For as long as I can remember, it's taken me upwards of an hour to get ready in the morning. In high school, I woke up at 6 a.m. just to shower, blow-out my hair, straighten or curl it, then painstakingly apply foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and about forty other products. It was exhausting. Now that I'm older (and, I hope, wiser), I get impatient when it takes me longer than 10 minutes to get ready in the morning. I'd rather spend that time doing literally anything else: reading, walking with a friend, writing, cooking a delicious breakfast, or working out! I've experimented with a whole manner of time-saving tricks, from making blow-outs last through workouts, getting lash extensions to avoid the need for mascara, and forgoing makeup all-together. Each of these tricks worked for a while, but didn't provide a lasting routine I could rely on.
Recently, I feel like I've cracked the code with something my friends and I now refer to as the 'Two-Four Rule.' In the morning, I only focus on two out of four of the following categories: Skin, Outfit, Hair, Makeup. I find that channeling my attention into two categories saves time, but still makes me look pulled-together enough for whatever the day holds. If my skin is in good shape, I throw on a cute outfit and walk out the door. Similarly, I add waves to my hair and some makeup when my skin is less-than-ideal, or throw on a cute outfit and some makeup. Here's how it ends up looking:
My favorite 'Two-Four Rule' combination is healthy skin with a good outfit, since it takes the least amount of time! On these days, I let my hair air-dry, and spend a little extra time selecting an outfit that feels special. The trick here is that my skin has to look healthy, so it makes me much more militant about taking care of it (instead of covering up dull skin and blemishes with makeup). I invest in a $60 facial with extractions every four to six weeks, stopped picking at my face in-between visits, follow a consistent evening skincare routine, avoid foods I know make me to break-out like sugar and too much alcohol, and avoid experimenting with new products.
My hair goes nuts in Santa Monica humidity, so I knew better than to bother with it for a recent westside date night with Jonah. Instead, I let it do its thing and focused on putting together an outfit I felt good in, and adding makeup to dress-up the look.
P.S., This is usually the combination I use when traveling, since my skin often freaks out after flights and I can't rely on packing heat tools for hair! Examples below!
When my skin is looking dull, I spend a little extra time selecting an outfit and doing my hair. Here, I took ten minutes to straighten my air-dried hair.
There are some mornings when I just don't feel creative enough to put together an outfit, so I grab my go-tos: jeans, a sweater, and slides, then focus on my hair and makeup to look pulled-together.
Because I hate wearing makeup on the weekends (I'm usually outside, and who wants mascara running down their face on a sweaty hike?), I often default to wearing athleisure, then focus on making my hair and skin look presentable for casual activities like brunch, errands, and hangouts with friends.
The more I employed the Two-Four Rule, the more overdone I felt when I did three or four out of the categories. Unexpectedly, it changed my perspective on the times I consider myself to look "beautiful." I used to feel my prettiest when I was done-up for an event like a wedding, with coiffed hair, heavy makeup, and a beautiful dress. Now, I feel my prettiest—and also most like myself—anytime I'm able to skip makeup, because it usually means I'm at my healthiest, from the inside-out!