7 Beauty Solutions For Your Insane Schedule

Overworked and undergroomed? Us, too! We’ve compiled expert tips and quick-fix products to get you outof any not-so-pretty predicament

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You've Got Gray or Dark Roots—and a lineup of social events

Speedy Solution:

Roots rebellion can be thwarted by a little planning, says Jennifer J., a consulting colorist for L’Oréal Professionnel and owner of the Juan Juan Salon in Beverly Hills. “I mix custom to-go kits for my superbusy clients so they can do their own touch-ups between appointments,” she says. She also recommends glossing treatments (which typically take five to 15 minutes at the salon) at about the three- or four-week mark. “A gloss is like putting a tinted top coat on a dull manicure,” says Jennifer. It deepens the color and camouflages lines of demarcation.


Can’t get to a salon? Try an at-home gloss like L’Oréal Colorist Secrets Shine Gloss ($10; ulta.com). Or consider QuickTint ($15; quicktint.net), eight shades of temporary hair color housed in a wand-styleapplicator—or TouchBack Plus Color System($30; touchbackplus.com), a shampoo, conditioner and leave-in treatment spiked with temporary dye to blend away incoming grays. 


You've got not-so-white teeth—and a job interview/date/reunion

Speedy Solution:

Downing espresso in times of stress can wreak havoc on your pearly whites. To regain instant sparkle, we like the portable hydro­gen peroxide–based Go Smile Teeth Whitening Pen ($22; gosmile​.com), which can be applied whenever you have a minute (long stoplight?).


Also to consider: the new Luster NOW Whitening Toothpaste ($10; drugstores), which contains teeth-binding blue optical enhancers that noticeably whiten and brighten after one use. In return for a little more time, you can get dramatic results with Crest’s new Gentle Routine White­Strips ($33;drugstores): You wear them just five minutes a day for 28 days.


You've got limp, dirty locks—and a breakfast meeting in 20 minutes

Speedy Solution:

If you have no time to wash and blow-dry, you can’t do better than the one-two punch of Keratin Complex Strengthening Dry Shampoo plus Spray Conditioner ($24 each; keratin​complex​.com). These waterless spritzes remove excess oil while adding instant volume and shine.


If your hair is on the longer side, you can also opt for a quick and easy updo: The Goody Spin Pin ($7; drugstores)—a dummy-proof hair accessory that promises to do the work of 20 bobby pins—is great for creating a simple, polished look with practically no effort. 


You’ve got drab skin (thank you, insomnia)

Speedy Solution:

All the dermatologists we spoke to touted microdermabrasion, a treatment in which a technician manually exfoliates the skin with tiny crystals. Its pluses: relative affordability ($75 and up), time efficiency (less than 20 minutes at a spa or doctor’s office) and instant improvement.


But if you can’t fit it in (the 20 minutes don’t include the real killers: travel and waiting time), do a deep exfoliation at home with the Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Peel System ($22; drugstores). And if your skin is looking saggy (in addition to drab), try Peter Thomas Roth Instant FirmX ($48; sephora.com).This treatmentuses a blend of skin tighteners, peptides and retinol to lift slack skin and smooth fine lines for up to six hours. 


You've got (egads!) a mustache—and an appointment for a family portrait

Speedy Solution:


Cindy Barshop, owner of the Completely Bare hair-removal spas, recommends an at-home wax like her Completely Bare Face & Sensitive Areas Wax Kit ($35; completelybare.com). If you’ve never waxed yourself, there’s an instructional video: By scanning a bar code on the box, you upload a how-to demonstration to your smartphone.


Wary of wax altogether—or currentlyusing skin-sensitizing Retin-A? Try Olay SmoothFinish Facial Hair Removal Duo ($25; drugstores).This gentle depilatory is safe for even the most sensitive skin and gets rid –of fuzz in about eight minutes. Can’t spare even that much time? Get out the razor. Barshop says a quick shave (with the bathroom door closed) is her go-to emergency fix.


You’ve got gnarly nails—and an important presentation to make

Speedy Solution: 

No polish? No problem. Cut clean, polish-free nails shortenough that you needn’t file them. Then buff with the ELF Cosmetics Nail Block ($1; eyeslipsface.com)for a result that’s classic and professional. Next time you’re in a drugstore, pick up a bottle of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure ($7; drugstores); this all-in-one product is a base coat, growth treatment,nail color and top coat (yes, in one bottle). It dries in about 10 minutes.


If you like the longevity of a gel manicure (but not the 40-minute in-salon application), there is Nutra Nail Gel Perfect UV-Free Gel Color ($12; drugstores), the first at-home gel lacquer. It sets in about five minutes and lasts up to three weeks. One caveat: You do need undiluted acetone to remove it. 


You’ve got pasty legs—and a business trip to a warm-weather location

Self-tanner gets a bad rap for being messy and time consuming (15 minutes of drying time? As if!), so it isn’t an obvious go-to product for the überbusy. But these tips from makeup artist Sophie Evans may make you reconsider. Evans says to apply self-tanner at night, give the formula five minutes to dry (brush your teeth, answer e-mails), then throw on loose, dark pajamas or sweats and go to bed; the color will develop while you snooze.


In the am, if you want to make your legs look more toned, lightly mist an aerosol self-tanner like St. Tropez Bronzing Spray ($35; sttropeztan.com) on your inner and outer thighs and down your shinbones to feign muscle definition. No time for any of the above? St. Tropez Wash Off Dark Instant Glow Body Lotion ($18; sttropeztan.com) gets you glowing—and rinses away in the shower. 




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First Published November 9, 2011

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