I work out in the morning because if it’s not the first thing I do in the day, I just don’t get to it. I’ve previously tried afternoon workouts, but noooooo. At that point, my energy is completely kaput, and all I’m good for are cute animal videos and maybe doing a facemask. (Some days I’m not even up for that.)

The one thing I’ve found difficult to manage with my early morning workouts is the bit where I’m under a time crunch to shower, make myself look presentable, and be at my desk on time.

 I like to bring my best self to work (AKA not a sweaty mess). And it perks me up mentally to know that I’m looking sharp. However, my vanity is equal to my love for sleep. So I’m not going to wake up earlier just so I can fit in my exercise session + a 30-minute makeup routine before I go to work. Neither am I willing to give up my morning exercise times in favor of an involved makeup routine (because I’ve finally gotten into an exercise habit and I will protect this habit if it’s the last thing I do!).

After a lot of practice and eliminating the non-essentials, here’s my post-workout, pre-work beauty routine that I’ve whittled down to exactly seven (Yes! Seven!) minutes.

Shower.

I save the hair wash for the end of the day, when I can blow dry. For now, I just jump in the shower, use a refreshing body wash and then a cleanser on my face. After sweating, you definitely want to wash your face with a cleanser. Since my skin is on the oily side, I use a cleanser with salicylic acid.

Hair.

At the time of writing this, my hair is pixie short, so it’s easy to manage post-workout. But when it was longer, I would put my hair in a bun as I worked out, and then after my workout, my hair would have a slight wave. French braids post-workout also hide slightly damp hair like a charm!

Moisturize.

I have a mini spray bottle that contains Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence. Yes, there are now CC creams and BB creams that combine moisturizer, UV protection, and foundation, but I like to keep this step separate from foundation because I’m addicted to the stuff, and I love the clarity it brings to my skin.

Sunscreen + Foundation:

Next, I go for a cushion compact that contains UV protection and evens out my skin tone. The applicator in this cushion compact makes putting it on a really fast job. Much quicker than with foundation brushes or anything else.

What I skip:

Blush and highlighter. A post-workout glow takes care of the need to add more color to your face. I’ll add blush and highlighter during my lunch break.

Brows:

I fill in my brows because they really frame the face. And if I’ve messed up somewhere and one of my other steps took a second too long, I’ll leave my whole look like that. That’s how essential I consider a good brow.

Lips:

I have that problem where my skin tone merges with my lip tone. So lip color is another MUST. I also think it convinces people that, yes, I’m wearing make up, and no, I didn’t dash from the gym (although I totally did). I like to use tints with long-lasting color, like this Pucca Pop Tint.

Mascara:

If I have an extra minute, I’ll curl my lashes and give them a swipe. But I don’t consider this essential for my look. You might feel differently, but that’s just how I roll.

Bonus: I like to dab a little essential oil onto my neck. I’ve long given up on perfumes. But my mother gave me a bottle of Marjoram essential oil for my last birthday, and it is a very soothing scent. It also convinces me that ALL post-workout smells are gone.

—Eun-Ha Park

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