illustration by JULIEE YOO

In the city that never sleeps, makeup can help you look ready for a night on a town, and then cover up the fact that you never slept. The transition from my rural hometown to the big city wasn’t difficult makeup-wise (considering my expertise with mascara and lipstick since beginning annual dance performances at age five), but throughout my years in college I have perfected some of my practices. Everyone has their own beauty routines and makeup preferences, but some tips remain universal – such as how to transition from day to night while on the run, and what to do when you’re running late to class. So, read on for my helpful hints to keep you looking fresh and ready to go in a city where you can’t afford to be off your game!

In New York City, you want to look refreshed and chic – and this doesn’t require heavy makeup. Sure, you can take the time to apply meticulous eyeliner and artistic eye-shadow, but I was always one of those girls running late to my morning class and developed my own quick makeup routine. My suggestion, based on years of early morning dashing? Right before heading out the door, apply a healthy coat of jet-black mascara (mascara is the essential tool here – it brightens the eyes and draws the focus away from dark under-eye circles caused by sleep deprivation), and some eyeliner if time allows. Cover up any blemishes with spot concealer and run out the door – you can pinch your cheeks to get the circulation going in place of blush as you wait for the elevator or street light, and chap stick or lipstick is a cinch to apply while on the run. It’s quick, easy, and simplistically chic.

One of my biggest beauty pet peeves is that thick coat of foundation that turns your face a different color than the rest of your body. Foundation and cover-up are helpful tools to even out blotchy skin tones and eliminate blemishes, but use them as minimally as possible – daytime is not the time for thick stage makeup. Plus, extra layers can easily melt off in hot subways, giving your face the appearance of anything but flawless and natural. Additionally, it’s essential to pick the right shade of foundation and cover-up. As with any beauty task, the solution to finding the right look is sampling and experimenting… but don’t go buying five shades of foundation just to find the right one! At nicer stores such as Sephora there will generally be samples (a good tip is to smear the sample on your wrist to match facial skin tone – except for your tan summer months), and once you find a shade that works you will usually be able to find the same (or a similar) product in a cheaper drugstore. Just in case, however, keep your receipts – as a drugstore clerk in high school I remember being frustrated at customers returning make-up, but it’s generally permitted in stores so take advantage of this next time your selection goes awry.

I’m constantly on the go and will often be running around all day without a chance to stop home and change. As a dance student, keeping a change of clothes in my over-sized bag is second nature (and it’s not unusual to find changes of clothes in the bags of other New Yorkers, either), but what about makeup? To make your face appear ready for nighttime adventures, you typically make the makeup a little darker and heavier than for your casual daytime appearance. My trick is usually to re-apply mascara, add heavier eyeliner, and some lipstick or tinted lip balm. These are all small and easy to pack in your bag, and can be applied even in a public restroom or in front of a small mirror. Skip extravagant eye-shadow or smoky eyes and leave it for another night when you have more time to get ready – a fresh coat of eyeliner and some refreshed lips is all you truly need.

In the rare New York minute that you have nothing else to do with, consider trying a new makeup trick. Pull out some eyeliner, black or dark colored eye-shadow, a mirror, and some makeup remover (just in case of errors). Pulling off a smoky eye (by applying eyeliner and smudging, then putting dark eye-shadow in the crease of your eye and a slightly lighter shade on the rest of the lid, and smudging the entire eye as desired) will probably take some practice, but the effect is sultry and exciting for a more intense nighttime look. Be sure to use creamy eye-shadow and liner for the most effective results. For an intense daytime look when you have the time, experiment with colored shadows or liners on your eyes – I personally like to use subtly unique eyeliners such as green or plum, but I know others that like to go far-out and use wild, bright eye shadows. You can always pull off avante-garde in a place as wild as New York City, so admire the high-fashion ads and magazines and try a look out for yourself next time you’re bored. If you don’t know how to do it, you can simply experiment, ask a friend, or find a how-to in any beauty magazine.

Living in New York, it’s tempting to shop around in Sephora or other alluring beauty stores. While I do enjoy the occasional Sephora splurge, I do most of my cosmetic purchases at drugstores such as Pricewise, Duane Reade, or CVS. No one can tell what brand your mascara is after it’s applied, and chances are, no one cares. So save yourself a few bucks, and stick with drugstore buys. I gravitate towards Cover Girl for the mascara and eyeliner in particular, and you’ll even find great deals on such cosmetics periodically – so stock up when it’s a buy one get one free sale, or cheaper than usual. You might need to sign up for the store’s free discount card, but the few minutes is worth the savings, both on cosmetics and your other drugstore purchases.

This article is a sample from Campus Clipper’s student guidebook, “NYC Student Guide” for sale fall 2010. Pick one up to get more advice from savvy students like Meghan at a bookstore near you!

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