Photo Courtesy of Beautiac.com
Self-care has evolved so much in the past few years that some consider a 12-step skincare routine the key to staying sane. However—and I don't think I'm alone in saying this—that actually sounds a little insane to me! Between being a new mom and a CEO, I'm lucky when I remember to put on lotion… Is that bad to say if I'm the founder of a beauty brand?
Taking the time to learn a new makeup technique or test out a new skincare line is unfortunately an indulgence of time I don't often have, thanks to a packed schedule with brand meetings, investor pitches and life as a mom. I know there are probably many founders, entrepreneurs and change-makers who love beauty routines, too, and wish they had more time for one. But we get bogged down by other priorities. That's why I've put together The Beauty Routine for Busy Women: a complete guide for glam on the go.
We hear it all the time, but I'll remind you again: take off your makeup before bed! Clean skin is a must, no matter how busy life gets. This mantra alone will speed up your routine by helping to avoid breakouts. I like to keep makeup wipes in my closet next to my pajamas, as a no-excuses, constant reminder.
When it comes to product, simple is better. If you have to stop for too long and try to figure out a technique or product, ditch it—it wasn't made for the everyday-busy women. Even if it's short, your skincare routine should be free of frustrations. That being said, when people ask me for advice I do encourage them to indulge in one great product that they feel truly makes a difference and enjoy using. You don't need ten, just focus on one. My "one" is Zo Skin Health Gentle Cleanser—the fragrance alone puts me right into a relaxing spa moment, and I know my skin is getting the clean it needs. Just because you're busy doesn't mean you need to rob yourself of the joy of a jade roller or the luxury of La Mer. Just don't go on a shopping spree or impulse buy every new trend, because your drawers will get cluttered with items you don't have time to use. Pick one, be done.
If you do feel yourself gravitating toward wanting to try every new trend, try a subscription service like Birchbox that will send you sample-sized or travel-sized items. These are practical because you can take them on the go, and you won't feel guilty if one or two go unused simply because you don't have the time to face mask for 30 minutes. Travel-sized items from the drugstore or Ulta can also be great for busy schedules since they are small and light enough to bring when you're out and about.
Lastly, I would be remiss not to say: clean brushes are so important. My company, Beautiac, is a subscription makeup brush company that was literally created for women like us. Founding this company is how I became an "every day" beauty expert! We send three handles, three brush heads and a sponge to start you off. Then, every month you get new brush heads and a new sponge, and you send the old ones back to us to get recycled. We know that washing brushes and waiting for them to dry takes time—time some of us don't really have to spare. A subscription is the easiest way to make sure your brushes and skin stay clean.
When I'm in a pinch, blush is my number one must-have. It's easy to carry, easy to apply and a little goes a long way. Find one great blush shade that goes with your complexion and buy two. Keep one at home and one in your purse, briefcase, backpack or diaper bag. You'll have access to a quick rosy refresh at any time of day. I call it "glow on the go." You can also get the look by walking nine city blocks on the way to a meeting, but (trust me) blush is easier.
I'm also a fan of compressed translucent powder. Emphasis on compressed, because if you've ever had loose powder spill in your bag… you get it. A total mess. Compressed powder is easier to manage and also helps with light touch-ups throughout the day. I often find that when I have no time for makeup, translucent powder at least helps my skin look fresh. I also recommend a translucent powder with SPF, because sun protection is so important for your health, too.
Similarly to skincare, my number one tip for makeup is to find your one "thing" and keep that with you. If mascara makes you feel the best, get a travel size for your purse. If late night meetings wreak havoc on your undereyes, a small tube of concealer might be your go-to. You're beautiful with or without makeup, but it's nice to know your holy grail is close at hand when you need an extra boost of confidence.
As cliché as it may sound, staying organized is truly the key to success, even in your beauty routine. Knowing that everything is in its place makes it easier to start the day without unneeded stress. Have you ever lost your makeup bag while taking it on the go or spent 20 minutes digging through your drawers to find your favorite mascara? For many of us, this can bring stress levels way up, and we aren't our best when we're feeling rushed and frantic. Personally, I'm a big fan of having a couple makeup bags ready for the day. When I'm traveling, I can grab a prepared makeup bag and get out the door quickly. (Makeup in the backseat of a rideshare, anyone?) With this system, I don't have to worry about losing one of my products, because I know I have a backup. Also, if one of the makeup bags runs out of a product, you can simply grab one from another bag. If you have doubles and they're ready to go, your stress levels won't go up. You're prepared.
Ultimately, you're going to need a beauty routine that works for you. We're always looking for ways to get a few extra minutes in our day, but every busy woman is different. Do what best fits your lifestyle and prioritize what's important in your beauty routine. For me, my Beautiac makeup brushes are a desert-island beauty tool, so I wouldn't be caught without them and my favorite moisturizer. When I'm traveling, I even pop the heads off the handles and just bring those to save space since a brush head can just about fit in your pocket. Getting ready shouldn't cause you any extra stress in the day, so plan ahead, and you'll be ready for whatever life throws at you. Now get out from behind that mirror and tackle the world!
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Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."