I know that lack of time is a chronic complaint among moms, and I am so there. I try not to complain about it because, frankly, we are all busy and tired and overextended and it’s all just so boring and repetitive but sometimes I find myself bemoaning the days when I used to apply elbow cream. Yes, elbow cream and tummy cream and bust cream and butt cream and tired leg cream (tired, from all that cream-applying) and neck cream and hand cream and foot cream and those special silicone socks that make your feet soft. And scrubby things for my face and feet and cellulite and pre-baby tummy fat (ha!). I also indulged in frequent massages (cream-counting can be stressful) and manicures and pedicures and facials and anti-aging treatments. Why did I do these things? Because I was obsessed and because I had the time. Also I was a little nuts.
These days, the nuttiness remains but the time is gone. It is gone! And the realities of my hyper-busy life have made getting ready in a flash a must. I am forced to be… practical. Yet all is not lost. So many of us take an all or nothing approach to maintenance, i.e. “I don’t have time for a 20 minute skincare routine so I will sleep with my makeup on.” But lack of time doesn’t necessarily mean lack of style. There is a middle ground, and it’s slightly different for every woman. I have been developing and perfecting my abbreviated morning routine for years, and I’ve learned a few fast fashion and beauty tips for busy mornings.
1. Be Prepared
A stylish morning starts the night before, when you set out everything you need for the next day. And not just for the kids! Stick a glass of fruit water next to your bed, lay out your skincare products and makeup, if that will save you time, even put toothpaste on your toothbrush. Seriously. And finally, and most importantly, lay out your outfit. And not your roll out of bed outfit or workout outfit. Select something else, something real and stylish, that you will wear post-workout and for the rest of the day. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it does need to be cute. This is why having a mom uniform is essential. And a Pinterest board with OOTD (outfit of the day) ideas. Put out everything you are going to wear, from the bra to the shoes to the accessories. Do any other necessary prep work, from plucking a few stray eyebrow hairs to polishing your nails.
If it’s an option, shower or take a bath the night before, wash your hair, and put it up or do whatever you need to do to get it ready for the next day. On the nights that I am home, I take a quick bath as soon as my girls are in bed, shave, do my skincare routine, apply some body lotion, and put on my PJs, and then I’m set for the evening and not tempted to skip any steps later. And if I brush my teeth early, I am also less likely to nibble.
2. Get Groomed
If you’ve taken a bath or shower the night before, then your morning grooming routine should take minutes. Mine is only a few steps: brush teeth, apply deodorant and perfume, and do a quick 3-step skincare routine (wash, treatment and sunscreen). If my skin is dry, I apply a little extra lotion to my body.
3. Make Up
Narrow your essential makeup products to the few items that have the most impact. In my case, it’s foundation/powder, or an all-in-one product, blush, and lip color. I only use mascara if I have time, because my lashes are dark. 3 products = 3 minutes. Decide on your makeup musts (no more than 3-5) and use them DAILY.
4. Make It A Good Hair Day
I live in Florida, where the humidity often hovers around 172%. And I have curly hair. Most days, I can get away with wearing my hair down (my preferred look) and make it through the day relatively frizz-free, but on especially damp, drizzly days, I prevent a bad hair day before it begins with a few go-to hairstyles. Nothing crazy creative, here, just a bun, a ponytail , a headband and a half-up/half-down style. I have a small assortment of hair accessories that work on my very thick hair, and I use them often!
5. Dress for the Day
Now it’s time to get dressed. Since you laid your clothes and accessories out the night before, this should only take a couple of minutes. Getting dressed does not mean putting on your exercise clothes. IF you actually put on exercise clothes to exercise (do people do this???), then change into your chosen outfit after exercise. No spending all day in your yoga pants. Even if you’re just hanging out at home. You’ll feel better when you’re dressed. Promise!
So there it is – my straightforward steps for getting out the door in record time. Which of these are you already doing?