4 easy time-savers for your morning hair and beauty routine

Reclaim your time in the morning with products that quickly get the job done.

Mom putting on makeup
Shave minutes off of your prep time and get back to business.Photo: Blend Images/Alamy

When you’re trying to get yourself and a kid or two out the door in the morning, every minute counts. We asked real working moms for their biggest beauty time-sucks, and then tested the products that promise smart solutions.

Problem #1: Dark Circles

“When I have a big meeting or event, I feel like I need concealer to look polished. How can I apply it quickly and have it look natural?”—Cheryl Brody Franklin, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, college program director

Dark circle concealor
We tried it While the traditional way of covering undereye circles is a two-step process—orange color corrector, then concealer—this product does the job in one step, because orange-toned pigment is built in. It offers "just enough coverage to camouflage deep-purple skin," says one tester, but it's "not cakey" like other concealers. Since it also has brightening properties, swipe it on your "upper eyelids to help look alert on barely-there-makeup days." Time Saved: Two minutesPhoto: NYX Cosmetics

Problem #2: Frizzy Hair

“I almost always wash and throw my hair up in a bun because by the time I blow-dry it straight and then tame the frizz with an iron, I’m hot and sweating. Is there one tool to help me wear my hair down?”—Paige Gunther, Staten Island, NY, nonprofit development and management

Blow dryer
We tried it: This powerful, pro-quality hair dryer not only cuts drying time, but it also leaves hair feeling "soft, not fried" thanks to emitting millions of frizz-fighting negative ions—testers agreed it worked better than a less expensive dryer/straightener combo product. Plus, it weighs less than a pound and is pretty quiet, so it won't strain your arm or wake sleeping children. It even promises up to 10,000 hours of use—aka five times more than traditional dryers—which we think justifies the hefty price tag. Time Saved: Four minutesPhoto: Ulta

Problem #3: Overnight Grays

“I usually notice gray hairs in the harsh light of the morning, exactly when I don’t have time to do a full root touch-up. What’s a quick way to hide the growth?”—Deborah Skolnik, Scarsdale, NY, editor

Root touch up quick stick
We tried it: This super-easy-to-use compact tool covers grays between dyeing sessions. An angled crayon tip on one side disguises large areas at a time, and a clever sponge-tip applicator on the other end blends the color without staining your fingers. After applying, the wax-free formula "stays in place" until your next wash—even if you tend to run your fingers through your hair during meetings. Time saved: 15 minutesPhoto: Ulta

Problem #4: Too Much Eye Makeup

“I rely on about six products every morning, and half of them are for my eyes. How do I get my eye makeup to look good without using so many items?”—Valerie Glassman, Durham, NC, assistant dean

Eyeliner
We tried it: While not a perfect substitute for multiple shadows, this liner "makes eyes pop, all by itself." Makeup artist, beauty-brand founder and mom Laura Geller suggests applying it across your top lash line and then smudging it upward with a brush or your finger for a thicker streak. Then, draw lightly on your bottom lash and water lines. The result: a smoky, shad- owed effect that doesn't take forever to create. Time Saved: Three minutesPhoto: Laura Geller