There are two types of women in this world. Girl A is the type who will arise early on the day of a wedding to get ready, so as to arrive looking perfectly coiffed and gorgeous. And then there's Type B; the Type B girl stays up until 3 a.m. doing shots with the wedding party the night before, oversleeps, and ends up with one hour to get ready and get to the church.
Girl A usually has at least a couple of leisurely hours for her toilette, while Girl B has about 30 minutes. No matter which girl you are, we can have you ready for your wedding in five--FIVE!--easy steps.
Step 1: Hair Wrangling
Girl A has a leg up for Step One, as hair takes the longest and rising early offers plenty of time for do-over hair-do's. However, Girl B could end up the winner, since "day two hair" is preferred by hair dressers, who cite the slightly-dirty state as ideal for styling and up-dos.
For the Girl A who needs dirty hair, fast, try a styling crème or spray that can help to mimic Day Two Hair. Surf sprays--like Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray ($15 for 1.5 ounces)--offer light hold, and work to thicken the hair as well as making it "sticky." Spray wet hair with surf spray, dry, and style as usual.
Girl B should use a little dry shampoo to soak up the extra oils in her hair. (Girl B should actually buy stock in dry shampoo.) Klorane is a cult favorite, and offers a line of aerosol, non-aerosol, and travel sizes, as well as options for dry or oily hair. Drugstore brands are also coming out with their own dry shampoos--check out Dove, Pantene, and TreSemme.
Hair wrangling also, unfortunately, involves shaving. Girl A is golden, but Girl B may get stuck in a dry-shave-to-the-knee-in-the-car situation. It's okay, girl--we've all been there.
Step 2: Dress Choice
Smart girls--whether As or Bs--will have completed this step the night before. (This is one area where bridesmaids WIN the wedding day.) Even Girl As skip this sometimes, so don't beat yourself up Girl A! You've got plenty of time to try on and discard options, and even iron something if required.
Girl B--you are slightly screwed, especially if you need to iron. Pro-tip: If your toes need painting, pick a pair of closed-toe shoes and work your way up to save time. If your toes are ready to go (see step 3, below) grab whatever is ironed and wedding-appropriate and move on. If your mother told you to always wear clean underwear, but she didn't tell you to always keep one clean, pretty, ironed dress in your closet, call her later and let her know it's her fault you missed the beginning of the ceremony.
Step 3: Tips and Toes
There is a strong possibility that Girl A has had a mani/pedi--Girl B, as well, if she's a bridesmaid. Even if you have a few hours, wet nails are a pain so Girl A and Girl B would do well to stick with chic neutrals in fast-drying formulas. If you're wearing close-toed shoes, so much the better--skip your toes altogether. Essie's classic 'Mademoiselle' ($9 at drugstores) is good in two coats, and shiny enough that you can skip a top coat. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri ($7-8 at drugstores and supermarkets) in 'In a Flash' is a pretty pearlescent nude, or go with 'Quick Sand' for a quick, classic mannequin hand. Butter London's "Hen Party" ($14, butterlondon.com) is another pearly nude, and while the formula is not technically "quick dry" it does dry fast; probably a better option for Girl A, but Girl B has a shot if she's got the 10 minutes.
If you have a mani, but it's a little worn, throw on a sparkly top coat to cover the nicks, or remove everything and apply a coat of Butter London's Nail Foundation ($18 ) which goes on nude and matte, and dries quickly.
This story continues on the next page.
Step 4: Makeup
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Oh Girl A, you are so smart! You get to do things like draw on a cat eye, or throw down a super-daring red lip, all because you went to bed at a reasonable hour! Girl B isn't just short on time, here--if she was really was partying until dawn, the steady hand required for precision lip- and eye-lining is not available. Girl B should stick with a smoky eye and a nude-ish lip. (Nude-ish = natural and pretty, not a corpse-like matching of lip color to skintone.)
Achieve a smoky eye, fast, with Almay's Intense I-Color Smoky-I Kit ($8 at drugstores) or pick up Sonia Kashuk's four-piece Smoky Eye Brush Kit ($15 at Targe), which helps you translate any palette you own into a smoky eye look. A fast, easy lip isn't just about how you look when you walk out the door--it's about ease of application throughout the night. Effortless, polished lips can be achieved with lip crayons--chubby sticks that apply like balm, and don't require precise application. The new Napoleon Paradis Cotton Butter Lip Balms (3 for $45, napoleonperdis.com) come in three, wearable neutral shades that are perfect for slipping into an evening bag. Lip gloss is another option that is easier than a traditional lipstick; Chanel Glossimers ($30 at Chanel counters) are always amazing.
Step 5: Accessorize
Mademoiselle (as in, Chanel) advised that ladies remove one accessory before leaving the house, so as to look elegant in a minimalistic way rather than a Christmas tree tipping with ornaments. Decide what your dress needs--a plunging neckline calls for a necklace, sleeveless arms for bracelets--and then decide if the total look can support more. Grandma's cameo can come in handy here--loop it onto a chain and wear it around your neck--or reach for a trusty set of pearls, your car keys, and head out the door.