How to organize your makeup bag

Best Health beauty editor Rhonda Rovan shares her tips for organizing your makeup bag’and downsizing your daily routine

How to organize your makeup bag

Source: Best Health Magazine, October 2009

Why everyone needs a makeup lesson

‘Do you find that your eye makeup disappears by the afternoon?’ Susan Kirsch, a makeup artist, asked me as I put myself in her hands for a lesson. ‘Yes!’ (I hadn’t really thought about it until then.) So Kirsch introduced me to the secret of stay-put eye makeup: an eyelid primer that resembles cream foundation’you apply it all over the lids with your fingers before the rest of your eye makeup’then ‘cake’ eyeliner. (I’ll explain that later.)

In my work in magazines over the years, I’ve been on set at many fashion and beauty photo shoots where I’ve gleaned insider tips, and have had my makeup professionally done for my own photos. I am surrounded by products at work’companies send beauty editors new products in case we want to feature or review them. But, despite all this exposure, I decided it was time to get a real lesson for myself.

There were a couple of reasons. I had a special occasion coming up and wanted to be armed with a foolproof makeup plan. Also, I knew my morning routine needed to be streamlined: I was taking precious moments deciding between nuances like matte apricot eyeshadow and shimmery taupe’but to what end, I wasn’t sure. I don’t like clutter, and am somewhat disciplined about it, but even so, my makeup drawer was starting to become a jumble due to work samples (and my magnetic attraction to a couple of slick makeup counters).

I’m also the mother of two boys, 12 and nearly 14. As many of you know, it takes a steady hand and a steel-trap mind to stay the course and get ready each morning without being riled by the flying cornflakes and ‘Get out, butthead!’ banter.

So I booked an hour with Kirsch for a step-by-step application at Kirsch Cosmetic Studio, a bright boutique in an un­assuming strip mall in midtown Toronto.

Get a new makeup routine

I’m hardly a novice with makeup, but her advice as to where a contouring eyeshadow should land, for example, improved and updated me. This was a reminder that our faces change, and women can get in a rut. And it was great to get a fresh perspective.

Kirsch did one eye, and then had me do the other as she watched. ‘Do this full routine every single morning for the next two weeks, whether or not you’re going out, and by the end of the two weeks, you’ll be able to do it in 10 minutes,’ she promised. She was right, and soon I could do the regimen in much less than 10.

What took the most practice was the ‘cake’ eyeliner: You apply this with a dampened, very thin eyeliner brush. But after a few days’ practice, it was easy to draw it on close to my upper lashes.

A reorganized makeup bag

The one-hour session cost me $75, and I bought a kit of makeup, too. It may sound expensive, but it was one of the best time-saving investments I’ve made lately. Getting ready for work is now so much quicker. My streamlined palette includes the primer, three shadows (one for night), the cake liner (in charcoal) and a blush. I’ve sent my other makeup packing, although it has started drifting back. But that’s okay; what woman can live by one lipstick alone?

I found it interesting that makeup artist David Goveia, who provided Best Health with a five-minute routine that can work for anyone, echoed the reality that on most days, women want efficiency and speed in their makeup routine. I buy that.

This article was originally titled "Cut the Clutter," in the October 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.