Vegan Makeup: 10 Best Makeup Tips for Work

December 19, 2014

Vegan Commuter Beauty Tips

If you are one of the many women commuting to and from work via public transportation (I am, seven days a week!), then you know that getting ready for the day can become a serious struggle.  Your usual leisurely beauty routine suddenly becomes a mad dash to leave the house on time, as you attempt to be presentable enough for a professional work environment (even though you generally feel like you should have never left your bed).  How on earth will you ever manage to put on lip gloss when you don’t even have enough time to make a cup of coffee?!

The key to a successful and efficient beauty routine that will be sure to make you glow even on your gloomiest of Mondays is learning how to utilize key cosmetic products, as well as execute simple, chic hairstyles.  Follow my best product suggestions (all vegan and cruelty-free, natch) and makeup tips for work!


Tip #1: Only the Essentials 

The first step to creating a fast, yet flawless beauty routine is to eliminate any unnecessary products and/or steps from your existing routine.  I love my make-up, and I LOVE to try a lot of different products all of the time.  However, when all that you have is 15 minutes (on a good day) to apply your make-up, you should probably skip the glitter eyeliner.  Focus instead on applying those products that create a refreshed, lively look and then adding in a statement product or two when you have the time to do so.

Beauty Tutorial: 15 Minute Makeup Look for Work

Following a basic make-up routine will give you a healthy glow in just a matter of minutes!

Tip #2: Double-Duty Beauty

In today’s beauty world, there are about a million products that we are all supposed to be using every day to create our perfect faces.  For those of us who do not necessarily have time on our side, creating a flawless face can thus seem like a daunting, impossible task.  Thanks to innovative beauty entrepreneurs and make-up artists across the globe, achieving your ultimate beauty look has never been easier!

With a plethora of BB and CC creams now available on the market (Pacifica’s CC Cream is one of my favorites!), a glowing complexion can be yours within minutes.  Choosing a face primer or BB/CC cream that is “luminous,” such as Pacifica’s Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream, can help eliminate your need for applying a highlight to your face as the products are formulated with light-reflecting components already.   Concealer can be used as eye shadow primer, and cream blushes/eye shadows can be used on cheeks, eyes, and lips (Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics makes a multitude of multi-use creme colour concentrates!).  Choosing a multi-use product will not only cut down on your make-up application time, but it will also save you space in your travel make-up bag.  Use a tinted lip balm or a moisturizing lipstick to eliminate the need to apply multiple lip products to achieve your perfect pout!

Swapping just one group of products for one multi-tasking powerhouse is bound to save you a few precious minutes every morning!

Beauty Tutorial: 15 Minute Makeup Look for Work

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Creme Colour Concentrate in Grandma, worn on both the cheeks and the lips.

Tip #3: Hello, Highlights!

 The key to looking awake is simple: add highlights!  Highlighting the inner corners of your eyes and underneath the arches of your eyebrows does wonders for tired, sleepy eyes; it is an excellent way to draw the focus away from any under eye circles and up towards your bright, cheery eyes!  Sweeping a powder highlight underneath your eyes and up across your cheekbones towards your temples will brighten up your entire face as well (Try Etherealle’s Matte Highlight Powder in Stark!).  Adding a small highlight to your cupid’s bow above your lip, down the bridge of your nose, and across your forehead will also add to your luminous complexion!  If you only have time to apply one product in the morning, I highly suggest choosing a luminous under eye concealer.  Not only will you be able to hide your dark circles, but you will also draw attention to your eyes and brighten up your entire complexion!

Tip #4: Make a Statement

Bold lips or vivid eyes?  Choose one to focus on, and keep the rest of your make-up natural.  There is nothing worse than being halfway through your first cat eye and realizing you have about 30 seconds to leave your house–no amount of perfectly applied lipstick can save you there.  Pulling the central focus to either your lips or your eyes not only saves you time, but it also allows you to make a bold, stylish statement!  How could someone not notice your perfectly pink lips or stellar cat eye when you’ve created such a great canvas for them?!

For a bold eyeliner look, try LUSH’s liquid eyeliners! They come in a plethora of fun colors and come equipped with a tiny brush that is perfect for creating a killer cat eye eyeliner look!

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Creme Colour Concentrate in Grandma, worn on both the cheeks and the lips.

Potions Cosmetics “Tonic” and Addictive Cosmetics Clear Lip Liner

Try Insomnia Cosmetics, Potions Cosmetics & Aromi for phenomenal lipsticks in a plethora of bold colors!

Tip #5: Champagne Eye Shadow 

My favorite go-to for a quick and effortless natural eye make-up look is champagne eye shadow.  It has just enough color to brighten up dull, tired eyes while still remaining natural.  Pair either a light or dark champagne eye shadow (choose whichever tone looks best on you!) on your eyelids with a creamy highlight underneath your eyebrows and voila!  You have now had eight hours of sleep in just a couple of minutes.

My favorite champagne shades are Pacifica’s Skinny Dip (from the Enlighten Eye Brightening Palette) and Be Conscious Cosmetics Champagne Mineral Eye Shadow.

Tip #6: Curl Those Lashes!

Another quick and simple way to wake up tired eyes is to curl your eyelashes.  By curling your lashes, you are framing your eyes and calling attention to them rather than the dark circles that often creep below them.  For best results, curl the bottom, middle, and ends of your lashes in 15 second chunks (15 seconds for the bottom etc. etc.) and then apply your favorite mascara (I recommend Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara!).  If you are in a serious time crunch, skip the mascara and just focus on curling your lashes–the curled ends will still flatter your eyes, even without the added drama and definition of mascara.

Tip #7: Rosy Cheeks

Applying blush to the apples of your cheeks gives your face a warm healthy glow!  Softly flushed cheeks wake up a pale, dull complexion and allow you to shine on a day when you might be feeling less than spectacular.  All you have to do is smile, swipe on your blush, and then you are ready to face the day in under a minute!

My favorite rosy cheek blush shade is Etherealle’s Romance.

Tip #8: Save Your Lips for Last

Not only will applying your lipstick/stain/gloss last in your beauty routine prolong its wear, but it will also help you save a few minutes during your morning beauty routine!  Lip products are totally portable and easily applied on the go.  All you need is a compact, a steady hand, and your favorite lipstick to take your look from zero to sixty!  Lipstick is also an easy way to make a statement with your make-up, and wearing it gives off a stylish, pulled together air.  Applying your lip products during your commute is the perfect solution for those days were you might have hit snooze just a few too many times.

Tip #9: “Dirty” Hair Is Okay

I am most definitely guilty of over-washing my hair, just like many other women out there in the world.  What I have discovered, however, is that slightly dirty hair styles better than perfectly clean hair does.  Clean hair is often to silky and slippery to properly hold bobby pins and other styling elements.  Only washing your hair every other day or every couple of days will allow you to experiment with all of the different hairstyles you have been meaning to try, while also saving you copious amounts of time in the morning or at night before you go to bed.  The extra ten minutes of sleep you gain really can make a difference some days.  Learn to love your messy tresses and know that you will soon have an arsenal of fabulous hairstyles at your fingertips!

Braids, ponytails, and buns are the simplest, chicest ways to style your hair in a matter of minutes.  These are a few of my favorite go-to hairstyles for “dirty” hair days:

Fishtail Braid:

Beauty Tutorial: 15 Minute Makeup Look for Work

A simple two-strand braid that provides you with a unique twist on the classic french braid

Braided Bun:

Braided Bun

Braided Bun

Simply french braid a section of your hair on each side of your part, create a low side bun, and wrap and pin the braids around the bun.

Dutch Braided Ponytail:

Dutch Braided Ponytail

Dutch Braided Ponytail

A dutch braid is a french braid where you braid the strands of hair underneath each other, rather than over one another.  Create a dutch braid on each side of your part and simply pull your hair back into a ponytail to complete the look!

The best part about all of these hairstyles?  They are totally doable on the train, subway, or bus!

Dry shampoo can also help cut down the number of days you have to wash your hair each week.  Try LUSH’s No Drought dry shampoo in-between washes!

Tip #10: Portable Hair Salon

Now that you have built up your arsenal of chic hairstyles, you will need to make sure you actually have the means to accomplish them on the go!  This is where a “portable hair salon” comes to your rescue.  We have all had those moments of endlessly digging in your bag for that one hair tie and handful of bobby pins that you swore you threw in on your way out the door; it is time to put an end to this madness!

Keep several hair ties in varying colors and bobby pins in a small tin or plastic container in your bag at all times.  I use a tin from an old lip balm gift set to house what I deem as my “portable hair salon.”  You can use any type of decorative tin or small container (a lot of your holiday gift cards could be coming in these!) to organize your hair accessories and make your morning a little less hectic.

Above all, learn to embrace your natural beauty and accept that some days, that extra thirty minutes of sleep is much more important to your well-being than having perfectly applied make-up and well-coiffed hair.  You are beautiful with or without make-up or curled hair, and your confidence will shine through all of the work that you accomplish.  

Happy commuting!

Also by Becky: Retro Bombshell Hair and Makeup Tutorial

Related: Everyday Contouring Tutorial

5-Minute Brightening Makeup Tutorial


Photo: Becky Curl

Becky Curl is a freelance wig and make-up artisan based in Chicago and a recent graduate of The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in St. Louis. When she’s not working in the theatre, Becky enjoys exploring new vegan and eco-friendly beauty products and watching copious amounts of Saturday Night Live. Check out her portfolio here and follow her on Instagram @becky_curl and Pinterest @beckycurl!


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