I used to hear this protest every time I did a makeup lesson. But half the time we spend on our “face” is spent hunting for the brush or the cosmetic we want to use. That’s because for a lot of women, the makeup bag is the preferred cosmetic storage unit. The only good thing about a makeup bag is that it is portable. There’s nothing else remotely good about them.
“Mise en place” is a French term that refers to the way that cooks set up their ingredients and equipment at their station in order to work more quickly and efficiently. To do your makeup quickly and efficiently, you need to have “mise en face.”
One of the easiest ways to do this, if you’re a cosmetic bag lady, is to lay out (er, dump out) the contents of said black hole onto a washcloth on your counter. The washcloth provides a soft landing, keeps things from rolling around, and enables you to dump it all back again in one easy move.
And there it is…all your stuff, in one place, and every bit visible. No more rifling.
Another great “mise en face” trick is to set up a custom palette with the colors you use most. At Preston Wynne, we have magnetic, refillable makeup palettes in various sizes but I use the biggest one, which is only about 4 x 6 inches and skinny as a smartphone. My Jane Iredale powder foundation, 9 pans of shadow–base, contour, accents–and my blush, are in one place. I am not unscrewing lids or opening teeny compacts with morning-impaired motor skills. One lid opens and it’s all there. The mirror is big and useful.
I also like to keep tall, skinny items like brushes and pencils in a small but heavy jar (a chunky votive candle holder works great because smaller pencils don’t disappear.) Brushes get mashed and trashed in a makeup bag. Neatniks, a brush jar can go into a cabinet. Bohemians, it can sit on the counter as testimony to your artistic flair.
That same precious five minutes in the morning can now be spent on makeup application–not makeup-searching. You’ll be amazed how great you can look in 300 seconds.