There are times when we all love to spend hours perfecting that smoky eye, piling on the layers and using an army of brushes to get it all done. However, when you’re rushed for time or just feeling plain lazy (i.e. 99% of days in Oxford) it can all seem like a lot of effort, and doesn’t warrant the stress when you also have a lengthy to-do list to tackle by 9am. Luckily, there are plenty of tricks out there which can help minimise that precious time spent in front of a mirror. Next time you’ve woken up late, are running out the door to a lecture, or simply can’t be bothered, these are the techniques and products you should look to for maximum impact with minimal effort.
Dry shampoo is one of the biggest beauty life-savers. Perfect to revive flat third-day hair with a needed boost of volume and texture. Give it a good shake and spray into your roots to freshen and keep any greasiness at bay. (Try Colab’s Invisible Dry Shampoo in 5 different scents for no chalky white residue, £3.49)
For super-quick Scandi-inspired waves without the fuss, simply plait your hair into four sections and straighten the entire length of each one. Leave your plaits in for a few minutes to cool, then undo and separate. Or even plan ahead and get styled in your sleep to save extra time. After an evening shower, work a lightweight styling cream (like Bumble & Bumble’s Styling Creme, £22) through damp hair and braid away. In the morning, undo the plaits and you’ll be rewarded with dry, effortless waves.
If your skin is in good condition you’ll significantly reduce the amount of makeup you need, so make sure to take good care of it! Face masks are a low-maintenance and easy way to treat your skin. Try an overnight mask (like Origins Drink Up Intensive, £24) to rehydrate your skin while you sleep. In the mornings, consider swapping your usual moisturiser for a hydrating mist (such as Caudalie’s Grape Water, £6). Quicker than waiting for a cream to sink in, a mist contains just enough hydration to smooth skin and allow products to apply more easily.
Applying a flawless base with SPF, primer, foundation and setting powder is notoriously time-intensive, so try using a BB cream or tinted moisturiser instead. These products condense many steps into one, and are designed to protect, moisturize and provide a little coverage to even out your skin tone all at once. Plus, you can easily apply these with your fingers to save time faffing about with brushes or beauty blenders. My favourites are Dr Jart + Water Fuse Beauty Balm for £18, and the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser for £29.50.
If we could only use one beauty product each day, many would opt for concealer, and for good reason too. It can be used to cover a multitude of sins: cancel out dark circles under the eyes, blot out redness, even skin-tone and conceal any blemishes. By pinpointing spots with a good concealer, you can achieve flawless-looking skin in 30 seconds without the hassle of applying a full face of foundation. The Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer for £19 is both radiant enough for use under the eyes and provides enough coverage for blemishes.
Just like the BB cream, you should look out for makeup products that have multiple uses to save both time and money- always a win-win for students. There are lots of these products on the market at the moment, including the iconic Nars Multiple, £29. This multi-purpose stick in 13 shades can be blended onto cheeks, lips and eyes in a matter of seconds and so is perfect for minimal makeup days. Or you could even use your favourite balmy pink or peachy lipstick shade instead.
Now is not the time for elaborate eye looks. Certainly don’t attempt a winged liner if you’re in a rush, however tempting it always seems to be. Stick to less precarious products, like kohl, which doesn’t carry the risk of running (like the Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl pencil, £19). Similarly, choose cream eye shadow pencils over powder for quick application (the By Terry Ombre Blackstar eye shadows are pretty pricey at £29 each, but you won’t regret the splurge). Simply scribble over the lid and smudge out with your finger for a long-lasting finish that looks much fancier than it actually is.
These practical tips are so easy you’ll be able to follow them even in your half-asleep daze — your morning primping routine can no longer be your reason for running late. Now there’s even more excuse to snooze that alarm just one more time and catch up on some much-needed beauty sleep.