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Time-Crunch Beauty: Up Your Makeup Game Now Without Slowing Down

We're all so busy -- who has time for fussing with makeup? I live and breathe makeup and skincare, yet am always throwing on my face on the run. Makeup artist and Pixi Beauty founder Petra Strand has two kids, so she knows from time-saving makeup tips. And she shares them here.
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Thought about calling this How to Look Like You Have No Kids and/or No Deadlines Instead of No Time. We're all so busy that for many of us, the daily challenge is achieving even one of our ideas of fabulous hair, flawless skin, and makeup exactly. the. way. we. want. it. I think about skincare and makeup 70% of the day, yet nine times out of 10 my hair is in a bun (un-fun librarian, not cool-girl) and I'm throwing on my makeup in the back of a cab.

Swedish makeup artist Petra Strand (below), creator of Pixi Beauty and mother of two, is known for her fresh-face-fast approach to looking great. Her philosophy of makeup spins on efficiency -- the easiest, fastest way to look good so you feel good -- and makeup to wakeup is her tag line. I asked her about speedy beauty tips busy moms (and aunties) can start using now.


ditch the brushwork: For a streamlined, time-crunch, speedy beauty routine, "multi-purpose items and things you can blend with clean fingertips, not a whole armory of brushes, are key," says Petra. (I realize I've become all about this as I've developed my back-of-the-cab makeup regimen.) Look for sticks, pots or tubes of cream, gel or liquid formulas, "products that blend seamlessly into the skin and last -- most busy moms and aunties don't have time to re-apply during the course of the day," she says.

Petra Strand's Pixi mvp-makeup must-haves

assemble a team of mvp makeup:  Most-valuable-player makeup is quick to apply without tools, and often serves more than one purpose. That's key for these speedy beauty tips. Think BB and CC creams, and colour formulas you can use on cheeks and lips, maybe eyes, too. Petra's tips:

  1. To even out your complexion, maintain hydration and protect, try BB-esque Pixi Illuminating Tint & Conceal SPF 20 ($22) which combines sunscreen, moisturizer and pigment and has a handy, creamy stick concealer in the lid of the tube. (I'm stuck on Maybelline New York Dream Fresh BB Cream SPF 30, $11.09 at, but love the matching-concealer component of this Pixi item -- Lise Watier does it too, as does Stila. This Pixi concealer is a nice consistency, too.)
  2. To warm your complexion and brighten your eyes, Petra recommends "Sheer Cheek Gel ($20) for a transparent hint of colour on cheeks -- and you can use it as a lip stain." (This Cheek Gel is super sheer and gives you lots of time to blend. Goof-proof.)
  3. To accent eyes, try shadow pencils such as the Pixi Lid Last Shadow Pen ($12). "Just draw across the lid for a creamy shadow that you can blend out with fingertips and it won't crease or budge all day," says Petra. (I skip shadow on my lids to save time, but use a shimmery soft gold NARS Soft Shadow Pencil, $28 at, as an inner-corner brightener to wake up my eyes. Am currently eyeing Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes, $19 at, too.)

fake 8 hours of sleep with luminous layers:  The older we get, the bigger bootprint sleep deprivation leaves on our faces. But packing on the cosmetics is, according to Petra, the wrong move. "It's a misconception that you should use more makeup," she says. "Heavy coverage formulations can just make you look even more drained. It's better to use thin layers of product." And the following still fit the speedy beauty tips concept.

The trick is strategic luminosity, using a sheer multi-tasking base and layering dabs of brightener, concealer and highlighter over it, then finishing with sheer rosy cheeks and glossy lips. (I start by cranking up my skin's hydration, with a moisturizing mask if I have time, spritzing with facial mist, layering hydrating serums and finishing with a hydration-boosting moisturizer. My skin prep takes longer than my makeup.)

"My secret weapon against looking fatigued is my Fake Awake Kit ($20) [see demo here], which literally has everything you need to look fresh-faced in seconds with flattering and enlivening shades and textures to brighten and awaken," says Petra. "I also add the Extra Eye Bright Liner, a soft hypoallergenic pencil for the waterline. A soft lilac, it miraculously makes the whites of the eyes sparkle." (It really does -- it's my new favourite eye-wakeup.)

Petra Strand's 4.5-minute face basics_Illuminating Tint & Conceal not shown

Petra Strand's 4.5-minute face:  What would you do with an extra 30 seconds? Just breathe.

  1. Start with Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer ($31) to prep skin and you can skip powder (yay) and cut out a step.
  2. Blend Pixi Illuminate Tint & Conceal ($22) over skin and cover where you need to with the concealer in the lid.
  3. Use just one shadow from a Pixi Shadow Quartette ($16) as a wash of colour. Curl lashes and apply a coat of mascara.
  4. Use the Natural Brow Duo Pencil ($13) to fill brows in quickly; fix with the tinted gel on the opposite end of the tube.
  5. Use a Succulent Lip Twin ($20) on lips -- rub a little of the colour in the tube onto apples of the cheeks for a beautifully nuanced look.
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Fun Pixi Beauty fact:  Pixi Beauty's packaging is partly inspired by Petra's fondness for pistachio macarons from Ladurée in Paris. (Image borrowed from

Do you have a no-fail makeup-wakeup moves? Favourite speedy beauty tips? Have you tried anything Pixi?

Select Pixi Beauty items are available at Target and online via