quick beauty regimens

Wouldn’t it be great if we always had time on our hands and money to burn? But of course that isn’t what life is really like. Some days I am tearing around my bathroom trying to get my beauty regimen down to five minutes. At the other extreme, I want to make the best use of extra preening and pampering time. Anyway, I got the idea that it would be fun — hopefully helpful — to come up with beauty regimen essentials in easy steps for whether you have 5, 15 or 30 minutes.

5-Minute Beauty Regimen

Step 1 — Cleanse. I have a few time-saving, skin-enhancing tactics such as applying a good cleanser with anti-aging ingredients such as Red Flower Sea Cleanser and Masque ($42 in the shop) or clarifying Nutra-Lift Glycolic Plus Non-Soap ($22) and leaving it on before rinsing while I clean my teeth.

Step 2 — Serum. In a pinch, your serum will also have to do as your eye cream, but that means avoiding those with vitamins A or C that could irritate or dry the delicate eye area. Some options with a range of price points: BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Sculpting Firming Cream Complex ($195 in the shop) to soften skin, smooth wrinkles and give glow; Medik8 Growth Factor ($160) for focused wrinkle repair with epidermal growth factor; M.A.D. Skincare Wrinkle Repellent Environmental Protection Serum ($60), with interesting botanical extracts to oxygenate the skin and reduce environmental damage.

Step 3 — Moisturizer and Sunscreen. I don’t love sunscreens that are wrapped up in moisturizers or tinted foundations as I believe that they don’t do as good a job. But in our 5-minute regimen, we need to find a time-saving solution that doesn’t compromise on performance. These multitaskers work: Prana Reishi Mushroom Shield ($42 in the shop) with SPF 45 derived from organic plant stem cell mushrooms and micronized zinc. Or if you want a touch of makeup with your sunscreen there is the flattering BB cream from Amarte ($55 in the shop) or Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen ($45 in the shop) which moisturizes, delivers antioxidants, is a tinted primer and has SPF.

15-Minute Beauty Regimen

Step 1 — Brush and Cleanse. Using a cleansing brush is the best investment you can make for your skin — at any age. The right brush will not irritate or harm sensitive or maturing skin, but rid it of dead cells and dirt and prime it to be more receptive to those expensive potions and lotions. Check out the Ultra Clear ($86 in the shop). Win back some time with a cleanser that is also a toner and makeup remover (and a personal favorite of mine), Snowberry Remineralizing Gentle Toner ($52).

Step 2 — Mist. The right mist is moisturizing and anti-aging, and spritzing is super quick and easy. The last thing you want is another cream to layer if you are in a hurry, so mist is a must. I am addicted to One Love Organics Active Moisture Time Release Vitamin D Moisture Mist ($39 in the shop), which can be sprayed under your serum for all-day moisturizing with alpine rose and mushroom-derived vitamin D.

Step 3 — Serum (as above in the 5-minute regimen)

Step 4 — Eye Serum or Cream. You really should make time for an eye cream, as the delicate eye area has special needs (particularly if you have puffiness or dark circles). If you have aging, wrinkling eyes with dark circles then a good all-rounder is Amarte Eyeconic Eye Cream, which has a touch of retinol. Those short on time will love the instant cooling and tightening effect (excellent on puffy eye mornings) of the refreshing Retrospect Flash Firm Eye Gel ($70).

Step 5 — Moisturize and/or Sunscreen (as above in the 5-minute regimen)

30-Minute Beauty Regimen

Step 1 — Brush and Cleanse (as above in the 15-minute regimen)

Step 2 — Facial Mask. With time on your hands, you can indulge in a face mask. The wonderful thing about masks is that they don’t need to be formulated for rapid penetration like a serum and they can deliver potent actives without over-sensitizing the skin. They can meet many needs from anti-aging to soothing. A couple of my favorites are La Vie Celeste Restorative Exfoliating Gel Mask ($60 in the shop), which gives a dewy glow and Kat Burki Hibiscus Antioxidant Face Mask ($78). Or you could mix up some honey and matcha tea with Your Best Face Clarity ($9-$40).

Step 3 — Target Problem Areas Such as Dark Spots or Redness. You don’t need to slather skin lighteners everywhere, but take the time to target them where needed. These days, I am reaching for suki intensive nourishing cream ($60.95 in the shop), as this freckle fader really works. For redness and tiny broken veins, I like Medik8 Red Alert ($60 in the shop) with teprenone and Sevani’s Advanced Complexion Corrector ($39 in the shop).

Step 4 — Serum (as above in the 5-minute regimen)

Step 5 — Eye Cream (as above in the 15-minute regimen)

Step 6 — Moisturize and/or Sunscreen (as above in the 5-minute regimen)

And if you still have time, use the ultimate time-saving anti-aging device, Ultra Renew Plus ($159 in the shop), which allows you to have an LED, ultrasound and ionic session all at once.