Picture this: You're sitting at your desk on an idle Thursday. The clock strikes 6 p.m., and suddenly your phone blows up with messages that Milo Ventimiglia is outside your office. You catch a glimpse of your face in your computer's reflection and grimace. I wish I knew easy makeup looks that require zero tools and instantly boost my swag factor, you fantasize. Well, looks like your dream is about to become your all-new reality.
To make it happen, I challenged makeup artist Elena Miglino to put together the antithesis of Instagram makeup, otherwise known as makeup that requires no brushes, tools, or long-winded tutorials, and utilizes three products tops. If you're wondering how TF you'll get the makeup on your face, fret not. You'll use your hands, of course.
I know, I know, I know, but sometimes, busy women just can't muster the time, space, or energy for tools. And did you know you're supposed to wash your makeup brushes at least once a week? Talk about a buzz kill. Good thing Miglino transforms Orange Is The New Black actress Jackie Cruz from her character Flaca into a fierce red carpet vision without 'em.
Here, she teaches three young women how to take their looks from *weren't* to *turnt* in minutes, so I can pass the pointers onto you. And as for Milo Ventimiglia? Consider him handled.
Get ready to fingerpaint your face to stunning effect — faster than you ever thought possible.
Gabby Prescod, Bustle's senior fashion market editor, wanted to play up her gorgeous skin and lashes with playful pops of color. Many steer clear of bright colors when they're short on time, but Miglino completely crushed that school of thought. "If you're pressed for time and want the maximum bang for your buck, color yourself glam and don't look back," she says.
Miglino's first move was to highlight Prescod's skin all over with Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter in Champagne. When applying highlighter with your fingers, hold your pointer and middle fingers together as one, and tap over cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, over eyelids, and in the center of your forehead directly above each brow.
Next, Miglino suggested Prescod try a colorful temporary tattoo: "Treat it like highlighter, and apply somewhere you want emphasize, like the broadest part of your cheekbone." Prescod was surprisingly game to get inked, and after one look at the dainty tats inside the Inked By Dani Temporary Tattoo Fun Pack, she had to have a pair...
Talk about a glow-up. In three actual seconds, Prescod's entire mood took a turn for the fun and fancy-free.
However, highlighter and face fruit may not be everyone's forte, so I picked Miglino's brain again. Prescod didn't believe someone could apply colorful liner without a brush, but as we both soon learned, it's all about your pinky and your brain.
"Take your pinky finger, and instead of liner, press it into a vibrant eyeshadow." says Miglino. "Be smart and strategize your application. It's much easier to apply on the lower lashline than the top, and you want to slowly press from the inner corner outwards."
Feel free to swap for any shade you please, like hot pink à la Selena Gomez or Olivia Munn's electric blue. With a striking color on your lower lash line, the rest of your face can go bare and you'll still command attention.
But if your aim is to look like you made an effort when you didn't, try a statement lip. Prescod felt comfortable going for bold, but if you happen to fall on the other side of the spectrum, don't worry. "It's surprising, but ombre lips are actually perfect for people who may not totally trust their application skills," says Miglino.
That's because the lines are not drawn hard and fast, they're blended, layering one color over another. "The idea behind an ombre lip is to make a gradation on your lips, with a dark shade on the outside and a light shade in the middle, which also makes your lips appear larger," Miglino tells me.
Think of an ombre lip as the Inception of lipstick, because it's a shade inside of a shade. Prescod opted to pat on two variations of purple and plum; first, dabbing CoverGirl Melting Pout Liquid Lipstick in 155 Gel Mate around the border of her lip, blending towards the center. To punch that up, she applied Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Starlit Hyper-Glitz Lipstick in Supernova in the center of both lips.
If you're into sultry neutral colors and earthy tones, you'll love the natural feel of hand-painted makeup. Sarah Buscar is all about zhushing up her face with all-over brown hues after a long day. So to simplify her routine, I gave Miglino an impossible task: Show Buscar and me how to do monochrome makeup with just our fingers — and a single tube. (Spoiler: The product she chose will actually shock you.)
Miglino handed Buscar a tube of liquid lipstick. "The caramel color and blendable texture of Anastasia Liquid Lipstick in Bittersweet will actually work perfectly over her eyes, cheeks, and lips," says Miglino.
By taking a small dab and lightly working the creamy color into her eye lids with her pinky finger, Buscar achieved a sheer wash of chestnut color. Next, she took slightly more product and tackled her lips with her pointer finger, and kept layering for a more opaque finish.
For the finishing touch, Miglino said, "Go ahead gurl," and told Buscar to take her middle finger and work a small dab of the lipstick over her cheekbones.
I'd say cheeks on fleek, but the results speak for themselves.
Ah, the smoky eye. North of 2 million smoky eye tutorials exist in the ether of Google, but busy girls/Ventimiglia fans don't always have time for those rather elaborate endeavors. Since Buscar considers the smoky eye one of her signatures, she wondered how Miglino could possibly par it down to a digits-only tutorial.
Miglino one-upped her with by inventing a two-step smoky eye. The crux of it: Behave like Beyoncé in "Sorry" with your middle fingers up. She told Buscar to sweep the shimmering bronze from Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Galaxy Eye Shadow Palette from her lid to just below the brow bone with her middle finger. "Then take the leftover shadow and press over the bottom lash line, extending towards to temple to form a baby triangle," says Miglino.
Finish by taking the sparkly black shade from the same palette, and tapping it on top of the bronze, in the bottom third of the top lid. Then, sit back and watch as flames emerge. Add a slick of lip balm, and you're good to glow.
And then it was my turn. As Elite Daily's senior fashion & beauty editor, I'd characterize my aesthetic as "blinding." I like to look so lit that it confuses the men I date, who often muse, "You're shiny?" in bewilderment. I wondered what Miglino could possibly dream up for me, since my vibe is "transparent alien," and I just want my face to literally function as a mirror that reflects the goodness of others back onto them. Could she even surprise me?
Turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks. "If you love highlighter and glitter and looking luminous, a glossy eye is the new trend for you," says Miglino. Because a glossy eye is essentially lip gloss on your eyelids, that's exactly what I used. Laura Geller The Pearls Color Luster Lip Gloss: Hi Def Top Coat added mirror-like shine on my lids and lips, and for an ethereal look, I tapped a little on my inner eyes near my tear ducts.
While subtle in the picture, the effect was like a jolt of caffeine. Suddenly, I looked that much more healthy, vibrant, and awake that people immediately started talking to me. So I did what any millennial in my shoes would do: I closed my eyes to avoid them.
While the glossy lid is friendly and approachable, I wondered if Miglino might have something up her sleeve more in the vein of, eh, say, a cat-astronaut at a disco. She said she knew just the thing, and thus, the haphazard glitter brow was born.
After marveling at the name, I tapped Lemonhead Dirty Penny Space Paste over my brows with my ring finger. Instead of a thick concentration right on top of the brow, I blended the glitter down, like a waterfall of radioactive contamination.
Needless to say, this groovy glitter felt right in my element. After watching Prescod learn to do the upside-down colored eyeliner, I added a swatch of baby blue eyeshadow on my lower lids with Topshop Eye Shadow Mono in Holograph in the same manner to contrast the sparkles.
These seven looks prove that makeup doesn't need to be filtered, Photoshopped perfection to be "good." So next time you're pressed for time, locked in a bathroom sans supplies, or the grown-*ss Jess Mariano shows up, stay calm. A fire look is only a flick of the wrist away.
Makeup: Elena Miglino; Elite Daily Team: Senior Editor, Fashion & Beauty: Alana Peden; Photographer: Ashley Batz; Junior Art Director: Brit Phillips