You value your time, but often it seems to vanish into thin air. Ever wish there were more hours in a day? Turns out, adjusting how you use the minutes in each day can help you reclaim those precious assets. Most women spend an average of 55 minutes every day (that’s 335 hours a year!) on their appearance, using an average of 16 products daily.
But you don’t have to sacrifice time (or money) that could be spent enjoying friends and family, and doing meaningful work that supports a strong community. Don’t ditch your beauty regimen, but do rethink it. You may just be surprised by how great you look and feel.
Sleep your way to beauty
Rest is beautifying. It allows your body to better synthesize collagen and to combat cortisol, the stress hormone. Marry those Z’s with while-you-sleep treatments, and you’re in for a double dose of beauty that takes no time out of your day. Try an overnight cuticle treatment or facial mask (WE LIKE: Eminence Organic Skincare Strawberry Rhubarb Masque), wear socks to lock in a plant-based foot moisturizer as you sleep, and turn on an aromatherapy diffuser to sleep soundly and wake up refreshed.
Do it yourself
Sure, DIY beauty might not seem like a time-saving effort, but what it can certainly save you is money, especially if it’s a two-in-one product made from edible ingredients. Sunny Subramanian, coauthor of The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty (Robert Rose, 2016), suggests blending one ripe avocado with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to create a super-hydrating hair mask. “It quenches the thirst of parched hair and pampers strands damaged by blow dryers, curling irons and chemicals,” she says. “Best of all, it’s edible— seriously! Spread any unused leftovers on toast with a sprinkle of salt.”
Incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet is increasingly recognized as one of the best ways to support the health of your skin, hair and nails from within. Start with the basics: dark leafy greens, water-packed fruits and veggies, and fatty acid–rich oils, avocado and fish. Save time by preparing these ahead of time and work into meals and snacks. Also, keep skin looking taut by adding a scoop of collagen powder to foods like smoothies, soups and yogurt.
Here’s one of the best beauty tips—and it costs no money (plus you can do it anytime, anywhere): Drink more water. Water is nature’s most powerful beauty secret, plumping up and hydrating skin to prevent a lackluster complexion or parched lips. In fact, research published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology confirms that drinking water positively impacts skin’s physiology, including skin hydration. Good ol’ H2O is also naturally energizing, so you’ll have more get-up-and-go to make the most of your waking hours.
Experts recommend washing your hair only once or twice a week; this not only saves time but preserves healthy oils to prevent breakage. A natural dry shampoo containing cornstarch, oat kernel powder and essential oils (WE LIKE: Giovanni Powder Power Dry Shampoo) can ensure you get through the week feeling fresh, without stripping away any beautiful shine. Plus, using dry shampoo takes a fraction of the time that it does to wash your locks.
Know your skin type
Another way to simplify your beauty regimen? “In addition to having a healthy lifestyle, using the right products for your age and skin type makes a big difference,” says Suzanne Friedler, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist. One piece of advice for all ages and skin types: “Don’t strip the skin of its natural emollients by using harsh soaps or toners.” As a rule of thumb, avoid phthalates, synthetic fragrances and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). From there, you can discern which products make the most sense for your skin and body type, and cut out the rest.
Geek out on science
Identifying which skin care ingredients are most effective can help you be smarter about your beauty routine and confirm that you’re making a good investment when you buy a high-performance skin care product (WE LIKE: MyChelle Peptide + Anti-Wrinkle Serum). “Peptides can stimulate collagen, hyaluronic acid attracts water and aids in skin hydration, and antioxidants can help reduce the effects of pollution, smoking and too much sun,” Friedler says. “A combination of all these ingredients would be ideal.”