- Some women can look effortlessly groomed all day, but for most of us it takes some time to get ready in the morning
- Alice tries at-home treatments that promise perfect looks in next-to-no time
- Corner-cutting products will save you 11 hours, 27 minutes and 58 seconds
Some women look effortlessly groomed — from the tops of their salon-dried heads to the tips of their pedicured toes — every minute of the day.
The rest of us simply don’t have the time. But what if you could shave hours from your grooming regime? That’s the promise of a new range of corner- cutting products on the market. Quick as a flash, I try them out . . .
BLOW-DRY IN 2 MINUTES
THE CLAIM: ‘Speeds up drying time by up to 50 per cent. Many products claim to “change your life”, here’s one that actually might!’
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THE TEST: Find me a woman who enjoys drying her hair and I’ll show you one whose bingo wings don’t flap when using a hairdryer and paddle brush.
After drying my hair five times a week for 20 years, I’ve managed to whittle down my drying time to four minutes. That’s with my trusty Boots hairdryer, bought more than ten years ago, and a volumising spray to thicken my thin locks.
This time, I wash my hair then spray on this new product, which contains silicone to detangle, and oils to help excess water evaporate. It smells delicious and detangles my hair almost immediately. In just two minutes, two seconds, it’s bone dry, perfectly smooth and has the swishy, expensive feel of a salon blow-dry.
TIME SAVED: 1 minute, 58 seconds.
THE CLAIM: ‘Skin feels renewed, with a radiant glow and post-facial smoothness.’
The TEST: Once a week, I soak in the bath with a rich face mask for 20 minutes to moisturise my very dry skin. But today, I skip the bath, wet my face and apply a little of this light, creamy mask, gently rubbing in the exfoliating beads to remove the dead skin. The active ingredient is adeno-sine triphosphate (ATP), which boosts cell regeneration, and there’s papaya to exfoliate.
After 60 seconds, I wipe it off. My skin is smoother and very clean-feeling but doesn’t have the magical plumpness I usually enjoy with thicker masks.
TIME SAVED: 19 minutes.
12-MINUTE LEG WAX
THE CLAIM: ‘Heats in less than one minute, easy to roll on and wax off, as well as efficient — working on very short hair between one and 2mm long.’
THE TEST: Usually, I have my legs waxed in the salon, which takes an hour-and-a half by the time I factor in driving there and back.
This at-home waxing product looks so promising — until I try to use it. You see, my microwave (for heating the wax) is in the kitchen, and hair removal ideally takes place in the privacy of my bathroom.
Not today. I heat the dispenser for 25 seconds, sit down in the kitchen and roll the wax — which looks like thick honey — down my legs. Then, I press down the waxing strips, so my legs have bits of paper flapping off them. My three children gather to gawp and giggle.
As the strips come off one by one, I peer hopefully at them, but there is little evidence any hair removal has taken place. To be fair, my leg hair was very short, but I was still disappointed. For those with better dexterity and longer leg hair, this may be great.
TIME SAVED: None. I had to go back to the salon.
DRY NAILS IN A MINUTE
THE CLAIM: ‘Dries nail polish in s econds, reduces chipping and prevents smearing and smudging.’
THE TEST: I am impatient, so can rarely bear the 20 minutes it takes my at-home manicures to dry.
This time, I paint on my favourite shade, Chanel Rouge Noir, wait a minute as suggested, and spray my hand with MAVA-Dry from 30cm away.
Five seconds later, I tap my nails and, amazingly, the polish is dry. I set about stacking the dishwasher and vacuuming. The polish holds firm, although when I touch it, a faint fingerprint is left behind.
TIME SAVED: 18 minutes.
THE CLAIM: ‘Moisturises in seconds so you can put your clothes straight on.’
THE TEST: Moisturising after a shower is my least favourite thing. It takes five tedious minutes and I’m always in a rush. However, if I miss it out, I get very dry skin.
This product promises to dispense moisturiser evenly with one continuous spray, leaving skin soft, not sticky.
While light and freshly scented, it still needed patting in gently before dressing. It’s not intensively moisturising — but great if you’re on the run.
TIME SAVED: 4 minutes.
SOFT HAIR IN 2 MINUTES
THE CLAIM: ‘In just two minutes this creamy, nourishing mask gives your hair the emergency treatment it craves.’
THE TEST: My highlighted hair can get straw-like, so I sometimes use a seven-hour overnight mask — but it damages my pillows.
The mask is deliciously creamy and has a light, sweet, coconut smell. I scoop out a dollop, rub it over my hair and wait. I’m not expecting much but, after blow-drying, my hair is soft and silky.
TIME SAVED: 6 hours, 58 minutes
THE CLAIM: ‘This ultra-rich body cream increases skin firmness by 40 per cent in 15 minutes.’
THE TEST: I am desperate for a quick-fix body-firming treatment, I turn to a salon treatment that shrinks the body and firms the skin. I can’t believe I will achieve the same result with a fraction of the effort. I massage the cream into my left thigh and leave the right one bare. It sinks in instantly and smells delicious and faintly citrusy, and there’s no tingling. After 15 minutes, my right thigh has a wonderful, satin quality, but is not obviously firmer than the other.
TIME SAVED: 1 hour, 45 minutes.
TASH OFF IN 3 MINUTES
THE CLAIM: ‘The only one-step, three-minute, fresh-scented facial-hair removal cream.’
THE TEST: I usually have my (not quite Tom Selleck, but heading that way) moustache threaded or waxed by a professional in a salon. While swift, it takes over an hour to get there and back. This thick, white cream is dispensed via a soft plastic spatula. As directed, I don’t massage it in but start the stopwatch, amazed at how long three minutes can feel and slightly perturbed by the faint stinging sensation despite doing a patch test earlier to check for irritation.
Three minutes later, I rub a little off with a tissue, and a phenomenal amount of hair comes away. My upper lip is delightfully denuded and not red. The best hair removal I’ve tried outside a salon.
TIME SAVED: One hour and seven minutes (including the half-hour drives to and from the salon).