if translucent powder doesn’t work for you.
  • Cool vs. warm: I could write a whole blog post on color theory! Basically, most women are either cool toned, warm-toned, or neutral. Knowing which tone you are will help guide you to the right makeup shades that look best on your skin (knowing your tone can also tell you which clothing colors you will look best in).

A simple rule of thumb: cool tones should use more peachy-pink blush and rose-gold bronzers while warm tones should use golden-brown or copper tones blushes and bronzers.

  • Don’t be afraid to get color matched!!! Makeup artists at places like Sephora or Lancome are trained to determine your undertones and which shades are right for you, so use them!!

Make It Fun

The best tip for makeup that I can offer you is that makeup should be fun! Don’t be too hard on yourself as there is definitely a HUGE learning curve. Just know that you will get better the more you practice.

Each of you moms out there is truly beautiful and makeup should just be a little something extra that adds to your beauty, not take away from it.

Megan Rix Northern Nevada Moms
Megan Rix

Megan Rix is a former at-risk high school English teacher turned stay at home mama, lifestyle blogger, and entrepreneur. After leaving the classroom to focus on being a mama, she needed a place to document the life of her very strong-willed child and what she realized along the way were all the things in her life that “anchored” her. A love for food, beauty, family, and giving back to others helped shape the blog as it looks today.