Letter for Ellen: Dear Ellen, I'm a mum with three kids, working part time. I barely have time to run a brush through my hair and now you're telling me I need to do all this stuff to look nice? I don't think so. Cassandra, 34, Wahroonga.

Ellen MaloneFirstly, congrats on brushing your hair - most mums are doing well to leave the house with pants on and all children intact

Ellen’s Answer: Hi Cassandra, thanks for your question. Firstly, congrats on brushing your hair – most mums are doing well to leave the house with pants on and all children intact. Hair brushing is an added bonus.  Beauty magazines will tell you that you should be using a serum, moisturiser, primer, sunscreen, foundation, blush, having facials, getting a spray tan…employing a full time nanny and personal assistant so you can attend to unrealistic beauty standards unfettered by normal life.

Now. You and I both know that half an hour in the mornings for a beauty routine, mostly, just isn’t going to happen but sometimes, it would be nice to feel a bit fresher and well put together-ish.

So. Having firmly established that you don’t need to look like a supermodel at all times but you might like to feel fresh and look like you’ve had a few hours’ sleep, here’s some ideas to help you feel your best without investing highly valuable breakfast eating/child wrangling/remembering your keys time in the morning.

  1. Buy a face and body moisturiser so you can use the one product for everything. For best results, apply it straight after your shower so your skin absorbs the moisture more effectively.
  2. Use a lipstick for blush. Cream blush and lipsticks are very similar in formulation – originally ‘rouge’ was designed for both uses and the face will have a sense of balance when the cheek and lip carry the same tone.
  3. Tinted brow gel is the quickest way to pull your brows into place and add a frame to the face. Just swipe and go!
  4. You say BB, I say tinted moisturiser. BB creams, CC Creams and tinted moisturisers are all variations on the same theme: a tinted cream to give hydration and even out the skin when you don’t want to wear a full foundation. Most formulas also offer an SPF rating so you get three products for the price of one – quick and easy!
  5. Don’t have time for mascara? Try a lash lift. It’s a tint and perm, with optional natural lash extensions. You’ll look wide eyed even when you’re short on sleep. (I know, I know, it’s an appointment and who has time for that? The upside? It’s a good excuse to escape the house alone for an hour every couple of months and it will save you time in the everyday.)
  6. Sleep in a hydrating face mask. Most masks say amusing things like ‘leave on for 20 minutes while resting’ – sadly they don’t also supply the 20 minutes of rest! Hydrating and firming formulas mostly don’t need to be washed off straight away and will give an even better result if left overnight.
  7. Speaking of treatments while you’re asleep…when was the last time you had 10 minutes to leave a hair mask on in the shower? That’s what I thought. Add a dollop of leave in conditioner or hair oil to your hair before bed, and just wash it out in your morning shower.
  8. Buy an off white eyeliner pencil and trace it along your waterline- it will instantly make you look less tired. Life crisis: solved.

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