Amy Synnott is InStyle's executive editor. Follow her on Twitter.
By the time most of us moms roll into work, we have already completed what often feels like an entire day’s work. There are breakfasts to be made, itchy tags to be removed, half-chewed sneakers to be unearthed from the dog’s crate. And if we try to squeeze in a workout? Well, let’s just say there isn’t a ton of time left over for a Kim Kardashian-level beauty routine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look fab anyway. As a mom of two, I've discovered a few style hacks that I'm sharing with you today so you can put some dash into your morning dash.
1. Wear glasses. Think of them as liposuction for your under-eye bags. Not only do they instantly erase eye bags, they also cover up a substantial enough portion of your face that makeup seems almost superfluous. Just slap on a bold red lip and you’re good to go.
2. Get long, side-swept bangs. This way, when you throw your hair into the inevitable midweek pony, you still have a look. Treat that hairline fringe to a few squeezes of a vertically held curling iron and you‘ll look like you just stepped out of Drybar.
3. Embrace the “crystal mani.” When I first discovered you could do your own gel nails at home, I really thought I had discovered the Holy Grail of low-maintenance grooming. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for me to develop a creepy new habit I call “the pick and peel.” You know that moment when look down and see that first tiny crack, where the gel has separated from the nail? And even though you know that it is absolutely the worst thing you can do to your nails, you can’t resist the urge to peel? Bottom line: If you’re anything like me, a self-administered red or black gel mani will not make it to Friday, let alone the promised two weeks. My solution is to simply forgo color. Instead, use a gel nail kit complete with a little LED light and apply a clear base coat and two shiny top coats. I like Red Carpet Manicure's Pro Kit ($80; redcarpetmanicure.com). Not only will it never show signs of chipping, it will go with everything you wear. Extra credit: Keep a lemon by the sink and every time you wash your hands, run your nails over it to keep them clean.
4. Master the “two-toed pedi.” It’s open-toe sandal season: Are your piggies up to the task? Mine almost never are, which is why I’ve streamlined the clean-up process. Instead of attempting to do a full pedicure before I leave the house (a decision that inevitably ends with nail polish smeared inside my shoes) I use a gel polish kit to paint only the two toes that are visible in open-toe sandals. Try Sally Hansen’s Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit in Red My Lips ($18; walgreens.com).
5. Create a personal lookbook. Whenever you put together an outfit you really love, snap a picture with your phone. Once you amass about a dozen outfits, upload the pics to Shutterfly and order prints. Install a corkboard on the backside of your closet door and pin the outfits onto the board. Though it may take a little effort on the front-end, this trick will save you countless hours (and messes) in the long run.