The 9am Game Face


Fact: no one likes a 9am. Okay so, it’s great because it makes you get up and start your day earlier, but the reality is that you’ll probably find a way to take a nap at some point later on. For those of us who enjoy messing around with war paint and looking sharp, 9ams are just another obstacle we have to deal with in order to look as good as we do on a glamorous night out. Some people are fine with sleeping as late as possible, before whipping their hair into a form of art i.e. the messy bun, and skipping along to their lecture with a beautiful clean, makeup free face. This is of course the simplest way to look fresh-faced before 9am. However, as much as I wish I was, I am not one of those people. You don’t have to commit to setting aside a crazy amount of time to look great in the morning! There are shortcuts: I’ve nailed a few cheeky tips which definitely help pull together (almost) effortless beauty at an ungodly hour.

Face Race

The first step to looking fresh and awake is committing to a lot of cold water splashing on your face during your pre-makeup cleansing routine. It’s a pretty basic tip, but it never fails to properly wake you up, give your skin a bit of life (wherever you may or may not have been the night before), and banish the familiar ‘morning vampire’ look. Coverage wise, I find that I rarely have time to be messing around with foundation that needs intense blending with brushes, sponges, and most of my fingers. A much easier way to build good coverage (or go for a lighter look if you don’t fancy anything heavy on your skin so early on in the morning) is to use a mineral powder foundation. I like to use my normal concealer to cover up any redness or dark circles first, before brushing on a foundation like the bareMinerals range. These are buildable matte foundation powders also containing SPF 15 – a perfect mix of coverage and shine-disguise! Way easier than layering primer, concealer, foundation, and then powder. bareMinerals also sell fantastic face brushes, which come in different shapes and sizes which makes it easy to find one which lets you sweep on your flawless face in under five minutes.

A bit of blusher or bronzer is the easiest way to make you look like your face has enough energy for that 9am. Urban Decay and Too Faced both do palettes which contain one block of shadow, with side-by-side blusher, bronzer and highlighter. In the morning, this means you can take a brush, do a strategic few sweeps across your one palette, and apply to your face. This saves a lot of time instead of having to find two or three separate boxes of colour and the matching brushes! One-stop-shop to looking all sweet and rosy when you’re a zombie inside.

Looking Wide Awake

For me, the best eye hack for mornings is not to bother with a load of blending of half a Naked palette let’s say, but to buy a decent eyeshadow pencil instead. Yep, a pencil. They look like a chunky eyeliner crayon, and can double up as a liner or a shadow. Drawing along your top and bottom lash line and then smudging these out makes for a really fast smoked out eye look, that looks a lot more complex than it was! Black can be heavy for a tired face so opt for subtle metallic colours as they will make your eyes shimmer with a bit more energy!

Tarte do a fantastic ‘Amazonian Clay waterproof eyeliner’, which I love because it comes with a handy smudge brush on the end. I smudge a thick line right around my eyes, which makes it look like I’ve lined them and as if I’ve gone to the trouble of blending shadow around them (which I certainly never have time for). Collection do a really affordable imitation, as do a lot of other high street brands. Buy one of these cheeky smudge weapons!

Once you’ve flicked on some dark mascara, your eyes are sorted.

Lip Tips

Unless you’re an amazing human being or a jellyfish, it’s pretty likely you’ll be spending your 9am sipping either a hot caffeinated beverage, or water to compensate for the poison you drank last night. It’s probably not worth taking a load of time lining, blotting, and layering on a big lip look for that.

For a super-fast and hydrating lip look, tinted lip balms are the easiest way forward. You don’t even have to concentrate when putting them on, which is a definite bonus in the morning. Vaseline Lip Therapy tins are always a good shout, as you can keep on in your bag and apply on route if you’re really pushed for time! I also love Burt’s Bees Lip Balms, or the little tinted lip balm pots from the Body Shop. Revlon Lip Butters (they do some fantastic colours in matte or shimmer) are really pigmented if you want a bit more colour. They look like a big crayon – take a swipe and go!

Fast Glam

If you’re up, you’re energetic, and you want to look like you’ve got your life together at 9am, then my favourite way to intimidate the sleepy opposition is to slick on my ‘fast glam’ look. This is simple but clean, and just the right amount of bold for the morning. I sort out my skin with concealer, mineral foundation and a tiny bit of bronzer to define the structure of my face.  I prefer to leave my eyes clean of shadow and liner, instead I use a good eyelash curler, before whacking on a strong black mascara. Then, I balance my look with an intense lip colour. Liquid lipsticks are a really fast way to achieve a bright look – NYX at Boots have some fantastic colours (I love Snow White). Lightly pencilling in your eyebrows frames your face with this look, and then you’re pretty much good-to-go. A good lash and a good lip are the quickest way to the 9am slay. Dare you.

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