Lazy Perfection

The Art of Looking Great Without Really Trying


By Jenny Patinkin

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A grown-up’s guide to makeup, a primer on the best time-saving techniques, and an inspiring, easy way to update your look — Lazy Perfection is the busy woman’s guide to looking her best, with minimal effort and stunning results.

Every woman wants to look like the best version of her self — natural, radiant, and confident. But who has the time to master complicated steps, or the patience to sift through the glut of choices at the beauty counters? Celebrated makeup artist Jenny Patinkin cuts through the confusion and clutter with her “lazy perfection” approach to beauty, replacing complex techniques and hard-to-wear trends with a streamlined, sophisticated approach to makeup.

Here you’ll find guidance on finding a beauty routine that works for you — without a lot of involved steps or overpriced products. Guiding you through an initial makeup drawer purge, through setting beauty priorities, to crafting a finished look, Jenny gives you real-life tips for spending your limited time (and budget) to achieve the results you want. With Lazy Perfection you’ll know that you’re putting your best face forward — minus the fuss!



THIS IS A BOOK FOR WOMEN WHO LIKE MAKEUP, BUT DON'T necessarily like to wear a lot of it. One sentence in and I'm sure you're already wondering why in the world I've bothered to write a book about beauty for women who aren't huge makeup wearers, but this is not really a "makeup book." This is a book about Lazy Perfection, and Lazy Perfection is about how you can put in minimal effort with your beauty routine and still get results that will make you look and feel lovely. Sure, you probably enjoy makeup and wear a little of it, or at the very least are intrigued by it, but if you've picked up a book with the title Lazy Perfection, I'd say the chances are good that you're not operating at YouTube Beauty Guru level, putting in forty-five minutes on false lashes and contouring every time you have to leave the house.

I've written this book for women who like makeup, but don't wear a lot because they don't feel like they know what they are doing, or who have never really worn makeup, but want to give it a try, or who don't like the way their makeup looks and want to make some adjustments, or who want to learn how to streamline their routine so that they can get out the door faster, looking and feeling great, or who, most of the time, pretty much just can't be bothered to put any on. This book is about easing the anxiety that comes with not knowing how to choose the right makeup, answering the questions you didn't even know you were supposed to ask, giving you the tips and tricks you had no idea existed, and walking you through a few simple steps that will put you on the road to a gratifying, flattering, and stress-free beauty routine.

So, What is Lazy Perfection?

Maybe we should start off by talking about what Lazy Perfection isn't. First and foremost, Lazy Perfection isn't about being actually lazy. I hear women talk all the time about the improvements they'd like to make to their appearance—they aren't happy with their skin, they have dark circles, they don't feel like their eyes "pop"… but then in the same breath, they tell me that they don't enjoy applying makeup and don't really want to take the time to deal with it. Ladies—you cannot have it both ways. If you want to make an adjustment to your beauty look, some effort will be required. The extent of that effort is up to you. Lazy is a totally relative term, but no matter how much time you're willing to put into it, it's going to take a commitment. Five minutes, ten minutes, twenty-five minutes… One woman's fast-and-simple is another woman's holy-crap-that's-a-lot-of-effort, so you are the only one who can decide what it means to you.

Secondly, Lazy Perfection is also not about being perfect. Perfect is a myth. Very few women have completely symmetrical faces, or features that conform to some unattainable standard of perfection. We are real, human, flesh and blood, some of us with one eye larger than the other or one brow thinner. We can totally enhance or improve our appearances, but true perfection does not exist. Perfection is a reflection of our own personal beauty ideals, our own standards of beauty, so this method should really be called Lazy Whatever-You-Think-Is-Pretty, but the name isn't as catchy.

Get to the Point… What is Lazy Perfection?

In my Lazy Perfection approach, I take a holistic overview to beauty. Which means the makeup we use has to work not only with our facial anatomy and coloring (obviously), but also with our personal style, lifestyle, and technical skills. Everything has to be in harmony so that you always look and feel like just a more put together version of you. That's when you'll feel the most confident, natural, and at ease… and, in a nutshell, that's Lazy Perfection.

I want the Lazy Perfection girl to always feel like herself, not as though she's been given a full America's Next Top Model makeover, opening her eyes at the end and being totally flabbergasted. The Lazy Perfection version of "natural" is when you look like you… only a bit more polished, refined, and chic… no matter how much makeup you are wearing. I can't tell you how many celebrities and social media-ites use makeup to create features on their faces that don't exist in nature, but that's not how I approach beauty. Lazy Perfection ENHANCES what you have; it isn't a do over.

With every client I see, I strive to give them a look that they can easily replicate at home, to set them up for success. If eyeliner is so frustrating for you that you have given up and just don't wear any, I would never suggest an advanced technique like a liquid liner cat eye. That's not Lazy Perfection approved. If you live in yoga pants or jeans and a T-shirt, I am not going to suggest metallic eye shadow and full coverage makeup. That's not in Lazy Perfection harmony. And if you only want a ten-minute makeup routine, I am not going to recommend a fifteen-step makeup program. Because that's not Lazy Perfection, either.

Too often in these days of reality TV and social media, women have a preconceived notion that makeup needs to be totally TRANSFORMATIONAL and LIFE-ALTERING. I know this isn't going to make me super popular among my retail beauty friends and colleagues whose careers depend on the belief that makeup is terribly important, but really, when you think about it, it's just makeup. What I mean is, if you are sure that the newest eye shadow palette is going to CHANGE YOUR LIFE, or that if only you could find the IDEAL red lipstick or achieve the ULTIMATE cat eye, you'd reach nirvana then Lazy Perfection isn't going to be for you.

Zen and the Art of Lazy Perfection

To be Lazy Perfection, you must first understand that makeup is not the destination, it's the journey. Wow. I'm starting to sound pretty hippie-dippy here, but let me tell you what I mean. Makeup isn't going to alter the path of your destiny, and it's not going to drop luck and eternal joy in your lap. It's not a life raft we have to cling to for our very survival. It's more like a good pair of floaties that can prop you up and make you feel more secure.

What makeup can do for you is bring you feelings of self-confidence and empowerment. It can make you want to make eye contact or smile when you didn't feel good enough to do it before. It can put the spring in your step that comes from feeling great about how you look. And the admiration you get from others can make you feel like the most successful woman in the world.


That Perfect Woman. Everyone crosses paths with her now and again. She's the girl in high school who was a cheerleader AND valedictorian. She's the full-time working mom who makes homemade cookies and goes to every soccer game. The colleague who kills it in presentations with her clever wit and beautiful smile but still crawls under your desk to help you find your missing earring.

That Perfect Woman always looks terrific. She has lovely skin, beautiful hair, and a wardrobe that's appropriate and chic at all times. She finishes a yoga class looking even lovelier than when she started. Not a blotch, frizz, or a smudge in sight.

Sigh. I know, I know. It's not very "girl power" of me to admit that other women can inspire feelings of inferiority, because we're adults for goodness' sake, and we're supposed to stick together, and support each other, and not compare ourselves, and blah blah blah.

But on days when the giant zit on my chin could launch its own hashtag (#jennysgiantzit) or my hormone-inflamed pores could double as an overhead storage bin, it's hard not to feel a little shaky in the self-esteem department. Those are the times I am in awe of TPW. It's never jealousy or envy. I admire her.

So you're probably wondering… How in the world does she do it? Was she touched by the wand of the Perfection Fairy? Does she have to set her alarm for ridiculously-early-o'clock to get herself ready? Did she whip up a batch of Polyjuice Potion using a strand of Cameron Diaz's hair? None of the above. TPW simply understands how to harness the power of Lazy Perfection. And in this book, I'm going to share with you all the things you can do to make it work for you, too. So let's get ready to saddle up.

Sheriff of Lazy Perfectionville

Bet you're wondering how I earned my Lazy Perfection gold star, so let me give you a little backstory. I have always loved makeup, but I didn't even consider making it a profession until I was almost forty. Look up late bloomer in the dictionary. There'll be a picture of me.

In my late twenties, I got married, had kids, and settled into ten years as a stay-at-home mom. I had three daughters in less than four years, so makeup wasn't a big part of my life, to say the least. But when my youngest daughter was in school full-time, I knew I was ready to get back in the workforce.

I was volunteering at my daughters' schools and with other local organizations to keep the bored-mommy-blues at bay when I met a wonderful artist who recognized my raw makeup abilities and encouraged me to do some professional training. That's when it all started to gel. I did my training, and three weeks later I was signed by a huge international artistry agency and jumped right into the industry.

It became clear to me very soon after, that working with models and celebrities wasn't feeding my soul. As much as I love creating beautiful looks on young, unlined, taut faces, it was my friends who really helped me get some clarity on what my next step should be.

They would say to me:

"I never learned how to do my makeup."

"I don't want to wear a lot."

"I hate shopping for makeup."

"My mom didn't wear any makeup, so I never had a role model."

"My face is changing; I need to figure out how to wear more flattering makeup."

"I have no idea what I'm doing, can you show me how?"

It became crystal clear that these women didn't need more makeup; they needed more education. And that's when my Lazy Perfection philosophy came together.

It's what led me to develop my own line of handmade makeup brushes, which are now sold all over the country. It brought me TV appearances and professional beauty expert gigs, which I now travel for all the time, talking about makeup, skincare, and Lazy Perfection; it brought legions of clients to my door asking me to give them the Lazy Perfection Look; and it inspired me to open my Lazy Perfection Beauty School where I teach women in a private setting how to achieve their ideal makeup look.

Getting Schooled

At my beauty school, I work with women of all ages, showing them what I am going to show you here in this book:

How to clearly identify your beauty intentions and objectives

How to reduce the clutter in your bathroom and cosmetic case

How to sync your beauty routine with your lifestyle

How to identify the beauty looks that will suit your personal style

How to select the products that flatter your facial anatomy and coloring

How to stay current with the trends without looking trendy

How to look youthful and fresh

How to shop for your makeup without stress, anxiety, or guilt

And how to do it all efficiently and easily

What I have found in working with my private clients is that MORE WOMEN WANT TO WEAR LESS MAKEUP.

So many women want a simple, clean look, but the beauty industry doesn't focus on them because, well, it's not as lucrative to sell a customer one lipstick when you can sell her a lipstick, a lip liner, and a lip gloss. Beauty is a business, after all.

When it comes to makeup and beauty, there's just SO MUCH. So many brands and products, so many ads, so many videos, so many blogs, so many magazines, so many shows. Even as a professional makeup artist, I've been overwhelmed walking into a beauty department or specialty store; my senses so bombarded that I literally have turned around and walked out.

Makeup isn't something we're born knowing. For some women it comes instinctively—for others, not so much. But you can learn how to do it. Maybe you won't end up being Monet, but you don't have to be a scribbler for the rest of your life, either. Sure, it requires some practice, but so does cooking, driving, or tying your shoes. Learning how to do anything new takes time.

Like any other education you undertake, it expands your horizons and your choices. Still want to go barefaced? Great. That's your call. Want to bump up your eyeliner one day? You can do that, and do it with confidence. And if you want to have a professional makeup artist apply your face from time to time? That option never has to be taken off the table. The point is, by learning and practicing, you get to take control of how you look, and ultimately of how you feel about yourself. By the time you're done with this book, you are going to be living in TPW's world.

What's the Lazy Perfection Look?

I know lots of you are probably already thinking to yourselves, "Jenny, I am no good at applying my makeup. I am never going to be able to get it right." But I don't want you to listen to that inner voice.

Know why you can do it? Because Lazy Perfection isn't a cookie-cutter, five-minute makeup plan. It's not even a makeover plan at all. It's your guide to discovering what's going to work best and look best on you—you and only you. You can customize it however you want. I'll tell you one thing that's for sure—the Lazy Perfection Look is never, ever overdone, overworked, or heavy-handed.

The Lazy Perfection Look is a whisper, not a shout. It's small details, not grand gestures. And it's about working with your natural features instead of struggling against them.

In learning the Lazy Perfection Look, you'll discover the ways in which smudging softens and enhances the features, small movements give more control in the application than big ones, and how to use less makeup to look fresher and younger.

Lazy Perfection isn't about CHANGING how you look, it's about using subtle details to enhance the loveliest features on your face so that they can be the star of the show, while the rest of your features are a strong supporting cast.

Lazy Perfection Cover Girl

TPW is lovely. It's not just that she's wearing makeup. She's wearing the right makeup. Her clothes don't look great by accident. She knows what colors and styles work for her. And her hair doesn't gleam and bounce the second she rolls out of bed. She chooses the products that are going to give her the best results.

Here's the bottom line. Makeup is wonderful and fun, and it can make us feel confident, empowered, and beautiful. But despite all the messages we get from magazines, movies, television, and one another about how we should look, what we need to buy, and how we have to do it, makeup isn't going to alter who we fundamentally are.

TPW isn't That Perfect Woman because she has pretty hair and clear skin. She's That Perfect Woman because she clearly feels good enough about herself that she doesn't need to make anyone else feel bad. She's secure and happy with how she looks so she can cheer you on until you feel great, too.

I promise you, by the time you're done reading this book and putting my Lazy Perfection methodology into place, you'll be someone's TPW, too.


The Ghost of Beauty Past

IF I WERE SAYING THIS ALOUD TO YOU, IT WOULD BE IN A SOFT, murmuring, sympathetic tone… I know it's hard to clean out your makeup kit. I understand. I truly do. You've got a lot of dollars invested in there, and a lot of really great memories about the time you felt gorgeous in that eye shadow or sexy in that beautiful lipstick. And you think, wow, I should totally keep this because I spent a lot and maybe I will wear it again someday and feel those feelings all over again. I know it can be tough to part with the makeup that makes you sentimental, like a gloss you wore to your wedding, or a foundation that used to make your skin glow.

But part of embracing Lazy Perfection is looking clearly at what works for you now, and what simply doesn't suit you anymore. Let go of the guilt, let go of the attachment, and let go of the past. Lazy Perfection is a path to a fresher, more modern beauty routine and your kit, inhabited by the Ghost of Beauty Past, is holding you back.

Give Up the Ghost

We could spend lots of time talking all about the emotional reasons we buy so many beauty products, like the satisfying impulse purchase of adorable hot pink makeup brushes or when we got talked into buying a metallic seafoam-green eye shadow, but the bottom line is, why is that metallic green eye shadow still in your kit? It's not in fashion and it doesn't flatter you, so why do you still have it? And those pink makeup brushes? They shed and feel rough on your skin. You still have them because why?

Seriously. I've helped clients purge makeup from brands that haven't existed since the '90s, or lipsticks they wore at their weddings ten years ago, or, in one instance, an eyeliner that was purchased—no kidding—in 1979. For a particularly sentimental client, we had her makeup compacts cleaned and mounted in a shadow box, which she put on display on a bookshelf.

I'm not trying to makeup shame anyone, but if you are serious about getting on a Lazy Perfection Track that will streamline your routine and give you a gratifying and beautiful result, then it's time to clear the clutter.

Cosmetic Cleanse

The Lazy Perfection Cosmetics Cleanse is a system for really figuring out what you can live with, what makes you feel good, and what you won't even miss. It's like finally admitting that you have to clear away the potato chips and cookies from your pantry and stock it with something that won't give you heartburn… or cellulite.

So how can we look objectively at what needs to be purged? It's tough to step back and assess with brutal honesty what really flatters us and what we really need, but I am going to take you through the process of elimination.

There are three basic reasons to clear your cache of makeup: You have…

1) Items that don't look good on you

2) Items that are dirty or broken

3) Items you haven't worn in the past one to two years, or more

You'd think that because buying makeup is such an emotional experience that getting rid of it would be, too, but in my experience with my clients, it's really easy once you start to chuck out the old, in favor of starting fresh. It's cathartic to finally accept that you're never going to wear that frosted green eye shadow again and that you've moved on from the days when Cyndi Lauper was your beauty inspiration. When you get going with my Lazy Perfection method, you'll be thrilled by how easy it is to rid yourself of the things that are just taking up space and haunting you.

Pretty Purification

First, gather all your makeup—from your drawers, counters, cases, office, gym bag, pockets, and the swirling vortexes at the bottoms of your purses—and put it all together in one place, like a basket or a box. This part of the process can yield all sorts of fun rediscoveries, so make sure you are as thorough as possible. You never know what'll turn up in your winter coat pocket or the back of your desk drawer.

Next, find an area with plenty of surface space. I like to do my purges on the dining room table or in the middle of my floor, on top of a couple of old white towels or sheets. That way I can lay everything out side by side in one field of vision and see it all against a bright, clean backdrop.

This is where it starts to get interesting. You'll want to divide everything into groups based on the product category. Here are the most common product categories I see with my clients:

Primers and eye shadow primers





Blushes and highlighters

Eye shadows


Eyebrow pencils/powders, etc.


Makeup brushes

Lip pencils

Lip glosses


Beauty tools, i.e., eyelash curlers, tweezers, sponges, and powder puffs

Here's what I want you to do now. Group by group, go through each item and ask yourself the first and most important question in the Lazy Perfection Purge process:

When is the last time I used this product?

If it's been more than two years, it automatically earns a place in the trash can. Boom. Just do it. After the first time, you'll like the sense of empowerment so much, every subsequent disposal will give you a rush. Bye-bye, Ghost of Beauty Past. Now, take a look at what's left and ask these questions:

Is this product or container broken, crushed, shattered, or otherwise nonfunctional?

A crushed, crumbly mess of makeup is doing you absolutely no good. You can't transport something with no lid or cap because it'll get all over your other makeup. If your blush or powder is shattered and applies in big, blotchy chunks onto your skin, then trash it! Makeup brushes that shed enough hair to create your own cyborg puppy or that have broken, dented, and misshapen bristles are beyond the point of no return. You have to give them a loving but firm send-off.

Is this product ripe for a bacteria bloom?

Bottom line, your makeup won't last forever, but it doesn't need to be replaced as often as many brands would lead you to believe. Obviously, it's smart business for them to tell you that you need to buy new makeup several times a year, but some of it can actually last you for considerably longer. Here are my guidelines:

Sponges and powder puffs—wash 'em or toss 'em every single week.

Sponges and powder puffs are some of the grossest items I see in women's makeup kits. Aside from the fact that a dirty sponge or puff is visually unappealing, they can hold on to all sorts of bacteria from your skin, and then you're just patting it right back on every time you apply more makeup. I throw my cotton/fabric puffs into the wash in a lingerie bag every week, and wash my reuseable sponges like a beautyblender with a little Woolite or liquid soap every couple of days. Disposable sponges are easy to purchase in drugstores and are good for one to two uses each. If your foundation came with a sponge, you should wash it or replace it with a different sponge once it's too dirty or broken down.

Mascara, liquid liner—three to four months.

These are the products that actually do need to be replaced often. Not only does oxygen gets trapped into their tubes, drying out the formula, but heaven forbid you have any eye issues like conjunctivitis or blepharitis because the minute you put the applicator back in the tube, it contaminates everything. You just don't want to mess around when it comes to your eye health.

Tweezers—three to twelve months.

Not everyone has tweezers, but if you are a plucker, when the edge of your tweezers gets dull, it can't grip firmly onto your brow hair. Not only does that make it super frustrating, but it can also be painful to pull out that little hair. Even worse, it can break the follicle, which can lead to ingrown hairs. How often your tweezers need to be sharpened or replaced depends on how often you use them. Companies like Tweezerman offer free sharpening if you mail them in.

Cream eye shadow, gel eyeliner—six to twelve months.

Creams and gels can dry out pretty quickly, which you'll see when they start to crack or shrink away from the sides of the container. To keep them pliable for longer, make sure to replace the lid right away, or turn the jar upside down on a flat surface while it's open and not in use. Here's a great little trick—to salvage them when they are dry, add a few eye drops and stir with a toothpick. It softens them right up. The most important thing with these products is to keep your makeup brushes clean and sanitized so that you they don't transmit germs back and forth into your eyes or your skin.

Eye, lip, and brow pencils—one year.


On Sale
May 9, 2017
Page Count
224 pages
Running Press

Jenny Patinkin

About the Author

Jenny Patinkin is a prominent makeup artist, beauty expert, and entrepreneur. The founder of the Lazy Perfection Beauty School, Jenny is known for simple, sophisticated looks without much fuss. She is a beloved on-air host for Joyus, the beauty and lifestyle digital-video retailer, and has been featured in numerous publications, including Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, and Bridal Guide, among many others. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her family. Visit her at

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