If your average workday starts with frantically replying to emails during your morning commute and ends with an on-the-move conference call as you dash home for dinner, I understand a 20-step beauty routine is the last thing you want to add to your to-do list.
However, there are a handful of key products—I’ve identified seven, in fact—that will not only save you time in the long run but can also do wonders to disguise any signs of tiredness. With no overthinking or application process required, scroll down to discover the capsule beauty kit I swear by for busy days.
Aside from looking wonderfully chic in your bathroom, the pump dispenser of this body wash is totally practical and prevents bleary-eyed fumbles with flip-top lids or screw caps during your morning shower. A couple of pumps provide enough for a full-body cleanse, and thanks to the nourishing seven-oil formula, you can skip the body lotion afterwards. My favourite thing about it though has to be the way it imparts a gorgeous sheen on your skin—a must for bare-leg days.
I’m a huge skincare advocate and generally encourage mixing your products based on the time of day, how healthy your skin is or whether Mercury is in retrograde (seriously). But on weeks when you just don’t have time to think, you can use this lotion as your morning and evening moisturiser, a treatment for parched lips, your daily sun protection (it has an SPF of 10) and even as a hand cream. It’s lightweight, so it sinks in quickly, leaving your skin plump and dewy-looking.
If there’s one ingredient that every stylish woman has in her beauty arsenal right now, it’s retinoid. Whilst this might sound exactly like the kind of high-maintenance beauty buzzword that you don’t have time for during a busy week, bear with me. Rather than apply it as an all-over treatment, I’d recommend trying it as on-the-spot blemish buster. Our associate social media editor, Alyss Bowen, applied this new Sunday Riley serum directly to a pimple before bed and woke the next day to find that the redness had radically reduced—ideal for tackling an unwanted breakout overnight.
Is it a primer? Is it a highlighter? Maybe it’s a foundation? Whatever you want to make of this complexion enhancer, there’s no doubt that it boasts a multitude of uses. Great for days when you’ve struggled to log a solid eight hours and need to get out of the door quickly, you can apply this directly to your skin and blend in with your fingers to give you an instant radiance boost. Charlotte Tilbury refers to it as a “high glow celebrity skin filter in a bottle,” and I agree. Wear it alone for a healthy-skin look, apply it to the cheekbones or mix some with your foundation for a glossy finish.
Whilst mascara remains a desert-island essential for many, I’m a firm believer in the power of brows for adding a little polish to your look on even the most undone of days. There are some great brow gels out there (Glossier’s Boy Brow being another favourite), but this one from Benefit is totally fuss-free in its application. Brush it against the direction of your hair growth first if you want to add volume, then with the direction to tint and tame.
Multitasking makeup is where it’s at when you’ve barely got time to chow down on a Pret sandwich at your desk before you’re off to yet another meeting. New to the UK, you might have already spotted these Milk Makeup sticks in the handbags of your favourite stylish women. This hydrating two-in-one stick doubles as a blush and a lip tint—just sweep it on where you want to add a flush of colour. Bonus: It uses a moisturising blend of mango butter, peach nectar and avocado oil, so it also hydrates your skin while providing colour payoff.
When your calendar is so jam-packed you’d have to schedule an appointment with yourself to fit in a hair wash, having a can of this on hand could be the difference between you and greasy hair. Part dry shampoo, part texturiser, it soaks up excess oil at the roots of your hair and provides piecey texture through the lengths. Simply put, it’s cool-girl hair in a bottle. Just spray, massage in with your fingers and you’re good to go.
If you’re so zapped for time that your beauty kit needs to come with you on your work commute, it’s worth mentioning this makeup bag from Anya Hindmarch. Originally created for in-flight travel, these cases are widely regarded as the best portable beauty pouches. They fit all of your essentials whilst managing to be surprisingly compact. The Perspex outer means you can see exactly what you’ve got inside when you’re in a rush.