I think people assume I spend hours a day putting on makeup.
Understandable, given my job, but in reality far from the truth. I'm a single mother of two small boys and live 70 miles from most meetings where I need to look half-decent, so I spend many mornings in a state of extreme flap.
I have mixed feelings about "timesaving" products, since they often put speed ahead of performance. I've never used a fast-drying nail topcoat that didn't cause polish to chip within 24 hours and as for those double lip and cheek colours, they're usually great as blushers, while flat and corpse-like on the mouth. But the speedy tricks I do use are invaluable. The Aquis hair towel shaves half an hour off my morning (the microfibre fabric absorbs water faster than a regular towel), allowing me to bother with only a quarter of a blow-dry before dashing for a train (just make sure you comb wet hair upside down before wrapping for some root lift).
While that works its magic, I apply a fast base and blush, saving more discreetly applied lips and eyes (creme shadow is fastest and easiest) for the train. Then I can squeeze in a couple of Kindle chapters and a nana nap without worrying about my face.
Benefit Speed Brow, £13, feelunique.com
A brow fix gel that darkens as it shapes, so you may forgo a brow pencil or powder. Impossible to mess up.
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer,£21, narscosmetics.co.uk
This has been a game-changer for me. Works as well on dark circles as blemishes. Use over tinted moisturiser, then skip the foundation.
Aquis Hair Towel, £12.55, amazon.co.uk
I cannot live without this. Wraps securely around my head after showering. By the time I've done my makeup, my hair is 70% dry.
Givenchy Hydra Sparkling Nude Look BB Cream, £28.50, houseoffraser.co.uk
I'm annoyed there's only one colour, but it has perfect moisture and SPF30. More inclusive shades now, please.
Bourjois 1 Second Nail Polish Remover,£5, thisisbeautymart.com
Naked nails are always better than chipped; this takes polish off fast and won't spill.
Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask, from £5.50, uk.lizearle.com
Mix a blob into cleanser and remove with a hot cloth for instant brightnes.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Bilal Lashari