Unless you’re one of those wellness-world wizards who has fully mastered the art of the a.m. routine, getting out the door in the morning can be hectic (to say the least). If you love the snooze button as much as I do, you’re likely left with only a few minutes from the time you hop out of bed until you’ve gotta hit the road, which means it’s a major crunch to get everything done (why oh why do I never pick out an outfit or pack my lunch the night before?!).
The good news? You don’t actually need a whole lot of time to get out the door looking—and feeling—fly. To streamline your morning routine, we asked three pros to each put together a skin-care, hair-care, and makeup routine that won’t run you more than three minutes. Which means you can get it all done in nine minutes flat, with one to spare so you can admire your handiwork in the mirror.
1. Cleanse your skin for 45 seconds to one minute: Sing a rendition of “The ABC’s” while you give your skin a (gentle) scrub down to get rid of any dirt or grime that’s accumulated over night. No need to double cleanse, since you (hopefully) won’t have makeup to remove first thing in the morning. If you’re really in a time crunch, use micellar water for a quick-and-easy clean that won’t totally dehydrate your skin.
2. Slap on a serum: “During the daytime, it’s extremely important to protect the skin from pollution and free radical damage with an antioxidant-rich serum,” says dermatologist Howard Sobel, MD. “Pollution along with UV-damage accelerates skin aging. Environmental irritants can lead to hyperpigmentation, inflammation, redness, along with premature fine lines and wrinkles.” Thankfully, you can get the job done with a single serum instead of having to layer on a whole bunch of them. He suggests Savor Beauty Pumpkin Seed Serum ($64) , which is rich in antioxidants from rosehip seed, pumpkin seed, and vitamin E, plus meadowfoam to lock in moisture.
3. Protect with SPF: Considering that applying SPF takes, like, five seconds, you have literally no excuse not to make it a part of your morning routine. Even if you skip the other two steps (though, don’t), you absolutely need to take some time to slather on something with some SPF in it—even if that means whittling your products down to a sunscreen-moisturizer duo.
1. Add some product: Whether your hair is clean, dirty, or somewhere in-between (looking at you, day two), you really can’t go wrong with a top knot. If you fall into the “clean” camp, add a little grit with Nexxus Between Washes Air Lift Dry Texture Finishing Spray ($12). “Apply in sections underneath hair by misting from roots to ends to create grip and texture for your hair band to hold on to,” says Nicole Casamassima, stylist at the Nexxus salon. If you need to sop up some oil at the roots, go for a dry shampoo such as Dove Refresh + Care Unscented Dry Shampoo ($5), just remember to hold the can between 10 to 12 inches from your head to keep from getting any white residue up top.
2. Wind it up: Pull your hair into ponytail using something that won’t damage your strands, like an Invisibobble ($8), then get to twisting. “Start winding the ponytail around the base until you form a bun, leaving out the ends for details and to make it more fun,” says Casamassima.
3. Make it secure: Use either another Invisibobble or pins to hold the topknot together. “Pull out pieces around the hairline to soften the look,” says Casamassima. “If your hairline tends to frizz, you can hide it with some colorful scarves that add instant color and flair to a simple style.”
1. Cover with concealer: Instead of dealing with a full fledged face of foundation, which takes time (and time is money, honey) use concealer to spot treat any places that need a little extra coverage. “Swipe concealer under your eyes and dab on any pesky spots or redness, then tap out the edges with your ring finger to blend,” says makeup artist Merrady Wickes. She’s a fan of Fitglow Conceal ($42), because “the doe foot wand makes it easy to apply without a brush, plus the creamy formula is smooth enough for under eyes, but has enough heft to cover blemishes.”
2. Warm your look: Next up, add some warmth and dimension with a few swipe of bronzer. “Grab a nice fluffy brush, like the Alima Pure Blush Brush ($35), swirl it into a powder formula, and sweep along cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose,” says Wicks, who’s a fan of the Lily Lolo Pressed Bronzer ($26). “Add some to eyelids aiming for your socket to pull the look together. If your lids are hooded, apply the bronzer with your eyes open aiming a little higher than your socket to add lift.”
3. Curl your lashes: Real talk—mascara can be messy. Swap it out for a quick curl, instead. “Curling gives you a great lash lift that makes eyelashes appear longer, and eyes look more awake,” says Wicks. “Squeeze thoroughly at the base, then work your way out to the tips, and repeat if necessary.”
4. Add some color: “If you have any time left, or you’re hopping in an Uber, throw on your favorite tinted lip balm, and dab a little on the apples of your cheeks,” says Wicks. She loves the ILIA Tinted Lip Conditioner in Nobody’s Baby ($28), a “crowd-pleasing peachy-pink” that will add a little life into your lips and cheeks (without taking up any extra space in your makeup bag)
These are the products I use in my own 5-minute morning routine. Plus, the 1-minute, $0 facial that will reduce puffiness.
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