Which Beauty Treatments Save The Most Time For Busy Women?

beauty treatments to save timeTrying to get a minimal beauty routine and reduce the time you spend getting ready? Reader J wrote in with a great idea for an open thread, wondering which beauty treatments save time, and give you the biggest bang for your buck? I’m curious to hear what readers say about this.

Hi there! I have a suggestion for a discussion either here or on CorporetteMoms. I have a pretty minimal beauty and skincare routine, yet I feel like I spend a lot of time “getting ready”. I’m wondering how other readers have used professional services such as waxing, eyebrow tinting, permanent make-up, microblading, and other beauty treatments to save time. Which services are worth the cost and make a real difference in the reader’s daily routines. Thank you!

VERY interesting! I’ve written before about how much I love my laser hair removal and I would definitely recommend it, despite the pain and the expense — it’s been almost ten years since I had it done and I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs. I would also definitely be on the weekly blowout train if I wanted something sleeker than my wavy/curly hair — I’d much rather spend 60 minutes getting my hair blown out to perfection and rocking the look for 3-5 days rather than fighting for 25-35 minutes on my own and getting a lousy look that didn’t last more than a day or two. (Here are my tips on how to make your blowout last for days!) I also just got a “healthy” keratin treatment on my hair, at the encouragement of a friend who loves her keratin treatments — my initial thought was that it took ten years off my hair (and it went from crazy dry frizzy to only slightly dry frizzy) but I’m waiting until this one wears off and I get my second treatment before I really weigh in. I was also intrigued to see readers discussing eyebrow tinting, specifically using Just For Men to tint eyebrows recently — I ordered some from Amazon and am going to give it a try! I’ve never tried Botox (although I’ve discussed Juvederm with my derm for my “marionette” lines, yay), but I know many MANY readers have given shoutouts to it.  Blue Collar Red Lipstick just did a mini-review of her microblading treatment, and I know Bee at HelloBee has shared that she got her eyebrows tattooed. I’ve been considering doing a Zoom teeth whitening treatment after another blogger I read had it done (I thought it was Wardrobe Oxygen but I can’t find the post now). (The NYT just had a similar article along these lines, about microblading, tattoos, and hair extensions.)

Ladies, what about you — which treatments and services have you considered or gotten in order to streamline your routine? What would you advise other busy professionals looking for beauty treatments to save time? Have you tried microblading, makeup tattoos, laser hair removal, and so forth?  

Picture via Stencil.

;Ever considered getting a beauty treatment to save time? When you're busy at work all the time, the thought of spending HOURS on a beauty treatment makes you roll your eyes -- but sometimes spending a few hours NOW will save you many more hours LATER. So which are those beauty treatments that save you time, and give you the biggest bang for your buck? We asked the readers for their experiences with laser hair removal, microblading, permanent makeup, Zoom whitening, and more!
beauty treatments to save time like microblading and laser hair removal


  1. I used to get Botox and I loved it but I stopped after about 7 years of doing it more or less regularly just to see how it is without it and… it’s ok but I think I might go back to it.

    I’d like to do fillers for smile lines (in my case at the corners of and below my mouth) but I’m put off by the cost.

    I use Latisse for long eyelashes. I still use mascara so I can’t say it saves me time but it really makes a difference in my appearance.

    I’m interested in learning more about microblading. My brows are quite sparse.

  2. Anonymous :

    Eyelash extensions… never wearing mascara again!

  3. My brows are completely colorless and won’t absorb the color from dye. I’ve tried multiple times. I’ve been using and liking boy brow for awhile now (used to use a pencil but I think boy brow looks better). I’ve always thought microblading would look odd because you’d be able to see the white hair on top of the color. Anyone have any experience one way or the other?

  4. Cannot recommend microblading enough! I have very sparse, light eyebrows (and brunette hair) so microblading was a godsend. It did sting a bit while it was happening, but no pain afterwards and I don’t have to fill in my brows for up to three years! It looks more natural than when I filled them in myself each morning, so it’s well worth it for me.
    I have gotten my lashes tinted in the past but that hasn’t done much for me. I also got professional lash extensions which looked great but made my eyes itch. Has anyone else had this issue and been able to overcome it? I might just be doomed to live with mascara forever…

  5. Anonymous :

    Lash tint is very worth it for me (medium blonde/fair, pretty sensitive to mascara but not, apparently, very sensitive to lash tint, plenty of eyelash but the natural color sort of fades at the ends).

  6. AttiredAttorney :

    This is kind of simple, but gel manicures.

    Would love to hear more about experiences with keratin. My hair is somewhat frizzy and voluminous (think: Hermione Granger).

    • Anonymous :

      I got a keratin treatment at a time when my hair was over-processed, and I was amazed how much it helped.

      Since then, I’ve kept using very gentle shampoos (no/low-sulfate), and brushing my dry hair *before* washing it, to minimize brushing afterward.

    • I have some great Mario Bradesco hand lotion that I use when I SLEEP! I have pairs of DISPOSABLE plastic gloves that I put on after I put the hand lotion on (very think), then put the plastic gloves on. I sleep all night wearing them, then just wash my hand’s in the morning, and VOILA, clean soft hands! Sheketovits LOVED my hands and most of the rest of me, all thanks to Mario Bradesco. Now all I need is a new BOYFREIND to appreciate me and my soft hands! YAY!!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      But the damage to my nails is terrible!!!

    • Anonymous :

      Last October I got a Keratin treatment for my curly and very frizzy hair. Yes, it did make it less frizzy and easier to straighten. But my hair still did frizz. It didn’t frizz as much as it normally would when it was humid but it still was frizzy and I had to pull it back. I also said it looked less crappy but it still looked crappy. Therefore, given the high price, I didn’t think it was worth it and wouldn’t do it again. It also only lasted about 2 months.

  7. Thanks for the Tinkle razor made by another poster on Friday. I usually tweeze my face once weekly as I’m too sensitive to tolerate waxing or threading. I was surprised at how well it worked! Can’t really figure out how it’s different from a regular razor, but the effect is different. This thing is a lot faster than plucking, that’s for sure!

    My second recommendation is for Bumble and Bumble’s Don’t Blow It. I put it into damp hair after showering and it somehow manages to make my hair touchable and turns my (unruly, thick) waves into natural curls. It’s nice to not have to blow dry every day.

    • +1

      Yup, I was one of the Tinkle users that posted. Agree this is a big time saver to not have to pluck/wax etc… and my skin is much healthier/smoother.

  8. How does Botox save time?

    • I think the idea is supposed to be that if your skin looks better you’ll spend less time on makeup? That’s certainly true with pimples but I’m not sure how that translates to wrinkles. I guess if some of the time you spend on make up is blurring lines and applying blush/highlighter to draw eye away from certain areas, it would make sense.

  9. Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

    I know it is not for everyone, but cutting my (really thick) hair short has been a life-changer. I’d spend 45 minutes blow drying before and now i can wash and go (no brow drying required).

    • I have the opposite – I keep my long thick hair long because if I am really rushed I can put it back/up in a bun. My office is more business casual so I just usually let it air dry and wave/frizz wherever in the summer, but I like knowing I don’t *have* to blow it out. Vs. when I have short hair, the wave doesn’t get pulled out, it poufs, my cowlick shows, and I would have to blow it out every day for it to look nice (even if it would take less time).

      Pro hair drying tip: 1875 watt ionic ceramic hair dryer, flip the hair upside down for 5-8 minutes and blast it, then (still upside down) use a rolly brush to roll the front of it from the inside toward you (another 5-8 minutes). Blast with cool air, flip upright, side to side, and brush it out. My monstrously thick hair is dry, curled with volume in 15 minutes or so. (See also why I can’t blow dry my hair pregnant – the upside down kills me and any other way takes too long.)

  10. Shopaholic :

    I want eyelash extensions, regular blowouts and regular shellac manicures but I’m worried I’ll require too much maintenance (on top of my regular pedicures, eyebrow threading, haircut/colour, waxing). I’ve had a shellac manicure for the last few weeks and I love it, except in the last couple days when it’s clearly growing out. It just makes me feel more put together. I think a blowout would have the same impact.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I loved the convenience of the gel manicures I got the past few weeks, but I really, really wanted to wear the bright coral polish I have and couldn’t justify paying $35 to change the polish color a mere 5 days after the last gel manicure. I think I’ll get them when things are stupid busy, when I know I would otherwise likely chip the polish, and for travel, but keep my easier-to-remove regular polish the rest of the time.

      • You can paint over the gel manicure–when you are tired of the top color, regular nail polish remover will take off the top color and leave the gel manicure intact. Coral away!

    • Hollinsprincess :

      Late to the party but I got a French shellac and it was life changing. Is it growing out and chipped — yep. Does it look as crappy as if I had gotten the tropical red I love? Nope. A good nail tech can give you suggestions of colors that will keep you professional as long as possible.

  11. Any suggestions for saving time on your eye makeup?

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Good set of brushes stored in a convenient way. I have multiple regular eye shadow brushes for different colors of eye shadow labeled with the name of the color, a few of the larger eye shadow brushes for applying a lighter shade up to my browbone (also labeled by color). And a fluffy blender brush is key to both saving time and having good application. I prefer eye liner pencil, but if you prefer cream, a good eyeliner brush too. I put all my eye brushes in a small mason jar with rice in the bottom. (And all my face brushes in another jar.)

    • Hi I'm new :

      For quickie looks I like the colourpop cream eyeshadows because I can just dab them on with my fingers. They will last longer over an eye primer but I’ve gotten good wear without on my greasy eyelids. Mechanical pencils that you don’t have to sharpen are a real time saver but make sure you have backups on hand because they tend to run out of product quickly.

    • I use a lash serum (one from that awful pyramid scheme a friend sells through), and although I absolutely hate the pyramid scheme and refuse to buy anything else from them, the stuff seriously works. My eyelashes are twice as long and thick now, and they hold curl–so I either skip mascara altogether in the morning and just curl them, or I put on mascara if I am going on a date or something. I used to rely on eyeliner to make my eyes pop, and now putting on eyeliner is basically futile because my lashes are so luscious. Seriously, they rustle in the wind and people have been complimenting them like crazy. I am totally obsessed.

      • What’s the name of your eyelash serum?

        • Business Not Law :

          My guess would be Rodan & Fields. I have some friends who have also had crazy good results from it (and I really want to do it) but at $150 it just feels like too much to pay for my OWN vanity! lol (FWIW, I have super dark lashes, but they are short and stubby but I am also too lazy to wear mascara)

  12. For when you are really running short on time: Getting your hair washed and dried (not blown out) at a great clips for $5. And gel manis.

  13. Brazilian blowouts / keratin treatments for my thick curly hair. Related: I’m only washing and blowdrying 2x a week, so on other days just doing a quick touchup after the gym/shower.

  14. S in Chicago :

    Do NOT do Zoom whitening. I did that for my wedding. I’m someone who has no teeth sensitivity or other issues (no cavities even) and felt totally fine during the treatment and immediatey after. A few hours later, I was hobbled to my knees in pain. It hurt to breathe. I literally thought I was going to have to go to the emergency room. I took some of my husband’s leftover pain pills from a knee surgery–something I would absolutely never do but was so incredibly desperate. The pain was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. And at the end of the day, they did’t look all that much whiter. I’ve had better results from Crest white strips.

    • I was going to comment to say this– Zoom was probably one of the top 5 most painful things I’ve ever done & my mom had a similar experience. I also have veneers which helped my uneven teeth.

      I used to get my hair straigtened (japanese, brazillian, and then keratin) and I LOVED it and it made me feel so polished. After about 6 years of it my hair needed a break and I’m back to curly.

      I’ve also done laser hair removal, I went from having a 5 o’clock shadow on my legs daily to shaving once a month and I love not having to worry about it (I didn’t really shave much before and usually wear pants, but now I’m less self-conscious about it and love that I can throw on shorts or a dress without thinking about it).

      Also get my eyebrows done every few months- I have a unibrow and thankfully big brows are in, but at least this shapes them a bit. Did I mention I have a lot of hair? Everywhere.

      I also like occasional gel manicures and get them maybe 2x a year- if you are spending tons of time at your desk, it’s fun to look at pretty nails.

      I also get facials every few months for blackheads.

      Really, I’m quasi embarrassed I do this much stuff- if you saw me on the street you’d think I was a laid back hippy, but somehow I feel better when these small things are done & everything else is a mess.

      I also do not wear makeup- my skin is super sensitive and when I wear makeup I pay for it with cystic acne and rashes for weeks, so I just stopped a few years ago– saves tons of time, money and as a plus my skin has never been clearer which makes me feel more confident (and I’m not joking about bad skin, I have had 2 rounds of accutane and am very cyst prone) so this has been a game changer for me.

      • Business Not Law :

        LOL—I feel like we are the same person! I feel like I do so much maintenance to look “no maintenance”.

        Also disliked Zoom whitening and I feel like it made my teeth look “streaky”. I find much better results from using the “luxe” Crest whitening strips (the kinds that you do for 2-3 weeks and can only repeat every 6 months)

    • Oh god, glad I’m not the only one. Also did a zoom treatment before my wedding and had intense pain for hours after. Childbirth and pancreatitis had nothing on that. I also don’t have sensitive teeth. Stick to the white strips!

  15. I get OPI gel-polish manicures (similar to CND Shellac) twice a month and stick with one of the same five colors. I own the polish version of those colors, which makes it easy to touch-up myself if I get a chip or a nail peels. (Also, daily cuticle oil helps preserve your manicure.)

    I also keep my makeup routine very simple and toss out any makeup I don’t use, so it’s easy to see what I have or need. Seeing and choosing among ten eyeliners in a drawer would stress me out and waste time.

    Lastly, I throw on a face mask (sometimes a hair treatment) every Sunday before starting laundry or a Netflix show. It’s a nice little routine and I think it helps extend the time between facials or med-spa services.

  16. LondonLeisureYear :

    Laser hair removal was one of the best decisions of my life. I save so much time not shaving. I still have SOME blonde hairs so I probably shave my legs every 2 weeks now, but i used to be someone who would shave and get out of the shower and immediately have stubble on my legs. Never needing to think about if my armpits are shaved or if my bikini line is okay for swimming is a literally amazing. The texture of the hair that grows now on my legs is much finer and I never get ingrown hairs which I used to get all the time.

  17. Hi I'm new :

    Really anything that requires a regular appointment takes more of my time than stuff I can do on my own at home. Though a good cut that can be styled easily is well worth the time and money. Find a stylist that spends the time learning your hair texture, ideally doing the consult part before washing your hair unless you are coming in with it already straightened.

    All my clothes and makeup match a single colour palette and that helps streamline my routine. At the very least make sure your blushes and lipsticks are of the same colour family.

    Quick dry top coats for nails so I can do quick a quick mani and pedi. My favourite is Poshe. Nails are dry to touch after 5 min and I’m doing regular stuff within 30 min. I can also do my nails before bed and not get sheet marks.

    That’s about all I got. I’d like to get quicker at my brow game but as it is I am already tweezing almost everyday so I’m not sure I’d be a good candidate for microblading.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      “Really anything that requires a regular appointment takes more of my time than stuff I can do on my own at home. Though a good cut that can be styled easily is well worth the time and money. Find a stylist that spends the time learning your hair texture, ideally doing the consult part before washing your hair unless you are coming in with it already straightened.”

      Yes, this. Trying to coordinate work, childcare, and additional appointments is a no go.

      I have learned how to do some of the salon-type things at home (chemical callous remover, manicure, pedicure, gel nails) and invested in the equipment to do so to save both time and money. I also do my own brows. I am a beauty junkie, and get not everyone wants to do this stuff on their own. But I would say a lot of this stuff isn’t that hard and with some practice, your results can be salon quality.

      *On gel nails, I am not convinced they are for me. The removal is such a pain, and I also like changing my colors more frequently. (Yes, you can paint over, but removing that polish and trying to paint again can be challenging to get right.) I really good basecoat and a really good topcoat can make a regular manicure last a long time. NARS basecoat and Dior Abricot topcoat are my favorites, and are much higher quality than used in a typical salon.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t see why all this is necessary. It literally takes me five minutes to put makeup on in the morning. If it is taking longer for you, then you are doing something wrong.

      Every Sunday is my beauty day so to speak. I shave my legs, remove facial hair, tweeze my eyebrows, give myself a manicure and pedicure, etc. This takes very little time – much less time then going to appointments to have someone else do it.

      As for botox and fillers, I think it is better to age gracefully. There is nothing more unattractive than a middle-aged woman who is too thin and whose face doesn’t move. Reminds me of all those Desperate Housewives on Bravo. If you take care of your skin by staying out of the sun for example, then you shouldn’t need all these treatments.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        This is pretty judgmental. I don’t think anyone is saying these things are “necessary.” The things being discussed here are clearly optional for the survival of humans. But people can do things that they enjoy or things to change their appearance in ways they want to.

        I strongly disagree that if it takes longer than 5 minutes to do makeup, you are doing something wrong. It depends on what type of makeup you are wearing. Doing full eye makeup can easily take more than 5 minutes alone. Different people want to wear different styles of makeup. Just because yours takes 5 minutes, doesn’t mean everyone else’s should too.

        • Hi I'm new :

          Lol I find the “5 min makeup looks” you see touted everywhere are a total waste. I’d rather sit down and spend 10 min and look polished and not have to touch up during the day. For example an eyeshadow base, waterproof eyeliner, and long wearing lipstick take an extra few minutes to get on right but will stay on throughout the day. I don’t understand women who bring their entire makeup bags to work. I bring maybe the lipstick I am wearing that day or sometimes just a gloss in the same colour family I dab on if my lips are dry.

  18. I think most of the things that will actually save you time are expensive and are both a financial and a time commitment. Some things may make sense over the long run in a cost/benefit way, e.g., laser for hair removal, but I can’t say that I think too many other things really do. That’s not to say one shouldn’t do them but I think pretending that they save you that much time is a little like calling an expensive purse an ‘investment’.

    For me to feel really great about myself without spending any time on putting myself together in the morning I’d need to work out regularly (surprise, surprise, whenever I’m at my fittest I seem to dress much quicker!), get a light spray tan to even out my legs, get regular blow outs/do some kind of treatment that may or may not be bad for my hair, get regular facials/other treatments & possibly Botox, which may or may not be bad for me long term, thread my eyebrows, extend my eyelashes or apply a serum to them that also may or may not be good for me long term, spend a lot more time thinking about/updating my clothes, get regular manicures and/or damage my nails with gel nail polish, and this is all assuming I have already lasered my legs into submission and my teeth don’t need improving (neither of which is true). I suppose if I won the lotto tomorrow and worked two days a week just for fun that would all make sense for me, but none of this is really that applicable to my life. If I have an important event or week, I might blow out my hair and get my nails done, I may do gel for a vacation along with a spray tan if I’m going to the beach, I certainly try to spend a little more on a ‘good’ haircut so it’s easier to just wash and go… Maybe spend a little more on makeup so that it blends and wears better and irritates my skin less. But I don’t know how much time I am saving with any of this.

  19. Not a beauty treatment definitely in this category of being a time saver, money saver and life-changer.
    I had an IUD put in 2.5 yrs ago and haven’t had a period since.

  20. All of the above! I agree with another poster that I feel a bit high maintenance but what can ya do… Here’s my list:
    – laser hair removal (amazing) I have my armpits done and will do my legs at some point
    – biweekly gel manis and regular pedis
    – lasik was a god send, though after babies I think I may need to get it done again. I do have to wear glasses at the computer now and I’m so glad glasses are back in fashion
    – microblading is a must for me. I started balding at the eyebrows a while back and had to pencil them in every single day. You only need to get them redone every few years
    – regular bikini waxing. Obviously not visible at work, but part of my routine. I don’t really know why but I don’t want to laser that part
    – I’ve skipped the dental whitening due to teeth sensitivity and just maintain a regular brushing/flossing/cleaning routine and that seems to work
    – wanting to add blowouts and lash extensions but looking for good places
    – the single thing that takes the most time is my hair which I feel like takes too long to get looking mediocre.
    – not beauty related but a time saver, I basically have a capsule wardrobe and then do a Rent the Runway Unlimited subscription to mix things up

  21. laser hair removal :

    For those who have had laser hair removal, how did you go about picking a place? Yelp? Word-of-mouth? Is there any kind of certification or safety rating to look for? I’m very interested in getting it on my legs–I think it would be a huge time saver for me since I favor dresses–but I don’t live in a metropolis area and I’m not sure how I feel about picking some place just because they have a Groupon or special.

    • Yes – if anyone has recommendations for DC-area places, I would gladly welcome them! I’m starting to get serious about having laser hair removal done.

  22. Time saving treatments are a must for me!
    I’m a cosmetologist and can do many treatments myself but it takes me twice as long.

    I currently have:
    Laser hair removal
    Nails done every 3 weeks
    HD brows every 3 weeks – myself
    Lash extensions every 2/3 weeks – myself
    Microdermabrasion every few months
    New weave every few months (I have afro hair)
    I’m wanting teeth whitening next!

    I think these things help me feel more put together and I always encourage other ladies to do the things that make them feel great! It could get expensive or even require more salon time, but it’s worth it if it makes you smile.

  23. Anonymous :

    My favorite time saver is getting a pedicure during lunch on a work day. I struggle with eating at my desk because I need a break but I can get a pedicure across the street and do some reading for work while I’m sitting in the chair so I feel super productive. And I’m obsessed with Living Proof dry shampoo.

  24. Hollinsprincess :

    If there are any women of color readers crochet braids have saved my life. They allow me to train hard and sweaty and still look presentable as an ED. Plus I can switch up my style and I’m protecting my natural tresses from lots of damage.

    I also do shellac manis; regular pedis; use a Clairsonic Mia that lives in the shower for multitasking. I don’t wear makeup on a regular basis but I find pallets allow me to not overthink it. My new favorite is Chrissy Teagans for Becca.

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