If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.
What I want from my skin- and hair-care routine: maximum benefits for the absolute minimum effort. Basically, I want to take off my makeup only once every three days with a paper towel and some dish soap and still have glowing, healthy skin. Is that really too much to ask?
Well, yeah, definitely, but thanks to some very understanding beauty pros, all the other slackers and I still stand a chance of looking good. The best part? You don’t even have to be awake for all of these tips. Follow the advice below and you can look and feel like you tried without doing much of anything.
1. Invest in a silk pillowcase
Silk, unlike cotton, won’t suck up the moisture from your hair and skin. A silk pillowcase can also decrease the number of sleep lines you wake up with. “Your skin doesn’t scrunch up on a silk pillowcase, so your face will look more refreshed in the morning,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. A crowd favorite that gets Jaliman’s approval: the Slip Silk Pure Silk pillowcase.
2. Turn on the humidifier
Not only will it keep your sinuses from drying up, turning on a good-quality humidifier (not a diffuser), like a cool-mist Crane, is also good for your skin. “Sleeping with a humidifier on will help your moisturizer be more effective,” says Mary Irwin, a makeup artist in New York City. A dry room will suck up moisture wherever it can get it—including from your face. Keeping your bedroom hydrated will help your skin stay that way too.
3. Try an overnight face mask
Another way to wake up with dewy skin: An overnight mask is perfect for those of us who can’t be bothered with anything that needs to be rinsed off or timed. “I’m obsessed with Herbivore Botanicals Moon Fruit night treatment. I put it on before bed and wake up with skin that looks like I spent all day at the spa,” Irwin says. Another great option: Rodial Dragon’s Blood hyaluronic mask (Note: No dragons were harmed in the making of this product).
4. Wrap your hair in a microfiber towel
No matter what kind of hair you have, you can cut down on drying time (and decrease frizz) by using a microfiber towel, like this great one from Aquis, after showering. These kinds of towels dry your hair quickly without as much damage as a regular bath towel.
5. Do double duty with your hair products
If you have natural hair, stylist Kendall Dorsey suggests gently detangling after washing and adding a combination of gel for control and cream for hydration. Dorsey loves Oribe Curl Gloss Hydration and Hold and Rich Hair Care curl enhancing cream. Apply using the “shingling method” by spreading the product from root to end with a comb, stretching and smoothing hair in a downward direction, to get definition and length.
If you have curly hair, Dorsey suggests applying a restorative conditioner (like the Oribe Antidote) to your wet hair and hand-twisting sections so your hair both keeps its curl pattern and gets some TLC as it dries.
For straight hair you want to curl, stylist Felix Fischer suggests a “treatment pony” that will make you look and feel like someone who’s good at adulting: Apply a moisturizing hair mask (Fischer loves Evolis Professional treatment mask), then brush your hair into a simple high ponytail and secure with a gentle hair elastic. Using a 1/4-inch hair wand, wrap one-inch sections of hair from the pony around the wand, but leave out the ends. Keep going until the whole ponytail is curled. Apply texturizing cream and shake out the curls for texture and volume.
6. Dryer sheets to the rescue
If your self-care has really hit on hard times, try running a dryer sheet across your hair in lieu of shampoo. “It sounds strange, but it’s actually quite effective for picking up static, dirt, and oil,” Fischer says.
7. The five-minute face
“I do a five-minute face almost every day,” Irwin says. Honestly, you can probably do it in three if you’re really crunched for time. If you’re a makeup person, start with a tinted moisturizer, then dab on concealer with two fingers to wake up those eyes. Add a cream blush, brow gel, and a swipe of mascara. A bold lip for the final touch and you’re ready to go.
8. Stick to one creamy shade
Don’t have five minutes for your face? “If you really don’t have the time, keep your makeup monochromatic,” Irwin says. Staying in the same color family will simplify decisions, and if you choose a product with a creamy consistency, you can use it on eyelids, lips, and cheeks. For lighter skin tones, Irwin recommends Stila convertible color in Camellia; for dark skin tones, NARS multiple stick in Maui.
9. Keep makeup wipes by your bed
Both Jaliman and Irwin implore you to take off your makeup before bed, and they recommend cleansing wipes if you can’t be bothered with lathering. “Often these wipes have very good ingredients that actually brighten your skin,” Jaliman says. Irwin’s a fan of keeping micellar water wipes on hand. Burt’s Bees has lovely smelling wipes with (mostly) clean ingredients and an attractive price point.