Experimenting with makeup and playing with colors, products, and techniques can be fun, but when it’s time for work, you need the products that get down to business. Choose the ones that’ll stand up to the grueling workdays, heat, lunch-hour workouts, stressful meetings, and even the one (or three) cups of coffee you sip on throughout the morning. Here are some everyday makeup products that can take you through the workday, happy hour, gym time, and whatever else you have to do.
Blotting Papers: Skip the powder! Once you’ve set your foundation with powder for the day, adding more can lead to a cakey, pore-clogging mess. Simply take the excess oil away with blotting papers. Try Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets.
Zippered Pouch: You’ll need something cute to keep everything together, and a zippered closure makes it that much less likely that a rogue lipstick or shadow will get free, open, and smash itself against the contents of your purse. Choose a color, pattern, or style that makes you happy, but also look for an interior that’s easy to clean. A built-in mirror is a nice option, though you can always throw a small one in.
Vaseline: Use it (the tiniest amount!) as a highlighter on your cheekbones, brow bones, or at the cupid’s bow. You can also apply it to dry lips in a pinch, or use it to soften cuticles.
Lipstick That Lasts All Day: Okay, so there probably aren’t many lipsticks that will last from morning until night without at least a little touching up, but that’s no reason to settle for one that will completely disappear with the first sip of coffee. Try Kat von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita for a work-friendly neutral that lasts for hours. Another option is the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Lipcolor.
Concealer: Make life a little easier by grabbing a concealer you can use anywhere on your face, one that matches your skin tone and is creamy but not thick. Try the Maybelline Fit Me line or the NARS Cosmetics Radiant Creamy Concealer . Both lines offer such a wide range of shades, finding your perfect match shouldn’t feel as impossible as it may have in the past.
Dry Shampoo: Do you ever work out on your lunch break or before work? Do you go from work to the gym, then out with friends or a significant other? Spray some dry shampoo at your roots, wait a minute, massage it in, then shake and/or brush it out. Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo offers a fresh, clean scent, while the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black and Nirvana White versions smell like the matching perfumes.
Bobby Pins: Keep bobby pins on hand so you can pin uncooperative sections of hair back up or toss your hair in a bun when you just need to focus.
Makeup Remover Wipes: If you exercise after work, the idea of sweating with a face full of makeup may not be your cup of tea. Keep makeup remover wipes on hand to quickly and effortlessly remove the day’s makeup and start your workout feeling refreshed and clean. Try Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming or Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Wipes. If you’re going to run or participate in a fitness class outside, don’t forget to follow up with a facial sunscreen.
Travel Size Brushes: These fit more easily into a makeup bag. Try Sonia Kashuk’s selection at Target. A whole set will only cost about $20.00.
A Happy Hour Lipstick: This one’s totally optional. If you enjoy happy hour and want to freshen up your look without a ton of effort, a brighter, glossier lipstick than the one you wore all day may do the trick, and the options are wide open.
Shadow Palette: Look for a shadow palette that has a range of light and dark shades (and maybe a pop of color if that’s something you enjoy) so you can add depth to your eye makeup before going from work to a social outing. The lighter shades are also good for touching up throughout the day if you need to. Palettes that close firmly and have a hard outer shell are best for on-the-go ladies because they’re unlikely to pop open and allow the shadows to shatter. Try the Smashbox Full Exposure Travel Palette.
With just a small kit, you can be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. Not every woman will need every item on the list, of course, so you may be able to get away with an even smaller kit.