LIFE can often be a juggling act, and when there are balls to be dropped your beauty routine is an obvious casualty.
A third of women admit feeling guilty if they try to focus on themselves for as little as 10 minutes, a new Twinings survey reveals.
So it’s little wonder a luxury like applying a full face of make-up isn’t always practical - or achievable.
“The idea of starting the day with an intensive regime of foundation, powder, mascara, eyeshadow and lip liner is about as appealing to me as setting my alarm clock for 3am just for the fun of it,” says Grace Saunders, author of new book Life’s Too Short, and freelance journalist, wife and mum of three.
But Saunders argues that when time and money is tight, your make-up doesn’t have to be the victim.
Armed with a few simple cheats, you can be busy and still be beautiful.
Make the beauty battle speedier by downsizing your make-up haul. Start by ditching the products you just don’t get on with and those that have set up camp in the bottom of your cosmetics bag for years.
“The first step to saving you time and energy in the pursuit of beauty bliss must surely be to edit your make-up selection,” says Saunders. “I’d suggest being ruthless and binning anything that you can’t remember buying (or using) in the last year.”
If you’re a fan of neutral make-up, don’t hang on to those neon-coloured products on the premise you might need them for an Eighties fancy dress party.
“The aim is to keep your make-up kit minimal,” advises Saunders. “Identify an essential beauty box of everyday goodies and don’t be sidetracked by the ‘maybe one day’ turquoise eyeshadow.”
Nail your minimalist make-up kit and, if it helps with timing, line the products up in a vague order of usage.
If your make-up dash extends to just one magic product, you’d better make it count.
One of Saunders’s favourite beauty insiders, make-up artist Jemma Kidd, has just the thing for your makeover-in-minutes repertoire.
“Simple, make highlighter your best friend,” Kidd recommends.
“Step one: dab a touch underneath the arch of your brow.” This will ‘lift’ the brow and make your eyes look wider.
Want luscious Angelina Jolie-esque lips in seconds? “Step two: dab above the cupid’s bow to make lips appear fuller,” advises Kidd.
“And step three: mix a little with your foundation to give skin an all-over luminosity and healthy glow. Don’t you just love a three-in-one promise?”
Top tip: Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Creme, £17 (www.spacenk.co.uk); Marks & Spencer Perfection Illuminating Touch Instant Highlighter, £9.50, or The Body Shop Radiant Highlighter, £11.
Rapid routine tips
Saunders swears by a “no fuss, no frills, out-of-the-door-in-a-nano-second” ritual but if you end up leaving the house looking like death warmed up, take a few minutes for some beauty salvation with her time-friendly commandments.
Cleanse: Essential unless you want a face full of grime and spot-inducing blocked pores. Opt for wipes for speed cleansing.
Serum: A wonder for deep moisturising of the skin. Use as well as or instead of moisturiser, or even blend it with your tinted moisturiser or foundation.
Moisturise: Keep those worry lines at bay and choose a light moisturiser that absorbs easily.
SPF: Many new UV protectors are super-sheer and actually impart a glowy sheen to the skin.
Foundation: Cheat and go for a tinted moisturiser containing minimum SPF15, so you can skip the SPF of the previous step.
Cheeks: Blush a tiny bit of blusher in wide swoops to give tired-looking, lacklustre skin a little fresh-faced oomph.
Eyes: A quick eyelash curl and slick of lash-accelerating mascara will give your lashes a lift while boosting their natural length in a matter of weeks.
Brows: Add a quick comb and tint of the brows. Use coloured brow gel for instantly groomed eyes.
Lips: Ditch the lippy if you’re in a dash - sheer gloss is quick and easy and can even be applied while running down the stairs towards the front door.
l Life’s Too Short by Grace Saunders is published by Headline, priced £12.99. Available now