Look Great Fast
Maybe you were having a dream about George Clooney that continued, thrillingly, through the trilling of your alarm clock. Or perhaps your kids begged you to make homemade pancakes (which left you with three minutes to get the flour out of your hair, and no time for concealer). When your day feels like a mad dash instead of a walk in the park, these tweaks to your beauty routines can help you at least appear to have your life under control.
Hurry! You're late...
Instead of: Multistep skin prep
Instead of: Elaborate eye makeup
nighttime routine tweaks for easier mornings
The ultimate time saver: Sleep
You may be off in dreamland, but your skin is working overtime. "Inflammation is down and stress hormones reach their lowest levels by the middle of the night," says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. This relaxed state can help put the brakes on breakouts, fine lines, dark circles -- the works. Here's how to boost your looks while your body rests.
Skin saver: Topical retinoid
"Nothing works better at night to prevent and correct wrinkles than a topical retinoid," says Doris J. Day, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Medical Center. With regular use, this potent antiaging ingredient helps speed cell turnover and ratchet up collagen production, so you awake with smoother, more radiant skin. If a prescription retinoid is too harsh for your skin, try retinol, a gentler, over-the-counter cousin. (We like Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream.) Since they both can dry out skin, layer a hydrating lotion or cream over serums containing either ingredient (but wait five minutes to let the active ingredient sink in).
Rought spot relief: Glycolic acid
Slather on a body cream laced with glycolic acid before bed to loosen dead skin. Try Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Triple Smoothing Body Lotion. Apply a second layer to extra-dry areas like feet, elbows, and hands. In the morning, use an exfoliating body wash to send those loosened cells down the shower drain.
The flip side of all the good things that happen to your skin while you sleep? "Lying flat for hours causes fluid to accumulate in your face, especially around your eyes," says Dr. Wechsler. Minimize puffiness by keeping your head elevated on at least two pillows and skipping salty foods like sushi with soy sauce for dinner.
Condition while you sleep
Deep conditioning can rescue hair that lacks shine or softness. Still, most women don't have the time to sit still while a messy, goopy formula sinks into strands. Instead, look for hair masks meant for nighttime use. Try John Frieda Frizz-Ease Crème Serum Overnight Repair Formula, which is formulated to go on dry hair, so you won't have to sleep with a wet head. It's also lightweight enough not to leave residue on your pillow.
Tan while the sun's down
Applying self-tanner before bed lets you wake up looking sun kissed and sidesteps the issue of its potentially unappealing scent. Most self-tanners contain DHA, which gives off the odor of uric acid for hours as the color develops. But if you apply it before bed, the smell will be gone by morning, explains Cilmi. (Just be sure the product no longer feels tacky when you hit the sheets.) An alternative: Try lavender-infused Olay Touch of Sun Overnight.
Here are five cosmetic overachievers that save you time -- and purse space -- by offering at least three beauty benefits in one small package.
Could you get in and out any faster -- and still emerge with clean, soft skin and hair, and a refreshed spirit? Absolutely, say the experts. Here are six ways to make your time under the spray deliver more.
1. Simplify sudsing: "Just focus shampoo on the roots instead of lathering up the whole head," suggests Cilmi. "As the shampoo slides down your hair shaft during the rinse, the rest of your hair will get clean." Quickly squeeze out the excess water before you put in conditioner to prevent diluting the moisturizing ingredients. Then you can leave conditioner in for less time.
2. Get a brighter smile: Stash an extra toothbrush and toothpaste in your shower caddy. "I'm a firm believer that brushing my teeth in the shower saves time," says Los Angeles aesthetician Angela Nice. Makeup artist Ramy Gafny swears by Arm & Hammer Whitening Booster, a peroxide gel you put on top of toothpaste to brighten teeth in a hurry.
3. Steam-clean your complexion: Slap on a hydrating facial mask to deep-clean your skin. The treatment ingredients will penetrate further when they work in conjunction with the shower's pore-opening steam. Try Clean & Clear Soft In-Shower Facial, and rinse after one minute.
4. Eliminate stubble: "Never shave dry," says Dr. Day. Instead, use a moisturizing body wash in conjunction with your razor to get your skin clean, soft, and stubble-free. Try Weleda Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash. If you wax, lather up with an exfoliating wash that will help reduce ingrown hairs made worse by waxing. Try: Johnson's Softwash Gentle Exfoliating 24 Hour Moisturizing Wash. New Veet In Shower Hair Removal Cream features a water-resistant formula that stays put under the spray. After two minutes, whisk the depilatory cream away with the accompanying sponge.
5. Clear your cuticles: Once your hands have been in the water for a couple of minutes, use a washcloth to gently push back cuticles. Doing this every time you shower will prevent cuticle buildup, so your nails look clean and well cared for, even when you don't have time for regular manicures.
6. Smooth your soles: Sally Hansen La Cross Foot Smoothing Disk is a palm-size, easy-to-grasp disk with exfoliating ridges that remove dead skin as you slide it back and forth across your feet. For spa-worthy results, wait until the end of your shower, when the warm water makes skin easier to slough off. If you shower in a tub, plug the drain and sprinkle in some bath salts for an instantly soothing foot soak that will also help soften any rough spots on your soles.
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