We’ve all had those mornings where you forgot to set your alarm the night before—or slept right through it—and you were supposed to be at work five minutes ago. Nothing left to do but some serious triage.
Pulling yourself together when you’re already freaking out about missing a crucial meeting or getting chewed out by your boss is hard enough, and having limited time only makes it worse. So, we chatted up some experts about what exactly you should do when you only have about five minutes to make it out the door and need to look professional. It’s not only doable, but easier to pull off than you think.
1. Even your skin tone.
New York City-based hairstylist and makeup artist Eden Di Bianco suggests applying a tinted moisturizer or BB cream, which will save you a step in between prepping your face and putting makeup on. “A sheer, medium-coverage tinted moisturizer or BB will help even out your skin tone and make you look more put together,” she explains.
2. Combat under-eye circles.
Even though you overslept, you may still have those dark circles under your eyes as if you didn’t get enough sleep. In this case, “apply an under-eye concealer with a slight yellow undertone, which will help to neutralize any redness or discoloration, leaving the eyes looking brighter and well-rested,” says Ami Shvartzman, director of education for Osmosis Skincare.
3. Brighten your lips, eyes and cheeks.
Use a gel or cream stain on your lips and cheeks to perk up your face. “Bright colors dabbed on with a light touch look fresh and add interest to a five-minute face,” notes Di Bianco. And don’t forget mascara for a more wide-eyed look, she adds.
4. Embrace the bedhead.
MATRIX celebrity stylist Nick Stenson says your best option is to go for the tousled look when it comes to your hair since you likely won’t have time to shower and blow-dry.
“When you wake up, you probably already have texture in your hair from all that tossing and turning the night before—don’t fight it,” he says. “Add even more lift and texture by quickly curling large sections of hair. Then, shake your hair out and spray with MATRIX StyleLink Texture Builder Messy Finish Spray from four or five inches away to separate and control. The look you get will be light, airy and seem fabulously intentional.”
If dry shampoo just won’t do it, take a tip from Randi Petersen, Mariah Carey’s hair stylist, and opt for a messy bun. (If you have bangs, you may need to give them a quick wash and blow-dry for a more polished up-do.)
5. Don’t overthink your outfit.
Simplistic staples are your friend here. Certified image consultant and stylist Annette Harris, who’s based in the Washington D.C. area and specializes in working with business professionals, says a trifecta of a dress, an eye-catching piece of jewelry and pumps is an all-around win when you’re running late.
“The quickest and easiest look for women is wearing a dress,” she says. “There is little to no thinking involved, which of course is key when you are frazzled. A statement necklace adds the ‘wow factor’ and expresses your personality.”
Another option, if you haven’t shaved your legs or wearing a dress to work would, is to wear classic black pants, a fitted blazer and a tank, along with a statement necklace and pumps. “This look is still quick and easy and only requires an extra item or two,” says Harris.