Out the door in 4 minutes or less
Step 1: Concealer
TIME: a minute or less
You want: to look bright-eyed. Hide dark circles around the eye area with an apricot-tinted color, or if you have darker skin, one that's one shade lighter than your skin tone. If you're also tackling blemishes, try one with a greenish tinge (it'll cancel out redness) that's oil-free and contains acne-fighting salicylic acid.
How to: Dot under eyes with the pad of your ring finger. For blemishes, use a brush: Oils from your hands will only make the problem worse.
Try: CoverGirl TruConceal ($7) We love that it disappears into skin without caking. For battling blemishes, Benefit Galactic Shield! ($20; Benefit Cosmetics) comes in a stick, so you don't need to use fingers or a brush to blend.
Step 2: Tinted moisturizer
TIME: 90 seconds or less
You want: people to notice your great skin, not your makeup. Tinted moisturizer supplies a sheer veil of color that helps hide imperfections and even out skin tone, but it's also a true multitasker, especially when it contains SPF.
How to: On clean skin (and with clean hands), dot it along your forehead, down the nose and chin, and across each cheek. Using your middle and index fingers, blend it from the middle of your face outward. Pay attention to areas where you used concealer-if the shade was lighter than your skin, dab on a little extra tinted moisturizer to even it out.
Try: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer ($42; Sephora) It's oil-free, contains SPF 20, and blends seamlessly into skin. Yes, it's pricier than some, but it delivers smooth, even coverage that you don't get from all tinted moisturizers, and this is key when you're in a hurry.
Step 3: Mascara
TIME: 45 seconds or less
You want: your eyes to look great and stand out. Because mascara lengthens lashes, it creates an eye-opening effect that can help you look wide-awake (even when you're not).
How to: Start at the base of your lashes, wiggling the wand as you work upward. Repeat. Skip your bottom lashes-mascara will only emphasize shadows, and it's more likely to smudge there. Have an extra minute? Before applying, clamp a lash curler at the roots of your lashes and hold for ten seconds. Repeat on the middle of lashes and again near the tips.
Try: Rimmel London Lash Maxxx ($7.25) Its super-fine plastic-bristled brush is designed to separate and maximize lashes.
Step 4: Blush
TIME: 30 seconds or less
You want: to brighten your face with a natural-looking flush (which also makes eyes look brighter). Choose a shade that mimics the color of your skin when you blush naturally. Or, if you have darker skin, go with a shade that matches the inside of your lips.
How to: Your best bet for color that lasts is a cream formula. A dab blended with fingers in a circular motion from the apples of your cheeks outward will always look realistic.
Try: Maybelline New York Dream Mousse Blush in Rose Petal ($7.50) The whipped formula feels light on skin and blends evenly.
Step 5: Lip Gloss
TIME: 15 seconds or less
You want: soft, moisturized lips with a hint of color that you don't have to apply carefully. Tinted gloss does the job; get one with moisturizers built in and you also prevent chapped lips.
How to: If you have fair skin, choose a gloss with light pink or peach undertones. For medium to dark skin tones, go for roses, mauves, and deep plums.
Try: Burt's Bees Super Shiny Lip Gloss ($7) We love that it's 100 percent natural, so your kid could eat it (though we don't advise that!). It's also enriched with citrus oils --yum! --and comes in four flattering shades.