How Do You Find Time to Not Look like a Train Wreck?

Updated on April 25, 2016
A.C. asks from Lebanon, OR
28 answers

Ladies, is it important to always do your makeup, even if you are a stay at home mom? For me, I have a hard time dropping $50 ish every month on makeup, that no one will ever see/appreciate, even though my husband would be totally supportive of it. Plus, where do you find the time? For those of you that have little ones: do you sacrifice precious sleep to put your face on? When I do attempt to not look like I spend my day in sweat pants, my kids are usually wreaking havoc and I never finish what I start. At one point in my life (read before kids) I never left the house without a full face of makeup and my hair done. Now the public is lucky if I leave the house fully clothed. Any advice? Anyone try the five minute face? Any tips on where to find decently priced organic makeup? Looking forward to the responses.

I should have clarified: $50+ a month. I forgot the brand name, but I have bought an all natural foundation in the past (it has been awhile) that I can only find at natural grocers. It runs about $10-$12 for a small tube, which lasts about 4 weeks if I use sparingly. I buy this lip gloss that my stylist carries for $20 (insanely expensive, but I love it when I use it), blush runs $10 ish, mascara is $8 ish, and eye makeup is about $15. Maybe it is the price you pay for living in a small town? That is about $50 a month give or take (mascara and eye shadow last longer) and I am not heavy handed. Granted, my makeup lasts me forever right now, due to the fact that I don't use it every day. However, when I was doing my makeup regularly I was running low near the end of the month

Are your kids cooperative when you do your makeup? I am usually pretty firm and my kids are pretty good, considering ages. However, for whatever reason, even if munchkins are totally wrapped up in a toy, activity, or eating, the minute I start to do my makeup one cries and wants me, while the other gets into my makeup. Anyone see the beginning of mom's night out with the little girl screaming let me do it? Totally my little one! Haha. So, needless to say, I have ditched the routine but am starting to want to be a little put together again.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you mama's; the wonderful advice keeps rolling in. I did my makeup today and it took about 25 minutes from start to finish. Not because I had that much to put on, but because the baby started crying and the toddlers activity became boring. Oh well, I stayed focused and it got done eventually. Lil miss woke me up at 6 this morning, so a shower didn't happen. I did small side braids and pulled everything back in a cool ponytail. Miraculously I had a clean complete outfit. I felt like me today.

I agree with the hiring out, wish I could afford to do it more. We had a house cleaner, but when we bought a bigger house the price was just too much. My husband asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said I wanted the cleaner back for a short time. We have the carpets and house deep cleaned twice a year. I cook from scratch in order for us to afford our 90% organic lifestyle. My husband is the sole source of income at a job with no benefits and retirement, so those expenses come out of our pocket. Wish he would apply for a career, but it's hard when you work for family. The public school systems around here don't align with our values, so the Lil ones will be attending private school. Don't forget the gymnastics class. Plus, if I am pregant things will get tighter. Eh, that's life. I'll keep on trucking with the makeup routine and eventually the kids will get use to it. Thank you all so much for the advice.

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

Blow dry hair, earrings, and lipstick or tinted lip gloss, and everyone will think you are pulled together all the time. No need for the rest of the makeup on a daily basis. And I probably spend less than $50 per year on makeup.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I never got into the makeup habit and don't suppose I ever will. If people don't like my real face they can look at something else.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I don't do my makeup that often. Before I get to class (I'm in college) I may take minutes to throw on some face powder and mascara.
I don't understand how people do it either.
I just go clear faced most of the time!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Boston on

Dump the sweat pants that are faded, too loose or ill-fitted. Go to a thrift store, Target or JCP and buy about 5 nice home outfits: sundresses, shorts, capris, etc.

Unless you feel you need foundation, go with just a lip gloss and a good moisturizer.

No matter how great your makeup is, faded and baggy sweats are a turn off.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Best thing you could do is to re-define your definition of train wreck.
I haven't worn makeup in 20+ years.
I'm too busy living my life and don't have time to put the stuff on my face multiple times a day and then take it all off again at the end of it.
Mom's night out isn't important to me either.
I actually like spending time with my family.
My husband LOVES it that I don't waste time/money/effort on makeup.
Being a painted lady isn't a social requirement.
If the public demands it, then they can take a flying leap.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My makeup routine (sunscreen/moisturizer, Bare Minerals foundation, drugstore brand eyeliner/mascara, gloss/lipstick) takes less than ten minutes. I wash my hair in the evening, so if I "do" it in the morning it takes another five minutes with a hot curling iron, OR I just pop it in a ponytail which takes less than a minute.
Not sure why you think you need to spend so much money or time. I'm close to 48 years old and I've got it down to a science.
Even if I spent more $ on fancier, organic/natural makeup it would still take less than ten minutes to do.
And maybe it's because I'm very fair, blonde/blue eyes, but a "full face" of makeup looks like a freak show on me, no thanks :-(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

It's an attitude. Even though you are at home do it for yourself. Put on the fancy undies and the cute bra. Get some sweats that fit. You feel better if you do something just for you. As others have said just a little gloss or blush can make you feel like a million dollars. You feel better. Your kids will begin to sense that mom is happy. It might be time to the hairdresser for a hair update and cut/trim. Long hair is beautiful if you have the time to care for it. With small children a shorter version might work better.

Start a routine or schedule for you. If it means you go to bed 30 minutes earlier than do it or get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and do it. When I worked and had kids I had to get up earlier to get myself together as it did not work trying to get everyone done at the same time it was a huge disaster.

Good luck. It will work. I had a cousin who did childcare at home and was down in the dumps. I suggested that she do these things and she did and felt better and had a better attitude towards the world. Once you get in the groove it will take less than 10 minutes to do it.

the other S.

PS I recall putting on false eye lashes and getting ready to catch a bus to school (New York City from the suburbs) in 15 minutes. I know that was a long time ago long before most of you were born.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

When I was on mat leave or when my kids were very little, I always felt better if I jumped in the shower and did my hair and put on makeup. But in the summer, that's minimal - tinted moisturizer and mascara.

I have it down to minimal time. And I haven't spent that much on makeup - well, ever. I buy Clinique - which is all pretty natural looking, and most people don't know I have makeup on. I go for the 'natural' look - for me, makeup is so I don't look white and tired. I'm not well, so I feel better having a little color.

But if you're young and have good skin, why not celebrate it? Or just go minimal - some sheer gloss with maybe a tint, little mascara if it brings out your eyes?

For me, my hair gets cowlicks if I don't wash it in the morning. But minimal style. I just got a bob/lob. Before that, I did a pony tail.

You can look fairly put together without spending more than 20 minutes. Or maybe my standards are pretty low :)

I used to just have my kids in my bedroom when I was in shower, strapped securely in a chair or swing, or throw on a show for kids when they were older to watch on my bed. I popped my head out every couple of minutes to make sure they were ok.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I've always made time to get ready in the morning, no matter how young our kids were. I'm a redhead and makeup isn't optional with my blotchy skin and lack of features, not to mention I look like I'm sickly without it. I have it down to a very quick makeup process. Unfortunately, I have thick hair, so hair always takes a bit of work, even just to get it dry. I'd get up before my husband went to work and get in a shower and makeup time. The times he went in early, the kids were contained in some way (Pack N Play, bouncer, etc.) on the floor in our bathroom.

I've never been one to wear sweats or activewear all day long, unless I'm sick. Takes the same amount of time to throw on pants and a top. I just feel better when I'm pulled together.

Chances are your husband spends money on coffee and lunch out when he goes off to work and doesn't give a second thought to spending money on himself. Don't feel guilty about buying makeup, unless it means your family can't pay the bills.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I didn't wear makeup regularly as a single adult, so doing so after marriage and kids would be weird. The only things I use in daytime is a moisturizer with sunscreen, and lip balms with a tint and/or flavor. That's more about skin health and protection than changing my appearance.

I do own some simple makeup for occasions. Subtle and natural. Clear mascara (I have naturally dark lashes), a light mineral powder foundation with primer, a peachy blush that suits my pale complexion. I don't do eyeshadow, liner, or lipsticks.

I can't remember ever using up a makeup product. I end up tossing them due to age. I don't bother with organic whatever. I don't use it often enough for it to matter.

You do what makes you feel good. And you do it for YOU. No one else.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It all depends on you and your personal feelings.

I work from home and have with our company for many years. I can say that I am much more productive if I get up and ready for work than if I just go to my office and work in PJ's.

Personally, I feel if I take pride in myself I look and feel better. NO way does this happen right after I get up... I don't do a lot of makeup but my focus daily is skincare. I use Clinique makeup and it lasts well over 2 months.

I do not go out my door without looking polished. It does not take a lot of make up or hair products to do that. A lot if it is based on self confidence as well.

I have super straight dark hair and I sometimes wear a pony tail on the day before wash day. Still... My hair is not high maintainence ... Just wash and blow dry and it's straight as usual.

I realize you have a busy routine. I just find that if I take care of myself and my body I am more productive, energetic and a better person.

The less than 1 hour I spend with shower, makeup and hair is worth it to me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't know about the organic makeup, but I do my face everyday, it makes me feel more human. Moisturizer, foundation, eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss, makes a world of difference and only takes 5 minutes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I don't wear makeup have a wash and go haircut. I am blessed with good skin and hair. Good nutrition, adequate hydration, drug store moisturizer and a smile is all it takes for me.

In answer to your question, wake up earlier.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I'm not a big makeup person. Some sheer lip color, cheek color, concealer and mascara and I'm good. My stuff lasts FOREVER so I'm confused how you spend $50 a month. There are days I don't put on anything but I just feel better when I have put forth the effort. Regarding the time to do it? When mine were that small I did it early when the house was still quiet. If you don't do that I highly recommend it. A cup of coffee, devotional, a quick check of the news, shower and light makeup all in 45 minutes for me. I would then wake the kids for school etc. Worked great for me. I think the key to the whole thing is that it was worth it to feel ahead of whatever the day held so I took some time to get that advantage. Like anything else, just do it awhile until it becomes routine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I think the no make-up look is beautiful. I'm not a girly girl at it's hard to relate! I get up before my kids so I always have about an hour in the morning to do whatever I want. Also, if your kids ever watch a cartoon this is a good time to do something quickly that you need to get done. I'm surprised you spend so much though! When you buy something doesn't it last a long time? I don't run out of anything in just a month.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

What's important is important to you. Frankly, I am most of the time running for my train with my hair in a bun. I have mascara and lipgloss in my purse with a small brush. If I don't get a chance to brush my hair and put on those two makeup items on the train, I do so when I use the restroom when I arrive at the office. Five minutes, maybe. It takes so little time that even when DD was a baby, it didn't matter. But make up isn't important to me. I buy CoverGirl and Revlon or whatever they have at CVS. I stopped using foundation because it made me break out. My skin is nicer without it. So do you need everything you used to do before, or just the highlights? What do you miss using the most?

Something that Stacy and Clinton would always say is it takes just as much time to put on sweatpants as it does something nice if you have the right wardrobe. So instead of living in pj pants, I make it a point to always put on jeans at least when taking DD to school. Or I'll wear a dress because a dress is a onesie. Shoes + dress = done. I got my hair cut to be wash and wear. It has layers to bring out the natural body. Wash, scrunch (no product) and it dries on my commute.

The flip side is if my child is yelling at me when I'm doing something like putting on my makeup, she would be put outside the bathroom so I could do what I needed to do. If you are firm, then be firm in this area, too. "No. Go play."

ETA: If it's overall feeling rundown, then hire help. You can be a SAHM and still have someone come clean your house twice a month (or whatever) so you don't feel so worn. If cooking from scratch is too much right now, compromise. If you really don't have time to go to the market yourself, then so many grocery stores now deliver for a small fee. Look at everything you do and see how to carve time for yourself. I do zumba once a week. It's my hour. DH takes care of the kid. He is all for me taking care of myself, too. What do you need to feel better about your whole self?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Even when Kiddo was wee tiny, I insisted on finding time for a shower every day. I'd put his baby basket on the floor of the bathroom, tie a string of toys to hang down above the basket (from the cabinet knob to the closet door handle, where he couldn't reach= instant baby gym!) and make quick work of my shower.

Now that he's nine, we've obviously progressed. :) But it's the same thing: quick shower, wash-and-wear haircut (often put them back into tidy pigtails if I know the day will need me to do so, like if it's hot or I'm gardening/doing a lot of cooking), no makeup. Just clean skin and a smile. If I go out, a little face powder might be all I wear.

Also, give them something appropriate to 'practice' with. If they want to do 'makeup', try some face crayons instead. They don't need to get into your items. "That's mommy's, there's yours". It's okay for little girls to know that they get to look forward to 'big girl' makeup when they are older, much older.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I also never left the house without a full face of make up and hair done before kids. I have a 3.5 year old and a 15 month old. so now, it's a bit different. I work three days of the week from home and I go into the office two days of the week. On the day that I go into the office, I do full makeup, but on the day I work from home, I don't.

When I'm working from home and I know I won't go out at all, I only go through my skincare routine because I'm lazy, it's a waste of my time, and I prefer not to get makeup on my baby. When I'm working from home, but I know I will have to go out, whether it's to run errands or pick up my daughter from preschool, I use tinted sunscreen and blush. I will use lip gloss right before I leave the house.

I don't know how small your town is, but if you're having trouble finding organic makeup, I would try to buy them online.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

Do you have to have organic? Are you allergic to other types? I am a stay at home mom too and only wear makeup if I'm going out. I don't need to impress my kids, lol. I see you said you're from a small town, are there any walmarts near you? I have allergies and can only wear Almay brand. I use eyeliner, shadow, and mascara. I skip the rest of it because Almay is expensive, even at walmart. Makeup takes me about 10 minutes. I spend about $15 to $18 for the 3 things I use, and they last me about 3 months. Just a suggestion. Hope it helps. If you have to have organic, walmart has that too. I got lucky and my boys love to watch me put the makeup on and don't interrupt me. But I can see where you're coming from with little ones.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I do put makeup on in the morning for work. I need to pep my face up and look professional at my job, so lipstick, eyeliner, shadow and mascara go a long way. It takes me 5 min or less. And everyone else is still in bed when I wake up and get ready for work.

Today is friday and I had no meetings so I just put the lipstick on.

During summer I don't work and I don't wear a lick of makeup aaallll summer, it's glorious! Okay maybe gloss.

I do like makeup though. I enjoy taking my time with it for special occasions. When I went out more often (before kids) I used to love putting on some tunes, pouring a beer or cocktail, and spending a good long time on my makeup and hair. I still enjoy that once in awhile for events. Who has time to do that every morning though?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If you think you are required to wear make up to feel good about yourself, we all feel that way sometimes, then get some pressed powder and a little cheap lip gloss. Put on some mascara and call it good.

Take the kids to the Y and put them in the child care area then go work out. Take time to swim a little. Feel good about yourself then you'll feel better when you go about things normally.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

There is middle ground here. I wear makeup, pretty much daily, and I buy department store brands, not cheap stuff. But, I don't wear so much that I am unidentifiable without it on, either. I have never liked that and I never wear it that way.
Perhaps you could go visit some professionals at a makeup counter and ask them how to help you achieve a low-key look that is fast/easy to put on. I typically wear moisturizer, liquid foundation (very lightly applied), pencil eye liner, lip liner, a smear of lipstick over the top of the liner, eye shadow, blusher and a loose powder over everything for staying power and matte finish.
Takes me about 7 minutes, start to finish. Without rushing. Now, if I'm going out to dinner, I take a little more time, cover a little heavier with foundation, spend more time getting the shadow just right on the eyes, and add mascara. But still, 15-20 minutes, tops.
I really don't understand what takes so long. I mean 1 minute, max, to apply lip liner, and 6 seconds to put lipstick on top. About 30 seconds for blusher... another 30 for powder. And that leaves foundation and eyes. Foundation, maybe 2 minutes? Ok... 3 minutes for eyes. If you are like me and wear neutral colors, they are very forgiving, and it is easy to apply it quickly.

And I spend no where NEAR $100 every other month. I just went and bought some for me and my teen daughter that will last us both probably 5 months or more, and spent just over $100. And I bought her a $30 foundation application brush included in that!

I spend more money on lip liner than probably anything. $15-17 per tube/stick/pencil. I usually have to buy one about every 2-3 months.

I've been a SAHM since my son (graduating high school next month) was born. I have never given up wearing at least some makeup, even on days I don't go outside the doors of my home. But I also have a hair routine that takes about 10 minutes (not including the air drying that happens while I'm getting dressed and applying makeup).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I haven't worn makeup since before having kids, my oldest is 15 now. The only makeup I wore for my wedding was some mascara and that was 21 years ago this summer. I can't even remember the last time I wore makeup for a Halloween costume or special occasion either. I have too many allergies, have better things to spend my money on and have other things I'd rather spend my time on to be honest.
I still make sure to look nice. I make sure to get a shower in. I wear proper pants instead of yoga pants, sweats or leggings...well..I'll wear leggings under a dress but not on their own as pants. I always pin my hair up nicely instead of the "messy mom bun" or "mom pony tail". I still don't spend a lot of time on that, no curling irons or things that take lots of products. I take the time to put on some nice earrings and maybe a nice necklace to put a little flash to my outfit. All my "cute shoes" are practical sneakers or other sensible shoe but are all fun so I can have that added touch.
You can totally look put together and not look like a train wreck without makeup!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Do what makes you feel happy about yourself. I do the following because it makes me feel important and valued by me. I get my hair cut and colored regularly. I don’t fix my hair every day. I stick to quick, simple up dos like buns, twists, and pony tails. It is long enough when I have the time and inclination I can straighten it. I do my make up every day but I keep it streamlined. I buy cosmetics available at Target to keep it easy to pick up replacements and to fit in my budget. I wear foundation, powder, blush, eye shadow and mascara. Start to finish I can get my make up on in 10 minutes. I don’t wear athletic wear or jeans. It is a personal thing because I don’t like how either look. A few months ago I was able to hit the outlets and buy casual slacks and capris for my down time. I pair those with simple cotton tees from Target. As for my kids minding I have been firm when I need to get something done. When they gave me a hard time while I was trying to get ready, I parked them on the bathroom floor with their toys. I gave them the ultimatum – play with your toys or sit on the stairs in time out. I tell them regularly while I love them dearly, the world is not all about them all the time. My point is I considered what mattered to me and carved that path for myself. I feel better when I take the time to put myself toward the top of my list. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

I have developed my own version of a 5 minute face (moisturizer, foundation, eye shadow, & lipstick). If I want to go fancy I add mascara & concealer. My bill for the year is $100, thanks to Walmart & clearance prices at CVS.

At home, I wear zero makeup but do bother to dress remotely human & brush my hair. I have decent skin & hubby prefers the natural look anyways.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I only wear makeup when I'm on stage (community theatre). I don't wear it to work, didn't even wear it for my wedding.
My hair is short enough that I can towel it off after a shower, then ruin my fingers through it, and I don't have to even brush it.



answers from Los Angeles on

Okay you can do it in less time. :) You need to think about your makeup routine. Are you doing anything
else during that time? Messing aroud? Cleaning up? You need to take out your makeup bag, get to it & be
done. Here's what I do: moisturizer, foundation, quick eyeliner, super fast swipe of a beige eyeshadow,
powder, quick swipe of blush just to give me olor, quick swipe of eyebrow powder in beige, eyelash crimp.
The key is to go in order, be quick & don't let anything distract you. Everything should be at hand in
your makeup bag & on bathroom shelf or sink. Seriously I can get it done in 5 mins but take 10. I shower
the night before, curl the ends of my hair in morning. Clothes are picked out night before. Lunch snacks are ready
to go on counter so I only have do make are sandwiches & put all of the items in lunch carry alls that are
in freezer.


answers from Springfield on

before i turned 20 i was working a fast food place. the grease in the air coupled with my sweat turned any makeup into a disaster so i stopped using much of anything. i would use eye liner, mascera and lip gloss. then a few years later i was single living in my own place working at wally world. and since i was always broke i gave up on makeup altogether. so i am all natural all the time and i have never once missed it. i have long hair so i will put it in a pony tail or braid or something and go. most of the people in my life would wonder if i was sick or something if i showed up to something wearing makeup.

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