The Busy Mom's Beauty Guide

Beauty struggles: everybody’s got ’em, but no one has time to solve them. Until now. We went straight to the pros for quick and easy advice and the best product picks for all your skin, hair and makeup needs. 


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Treating pimples

pimples

Photos courtesy of walmart.com, amazon.com, and target.com

Photos courtesy of walmart.com, amazon.com, and target.com

For a quick fix, apply a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide, says Sejal Shah, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in NYC. Use a retinoid treatment nightly to prevent breakouts. Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist in NYC, suggests pore strips if you have lots of  blackheads.

Buy: Clearasil 5-in-1 Spot Treatment, walmart.com, $5.50. Differin Gel, amazon.com, $30. Bioré Limited Edition Citrus Crush Pore Strips, target.com, $6.50. 


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Crow's feet

busy mom

Photo by Paul Westlake

Photo by Paul Westlake

Sunglasses are a must, says Fusco, both to block sun damage and prevent squinting. Use an eye cream with retinol to help smooth and fill lines—the thin skin around eyes will absorb it quickly. For an instant plumping effect, try eye patches with hyaluronic acid.

Buy: Kiehl’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment, kiehls.com, $39. Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks, wanderbeauty.com, $25. 


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Oily complexion

oily skin

Photos courtesy of proactiv.com, burtsbees.com, and tatcha.com

Photos courtesy of proactiv.com, burtsbees.com, and tatcha.com

Wash your face with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid to help clean out pores, says Shah. Use a clay mask once or twice a week to absorb excess oil. And keep blotting papers handy for touch-ups.

Buy: Proactiv Deep Cleansing Wash, proactiv.com, $35. Burt’s Bees Detoxifying Clay Mask, burtsbees.com, $15. Tatcha Original Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers, tatcha.com, $12. 


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redness

Photos courtesy of itcosmetics.com and cvs.com

Photos courtesy of itcosmetics.com and cvs.com

Apply cold milk compresses for a quick calming effect, says Fusco. Look for products with soothing ingredients, like oatmeal or licorice extract, says Shah. Plus, creams with a green tint will help mask redness.

Buy: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Moisturizer, itcosmetics.com, $48. Eucerin Roughness Relief Lotion, cvs.com, $13.


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Red bumps on upper arms

red bumps on arms

Photo courtesy of target.com

Photo courtesy of target.com

Those bumps are keratosis pilaris, a skin condition where a buildup of keratin protein blocks hair follicles. To minimize bumps, use a moisturizer with lactic acid to remove dead cells while keeping skin hydrated, says Shah.

Buy: AmLactin Rapid Relief, target.com, $19.


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Dry, flaky skin

dry flaky skin solutions

Photos courtesy of goop.com, aveneusa.com, cvs.com, and target.com

Photos courtesy of goop.com, aveneusa.com, cvs.com, and target.com

Gently exfoliate with a body scrub, suggests Fusco. If your skin is extra dry, add a few drops of body oil to lotion. Or, if you’re pressed for time, try an in-shower moisturizer.

Buy: Goop G.Tox Salt Detox Body Scrub, goop.com, $40. Avène Skin Care Oil, aveneusa.com, $26. Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion, cvs.com, $8. Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer, target.com, $9. 


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Dark spots

dark spots

Photos courtesy of olay.com, paulaschoice.com, and 100percentpure.com

Photos courtesy of olay.com, paulaschoice.com, and 100percentpure.com

Always apply sunscreen, says Fusco, as UV rays can exacerbate pigmentation and cause new spots to form. Use a cream with hydroquinone, a proven lightening ingredient, to treat existing spots. You can also apply a vitamin C serum, says Shah, to brighten skin and prevent free-radical damage.

Buy: Olay Regenerist Whip, olay.com, $29. Paula’s Choice Resist Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser, paulaschoice.com, $27. 100% Pure Vitamin C Serum, 100percentpure.com, $41. 


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Dry, scaly feet

scaly feet solutions

Photos courtesy of babyfoot.com and amazon.com

Photos courtesy of babyfoot.com and amazon.com

For an intense treatment—skin peels off over the course of three to seven days—BabyFoot gets rid of dead skin cells, leaving feet soft. Or exfoliate with a pumice stone and apply a cream with lactic acid.

Buy: Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel, babyfoot.com, $25. CeraVe Renewing SA Foot Cream, amazon.com, $12.


9 of 23

Chapped lips

busy mom

Photo by Paul Westlake

Photo by Paul Westlake

Dip a soft toothbrush in sugar or baking soda and gently brush lips to remove flakes, suggests Fusco. Next, use a classic lip ointment or balm, like Vaseline Lip Therapy Original (target.com, $2.50), to add moisture back into lips, says Shah.
Look for one without scent or flavor, since those can be irritating.  


10 of 23

Fine hair always falling flat

busy mom

Photo by Paul Westlake

Photo by Paul Westlake

The easiest way to add lift is with a volumizing mousse. Try L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Volume Inject Mousse (lorealparis.com, $5). Put a golf-ball-sized dollop in your palm and massage into damp roots. Brush hair in an upward direction with a boar and nylon bristle brush, like Harry Josh Pro Tools Premium Oval Brush (dermstore.com, $50) as you flip head over and rough-dry hair with a blow-dryer and your hands. T3 Cura Dryer (sephora.com, $200) is a favorite. Flip head up and use a ceramic round brush to gently smooth hair in large sections. For an additional boost, start with a thickening shampoo, like John Frieda Luxurious Volume Core Restore Shampoo (ulta.com, $12.50).


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frizzy hair solutions

Photos courtesy of livingproof.com, lovebeautyandplanet.com, and theouai.com

Photos courtesy of livingproof.com, lovebeautyandplanet.com, and theouai.com

If sleek and straight is your goal, spritz an anti-humidity spray onto hair before using any hot tool, says David Lopez, T3 lead hairstylist. If you’d rather air-dry, comb hair in the shower with a wide-tooth comb and don’t brush afterward. Glide a lightweight styling crème over damp hair, focusing on mid-lengths to ends with just a bit on the crown. Always choose a sulfate-free shampoo, like Hair Food Sulfate Free Hair Milk Shampoo (ulta.com, $10). Sulfates tend to rough up the cuticle, causing frizz. And for a quick fix, a frizz sheet smooths any unexpected fuzzies.

Buy: Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield, livingproof.com, $23. Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Argan Oil & Lavender Leave-In-Smoothie Cream, lovebeautyandplanet.com, $7. OUAI Anti-Frizz Sheets, theouai.com, $18.


12 of 23

Creating a pulled-together ponytail

ponytail solutions

Photo courtesy of target.com

Photo courtesy of target.com

Make your pony polished by keeping it sleek. Spray a medium-hold spray on a boar bristle brush and brush hair in the direction of the ponytail, using the middle of your ear as a guide for placement. Secure with an elastic—black for dark hair, clear for lighter shades—to blend into hair.

Buy: Tresemmé Micro-Mist Hair Spray, target.com, $5. 


13 of 23

Dry hair

dry hair solutions

Photos courtesy of aveda.com and walmart.com

Photos courtesy of aveda.com and walmart.com

A quick rule of thumb: Avoid high heat. Turn down the setting on your hot tools by half to reduce damage. Use a natural hair oil—like one with argan or sunflower seed oil—on mid-lengths to ends. Avoid products with silicone; it acts like a Band-Aid and prevents moisture from actually penetrating hair. Lastly, use a moisture mask once a week.

Buy: Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil, aveda.com, $31. Garnier Whole Blends Hydrating Mask with Coconut Water & Vanilla Milk Extracts, walmart.com, $7. 


14 of 23

Styling a cropped cut

cropped haircut solutions

Photos courtesy of trustthebum.com and sexyhair.com

Photos courtesy of trustthebum.com and sexyhair.com

With short hair, it’s all about using your blow-dryer and hands to get the look you want. Add the concentrator attachment to your dryer for focused air flow, and finish styling with a texturizing pomade for added hold. If you want more body, spritz a root volumizing spray onto damp roots before blow-drying.

Buy: Sun Bum Sonny’s Original Surf Paste, trustthebum.com, $15. Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus, sexyhair.com, $19.


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Oily hair

oily hair solutions

Photo courtesy of target.com

Photo courtesy of target.com

If you struggle with greasy hair, dry shampoo will be your new best friend, says Lopez. While it’s easy to spray and go, Lopez suggests blow-drying the product into hair on medium heat to activate the formula. Massage a few drops of lavender oil into scalp before showering to help control oil.

Buy: Dove Refresh+Care Fresh Coconut Dry Shampoo, target.com, $5. 


16 of 23

Styling curly hair

curly hair solutions

Photos courtesy of sheamoisture.com, matrix.com, and devacurl.com

Photos courtesy of sheamoisture.com, matrix.com, and devacurl.com

Use a sulfate-free curl shampoo and leave a little conditioner on the edges to quench dry ends, says Lopez. For maximum curl definition, apply products on soaking-wet hair. Lopez suggests a cocktail of two products: an alcohol-free gel (won’t dry hair out) with a curl cream. Use a cotton T-shirt to squeeze water out, then scrunch hair upward and let it dry.

Buy: SheaMoisture Curl and Shine Shampoo, sheamoisture.com, $12. Biolage Curl Defining Elixir, matrix.com, $17. DevaCurl Supercream, devacurl.com, $28. 


17 of 23

Daytime eye makeup

daytime eye makeup

Photos courtesy of youniqueproducts.com and ulta.com

Photos courtesy of youniqueproducts.com and ulta.com

For a simple yet polished look, try a wash of color on the lid, says Lori Taylor-Davis, Smashbox Cosmetics global pro lead makeup artist. Look for a long-wear cream shadow two shades darker than your skin tone and apply from the lash line to the crease. Add mascara.

Buy: Younique Moodstruck Splurge Cream Shadow, youniqueproducts.com, $26. Maybelline New York The Falsies False Lash Mascara, ulta.com, $8.


18 of 23

Lipstick that lasts through lunch

busy mom

Photo by Paul Westlake

Photo by Paul Westlake

The key to long-lasting lipcolor is layering, says Casco. Choose a nude lip liner that’s one shade darker than your lips to outline and fill in lips—this will give lipstick something to adhere to. Next, apply a long-wearing lipstick, blot with a tissue and apply a second layer. The tissue removes moisture from lips, giving the lipstick more staying power.

Buy: Mary Kay Lip Liner, marykay.com, $12. Beautycounter Color Intense Lipstick in Girls’ Night, beautycounter.com, $34. 


19 of 23

Mascara flaking around eyes

mascara flaking solutions

Photo courtesy of nyxcosmetics.com

Photo courtesy of nyxcosmetics.com

Make sure lashes are clean before using mascara, says Luis Casco, Mary Kay Global Beauty Ambassador. Brush a disposable spoolie through lashes to get rid of debris. Look for a small wand with thin bristles—it deposits less product and shouldn’t flake.

Buy: NYX Professional Makeup The Skinny Mascara, nyxcosmetics.com, $7.


20 of 23

Eyebrows smudging when sweating

eyebrow smudging solutions

Photos courtesy of amazingcosmetics.com and benefitcosmetics.com

Photos courtesy of amazingcosmetics.com and benefitcosmetics.com

Try this hack to keep arches in place: Dab eye shadow primer onto brows before applying any brow product—it will help the product stick to hairs and last the whole day, says Taylor-Davis.

Buy: Amazing Cosmetics Illuminate Eye Primer, amazingcosmetics.com, $24. Benefit Brow Contour Pro, benefitcosmetics.com, $32. 


21 of 23

Covering a pimple 

covering pimples

Photo courtesy of charlottetilbury.com

Photo courtesy of charlottetilbury.com

Dip a precision-tip eyeliner brush into a full-coverage matte concealer (which is different from your brightening under-
eye concealer) and dab onto blemish—sweeping across won’t conceal as well. For oily skin, set with a translucent powder using a small fluffy brush.

Buy: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer, charlottetilbury.com, $32. 


22 of 23

Choosing the right foundation

flesh foundation

Photo courtesy of ulta.com

Photo courtesy of ulta.com

Lighting is really important when selecting foundation, says Taylor-Davis. Make sure you’re near a window or outside in natural light for the best match. While the jawline used to be the go-to spot for testing, she suggests swiping on cheeks, because most discoloration on the face shows up there . Casco also recommends considering your skin type when choosing foundation. Oily and dry complexions do best with different formulas.

Buy: Flesh Firm Flesh Thickstick Foundation, ulta.com, $18. 


23 of 23

Removing waterproof makeup

waterproof makeup remover

Photos courtesy of walmart.com and thebodyshop.com

Photos courtesy of walmart.com and thebodyshop.com

Double cleanse to get rid of really stubborn makeup, says Taylor-Davis. Start with an oil-based cleansing balm to melt and break up product. Then wash with a foaming cleanser to remove leftovers. Casco also suggests layering waterproof mascara on top of regular mascara (instead of using two coats of waterproof) for easier removal.

Buy: Pond’s Cold Cream Cleansing Balm, walmart.com, $10. The Body Shop Drops of Youth Youth Gentle Foamwash, thebodyshop.com, $18.