Wash Wisely European women are known to favor cream cleansers that you remove with a tissue or water over the gel type. And when it comes to speedy, efficacious nighttime cleaning, we could stand to learn from them. Since this kind of cleanser has a touch of oil, it can “dissolve everything in one pass—dirt, sunscreen, even waterproof eye makeup and long-wearing lipstick,” says Noella Gabriel, director of product and treatment development at the cosmetics company Elemis. “Plus, creams leave skin well moisturized.” If your skin is very oily, switch off with a gel cleanser in the morning. Try Lancôme Confort ($48, lancome-usa.com). Otherwise, skip morning face cleansing altogether.
“Cocktail” Your Creams Consolidation is key to streamlining. Instead of using a moisturizer, a sunscreen, an antioxidant, and a foundation, switch to a multitasker that does it all (such as Miracle Skin Transformer, $48, miracleskintransformer.com). And pick an eye treatment that depuffs and covers dark circles (Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Dark-Circle Roller, $13 at drugstores, is one). If you don’t have an all-in-one product, you can mix your regular individual creams in your palm and apply them together, rather than layering them one by one, when you’re in a rush, says Loretta Ciraldo, a dermatologist in Miami.
Spread Yourself Thin It may be tempting to slather on face cream. But if you do, it will take at least 10 minutes for your skin to absorb the cream and be ready for a layer of makeup. So Susan Evans, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, favors this technique: Dab just one pump or dime-size dollop onto your cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin to ensure even distribution, then blend.
Take a Smooth Shortcut Experts generally recommend sloughing off dead cells three times a week with a gentle, granular scrub for more luminous skin. But in the absence of time, “tap clear lip balm or gloss high on your cheekbones,” suggests makeup artist Bobbi Brown.
Try a DIY Facial Regular facials can improve the texture and the tone of skin. In a pinch, mix some flour with a couple of egg whites and smooth the mixture onto skin with your hands, says Ling Chan, founder of Ling Skincare and Spa, in New York City. Rinse after 10 minutes. “This can temporarily tighten your pores and refresh your face,” she says.
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Fast Makeup Tricks
First and Foremost, Look Alert While bed head works for many people, there’s nothing fetching about a face that says “sleepy.” The fastest way to hide fatigue is to brighten the whites of your eyes by using a flesh-colored pencil to line the inside rims, says Los Angeles makeup artist Sarah Lucero. (One we like is Three Custom Color Specialists Light Clarifier, $18, threecustom.com.) “It cancels out red tones,” she says.
Spend Time on Your Skin Don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be a major expenditure. But “clear, even skin is what makes the difference between looking disheveled and looking done,” says Fiona Stiles, a makeup artist in New York City and Los Angeles. So if you need extra coverage—as almost everyone does around the nose and under the eyes—skip eye makeup and concentrate on concealer and foundation. Note: Sweeping on a priming balm (which takes two seconds) before using a cover-up will keep it from caking noticeably in fine lines throughout the day, says Ricky Wilson, a makeup artist for Dior. Try Benefit Dr. Feelgood primer ($30, benefitcosmetics.com).
The Eyes Have It They’re the focal point of your face, so if you have another moment after applying concealer and foundation, use it to play up your eyes. Spread a shimmery shadow onto your lids, advises Stiles: “It blends easily, doesn’t require brushes, and lasts.” Opt for a pale shade (Estée Lauder Pure Color Eye Shadow in Sugar Biscuit, $22, esteelauder.com) and create contrast with black mascara (Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara in Noir, $30, chanel.com).
And, Now, a Word About Brows You’ve probably heard it a million times, but when your eyebrows are groomed, you look polished. Put in time-saving terms, that means you can look pulled-together with less makeup. If you can’t get to a salon for a professional shaping once a season (which will shave minutes off your daily routine), try brushing a bit of shimmery taupe or deep brown eye shadow (whichever matches your brow color) over your arches, suggests New York City makeup artist Carmindy, author of The 5 Minute Face. The color will fill in sparse patches, and the shimmer will make your eyes sparkle.
Add a Dash of Flash The final touch: lip and cheek color. “To speed things up, I use red or pink lipstick on the mouth and as a blush,” says Charlotte Willer, a global makeup artist for Maybelline New York.
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Fast Hair Tricks
Revive Yesterday’s Style If you can’t spare a second to wash, but your hair feels stiff from the previous day’s products or is bent out of shape from sleeping, spritz on a shine spray. The silicone in it will soften residue and unkink your style. Then use a flat or curling iron to quickly reshape your hairdo. Bonus: The silicone will protect your hair from the heat, says Johnny Lavoy, a hair consultant for L’Oréal Paris.
Power Through Your Shower When you have time (albeit limited) to lather up, cut the rinse-out conditioner and just use a shampoo that’s tailored to your hair type. “Then spritz on a leave-in after you step out of the shower,” says Erin Anderson, a hairstylist in Brooklyn (Sachajuan Leave In Conditioner, $28, amazon.com, is a good one to try). It detangles and smooths hair and even offers a bit of hold.
Get Straight Everyone knows that a speedy blow-out is an oxymoron. But you can tame your hair all the same by prepping properly and then doing a “T-zone” blow-out. First, minimize your use of styling products. “Stick to a mousse or a lightweight styling lotion, and avoid creams or waxes, which trap moisture in hair,” says Ryan Cotton, a stylist at the John Frieda Salon, in New York City. Next, blast your hairline and part, which form a T, with hot air from the dryer. “When these areas lie smooth, the rest of your hair stays under control,” says Christophe Belkacemi, also a stylist at the John Frieda Salon. For extra polish, pull hair into a low chignon.
Build Body in a Hurry If it’s volume you’re after, reach for a dry shampoo (Tresemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo, $5 at drugstores), which is a little-known antidote to limp locks, since it adheres to and thickens strands. “Lift your hair in big sections and spray the dry shampoo toward the roots. Then use your fingers to work it through,” says Antonio Prieto, owner of the Antonio Prieto Salon, in New York City.
Camouflage Grays on the Go The old trick of covering silver strands with mascara works wonders for those with dark hair. But if you’re a blonde or a redhead, it’s a no-go. (Black roots on blonde hair? Worse than grays.) Instead, dust bronzing powder onto roots with a clean blush brush, says Cotton.
Defrizz Midday Mist your hands with hair spray (such as Sebastian Professional Re-shaper Hairspray, $16.50, sebastianprofessional.com for stores), then run them over flyaways to batten down the fuzz, says Prieto. You will never look fresher faster.