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Updated: Jun 7, 2022

Are you rushing around and have little time to put on your nighttime makeup for a date night or cocktails with the girls? Did your business meeting go long, and now you’re short on time but still need to create a nighttime makeup look? How do you go from daytime to nighttime makeup look in minutes?

Many scenarios may limit your available time to apply makeup for your nighttime look. Thankfully, there are many options for getting your daytime makeup to nighttime makeup in minutes. You can enjoy the benefits of creating a more attractive appearance. Keep in mind makeup can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. Makeup is fun, and when you look good, you feel better.

Why is there a difference between daytime and nighttime makeup?

A model photoshoot on at one of the stone pillars on the Vista Bridge in Portland, Oregon. Photographer Kim McElroy.
Enchanted Beauty. @Kim McElroy Photography

Daytime makeup involves using less product because of all the natural light. While nighttime makeup needs more layers of product in lighting that is geared toward warm luminous light, like candlelight or diffused light. Makeup is less visible in this dim warm light, so increasing the amount of makeup you apply for an evening look helps bring out your features. You can use an adjustable light vanity mirror so you can see how your makeup will look in different settings.

Makeup Is All About Layering

You can decide to add one additional layer of color or continue to layer your makeup to build a more glamourous, dramatic, or even theatrical look. The great thing about makeup is that it's an expression of personal choice. Whether you're a minimalist or couture glam, you can go from a corporate or WFH office to cocktail hour in a few minutes with these helpful makeup tips that get you from daytime basics to nighttime glam.



Close up photo of full lips with red glossy lipstick.
Captivating Red @Wix Media

Mask wearing has limited our focus on doing our lips for over two years. You can finally bring the attention back to your lips with fewer restrictions.

Lips are the quickest and number one way to change your daytime makeup to a nighttime look. Subtle daytime to a bold evening look is as simple as swapping that nude lip color or gloss to a deeper, richer, or even brighter, more eye-catching shade of lipstick, lip stain, or lip gloss. Another trick is to combine a neutral lip color with a darker shade of lip liner, like a burgundy color. By layering the dark burgundy lip liner with your favorite nude lipstick, you have just created a new lip color. Using a lip liner as the full base color on the entire lip has multi-task color options and helps to lengthen the wear time. You can also reverse this technique by adding an all-over nude lip liner to the whole lip and a darker lip color over the top. Playing with products is fun and creates so many color options. You can quickly go from day to evening by changing your shade of lip color.

To achieve a smoother lip liner finish, you want to dab a small amount of under-eye concealer over the lips until blended and feather it to the outer edges of your lips. Under-eye concealer is like adding gesso to a canvas before applying the paint. The under-eye concealer creates a layer for the makeup to adhere to as well as softens the texture of the skin.

This makeup step will also help with lipstick bleeding; when the lipstick seeps into the fine tiny lines that branch off from the lip. As we age, those lines can become more visible. There are also lip primers that can help stop lipstick from bleeding.



Close up photograph of closed right eye, eyebrow and half of female models nose. Natural Makeup and simple pen eyeliner.
Eyebrows @Wx Media

Enhancing your eyebrows with makeup is the second most noticeable change you can make from daytime to nighttime makeup. Eyebrows frame not only your eyes but also your face. Daytime brow makeup can be less pronounced. Add a second layer of product or use multiple products to create more depth and shape for your nighttime makeup look.

Eyebrows Are Seldom Identical & Take Minutes To Fill In

More often than not, eyebrows are not identical to each other. The use of cosmetic products to correct the imbalance will improve your eyebrow's appearance. Taking a little time on your brows to enhance their appearance will draw more attention to your eyes.

The makeup product with the quickest, easiest application time, and most forgiving is to use an eyebrow pencil. Like other brow products, the brow pencil can fill in any missing brow hairs or correct a flaw like a scar. You can also use a brow pencil to add more shape and fullness or control the width and length of your eyebrow.

As a makeup artist, I preferred to use a combination of an eyebrow pencil and eyebrow powder. Eyebrow powder looks like eyeshadow, but it is designed for use on eyebrows. It tends to have a lighter weight consistency and is very matte.

If you have an extra minute, use a small, thin, angled brush and eyebrow powder to fill in further and enhance your eyebrow. The eyebrow powder will also soften the pencil lines to create more natural-looking eyebrows. Choose a color close to your natural eyebrow color. Or, if you dye your hair, you can choose to adjust by using a shade lighter or darker than your natural eyebrow color. Get started with a lighter color than your actual eyebrow color if you are new to doing your eyebrows.

Today there are more brow products than ever before in cosmetic history. Brow products include traditional pencils, compressed powder, gels, pomades, liquid pens, and a brow product that is applied like mascara. You can choose to use only one product or multiple eyebrow products to get the look you want.




Your eyes are the one area on your face where you can be the most creative. The options are almost limitless. With that said, you don't always have the time it takes to achieve the most elaborate eye makeup, but there are simple techniques to get a bit of glamour for your nighttime look in minutes.

Earlier in the day, you did your basic daytime look, and now you need to up your game on the makeup look for the evening.

Here are a few examples of eye makeup tips on how to get a nighttime look in minutes.


By simply adding an extra layer of mascara or some false eyelashes, you are in the beginning stage of creating your nighttime look. If you decide to add more to your eyelids, the extra layer of mascara is applied last. Or, if you add false strip lashes, those are the final makeup application on the eyes.


Adding eyeliner is an easy way to add some glam. Even if your daytime look included eyeliner, you could enhance your look by adding a second layer, a thicker layer, or going across the lash line from the inner corner to the outer corner of your eye. Layering makeup is about intensifying the result. Rather than putting on one thick layer, it is more effective to add multiple layers to achieve the depth of color. It is always easier to add makeup than take away too much makeup.

You can do eyeliner on the top or add it to the top and underneath your eye. The intensity of color does not need to be the same. The top eyeliner can be heavier, while the bottom can be a thinner, softer line. Que-tips are a great tool used when softening any eye makeup. The classic eyeliner colors are black and brown. A fun twist is to use eyeliner colors like forest green, navy blue, purple, and grey. Or get trendy with gold, silver, white, hot pink, and orange.

Eyeliners come in the traditional pencil, liquid pens, and waterproof gel liners applied with a liner brush. Traditional eyeliner pencils have a little softer look than using gels or liquid. Pencils are also easier to correct than gels or liquid that dry and set. It would be best to have a steady hand to apply gels or liquid.

Add a Second Eyeshadow for your Nighttime Look

With a basic daytime look of one base eyeshadow on the eyelid as a starting point, you can go to a nighttime look by adding a second color. For more drama, use a medium to a dark shade that will draw even more attention to your eyes in that warm dimmer evening light.

Applying the darker eyeshadow to the entire lower half of the eyelid is the most effortless smokey eye effect you can get in minutes. When I say darker, it doesn't have to be black, just a darker color than the one you're using during the day. Use a small eyeshadow brush to smudge a medium to dark color over the lower half of the lid. You can even use your ring finger or a Que-tip in place of a brush. When using this technique, always dab the eyeshadow in the center of the lower eyelid first, then (without adding more product to the applicator of choice yet) pat the eyeshadow across to the inner and outer corner of the eye. You can apply additional layers of the same eyeshadow until you reach the color intensity or level of pigment you desire. It is better to use a matte eyeshadow first for this application.

Step up your makeup game by adding an eyeshadow with shimmer or glitter in the center over the darker color you just applied. This technique brightens the eyelid for a more sultry, sexy look.

You can use eyeshadow in place of eyeliner. You can even use a Que-tip to apply a soft line of medium to dark eyeshadow across the top and bottom of your lash line. Or, you can do the top only or even the bottom only.

With a daytime base eyeshadow, you can add a medium to a dark color on the eyelid's crease without using any eyeliner along the lash line. Experiment with this technique by using different sizes of eyeshadow brushes. Use a thinner brush for smaller eyelids and a thicker eyeshadow brush for more prominent eyelids.

For real wow factor in minutes, use the darker eyeshadow across the lower half of the eyelid and top that off with a layer of eyeliner.

There are many different eye shapes and eyelid structures. Take some time to experiment with other techniques and makeup styles. Do what makes you comfortable in your skin.



Blush and bronzer help balance the light and shadow of makeup by giving your face the sun-kissed color it needs to create a youthful, healthy appearance. Daytime makeup doesn't need as much makeup punch as your nighttime look. Additional layers of blush and/or bronzer will quickly take your makeup from day to evening.

You can balance out the cheek color by applying it around the entire edge of your face. Blush applied to the edge of your temples and under the chin help to give you facial definition. In more elaborate contouring you can modify the angles of your face. I will get into that subject in a later post. Blending your blush and/or bronzer down your neck can also help to balance any color variation between your face and neck.

The use of a highlighter is a quick and easy way to enhance your nighttime makeup. Some highlighters can be more dense powders and quite reflective of light, while other highlighters are thinner liquid consistency and provide a subtle glow. You want to apply this product to the top of your cheekbone, a light brush stoke down the center of your nose, and even on your brow bone. Usually, one light layer is all you need. A highlighter is a product that should be used with a very light touch because it has a tendency to get gummy looking if too many layers are applied.

You can choose any or all the above tips and techniques to go from daytime to nighttime makeup in minutes. Enjoy!


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