Whether you've hit the snooze button one too many times or have a last-minute party to primp for, we—and you—know that sooner or later you're going to need fast hair and makeup tricks—little fixes that make a big impact. The key: Always be prepared. With the right products and tools already on hand, plus these simple, quick beauty tips, you can handle any time crunch and look great in minutes.
You're racing the clock to get to work on time.
Speedy Solution Focus on using just a few key cosmetics in all the right places, says New York City-based makeup artist Paula Dorf: First, apply concealer anywhere you want to camouflage redness or discoloration. Next, perk up your lashes with an eyelash curler. Add one swipe of no-run mascara to upper lashes only and finish with cream blush, rubbed with your fingers onto the apples of your cheeks and then dabbed onto your lips for a hint of color.
Tools You Need Concealers: Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfecter $33; clarins.com); mascara: Maybelline New York Great Lash Waterproof ($6; at drugstores); cream blush: NARS Cream Blush ($26; sephora.com).
Your hair's dirty—and there's no time to shower.
Speedy Solution Instead of washing and blow-drying, apply a little hair powder (even baby powder) on dry strands, close to the scalp, or sprinkle on a brush and comb through. The powder will absorb excess oil and make hair look less greasy. Getting hair up and off your face can also make you look pulled together quickly. "If your hair is long, twist the back up and pin it to hold," suggests Allison Luongo, a stylist for Bumble and bumble salon in New York City. A ponytail's even easier and lends instant polish—just smooth the ends with no more than a dime-sized drop of styling cream or glossing serum.
Tools You Need Hair powder: Bumble and bumble Hair Powder ($35; bumbleandbumble.com); styling creams: John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Créme ($6; at drugstores) or Herbal Essences None of Your Frizzness Créme ($3; at drugstores); hair accessories: Scünci No-Damage Elastic Polybands, ($4; at drugstores).
You spot a pimple—right before your presentation.
Speedy Solution "For a blemish, the ideal remedy is a color corrector that will help neutralize the red," Dorf says. Use corrective concealer sparingly just over the red areas to even out the color; then, using a brush, lightly pat a regular concealer (in a shade similar to your skin color) on top of that. For staying power, finish with a light dusting of loose powder tapped over the area.
Tools You Need Corrective concealer: Physicians Formula Concealer 101 Perfecting Concealer Duo ($7; at drugstores), which contains both a corrective color plus concealer in one kit; loose powder: T. LeClerc Loose Powder in Translucide ($45; 800-788-4731).
Your lunch-hour spin class left you sweaty—and short on time.
Speedy Solution Wash your face with a pre-moistened cleansing cloth to get rid of pore-clogging dirt, oil and sweat. Then apply a tinted moisturizer. "This complements your natural, after-gym flush, giving you an even healthier glow," Dorf says. Use a concealer under eyes; finish with a swipe of fresh lip color.
Tools You Need Pre-moistened cleansing cloths: Olay Daily Facials Express Wet Cleansing Cloths ($5; at drugstores); tinted moisturizer: Paula Dorf Face Tint SPF15 in Jet Set Glo ($40; pauladorf.com); concealer: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage ($28; lauramercier.com), which comes in a two-tone kit in six different shades; lip color: Lancôme Color Design in All Done Up ($22; lancome.com).
You forgot all about the after-work soiree.
Speedy Solution "For a last-minute soirée, there's nothing that creates a sultry look quicker than the smoky eye," Dorf says. All you need is a blending brush and a dark eye shadow in a shade like deep brown, navy or steel. "Smudge the shadow onto your upper and lower lash line and flare out around the corners for a dramatic evening look," Dorf adds. Add a dusting of allover radiance-boosting powder and a swipe of dramatic lipstick with a touch of sparkle.
Tools You Need Eye brush and shadow: Sonia Kashuk Small Eyeshadow Brush ($4; at Target stores) and Stila Eye Shadow in Charcoal ($22; sephora.com); allover powder: Prescriptives Magic Liquid Powder ($35; prescriptives.com); lipstick: Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick in Pink Goddess ($14; clinique.com).
Your nails need rehab and there's no salon in sight.
Speedy Solution Get groomed nails in no time with sheer, light and fast-drying products. First, remove any chipped polish with polish-remover wipes (stash them in your purse or desk drawer). Then paint on just one layer of sheer polish (pale pinks and neutrals work best) and, if you have time, one layer of topcoat – both of the fast-drying variety, recommends Ji Baek, owner of Rescue Beauty Lounge in New York City. Some products even have the color and the topcoat in one.
Tools You Need Polish-remover wipes: Cutex Essential Care Advanced Nail Polish Remover Pads ($3 for six; at drugstores); polishes to try: Maybelline New York Express Finish Fast-Dry Nail Enamel in Sheer Ivory and Show Me the Honey! ($4 each) and Revlon ColorStay Always On Nail Enamel in Endless Pink and Invincible Bronze ($6; all at drugstores).