For me, when it comes to beauty routines, faster is better. I don’t like spending a ton of time getting ready, I can’t keep a consistent face-washing routine, and I don’t have the time to touch up my look all day long. That said, I also do not “wake up like this,” and I’m certainly not getting any younger or less stressed. Wearing #nomakeup isn’t really an option for someone who may or may not have spent her 20s dancing all night and guzzling Diet Coke.
My dilemma: How can I look refreshed, awake, younger, and just better without slathering on a million things? Turns out the answer is using fewer products but getting more streamlined monthly beauty treatments that give big results with minimal effort. I’ve narrowed my routine down to three VIPs (very important products): eyelash extensions, hair extensions, and gel manicures.
Once a month, I’ll indulge in these three treatments, which are about an hour each. Then for the next three to four weeks I’ll be able to live with no makeup, no heat tools, and no weekly nail salon visits, saving me hours of cumulative time previously spent on primping. My lashes perk up my entire face so no foundation is needed, my hair always looks done, and my nails are never chipped. Still don’t believe me? Let’s take a closer look.
I have a close relationship with my lash artist, Morgan Hawes. We met when he was working a beauty event, and he showed off his finely honed skill of fusing perfectly curled lashes onto my wimpy, flat ones; we’ve been in love ever since. Once a month, I’ll visit Hawes at his pristine salon, Primp Daddy, in New York City, lie on his Tempurpedic table, and close my eyes as he affixes lashes for 45 minutes. When I get up, there’s no need for shadow, liner, an eyelash curler, or layers of mascara. My eyes look bright and shiny, and my lashes triple in size and volume, all while looking totally natural. The effect is mind-blowing, really.
They look real and unreal at the same time, and change the overall vibe of my entire face. The best part? I have this full look 24/7—steam room, pool, gym, and shower included. It’s the only thing that’s ever given me anything remotely close to an “I woke up like this” feeling. My previous prime/shadow/contour shadow/liner/liquid liner/curl/prime/mascara/more mascara routine used to take 10 to 12 minutes in the morning—double that if I went out that evening—and now I roll out of bed, and I’m ready to go.
Old primp time: 10 hours/month
New primp time: 45 minutes once a month
Last year, I bleached the shit out of my hair. I loved the color change, but it left me with dried and damaged strands that refused to grow. I missed my length, and I hated having to style my hair every single day due to dryness. After months of spending at least 20 minutes on my hair every single morning, I heard about the under-one-hour magical extension bar, RPZL. I sat down in the salon with an iPad full of magazines and a cup of tea while a woman matched my hair with several colors of extensions. She taped them in like stickers, clamped the stickers together, and styled the extensions with a curling iron. Voilà: I was set with the Victoria’s Secret Angel hair of my dreams before I could finish the new Us Weekly. My hair literally doubled in volume and length, and it looked like the shiny tresses of my teenage years. The extensions hold style for 3 to 4 days, meaning I have to style my hair only twice a week and visit the salon once every six weeks for a touch-up.
Old primp time: 10 hours/month
New primp time: 1 hour to get the extensions/2.5 hours a month for blowouts
During a job interview once, my would-have-been boss was clearly so distracted by my chipped nails, I swear it was the main reason I didn’t get the gig. After that, I did a combo platter of weekly salon manicures and at home touch-ups. When my nails are perfectly polished, shaped, and clean, I really do handle things with more care. My problem, though, is that I have a lifestyle of doing very careless things. Regular manicures are chipped within a day, but I hate the look of no polish on my hands. That’s why I started getting monthly gel manicures. My nails are reinforced with the cured polish, they refuse to chip no matter how rough I am, and I don’t have to worry about getting into a nail snafu at work. Best part, these manicures last about three weeks, so I can squeeze in once-a-month visits instead of weekly maintenance. Win.
Old primp time: 5 hours/month
New primp time: 1 hour/month
This might not sound like the “easy beauty routine” you’d been hoping for, but I think we should all give these seemingly high-maintenance treatments a chance, because they’re ultimately the keys to living a low-maintenance life. At least, when it comes to beauty.