Tweezing and tanning, buffing and blending, combing and contouring-let's face it, if you followed all the beauty advice you come across, you'd be one very busy lady. And while it's fantastic if you love to pamper yourself, it's also perfectly fine to embrace being low-maintenance and no-frills when it comes to your primping routine. Maybe you like the way you look without a lot of makeup, or perhaps you just don't have the time (or money) for tons of products and procedures. Either way, feel free to not feel too bad if…
…haircuts are a twice-a-year occasion for you.
Most stylists will gently scold you for waiting more than six weeks between trims, but if you know you're not going to hoof it to the salon that often, there are ways to prevent split ends and keep your cut looking fresh for longer. "Using a good deep conditioner every week will keep your ends from fraying, and a daily leave-in conditioner will also help keep your hair healthy," says New York City hairstylist Timothy John, who recommends MoroccanOil or Tigi S-Factor Papaya Leave-In Moisture Spray. When you do go in for a cut, choose one that grows out gracefully and doesn't require much upkeep-say, long layers instead of a blunt bob. "Also, stay away from razored and textured cuts, as they leave the ends too exposed and more likely to become dry and split," John adds. Cutting down on your use of heat styling appliances (especially the flat iron) and reducing blow-dry time as much as possible will also prevent your hair from drying out, which can prompt split ends. "Try to keep the blow dryer moving and not stationary on one particular part of your hair," John advises.
...you spend approximately 1.5 minutes-not 15-tending to your skin before bed.
More power to the women who spend quality time with their Clarisonic skin cleaning brushes before bed-but let's be honest, not all of us have that kind of motivation at the end of the day. If you're not going to meticulously scour every pore-or even lather up at all-at least use a facial cleansing wipe, like Pond's Clean Sweep, to wipe away surface dirt, makeup and excess oil before you hit the sheets. "Leave some beside your bed so that you won't have an excuse not to wash your face before going to sleep," says Nashville-based dermatologist Michael Gold, MD, who also suggests sticking to non-comedogenic makeup and moisturizers during the day to reduce your risk of clogged pores at night. And remember: Using wipes is not a substitute for washing your face-it's more of a stopgap. Whenever you do have the time and the energy, definitely sneak in a proper at-sink facial cleansing before bed, which will keep your pores clearer and allow any overnight products you apply to penetrate properly.
...a pedicure, for you, involves trimming your toenails and-that's about it.
Weekly pedicures? Such a nice thought, but you know the truth: Whether you pumice and paint at home or get professionally buffed and varnished, pedis require a big chunk of time. If you want smooth, tidy feet without the downtime, here's a sneaky trick: Buy an exfoliating foot lotion that contains salicylic acid, urea and/or lactic acid, like Kerasal Exfoliating Moisturizing Foot Ointment. Rub it in before bed, focusing on rough and dry areas, and then pop on some socks. Within days, your feet-and cuticles-will look noticeably neater. Got a few extra minutes? Apply a light nail polish color; it'll dry much more quickly than something bright or dark, and it'll last longer because chips won't show.
Give yourself the perfect at-home pedicure.
…you often wait a day (or three) between shampoos.
No need to be ashamed of your unwashed ponytail; skimping on shampooing is actually a good habit-it helps keep your hair healthy. If your hair isn't super oily or you're not working up a major sweat at the gym, you can easily get away with washing it only a few times a week, especially if you know how to keep your hairstyle looking fresh. One tip from John: Keep a blowout sleek by sleeping on a satin pillowcase, or if you don't want to spend money on one, wrap a silk scarf around your pillow. In the morning, use a little dry shampoo to sop up any excess scalp oil and perk up your roots. "Just spray it on your scalp and then comb or brush it through," says John, who's a fan of Tigi Rockaholic Dirty Secret.
…the idea of applying multiple wrinkle creams-to target crow's feet, smile lines, forehead creases-makes you laugh.
There's a reason they make anti-aging treatments targeted to different zones of the face: The eye area, for instance, can't always tolerate strong ingredients, like retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids. But if you're looking for a one-step product that will prevent fine lines and wrinkles on your entire face, don't despair-these do exist. "Look for ingredients like ceramides and growth factors, which are potent but much less irritating, so they can be applied all over the face," suggests Dr. Gold, who recommends Neocutis Bio-restorative Skin Cream and Results Rx Pepoxide.
…wearing foundation means you're attending a super special occasion-such as your own wedding.
Not only does shellacking on a full face of foundation take time, it makes you look kind of old-fashioned. These days, there are much less labor-intensive ways to get your skin looking even-toned and polished. "The very easiest option is to apply a powder foundation," says New York-based celebrity makeup artist Maria Verel; you can use a domed brush or even the sponge that comes in the compact. "It's no mess, no fuss and fast-perfect!" If you have very dark under-eye circles or a red blemish, just blend on some spot concealer first. Another easy everyday option is a tinted moisturizer, which offers moderate all-over coverage without requiring as much blending as a foundation. Try Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30.
…you're too antsy to wait 20 minutes for your deep conditioner to properly penetrate.
Thanks to advances in product development, most deep conditioners no longer require you to wait around for 20 minutes to get results; 10 is now the norm. Still, even that can feel like an eternity when you're busy with work or the kids. Instead of ditching the idea entirely, slap the stuff on while you shave and call it a day. "If you have five minutes, that's better than nothing," John says. "You can also use a deep conditioner once in a while as your daily conditioner-think of it as a cream rinse you just apply and then wash off. It'll give the illusion of deeply conditioned hair in less time." However, you don't want to use it every day or you might experience buildup. Another option is to use a deep conditioner that only requires a few minutes to work, like Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask, which needs just three to five minutes to penetrate your hair.
Take off years with these age-defying hairstyles.
…applying sunscreen every day makes sense in theory, but you always forget.
You know, you know-dermatologists say you're supposed to apply sunscreen every single day because UV rays are harmful year-round (even during the winter months) and can reach you in the most unlikely places, like through the car window on your daily commute. In reality, it's easy to overlook this extra step when you're not headed to the beach. The fix? Make it so sunscreen isn't an extra step at all by choosing a moisturizer that has built-in SPF 30. Most major brands now offer this option, such as Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 30, so wearing daily sun protection can be a total no-brainer.
…you will not be getting a professional facial or peel until the next time you win an all-expenses-paid spa vacation.
There's no denying the perks of professional facials and peels-they leave your skin smoother, minimize the appearance of pores and improve clarity. But you can mimic their effects at home with minimal effort by exfoliating regularly and thoroughly. "Gently remove dead skin cells by using a facial scrub or exfoliating wipe three times a week," recommends Dr. Gold. He notes that peels containing lactic acid are also an option, since "it's gentler than glycolic acid and not only exfoliates but adds moisture," as is Priori Advanced AHA Perfection Facial Gel, which contains both lactic and salicylic acids to melt away dull skin.
Make your own face masks with these do-it-yourself recipes.
…you apply makeup before you leave the house and then never touch it up again.
So you're not a pardon-me-while-I-powder-my-nose kind of girl-but you can still prevent your skin from looking like a glassy lake by 4 p.m. Even the best powder doesn't stay put forever, especially once you work up a slight sweat (riding the rush-hour train, then running around the office putting out potential fires). A longer-lasting option: A liquid mattifier (makeup pros love Vichy Normaderm Pro Mat). Apply one to your T-zone before your makeup; it'll hover atop your pores and not only sop up oil for hours but also help your makeup (and powder!) stay put for longer. For touchups that don't require mirror time, tote some blotting papers in your purse.