How Long Does It Take To Do Makeup? (Explained)

Attractive Young Woman Doing Daily Makeup While Standing Near Mirror In Bathroom


When preparing for the day ahead or a night out, it’s good to know how much time it’ll take to get ready.

Planning your schedule is beneficial to ensure you allot enough time for your makeup routine, whether it’s daily or occasional.

By the time you factor in your shower or hygiene routine along with getting dressed, you may be wondering how much time you have left to apply your makeup.

There are many different kinds of makeup applications and various makeup routines, making the exact amount of time you need to plan for confusing.


How Long Does It Take To Do Makeup?

Woman getting ready for work doing morning makeup routine putting mascara in bathroom mirror at home.


It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to upwards of 120 minutes to do makeup.

If you’re applying professional or specialized makeup, it can take even longer.

If you’re applying an everyday full face of makeup, it takes an average of 30-40 minutes, though many people opt for partial or minimal makeup, which cuts down on time drastically.

For those applying just the basics or a simple foundation and lip gloss, it should take only 10 minutes or less.

Makeup for a night out or special occasion may take 45 minutes to an hour, but if you’re getting makeup done professionally for television, films, or print ads, it can take over two hours.

There are many factors that go into how long it takes to do makeup, like what you’re applying, how much, and who’s doing it.


How Much are You Applying?

Portrait of beautiful black woman applying blush on face, using brush tool, putting makeup, looking in mirror at home, over shoulder view


How much makeup you’re applying is a major consideration when estimating a time length.

The time it will take can differ drastically depending on whether you’re applying a full face of makeup or applying the bare minimum.

If you conduct a full-face makeup application on a normal day, you may spend roughly 30 minutes completing all of the necessary steps.

Full-face makeup application starts with a cleanser, exfoliation, and toner to make sure your face is clean of debris and ready to be moisturized.

Once you rub in a moisturizer, then you can apply your primer.

Then, you’re ready for a foundation, concealer, and bronzer or blush before diving into your eye makeup.

Those steps alone can take around 10 minutes.

Eye makeup is the most time-consuming, so if you’re short on time, you might choose to leave this step out.

Eyeliner application takes a slow and steady hand to apply, as do eyeshadow and mascara.

A light eyeshadow will take less time than a smokey evening eye, for example.

A smokey eye requires more layers and attention to get it right.

You might also add on the use of a brow pencil to shade in your eyebrows and lip liner, lipstick, or gloss.

These finishing touches don’t add much time individually but definitely add to the total amount of time it takes to apply a full face.

If you skip the smokey eyes, you can cut down your makeup routine by around 15 to 20 minutes.

If you cut out the brow lining and intensive lip makeup, you can cut out another 5–10 minutes, leaving you with roughly a 15–25-minute makeup routine.


What Kind of Makeup Style Are You Doing?

Happy beauty blogger concept, pretty asian young woman, girl make up face by applying pink blush by brush on cheek


There are many different types of makeup styles to take into consideration.

If basic every day or night makeup takes about 30–45 minutes, specialized makeup can take over two hours, depending on what style you’re going for.

1. Show Makeup

amazed drag queen in purple wig and black lace dress looking at camera on pink


Show makeup is usually done on men and women in entertainment roles, such as trapeze artists, drag queens, magicians, runway models, and even gymnasts.

It’s typically exaggerated and over the top and is intended to look dramatic.

Show makeup can take anywhere from an hour to three hours, depending on what look you’re going for.

The average time for drag queens to do their makeup, for example, is two to three hours, due to the intensive nature and multiple steps.

It takes many drag queens an hour just to prep their face for the rest of the steps, such as concealing their natural eyebrows and creating an even-toned face to start.

Circus performers, magicians, and runway models can spend anywhere from an hour to two hours or more applying their makeup.

For many entertainers, their look is part of the show and they don’t want to disappoint their audience, so they take the time to do full makeup.

Depending on the type of runway show, runway models’ makeup times can vary drastically.

Some shows go for a minimal look, while others strive for a darkened and dramatic look.

However, sometimes getting the right minimalist or nude makeup look takes just as long as a dramatic look.


2. Body Makeup

Beauty industry, cosmetology. Close-up photo of beautiful hands with sparkling silvery skin in bright neon blue and purple lighting


There are different kinds of body makeup, such as full body or partial, which may include only the arms, legs, neck, and face.

Many makeup companies manufacture body makeup now, which can include body foundation, concealer, or shimmer.

People who use body makeup can expect to set aside 1 to 2 hours to apply.

Walking away with a blended and consistent look may take some trial and error, which will add additional time to your routine.

Plus, body makeup needs to be set so that it doesn’t rub off on your clothes or surroundings.

Setting your body makeup takes a little patience as you must wait for a few minutes for it to set in and take effect.

Special effects body makeup is its own beast and can take multiple hours to apply.

Like with regular body makeup, there are different levels of special effects makeup, and some may only be added to an arm or a leg.

It can also be added to the whole body or even to prosthetics.

In the film, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Jim Carrey stated that it took 8 hours to get his full Grinch body makeup applied.


3. Costume/Character Makeup

Avatar woman in a magical forest


Though Jim Carrey’s Grinch makeup may be an exception, actors who wear the average amount of makeup for television and film spend roughly an hour getting their makeup applied.

Of course, actresses take longer than their male counterparts, and the times may vary based on what the scene calls for.

For instance, if the character is on a date at a nice restaurant, they will spend more time in the makeup chair than if the scene calls for them to be at home in their robe and slippers.

However, like with runway and print looks, sometimes getting the right “minimal” or “no-makeup” look takes just as long as exaggerated or evening makeup to do.

Because HD television is much less forgiving than older versions of TV, makeup artists generally apply realistic makeup.

Instead of caking on oil-based makeup, which would be hidden behind the more granular lens, they typically apply less makeup but must make it good enough for a clear and crisp closeup.

Aging makeup for film and television also takes time to apply.

It can take an actor two to three hours to transform from a young person to an elderly person.


4. Stage Makeup

the actress and the actor in the costumes of the 19th century


Makeup for the theater is different from makeup for film and television but can take just as long.

Stage makeup is generally much more heavy-handed than film and television makeup.

After all, it has to be seen from a distance.

However, this also means that stage makeup doesn’t have to be as accurate or realistic.

Instead, it’s bold and exaggerated enough so the audience members in the last row can see the characters’ expressions.

Because of this, stage makeup can take about 30 minutes to one hour to apply and is usually done by the performers themselves.


5. Bridal Makeup

Wedding makeup artist making a make up for bride.


Again, depending on the look the bride is going for, she might be looking at spending 60 to 90 minutes in the makeup chair.

If the bride is getting makeup done by a professional, the makeup artist and hair stylist might be able to do both simultaneously or switch off, cutting down on overall time.

Bridal makeup usually consists of full-face coverage, including foundation, concealer, bronzer, eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, brows, and lips.

Some brides add body jewelry, as well, such as stick-on crystals and gems to highlight the eyes.

These additions take time to get right.

Bridal makeup is not something to rush.

After all, it’s your big day and many photos will be taken that will be viewed for a lifetime.


Are You Doing Your Makeup or a Professional?

Young woman applying makeup on face at home


The person applying your makeup will affect the time it takes to do it.

For example, it might take you longer to do your own makeup than someone else’s because it’s hard to reach difficult areas or be able to fully see what you need to.

The more you do your own makeup, though, the less time it will usually take as you get used to the routine.

Professional makeup artists train for years and may be able to complete your makeup much quicker than you could yourself.

However, chances are, if you’re using a professional to do your makeup, it’s for a special occasion that requires a more detailed and fuller makeup application to begin with.

Depending on the professional and their experience level, it might take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to complete your makeup.

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