It’s no secret that people today are busier than ever. Work, school and family obligations often leave little time for anything else, and hair and beauty may be the last things you feel like devoting your precious extra time and money to (A better idea: Donate to the American Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and the Mexico earthquakes, and thanks to two generous donors, you’re donation will be tripled!). We know you still want to put your best face forward when you head out each day to change the world (Yes, you — we all have to do our part!), so here are our top tips for looking your best without all the effort, so you can spend your valuable time where it really counts.
1. Recycle It
In order to speed up your beauty routine, the first step is to eliminate anything that’s not being used but taking up space. Jenny Patinkin, makeup artist and author of new beauty book “Lazy Perfection,” advises women to purge the beauty and haircare products that are expired, contaminated, cracked, or that haven’t been used in more than two years. But don’t just trash those products — recycle them! Origins recycles all empty containers from any brand free of charge. And some brands, like MAC, even have programs that reward you for recycling. Swap six empty MAC containers and you’ll land yourself a new lipstick tube.
Once you’ve bid adieu to the old, organize what’s left. When your cosmetics are arranged, it’s easier to find what you need quickly.
2. Chug Water
This beauty tip couldn’t be easier, or cheaper. Just keep a refillable (don’t even think about buying bottled!) water bottle with you at all times, and you’ll be more likely to keep drinking up. Cameron Diaz starts her day by downing a liter of water after brushing her teeth. Cam’s technique is nothing new though. In fact, drinking a liter of water to start the day is actually an Ayurvedic practice, called Ushapan, or “water therapy,” which is believed to help flush toxins, increase hydration, counteract fatigue, and make skin more radiant, among other benefits.
3. Prioritize Healthy Skin
Patinkin advises women to spend their beauty time on what’s going to make the most difference in the long run. Hands down, that’s skincare.
Wash your face every night, no matter what. “If you don’t wash away the grime before bed, your pores will get clogged with the oils and grime that land on our skin just by walking outside, leading to blackheads, whiteheads, or inflammation,” she says.
Patinkin promises this easy-to-follow regimen won’t take more than five minutes.
- Cleanse at night. A second cleanse in the morning is optional.
- Treat skin with retinols daily or as tolerated; AHAs (alpha hydroxyl acids) three to four times a week; or, use a combination of both.
- Wear sunscreen every day.
- Moisturize at night.
But remember, healthy skin starts on the inside, so make sure you’re eating the best foods for your skin, too.
4. Pamper Yourself Without Going to a Spa
When Cupcakes and Cashmere blogger Emily Schuman wants to look like she just had a facial, she fakes it at home with a peel or mask. She loves the OleHenriksen Power Peel, “a less invasive take on a chemical peel that has zero recovery time.” As mom to a toddler, Schuman tries to use the time during the three-step process to grab a few moments to read or relax in the bath, leaving her refreshed to face the day.
5. Get a Faux Glow
For safely bronzed skin that looks natural, beauty site Into The Gloss raves about Clarins Radiance-Plus Glow Booster. “Add precisely three drops to your moisturizer at night and apply to neck and chest. It works gradually so you needn’t worry about messing it up.”
You can also skip a beauty step by using a tinted moisturizer. “It’s the perfect two-in-one product to look put together without looking made up,” says makeup artist Josie Volpentesta. We love Intellishade Original by Revision Skincare.
When Volpentesta is running to the gym and wants to look more rested, she dusts Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer on her face, particularly on the cheekbones, for a healthy glow. This bronzer alone over bare skin creates a flawless face.
6. Take Care of Your Brows
Your eyebrows frame your face, and when they’re over-plucked, too dark, or uneven, it can throw off your look. Anastasia Soare tends to the brows of countless celebs and owns beauty line Anastasia Beverly Hills. “The biggest brow mistake I see people make is picking a color that’s too dark,” she says. “If you have light eyebrows, go one shade darker than your hair, and if you have dark eyebrows, you go one shade lighter.” Soare also stresses the importance of going to a pro to have your brows properly shaped.
7. Learn to Do a 3-Minute Face
Makeup artist Regina Sneor swears that any woman can learn how to do their makeup in just three minutes. The key is choosing products that can be used multiple ways to speed up the process. Claudio Riaz Instant Face Palette is made up of powdered foundation, bronze-colored powder, and blush: the essentials for a finished look. To finish, Sneor uses the powdered blush from the palette on her lips topped with a swipe of gloss.
Similarly, Make It Better 2017 Best Makeup Artist Elise Brill uses just a few products to create her take on a flawless finish. Brush on Baked Hydrating Powder Foundation to instantly even out skin tone. It’s so hydrating that it doesn’t even look like you have on foundation. Next, Brill applies a bronzer lightly over cheekbones and eyelids. She finishes with gloss on lips.
8. Get a Haircut That Doesn’t Require a Lot of Work
Hair pro Nunzio Saviano explains that when women get the right cut and let their hair dry naturally they can cut some of the maintenance time. (An added bonus: You’ll save time and electricity by skipping the hair dryer!) “Keep your hair healthy so it doesn’t look frizzy or unkempt,” says Saviano. “If you have split ends, you need more time making those ends look good. So, healthy hair, the right cut, and embrace your natural texture so you can let it dry naturally. Then there’s not much you have to do.”
9. Fake It
If your hair looks lifeless or greasy, try a few spritzes of dry shampoo. Anthony Volpentesta, owner of Salon Vole in Highland Park, is partial to Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo. “It’s great for when you need to freshen up the hair and don’t have time to shampoo,” he says.
10. Grab a Time-Saving Hair Accessory
When in a rush, beauty guru Bobbi Brown’s favorite hair accessory is a thin brown elastic headband. “I can wear it to the gym, to the office, even to a black-tie affair. The headband should match your hair color so it works with every outfit,” she says.
More from Make It Better:
- The Best Makeup and Moisturizer With SPF
- 6 of Our Favorite Natural and Organic Makeup and Beauty Products
- Unexpected (and Cheap!) Ways to Use Natural Ingredients in Your Beauty Routine
Jenny Muslin, Beauty Editor at Make It Better, has been writing for the magazine for seven years. She has also written for Chicago Parent, NS Modern Luxury, Red Tricycle, Stroller Traffic, and is a contributor for beauty app PrettyQuick. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing after her 3 year old son or trying to keep her eyes open after a late night feeding with her new baby girl.