What Are the 3 Most Helpful Beauty-Related Things You Do (or Don’t Do) When You’re Totally Pressed for Time?

Published in: Just For Fun

Here at Tabs the Cat Industries LLC, the work day starts promptly at 8 a.m. sharp — on the dot, because Tabs has a very low tolerance for tardiness…unless it’s his own.


This morning, as is often the case, I was running behind. Even though I only have a 30-second commute to the office (it’s, uh, right down the hall), it’s amazing how often I’m late. πŸ™‚

Just kidding… That’s actually sort of a morbid joke because I usually start doing something work related for Tabs in the mornings well before 8.

Today I’m running way behind.

You know how it goes… The CFO (Chief Feline Officer) expects you to be at his/her beck and call, so you start your days early and finish hella late.

This, of course, means having to rush to get ready in the morning, yet the boss still expects me to arrive at the office looking sharp (like I’m supposed to be able to go from busted to bewitching in 3 minutes, sheesh!).

Oh, well… Whatcha gonna do? The only real option is to adapt.

It got me thinking, though. What are the three most helpful beauty-related things I do (or don’t do) when I’m totally pressed for time?

1. Letting my mane go unwashed

I won’t skip my post-workout shower (I can’t stand it when my skin is sticky, especially on the back of my neck and knees, ugh!), but I can begrudgingly tolerate not washing my hair.

My roots get sweaty and oily and overall pretty gnarly, but at least there’s dry shampoo. By skipping shampoo and conditioner, that saves me at least 10 minutes (I’ve got a lot of hair), and then another 15-20 minutes for not having to do my hair.

That’s like 30 minutes saved right there.

2. Let the fur fly!

GURL, don’t even get me started about body hair because we’ll be here for days!

I’m a hairy beast, and I usually shave every day — legs, ‘pits, the whole kit and caboodle — but when I’m running late, I just say ‘eff it and embrace my sasquatch side. Then I’ll try to find something in my closet to wear that covers up the hairiest of my furry bits (no tank tops or shorts).

3. Organized beauty basics

So I started keeping all of my minimal makeup essentials in an acrylic desk organizer with a bunch of little compartments (I got it as a gift), and I kid you not — that thing has completely changed my life!

I keep my primers in one section, foundation in another, brow products in another compartment…

You get the picture.

The key is having everything you need to get ready in one place, but still separated. That way everything is easy to find. I don’t have to rifle around through drawers and bags for the right brush.

It saves SO MUCH TIME.

I can’t seem to find the exact same organizer I have, but this 6-Section Acrylic Organizer ($12.99) from The Container Store should get the job done fine. For $12.99, that’s a good time-saving investment.

How about you? What are the three most helpful beauty-related things you do (or don’t do) when you’re totally pressed for time?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Georgia says:

    When pressed for time I won’t put in my lenses but wear my glasses and bring them with me with the requisite supplies so that if I have a chance, I can put them in when I get to work.

    If REALLY pressed, I won’t make the bed nor hang up the clothes – I’ve gotten better about hanging up my clothes when I take them off, but many times it just doesn’t happen. The cats don’t mind, in fact they like to lay on them.

    I don’t take any shortcuts with hair or makeup, I have it down to a science and if I’m really running late, I just try to move faster.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Georgia,

      That’s awesome that you’ve got your hair and makeup down pat! What’s your makeup routine like? I’m always curious to know what gals who have tried-and-true routines do.

  2. Mackenzie says:

    Definitely agree with all of your tips – they’re almost identical to any of the ones I could come up with. Two things I will mention though – when I shower, I tend to skip the shower cap and just avoid getting my hair wet. I find that the shower cap collects humidity and gives me frizzy hair that I need to blowdry the moisture out of. I also LOVE Batiste’s “A Hint of Colour Deep & Dark Brown” dry shampoo. This dry shampoo powder has a dark brown tint and it helps me save time that I would have spent being paranoid about any white patches.
    Mackenzie recently posted … Lancome Family & Friends Sale

  3. Angela says:

    Such drool worthy daily essentials! Tell me, what’s in there, please? I just have to know what you adore so much that’s earned such a high status in your collection. I see some familiar things… Hourglass ambient lighting, MAC alluring aquatic ED bronzer, …

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela,

      There’s a lot going on in there, LOL! Is there any area in particular that you’re interested in, like foundation or concealer? Let me know and I can narrow it down for ya.

  4. Majick says:

    I kind of have my basic face stuff all in one place. I like your organization WAY better though LOL.

    I can easily skip washing the hair – love that about long hair, up-do’s are even easier when it’s a little dirty. OR a sleek pony and out the door.

    I wax most parts but the one’s that I don’t get covered in clothing if need be.

    And, if I don’t have time for make-up, I’m good with a brighter than bright lippie, mascara, and, a cc cream with a little bronzer/highligher.

    I used to get crazy if “everything” wasn’t perfect but I’ve gotten older and wiser now. I embrace imperfection and laugh in the face of a mental breakdown because my nails are chipped (but I’ll take the polish off LMAO).

  5. Alison M says:

    First I’ll skip moisturizer with SPF. It takes a solid 10 minutes for it to settle in so I’ll skip it, opt for Sonia Kashuk Vitamin Serum Primer instead, then mix foundation and Tinted Moisturizer with SPF. Lately I’m needing some foundation for coverage, but when my skin is tip top again, I’ll just stick to TM.

    Bronzer…Dare I say it…I skip contour and just use a blush lower and further back on my cheeks.

    I insist on tons of mascara and filling my brows so I leave out multiple eyeshadows when I’m pressed for time. One color from lashes through crease with a big ol’ fluffy brush.
    Alison M recently posted … Peachy Pink Blush Favorites

    • Karen says:

      YES! I usually do either a cream shadow or some sort of satiny brown on the lids. Makes it just so much easier! Forget about making tiny little circles in the outer corner, LOL!

      How are you liking that SK primer?

  6. Michelle says:

    I am NOT a morning person and some mornings (like today) are brutal. Forget the hair washing (if I’m in a ponytail, you know why), and the “full battle makeup”. Ponytail, BB cream, lipstick, blush and if I have 30 seconds to spare – mascara. But I have to admit I never feel as good on days like this as when I take the time to do it up right.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michelle,

      I’m the same way. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get out the door, but I don’t nearly as put-together, for sure.

      What kind of mascara do you use when you’re rushing out the door? I’m always looking for a new one to add to my arsenal. πŸ™‚

  7. Erin says:

    When totally pressed for time but have to look polished:

    1. Don’t wash hair unless it’s absolutely horrific. Scarves, headbands, and wet look ponytails or ballerina buns. Maybe a few squirts of beach spray for texture so it looks intentional. Dry shampoo if I have it.

    2. Slap on level products: TM, tinted lip balm, one coat of mascara. I skip eyeshadow, liner, blush, bronzer, brows, and powder.

    3. You can easily pull those things off with aplomb by using eye catching accessories, donning big sunnies, or wearing strong colored clothing.

    4. No shaving, nails, or body lotion. That’s what maxi dresses are for.
    Erin recently posted … Cheap Wine: When you get a dud instead of a stud

  8. Ruchita says:

    1. I will skip washing my hair. I use dry shampoo and I’ll straighten some parts with my flat iron. Sometimes, I’ll wash just my bangs, but otherwise I’ll just pull them back with a bobby pin.

    2. Shaving also takes a back seat. Luckily the hairs are kind of sparse on my legs so it’s not too noticable. I have to shave my underams though.

    3. Instead of doing a full eye look, I’ll groom my brows and apply some black liner at the base of my lashes. Then a quick curl and some mascara.

    I love the pics of Tabs grooming in the background – quite appropriate for this post. πŸ™‚ I think other than sleeping and eating, my cats spend the majority of the time grooming. It’s a tough life. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      It is. Tabs has to keep his tum camera-ready, so he spends most of his time on that critical area. πŸ˜‰

      What did you and the kitties think of the GoT finale?!

      • Ruchita says:

        I really liked the finale! There was so much that happened and I can’t believe we have to wait until next year for more episodes. At least True Blood is coming back this Sunday. I wasn’t crazy about the last couple of seasons, but hopefully the final one will be good!

        • Karen says:

          Me too. I have to go back and re-watch it so all the drama can sink in. Am I the only one out there who’s a little disturbed by the Lord Baelish/Sansa situation?

          • Ruchita says:

            Oh yeah, Lord Baelish is super creepy. But it looks like Sansa has stepped up her game! I hope good things are in store for Arya. And what about Tyrion? Ah, so many questions. I haven’t read the books, so I’m not sure what’s in store!

          • Karen says:

            I haven’t either. I’m trying to resist reading spoilers online but it’s so hard, arrgggh!

            I just hope that the characters stay alive, to be honest. You never know with this show, which I guess is part of the sweet, sweet pain. I have to constantly tell myself to not get attached. I really want to pull for Arya, John Snow and Tyrion, but it’s hard when you know that they could be gone at any time.

          • Ruchita says:

            I know! This show is like no other with regard to character deaths. I was fully prepared for someone major to die during the finale. All the actors are so good too. I just love the show!

  9. Natalie says:

    Hi Karen! This is a great post idea! It’s so helpful.

    1. I skip liquid foundation and just roll with concealer and powder (so much faster).

    2. I just pull my hair up, styling just takes too long.

    3. I do a simple eye look. Just a color over the old and a soft crease color. No crazy outer corner, highlight and detail business. I find soft brown smokey eyes perfect for fast days.
    Natalie recently posted … Formula X Marvelous Translucent Polish

    • Karen says:

      Hi Natalie,

      Great list! I’d love to know more about your simple eye look makeup products. What do you like for brown smokey eyes in a hurry?

  10. Iris says:

    I bathe and do the whole upkeep thing at night. Good thing as I take forever to shower.

    For my morning routines, I’ll skip blush, skip the hair gloss, and apply my lipstick on my way to work (as a passenger in a car) to save time.

  11. Shannon says:

    dry shampoo used to save my life, but with my hair so short now (still lovin the pixie cut!) it takes just about as much time to wash/dry as it does to use dry shampoo and then tame any weird pillow-intensified-cowlicks into place – so, I usually opt to just suds it all up these days, unless I magically wake up with perfect hair.
    *check it – that actually CAN happen sometimes. Because magic is real, yo πŸ™‚ haha!*

    My typical routine at the moment is pretty simple, since I’m desperate for sleep in the mornings (sigh.. I’ll never be a morning person). BB cream – I like the MAC stuff – is a real life-saver for me. I feel polished and professional if I throw that on before I leave the house, and then I can do lips, eyebrows (I have a pencil/gel duo thingy), and eyelashes on the subway! I usually try to put on a little blush before I leave the house, but failing that, I’ll use my lipstick on my cheeks πŸ™‚

  12. Divya says:

    When pressed for time I definitely skip my brows , foundation and even concealed on good skin days. otherwise a bit concealing around the nose, mascara/eyeliner and a bit of cream blush! done!
    Divya recently posted … The “No Foundation” Foundation | Guerlain Lingerie de Peau & Bourjois Happy Light

  13. Jacy says:

    My “oh my god I slept through my alarm” days look like this:

    1. Face or body wipes to the arm pits and crotch.
    2. Ponytail
    3. Concealer, powder, Maybelline color tattoo,mascara, dot of blush, colored lipbalm.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jacy,

      Body wipes are so great! I use them on the backs of my knees in the summer.

      Hope you’re having a nice Wednesday so far. How’s your week going?

  14. Ashleigh says:

    That organizer looks super handy. I’m only pressed for counter space however… I’ll have to look for a vertical version to save some space! Right now my makeup is just divided into “face/cheeks” and “eyes” and “stuff I don’t use much”… not exactly organized to my liking.
    To save time I will slap on a BB cream instead of doing my usual foundation routine, and I’ll skip the bronzer/highlighter in favor of an illuminating blush. And I’ll use a shimmery primer on my eyes or a cream shadow instead of doing a shadow look. I have to say, sometimes I’ve looked at my reflection halfway through the day and thought, “that looks rather pretty” πŸ™‚ though sometimes I’ll do the slanty frown :/ in reaction. I’ll also skip out on my body lotion routine- I’ll use some hand cream from my purse in the car or something. I really don’t like doing that though, especially in the winter time. But I don’t like getting dressed right away so that’s an extra 5 minutes or so loitering around naked in the bedroom, which can be skipped if in a hurry πŸ˜‰

    I saw that Too Faced just launched a Cat Eye palette! You should review it, it looks right up your alley with all those kitty-inspired names!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ashleigh,

      That palette looks purr-fect. πŸ™‚

      I’m with you using a cream shadow…they’re so wonderful when you need to save time. Have you tried the ones from Laura Mercier? They’re total unsung heroes.

      • Ashleigh says:

        I have not tried the Laura Mercier ones! I will check those out though. I have only recently stepped into her line and all of the stuff I’ve tried so far has been amazing πŸ™‚ Her radiant primer quickly shoved all my other primers to the wayside.

        • Karen says:

          They’re great. They come in tubes and you can easily apply them with fingers. My faves are Burnished Copper and Gold. I love Alloy too, but it’s more of a winter shade. Do you want me to give you some links to the reviews? Just let me know!

  15. Rachel says:

    I totally agree with everything you said, especially the hair washing and shaving tips! I started a new job and I have to be there earlier than I was used to, so time saving is of the essence. Also I am obsessed with acrylic organizers, have you seen the ones for jewlery from the container store? They will be mine!

    • Karen says:

      Congrats on your new job, Rachel! πŸ˜€ Do you like it so far?

      And yes, I’ve seen the Container Store organizers and they are really cool. Have you seen the ones from Muji? I want, I want!

  16. Kathy says:

    My hair is short and dry so it’s on it own when I’m in a hurry. I find that using the items I am very used to speeds everything up. No guessing it goes on same every time.

    I’ve been working on the organization thing, so. . . drawer on my right side, skincare products lip treatment and eye treatment. Drawer on left has my “always” makeup. Favorite BB with SPF, DipBrow, Bobby Brown Shadow CrΓ¨me stick OR Urban Decay Desperation smudged, Urban Decay Naked Native blush, lip color, mascara. Done.

  17. 80sChicwithglasses says:

    My tips that work for me are:

    First, I ALWAYS plan my clothes out the night before (been a lifesaver since college days when I had 5 minutes to dress before I was late to class, lol). That way I don’t spend lots of time digging through my closet. Second, I keep my makeup simple and try to use my fingers instead of digging for brushes. I’ll use a tinted moisturizer, mascara (skip the eyeshadow), blush, setting spray, and grab a lipstick/gloss to take with me. Lastly, I’ll grab a breakfast bar, string cheese or fruit to eat in the car. That way I save time on sitting and eating a meal. It also saves on prep time, lol.

  18. Kwmechelle says:

    Well, I’m not much of a full face kinda gal, but I always love to go for a glam neutral smokey eye. When there’s no time to go all out, I do my brows, sweep MAC Mulch on the lids & Cover Girl Bronzer in Ebony as a transition color. A bit of gel liner, Benefit They’re Real Mascara, & MAC Clear Lip Glass then it’s out the door.

    Of course, I always keep multiple tubes of gloss/lipliners in my purse to spruce up my look & bring some color to my face. πŸ™‚

  19. Doreen G. says:

    When I’m pressed for time I will usually pit my hair up in a pony.
    Instead of using a few differnt eye shadow’s I’ll usually just sweep on one sheer color all over eyelid.
    I’ll usually just use a CC cream, alittle concealer, blush and Mascara. Then out the door!

  20. Kate & Zena says:

    Here’s the 3 biggest things I do:

    1. I always pull out my clothes the day ahead. I’m notorious for taking forever to pick out clothes, so when I know I only will have a limited time to get ready, I pull out one or two outfits to pick from the night before. It just saves time.

    2. Keep my most oft makeup out, but prepare to skip out non-essentials like foundation in lieu of the essentials like sunscreen, concealer, brows, mascara and lips. I’m lucky that my skin is rather impeccable so I skimp on foundation and work on what needs attention: brows (fill in), concealer (cover those vampire circles up!), bring out my long lashes with mascara and a tiny bit of eyeliner and put on a beautiful lip color or lipgloss. Sunscreen is the most essential thing for me because of my Lupus so I’ve inevitably cut out foundation many, many, MANY times!

    3. Have a low-maintenance cut that looks great without much work or know one amazing elegant style that can be done in 5 minutes or fewer. I recently got my hair lobbed with a slight layer in front. Since I wash my hair at night, I never need to do anything. I can literally brush it and it looks like it was done at a salon. If I know I need it up, I dutch braid it sideways, roll the tail into a bun and pin. It’s a style I have down to four minutes. I also have a few other buns, braids and twists that can be done in five minutes or fewer, but the braided one is a go-to.

    If you need a fourth, here’s one, keep your keys and other essentials to get out of the door in one central location. Always put them there every single time to come in, that way, if you need to get out in a hurry, you aren’t hunting for you keys!

  21. Vanessa says:

    Ooooo would love a break down of what’s in the acrylic tray πŸ™‚

  22. Joanna says:

    When I am really pressed I basically do the basics with my makeup. Foundation, Mascara, Nude eyeliner (for bottom lash line), highlighter for high points on me face, setting powder and carmex lip balm. My hair I would put into a band and thats it.

  23. Your organizer tray looks great Karen! I too keep my basic essentials in a small drawer case at my desk so that I can find everything quickly when in a hurry.

    I skip foundation in a hurry and use concealer and powder.

    I also skip precise liner and go for a quick smudged liner instead preferably in brown as its the most forgiving!
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Lakme Absolute Face Stylist Foundation : Review

  24. Sjess says:

    I always get out of bed too late! So I always end up doing just the basics: washing face and body, moisturizing, doing a quick bun or braid and filling in my brows, that’s it :). The rest of the make-up is in my bag to put on when I have a quiet moment at my desk. I always shower and wash my hair at night, that saves me tons of time in the mornings!

  25. Sylirael says:

    I just skip all makeup! I usually have a tinted lip balm or MLBB lipstick with me anyway, so I can toss that on at work for a pick-me-up later.

    I will always wash my hair if it’s due (I wash it every other day), although one day I’m curious to try dry shampoo…
    Sylirael recently posted … Operation Desert Rogue Part 2: Travel Skincare and Tips for Parched Skin

  26. Irene says:

    Oooo, that’s my topic. On those mornings (which are every other morning for me really) obviously forget the hair washing and shaving and any kind of long shebang like this. That’s what dry shampoos are for I say. I would even skip brushing my teeth sometimes (although that happens veeeery rarely) and just chew some refreshing gum the whole day (no judgement, please).
    For makeup: I rarely mess with my base, although I may just use fewer products, like skip the primer, bronzer (I rarely use it on an day-to-day basis anyway) and highlighter. For the eyes I’ll use my go-to favorite little trio from Wet-n-Wild “Silent Treatment” (the colors are very nice there, just perfect for me) and usually do a wash of taupe color all over my lids and smudge any dark eye-liner or dark-brown shadow from the palette along the lashline + mascara + lipstick/gloss and that’s it.
    Or I may do something like in my post “Fast, Easy And Effective Makeup Using Only 5 Products” but usually with more neutral colors, which would be even faster.
    Irene recently posted … Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick in 88 Evanescente: Review And Swatches

  27. Katherine M says:

    Great post! From the time I was in school as a kid I came up with ways to save time in the mornings because as a kid I had a tendency to lay in bed for a few extra minutes. However, I’ve rarely been late or running late for anything – I’m always chronically early.

    1) Showering at night has been a huge time saver. I use shower-friendly razors like Schick Intuition or Venus + Olay to really save time when I’m tired. If I don’t feel like washing my hair, I massage in dry shampoo at night. By showering at night, I can set my alarm up to a half hour later than I would normally have to get up.

    2) Sleep with a fan in the room if you tend to sweat at night. I also keep face wipes handy (I’m a huge fan of the “Yes To” collection and I have the cucumber and tomato wipes) to quickly wipe away dirt and grease from tossing and turning at night.

    3) Either have clothes well-organized, or get them out the night before. Saves you from going on a hunt in the morning and saves you at least 5 to 10 extra minutes.

    4) Like you, I keep my minimal essentials reachable. I don’t really have organizers like you do but I do have some drawers and containers to store things like that so that they are easily reachable. For eyes, I love a good makeup palette like Naked 3 or good cream shadow sticks. For work, I do CC cream, concealer for any blemishes, and blush/bronzer. It takes less than 5 minutes to put on and makes me at least appear put together.

    5) For hair, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. While I still love trying new things with hair, for the career I am in, it’s easiest to have long hair that I can put up very neatly in little time. Any time I have a shorter style or lots of fun layers it is a lot more work to keep everything in place. What I have learned with getting different looks is that it takes time to get used to what works the best with them…and rushed mornings are usually not the best time to learn. A flatiron or re-wetting a section of errant hair and blow drying it can be a quick way to tame those pieces that drive you nuts in the morning.

  28. Let’s see…

    I’ll do something quick and easy with my hair, like a high ponytail or a quick side braid.

    I’ll work with neutral safe eyeshadow colors that are more forgiving in their application.

    And I’ll skip lippie and just go with tinted lip balm.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Revlon Rio Rush 16 Hour ColorStay Eyeshadow Quad & Super Lustrous Lipstick

  29. REG says:

    oh! I recently bought the acrylic organizer. Mine was from bed bath and beyond and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

  30. Angela says:

    Hi Karen!

    Hmmm…. I can’t seem to figure out how to reply to comments. I’m interested in the left half to be honest. Haha. Aren’t you part of the oily faced crew too? All of those big tubes and bottles.

    Also, which MAC ED bronzer and Hourglass ambient lighting are those? This inquiring mind would love to know. My MAC Aphrodite’s Shell has been used almost every day since I got her. Any recommendations for something that offers the same sort of look yet is different? Something that I may love as much as her so I don’t use her up in a hurry? I’m a pale gal, NC 15 but just that side of neutral. I love her pink tone. Her lightness. She’s just gorgeous and perfect in so many ways.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angela,

      OK, so those are the foundations and primers. I’ll a follow up post to this because a couple people have asked. Keep an eye out for it tomorrow.

      And yes, I’m oily in some parts — forehead, nose and chin. I was REALLY oily during my teens and all the way up through my 20s. In my early 20s everything changed.

      That MAC Bronzer is Delphic. The texture’s of the Extra Dimension Bronzers are amazing, RIGHT?! I really hope MAC re-releases them, because they’re such gems. I don’t know of anything quite like it.

      The closest thing I can think of that might be similar to Aphrodite’s Shell is Chanel’s Soleil de Tan Bronzer, but it’s more like a cream, which could be problematic if your skin is really oily. The color would probably work for you though. You might also want to check out MAC’s Golden Bronzer, which has a similar color but a powder texture. πŸ™‚

  31. Shelley says:

    Two words: Top knot. πŸ™‚ Ain’t nobody got time to do their hair.

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