There's good news for those with no time for a fussy face: Cosmetics can now do three jobs at once. (And you thought your job was demanding!) Multi-tasking coverage sticks, for example, act as foundation, concealer and powder in one tube for seamless blendability and ease. And all-in-one color can be used as a lipstick, blush and eye shadow.
"With this makeup, you don't need to think about how to create a harmonious look with three different colors," says Los Angeles makeup artist Jeanine Lobell. "You can get an entire look from one product." Another big plus: Many triple-action products can be applied sans brushes, applicators and sponges so there's less to fuss with. All you need is your fingers.
Instead of foundation, concealer or powder, try the new foundation sticks, which are lightweight and hydrating so they go on smooth. "It's a flawless finish that's hard to get anywhere else," says New York-based makeup artist BJ Gillian, who uses three-in-one sticks on supermodel Niki Taylor and pop singer Brandy.
How to apply Swipe outward toward the corners of your eyes, and tap with your ring finger until blended. Now dot the stick on your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin, and blend with your fingers. You can also use these products as an eye-shadow base (to help the shadow stay on longer).
Expert tips If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for the words "oil free" or "noncomedogenic" on the label. Also, if you have acne scars, pigmentation spots or dark circles under your eyes, experts advise applying a separate concealer, too. But no matter which product you pick, choose the color that's closest to your skin tone, says New York City makeup artist Brigitte Reiss-Andersen. "The lighter your skin," she says, "the lighter the color."
Pro picks Noncomedogenic: Olay All Day Moisture Stick Foundation ($11.25; www.olay.com); oil-free: Cover Girl Clean Make-Up Sheer Stick ($7; 888-COVERGIRL); oil-containing: Avon Hydra Finish Stick Foundation ($9; 800-FOR-AVON).
Instead of a separate blush, lipstick and eye shadow, try allover color. You can use the same product on your cheeks, lips and eyes. "The traditional waxy lip formulas have been replaced by more user-friendly ones," explains Gillian. "The result is that you get the effect of allover color without the feeling of putting lipstick all over your face."
How to apply Using your fingertips or the allover stick, blend across the top of the lid from the outside in, or sweep close to the lash line for definition. Now make two X's with the color on your cheeks (one on each cheekbone) and blend outward and upward with your fingertips along the cheekbone. For lips, just smudge on the color. "Because these tend to be pretty sheer products, you almost can't ever put too much on," says makeup artist Bobbi Brown. "The effect is totally natural looking."
Expert tips Reapply often. For a more polished, sophisticated look, you'll need an additional individual lipstick and eye shadow, says Brown, to pump up the color or coverage.
Pro picks Bobbi Brown ColorOptions Gelstick in Rare Earth ($25; www.bobbibrown.com), Chanel Triple Colour Crayon ($30; 800-550-0005), Almay One Coat 3-in-1 Color Stick in Violet ($8.75; 800-473-8566) and Agnès B. Cream Color for Lips, Eyes and Cheeks in Frosted Cinnamon ($12.50; 800-758-1337).
You may not need to buy a separate three-in-one product to streamline your schedule. Some of the makeup you already have can do the job.
Highlighters Traditionally used only on eyelids, these luminous sticks, creams and powders, like Stila All Over Shimmer ($28; 800-883-0400) and L'Oréal Translucide ($9.25; 800-322-2036), shown at right, can add glimmer anywhere, says New York City makeup artist Meg Flather. Use them on cheekbones, lips or on any exposed parts, like your shoulders and neck.
Eye Pencils Besides their obvious purposes, eye pencils (in the right color) can also fill in brows for a thicker look and, in a pinch, work a third shift on the mouth. "These pencils in soft browns or mauves are perfect for lips because they were designed for tender eye skin, so they're very soft," Flather says. "The general rule is that anything that's tested for eyes is safe for lips." Try Olay City Shadow Liner ($9; www.olay.com) or Clinique Quick Eyes ($14.50; www.clinique.com).
Eye Shadows Ordinary shadow can be applied dry for a soft look or wet for intensified color (dip a clean, wet lipstick brush into shadow, then swipe it across the lids.) Prefer a smudged eye line to a pencil-drawn one? Enlist your favorite eye shadow in brown, black or slate to line instead of an eyeliner. Experiment with Estée Lauder Two-In-One Eyeshadow Wet/Dry Formula Quads ($35; www.esteelauder.com).