Beauty shortcuts for busy mums: our top time-saving hacks

Beauty shortcuts HERO
Welcome to motherhood - where the time vortex is real and brushing your teeth is considered a luxury. Here are our favourite beauty hacks to keep you looking polished on the outside (even when you feel like a hot mess on the inside)...

Every now and then we just want to feel like a mum who’s got it together…fresh-faced, clothes without stains on them, hair that looks ‘done’ and nobody in our vicinity crying. Sadly we can’t help with the last one, but we can help you look the part.

Our theory is invest a little up front and then just go about your business. Who wants to spend hours every morning primping and preening? Not us. Especially when the kids are demanding our attention or you could get an extra few minutes of sleep. We’ve combed the streets looking for the best beauty shortcuts to help you look like you’re winning at life. Here goes…

1. Eyelash extensions

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Photography (clockwise from top left): Flutters, Graceous, Lucieo Tokyo, Private Room, all via Instagram

If you can’t feel wide awake all day, at least you can look wide awake with natural-looking eyelash extensions. Once you’ve found a great lash lady, you can visit every few weeks for maintenance. We love the fresh, natural look that lash extensions can give and it’s just one less thing you need to worry about with your morning routine.

There are loads of places across the island that do lash extensions, but we’d advise you to seek recommendations from friends to ensure you’re visiting a reputable place. We’ve heard good things about Beautylane, Cecilia WestberryFlutters, Graceous, Highbrow, Ideal Nails, Lucieo Tokyo, Milly’s, Paris Beauty House, Private Room and Trimmings.

2. Eyebrow microblading

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Because who wouldn’t want to have good brows ALL of the time? Photography: Alexandru Zdrobau via Unsplash

We’re not going to lie…we’ve had a slight obsession with microblading for some time now. Looking at the before and after photos can be addictive! Microblading is a semi-permanent makeup technique where pigment is inserted into the upper layers of skin to give the brows enhanced shape and fullness. You can expect the treatment to last anywhere from one to two years before it fades out. A good microblading treatment costs around the $1,000 mark.

As former thin-eyebrow folk, we can fully appreciate the benefits that a fuller brow can bring – youthfulness, freshness and definition. Currently we’re filling in our brows every day with a pencil, so once we’ve saved a few more pennies we’re heading straight to the beautician for microblading.

As with eyelash extensions, you MUST do your homework to ensure you’re comfortable with your technician. Do loads of research and ask around for friends who have had microblading already. We’ve had personal recommendations for Beautylane, The Brow Artisan, BrowRevolution, Cecilia Westberry and Elena Beaute.

3. Laser hair removal

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Imagine a future where you never have to shave your legs! Photography: Supersmooth via Instagram

If you’ve got dark body hair, you may have been cursing the Hair Gods your whole life. Well it’s time to thank them…because you may well be the perfect candidate for laser hair removal. Laser hair removal is the most effective way to get rid of unwanted hair for long periods of time…we’re talking years (with a few maintenance sessions along the way).

No more wearing long pants in the heat because you haven’t had time to shave your legs, no more donning a sarong to the pool and apologising to friends who cop an eyeful of your unsightly bikini line. You can even take care of the top lip fuzz that seems to appear overnight.

Laser hair removal works by zapping hair follicles with a high-heat laser beam. The follicle is destroyed and thus, hair production is temporarily disabled. Generally, the treatment works best on people with dark hair and lighter skin and you’ll need a minimum of six sessions to see results. In our experience, whilst the procedure is not permanent, it has certainly slowed hair growth and changed the type of hair that grows – it’s much softer and less coarse than before the laser hair removal. It also really helps to reduce ingrown hairs.

There are clinics all over Singapore that offer laser hair removal, so again, ask around for recommendations and make sure you’re visiting a reputable salon. Singapore can also be an expensive place for laser hair removal, so look online for package deals that make it much more affordable. We’ve had recommendations for The Aesthetics CentreBeauty Room, EstheClinic, Skin Lab, Strip, Supersmooth and Wellaholic.

4. Spray tan


Even out your skin tone and get a sun-kissed glow with a light spray tan. Photography: Makhmutora Dina via Unsplash

It’s hard to believe that it’s possible to feel pasty when you live in the tropics. But every so often you just need that extra glow. We’re not talking Kardashian-orange…more sun-kissed bronze. It’s a fact: when you have a holiday glow, people notice and they compliment you on how well you look.

So wouldn’t it be awesome to have that fresh, holiday look all year round? That’s what spray tans are for, ladies! We think the trick is to keep it natural and close to your skin tone. Ask your beautician to keep the shade close to your natural colour, but just even out the tone and give you a sun-kissed look.

The Red Dot is brimming with tanning experts who won’t make you orange. We love Tan@Home, Airbrush Elite and Pink Parlour.

5. Hair smoothing treatment

Look salon smooth all the time with a Keratin treatment. Photography: Binh Ly via Unsplash

Honeycombers Ed, Selina says, “…just had the first Keratin treatment of my life a couple of weeks ago and it was so worth it – finally back to wash and dry status without any product!” You can expect to hear these kinds of comments from most people who have a smoothing treatment. One of the most common complaints though is that it doesn’t last long enough.

We’re all for having silky smooth locks, but not at any cost. Make sure that whatever smoothing treatment you’re having is free of super nasty chemicals, the chief bad guy being formaldehyde, which is a suspected carcinogen.

Thankfully these days there are lots of formaldehyde-free smoothing treatments that use other active ingredients to reduce the frizz. Look for Keratin Complex, Goldwell Kerasilk or Supersilk Smoothing System.

Tried and tested salons we’ve used are Covo Hair SalonExpat Hair Studio, Trimmings and Vox Studio.

6. Gel nails

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Nothing says “she’s looking on top of things” like well manicured nails. Photography: Elena Taraneko via Unsplash

Is there anything better than plonking yourself in the chair at the nail salon and having someone physically clip, trim and buff away all your problems? And to make it even better, your nails are ready to go the minute you leave the salon. This is the glory of gel nails.

If you go to a good nail technician, you can expect your gel mani to grow out before it chips. You can go swimming, do the dishes and even dig in the dirt with the kiddos and it’ll stay put. Just be wary of your nail salon choice – you want somewhere clean and hygienic and a technician who is going to take care when removing your gel manicure (this is where the danger to damaging your nails lies).

Check out this list of brilliant nail salons where you can even take the kiddos for a mini pamper session.

7. Eyelash and/or eyebrow tinting

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A quick lunchtime fix at the Benefit Brow Bar. Photography: Benefit via Instagram

If you’re not quite ready to be making semi-permanent changes to your face, try a good dose of colour. You could head to the beautician for a brow wax and tint, or a lash tint to make your eyes look brighter. Our go-to spot for a quick lunchtime fix is Benefit. You can book online and be in and out in under an hour (unless you fancy a quick peruse around the aisles of Sephora…one of our favourite past times).

Sadly a tint will only last a couple of weeks, but it is a relatively small investment and a good way to test out how you’d look after microblading or lash extensions.

8. Change your hair colour

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Bring warmth to your complexion and soften features with multi-dimensional hair colour. Photography: Blonde Boudoir via Instagram

A simple tweak to your hair colour can often make you look much fresher. If you’re a brunette, try adding golden highlights to soften facial features and make hair look more voluminous. For ashy blondes, you could try adding a warmer tone to your next colour – think strawberry blonde, honey hues or buttery tones. You could also move away from block colour and try a current look, like dark roots and lighter tips or balayage highlights.

We’ve saved you the heartache and rounded up our list of our fave hairdressers across the island.

9. Long-wear lipstick

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How good is a red Chanel lip? Photography: Chanel Beauty via Instagram

Coco Chanel said, ‘If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack’. And by attack, we reckon she’s talking about the school run, doing the groceries and heading to the local soft play centre. There’s no denying there’s something beautiful about seeing a woman wearing the perfect shade of lipstick and rocking it with confidence.

Honeycombers’ Director of Sales, Winnie swears by Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in shade #470. We also love Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Liquid Liptstick in terra cotta nude.

10. Signature accessory

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Accessories can perk you up if you’re feeling flat. Photography (from top left): Komono, Lovisa, Zara, Anders & Dawn

When all else fails, find yourself a signature look and stick to it. We love seeing women donning a bold accessory like a colourful headscarf, chunky earrings or fun sunglasses. There are loads of excellent accessory shops in Singapore that can support your accessory addiction. We love Lovisa, Zara and Anders & Dawn for super affordable jewellery and headwear. And Komono is our go-to brand for not too exxy sunglasses with a modern edge.

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:

Best hairdressers for all hair types in Singapore: Your hair is safe in these salons’ hands
Universal truths of motherhood
Nail salons in Singapore: Where to get a manicure or pedicure with kids
Mobile beauty services in Singapore: Best at-home treatments for busy mums