By Olivia Foster – Columbus, GA

In the age of contouring, perfect curls, eyelash extensions and the “smokey eye,” it is easy to feel lost in a sea of flawless makeup and hair. Welcome to my world.

I work in a high-end salon and spa. Before this job, I didn’t even know that a contour palette existed. And don’t get me started on curling my hair- I mean how do you even use a curling iron? Every time I attempted to curl my hair, I ended up with more burns on my hands than curls in my hair.

Air drying has always been my go-to hairstyle and my makeup routine consists of eyeliner, mascara and some concealer.

As they say in GA: "The bigger the hair, the closer you are to god."
The perks of working at a salon – Olivia always has someone willing to play with her hair.

So, what does a girl who spends less than 20 minutes getting ready do when her job requires her to look like she spent two hours?

If you want to get ready fast, while still looking put-together, here are my tried and true secrets:

Play it Safe – If you don’t know how to contour, don’t attempt it for the first time right before work. You will probably end up looking like you applied war paint to your face. Stick with what you know, don’t try to fix something that is not broken, and use what you love.

Find an Under-Eye Concealer – We all have those dark circles under our eyes that come from late nights marathoning Netflix or reading a favorite book. A good undereye concealer can be your best friend. It lightens and brightens the face. Find a brand that works for you. My favorite is Lancome Waterproof Under-Eye Concealer. I’ve been using it for years and it lasts all day.

Skip the Smokey Eye  This is a super sexy look, but if you don’t do it right, you could end up looking like you have a black eye. Save it for those nights when you actually have two hours to get ready, and instead shoot for a more natural look. I absolutely LOVE eyeshadow sticks. If you don’t own one, buy one NOW (My favorite is Mally evercolor shadow stick). You use them like eyeliner, but they look like eyeshadow and are super easy to apply! If you are feeling particularly fancy in the morning, add some neutral eye shadow with the eyeshadow stick. (I use BareMinerals shimmery loose powder eyeshadows because they brighten the eye and are simple to use).

It's called clown contouring - and yes it's a real thing. > Click to check out the video
It’s called clown contouring – and yes it’s a real thing. > Click to check out the video

Invest in a Quality Mascara and Use that Eyelash Curler – There is some makeup you can buy at Target and it will work great. However, picking mascara is not a time to be budget conscious. If you want luscious lashes without using “falsies,” (which I NEVER recommend), here are several options (all under $25!) our makeup artist suggested for me: BareMinerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara, Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara and Lorac PRO Mascara. ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS use your eyelash curler before applying your mascara. The difference between curled eyelashes and uncurled lashes is unreal. Take the extra 30 seconds and do it!

Find YOUR blush – Find a shade that works for your skin tone and stick to it. Smile when applying and use a blush brush to apply to your cheeks and around your temple. Don’t over do it or you will run the risk of looking like a clown. Subtle is best.
KISS (keep it simple, stupid) when it comes to lips. Makeup for lips is a good time to go cheap. Whatever the brand, you will most likely have to reapply at least once during the day. I’m currently on a balm stains kick right now- They look like lipstick but feel like chapstick. No lip liner necessary. Easy and simple for the win.

Hair by Clara Dickerson

Buy a Curling Wand – Curling irons are near impossible to use, so don’t bother trying. Curling wands are the curling irons’ cuter, more friendly sister. And they are the bomb. All you have to do is wrap the hair around the wand and hold for 10 seconds and VIOLA, perfect curl. I have long hair down my back and can curl it in less than 10 minutes using this easy trick: Put your hair in a ponytail as high on top of your head as possible. Split the ponytail in half so you have hair on either side of your head (You will look ridiculous, but trust the process). Take two finger wide sections of hair at a time and curl, continuing until you have curled the whole ponytail. When finished, spray the ponytail with hairspray and then take it down. You will have a head full of perfect curls.