9 Genius Ways to Speed Up Your Morning Beauty Routine

Updated 04/24/19
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Harper & Harley

We’ve all experienced the panic of looking at our alarm clock and realizing we’ve overslept… by a lot. Suddenly, the leisurely hour you had planned to carefully apply makeup and style your hair has gone out the window, replaced by mere minutes of beauty cram time. Cue the anxiety attack. With the clock springing ahead thanks to daylight saving time, this ordeal becomes even more likely.

Instead of running out the door with yet another rendition of your go-to messy bun (and enduring a round of pointed stares from your co-workers), why not employ a few simple hair and skin tips to help you save time and still look polished? We asked celebrity hairstylist George Papanikolas (his clients include Mila Kunis and Shay Mitchell) and L’Oréal consulting dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner, MD, for their best morning beauty tips. Keep scrolling below, and never curse your alarm clock again.

Think in Advance


Here’s a thought: Your haircut can actually determine how much time you spend on your locks every morning. Keep this in mind next time you update your mane—your future groggy a.m. self will thank you. “Invest in a good haircut that’s appropriate for your hair texture,” Papanikolas says. “If you have naturally curly hair, avoid bangs,” he warns. “Instead, ask for long layers that are slightly curved in at the ends—that way, you can use a gel like Matrix Biolage Blue Agave Nectar Control Gel ($16) after showering and be out the door!” If you have straight strands, he suggests a heavier, blunt cut to give your hair more weight, and make it easier (and faster) to style.

Fake Showered Strands

Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo $44

We shudder thinking about what our strands looked like during the PDS (pre–dry shampoo) era. Embrace this life-saving development in modern beauty and give your limp locks a spray at the roots to fake freshly showered hair. Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk ($20) soaks up oil and adds volume, while Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo ($44) makes your strands look and smell like they were just washed.

Go Old School


We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that hot rollers are not one of the beauty tools you reach for when you’re scrambling to get ready in the morning—but maybe they should be. “They may be old school, but they’re a super-fast and easy way to do your hair if you need to look glam in minutes,” Papanikolas says.

He suggests starting with a spritz of dry shampoo on dry hair before taking large sections and wrapping them up in rollers. Do your makeup and brush your teeth as you wait for them to cool—even if it’s just for a few minutes—then remove and brush out. The result? “You’ll get instantly glamorous waves, plus so much body!”

Style While You Sleep

Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast $29

This tip is for those of you prone to oversleeping on the regular (no judgment). “Put your damp hair in two buns at the nape of your neck before you sleep,” Papanikolas suggests. When you wake up, shake them out and spritz them with a texturizing spray like Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast ($29) for “I woke up like this” waves that would make Bey proud.

We’ve got plenty of other tricks for waking up with prettier hair right here.

Skip the Eye Cream

Ever Youthful Quattro Peptide Face & Eye Serum $88

Skipping eye cream may seem counterintuitive at first, but Gerstner swears she never uses a separate eye cream when in a hurry. Instead, she makes sure to include her eye area when applying serum: “It will double as eye cream and save you a step.” Ever Youthful Quattro Peptide Face & Eye Serum ($88) is chock-full of wrinkle-smoothing peptides that are gentle enough for the delicate eye area.

Combine Forces

Erborian CC Crème $44

Why spend precious time moisturizing, protecting, and concealing when you can combine all three into one step? “A CC or BB cream is an excellent hybrid product that will significantly speed up your morning routine,” Gerstner says. She recommends L’Oréal Paris Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator ($20) for even coverage and SPF protection; we love Erborian CC Crème ($44), which boasts a creamy formula and self-adjusts to perfect match your skin tone.

Double (Or Triple) Up

Wander Beauty Carryon Lip and Cheek Gel $22

The quickest way to look instantly put-together? Rosy lips and flushed cheeks. Choose a double-duty product that can help you achieve both—we’re obsessed with Wander Beauty Carryon Lip and Cheek Gel ($22), which blends like your favorite balm with a hint of flushed color. Gerstner swears by L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift ($11): “I keep one in my purse and one in my desk drawer for an instant pick-me-up.”

Don't Line—Tightline

Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’n’ Kohl Liner $27

If applying a perfect cat eye usually takes up a good part of your morning makeup routine, try tightlining them instead—no steady hand or Q-tips required. Just lift your eyelid up and trace along your waterline with creamy gel or nonirritating kohl eyeliner, like Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’n’ Kohl Liner ($27) or Rimmel London Magnify’eyes Kohl Kajal Shadow Liner ($6), filling in the gaps between your lashes. Follow with a nude eyeliner along your bottom waterline for an even more eye-opening effect. Your eyes will pop, and, trust us, you’ll look instantly more awake.

Spritz Away

Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater $7

The biggest indicator of an “I slept past my alarm” kind of morning? The state of your skin. Avoid pillow-face and give your visage a dewy glow by spritzing with a hydrating facial mist like Mario Badescu Facial Spray ($7), which smells like a vacation and is made with coconut water, aloe, honeysuckle, and more. You’ll arrive at your destination looking fresh, put-together, and well-rested (even if you aren’t).

Want to save even more time in the morning? All of these products work to make your skin and hair prettier overnight.

This story was originally published on November 27, 2016.

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