REAL SIMPLE. REAL expert Ashlee Barnes helps you get out the door faster in the morning with five simple tweaks to your routine.

By Real Simple
Updated October 13, 2008
Formula Z/S

Time waster: Washing your hair every day.
Fast fix: Suds up every other day. Washing every day can strip hair of its natural moisture and necessitate unnecessary styling. If you want, on your “off” days, absorb dirt and oil with a dry shampoo like Rene Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo ($24) or Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat ($18).

Time waster: Washing and styling hair in the morning.
Fast fix: Shower before bedtime and give it a quick dry, then sleep on it―it’ll behave better after a night of ZZZs. (To refresh it in the a.m., give it a shot of cool air from the hairdryer and style as usual.)

Time waster: Blow-drying sopping wet hair.
Fast fix: To minimize damage and cut back on styling time, apply heat only when the hair is about 50 percent air-dried.

Time waster: Blow-drying with a tired old model.
Fast fix: Switch to a tourmaline model that generates negative ions―basically, drying the hair in nearly half the time without cooking it with heat like traditional models. Two to try: the Revlon Tourmaline Ionic Dryer 1875 Watt ($30) and the T3 Tourmaline 83808 Professional Featherweight Ceramic Ionic Hair Dryer ($125).

Time waster: Straightening, ironing, and curling hair that doesn’t cooperate.
Fast fix: Consult a trusted stylist and ask how to make the most of the hair nature gave you―curly or stick straight.