I’m a low-high maintenance girl when it comes to my beauty needs.
My vanity rules and fuels my need to polish my look with all manner of salon and home beauty essentials.
Everyone’s vanity meter is different. You might be horrified to know that I’m writing this without a scrap of makeup on my face. I’m ok with it because I’m not leaving the house and, when I do, I’ll have big sunnies firmly planted on my face.
The no-makeup, everyday look might be your thing – and that’s very ok – we’re all friends around here.
I certainly don’t look Instagram-filtered perfect every day but if I have some basics covered off and a few beauty hacks and short cuts up my (spray-tanned) sleeve, then I’m generally good to go should I need to leave the home/office.
The 21 hacks, tips and short-cuts I’ve listed below help me be less stressed and save more time in my day. Not all will apply to you. Some might. Some might even be game-changers to your everyday beauty routine.
1. Embrace dry shampoo. I use this sparingly and only when really necessary as it can flare up my psoriasis. Find a product to suit your shade of hair and you’ll get more days out of your ‘do.
2. Wash your hair only as often as you need to. This will differ vastly from person to person based on their level of physical activity and hair type. I’ve got to the stage (old age?!) where I wash my hair a maximum of twice a week. Obviously if I’m on holidays at the beach and swimming, it’s an everyday scenario. I keep my hair off my neck when exercising, using the plastic spiral hair ties that look like tiny, old phone cords (showing my age again). I can put my hair up for yoga and, an hour later, take it out with no sign of a dent or a crease. Quite a few brands (this is just one of them) are doing these now so look out for them in the supermarket. Try also to stop yourself from running your fingers through your hair. It is sexy, yes, but not when the end result is shifting oil from the scalp down the hair follicle.
3. Try an instant root colour spray to hide re-growth and bide time before your next salon appointment. I’m new to these and am having success with a new spray-on product from L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch.
4. Get a keratin hair treatment. This is the ultimate time-saver when it comes to reducing the hours you spend styling your hair. You can read all about my experience with one brand of treatment here.
5. Get clued up on some up-styles that you can employ quickly and easily to disguise the fact you should have washed your hair. I posted a photo on Instagram and confessed to not being bothered to wash my post-yoga hair. I just pulled it back into a (albeit short) pony. My friend, Christina from Hair Romance would be horrified. Check out her blog and books for the ultimate in home up-do inspiration.
6. Book a blow-dry appointment before a big event or occasion. If you live in a city, then chances are there is a blow-dry-specific salon near you. Regular hair salons are also getting smart and offering multiple packs of blow-dry vouchers to customers. I love it as I can be in and out in 45 minutes, fresh as the day and ready for an event or shoot. Well worth the investment instead of spending a couple of hours doing it myself. And if I do all these things, I can get a good four days out of a profesh blow dry.
7. Always have a packet of makeup removal wipes in your bathroom and by your bedside. I go into a slight panic if there is not a packet of makeup removal wipes in my near vicinity. At the very least, if that’s all I do to remove the day from my face, I know it’s half way acceptable. Mostly I use them as a pre-cleanse before the main event.
8. Master a two-minute makeup routine. This is my bare minimum … I’ll generally pop this on to work from home as, for me, even a little bit of makeup fuels the motivation to do the day. My two-minute routine would be a variation of this.
9. Master a five-minute makeup routine. This is up another notch from the two-minute version with a few more products added in but still speedy with an end result that has me meeting-ready. It’s generally an adaption of the makeup routine I featured here.
10. Master a 10-minute makeup routine. Sometimes you just have to allocate more time. I do when I’m doing a shoot or going out. I take a lot more time to create a defined eye – this is the key from taking my everyday makeup look to evening.
11. Book a professional makeup before a big event or occasion. If it’s a really big deal, I don’t hesitate to call in the big guns. They know how to create a look that is you but more defined/polished. Booking in for a makeup at a cosmetic counter is a cost-effective way to do this as you can redeem the cost in product.
12. Embrace gradual tanning products. I’m not patient enough to deal with home-tanning products – except the ones that I couldn’t possibly stuff up. Gradual tanners are very much my friend for any time during the year when my legs might be out on show for all to see. I’ve got plenty of fake tan tips in this post.
13. Book a salon spray tan before a big event or occasion. The linked post in #12 applies here too. I’m fortunate to have found a salon tan that just works for my skin tone – plus they’re handy to where I live so prepping for and waiting for the tan to take is far from an inconvenience. What goes on, must come off though. My tan removal tips are here.
14. Get a facial as often as your budget allows. I’m all for a beauty splurge when it comes to facials – I wasn’t always the way but it’s the best thing I’ve done in recent years in terms of helping to keep my skin looking fresh. Even if you treat your skin to this twice a year, you’ll see a difference. For particular skincare concerns, a series of specific treatments will help. I also make sure than my facial time isn’t just about the fluff (that’s all very lovely and I’m prone to falling asleep) but I do want some hardcore action and result for my spend. This post will give you an insight into what I get done and why I’ve seen the light.
15. Commit to a home-skincare routine. I let you in on a little secret. I might splurge on facials but I very much save on my day-to-day skincare. Supermarkets are home to fabulous products that are The Business. In recent times, it’s been this system and this one. If you prefer a natural option, check out the Go-To Skincare range.
16. Use a nail strengthener instead of a colour if time is limited to do your own manicures. I’m a shocker when it comes to nail care and maintenance. And I’m not skilled at applying my own colour either. So I fake it (and treat my nails) with a nail strengthener. Some have a little colour in them but not enough to be noticeable if you stuff up the application. Try Revitanail Whitening Glow or Butter London Nail Foundation Treatment.
17. Book a salon gel nail manicure before a big event or occasion. Back-to-back gel nails do not help my nail growth and strength at all (sometimes I have to put my nails in gel-rehab) but the day CND Shellac and others came to down was the day that I could finally get a salon manicure knowing it would last more than a day. See above for reference to my lack of nail care. I get a lovely mani with a gel colour for events and photoshoots, in the knowledge that my nails will look good for days to come.
18. Swap out your razor for hair removal cream. This is a new time saver for me and my battle with the hairs on my legs and underarms (other bits have mostly been dealt with – see #19). The result is so much better and the time between removals longer. More here.
19. Invest in a laser hair-reduction package. It’s almost five years since I wrote this post after having a series of laser treatments on my bikini line. I’m not hair-free but the small amount of hair remaining is so easy to deal with and I’ve never had an ingrown since. So worth it for a saving in time and ongoing maintenance.
20. Get your brows sorted by an expert. It takes a super skilled person to shape and tint their brows at home. This is one face-framing beauty service that I’m glad I outsource to the pros. More here.
21. Have at least two favourite lip colours you can rely on for all occasions. There’s a whole lot of confidence wrapped up in what I pop on my lips. I like to mix it up but if I had to bring my lipstick wardrobe down to two, it would be a nude and a red. Your two essentials might be different but worth finding and discovering.
That’s it Stylers. Over to you, what are your key beauty hacks, tips and short-cuts? Share in the comments so we can all get on board.