Whether you're squeezing in runs on your lunch break, before a dinner date or prior to picking up your kids from school, here are all the tips, tricks and products you need to improve your personal primping speed.
Step #1: 60-SECOND SHOWER
For the quickest clean possible, pack your caddy with products that multi-task. A two-in-one shampoo and conditioner will save you time as you lather and rinse. While some dual-usage products dry out strands, Suave Kids 2-in-1 ($3, drugstores) leaves hair silky and lends a fun scent. Tami Gibson, beauty expert and author of the blog A Mom in Red High Heels
, recommends assigning this product an additional task: using it as shaving cream.
If, like many avid runners, you tend to break out on your chest and back, Gibson recommends combining acne treatment into your wash-up routine. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash ($6, drugstores) has salicylic acid to prevent spots from forming. For perfume-loving ladies, a scented wash removes the seconds needed for a spritz—and the 10 minutes you spend digging through your gym bag to locate the tiny bottle. For a winter-themed scent, try Bath and Body Works Shower Gel in Midnight Pomegranate ($10, bathandbodyworks.com).
If you're super-stressed for time and showering isn't an option, simply wipe and swipe. Get a quick clean with body-sized towelletes from Paper Shower ($8 for a 6-pack, papershower.com). Then ensure you smell fresh (not fresh from a run) with a clinical-strength deodorant like Secret Clinical Strength ($8, drugstores).
Step #2: STYLE HAIR IN A FLASH
To dry hair quickly, Nina Sutton, author of The Chic Mom's Guide to Feeling Fabulous
, recommends wrapping your head in a microfiber towel. Aqua Sphere Swimmer's Dry Towel ($11, aquasphereswim.com) is made of an ultra-absorbent material that soaks up moisture in record time. Next, use an ionic hair dryer like the Revlon Tourmaline Ionic 1875 Watt Dryer ($24, drugstores). "Ionic hair dryers are more expensive but completely worth it. They can dry faster and leave hair smoother and shinier," says Sutton.
You can also save the suds for later and "wash" hair with a dry shampoo such as Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo ($11, sephora.com). "Just put it on your roots and then comb it through," Sutton explains. "Plain baby powder works just as well, and it's not as expensive," she adds.
Once your hair is clean, style in a snap with super-easy hair tricks. (See "Three-Minute Hairstyles" for more ideas). Gibson says the best way to get great hair fast is to invest in a good haircut. "It's your best accessory, and you wear it every day," she says. "Your stylist should be able to determine a cut that would work when your hair falls naturally or for when you wear a more styled look."