No need to sacrifice beauty for grades this exam period

It’s a tale as old as time, and never fails to happen during finals. You set your alarm for one hour before your exam, planning to shower, eat, study and rush to school, but instead, you’re scrambling to get out of bed with only 15 minutes before you need to leave. You stayed up too late, and you are damning your alarm clock for not ringing louder (or yourself for pressing that snooze button a few too many times).

Where to start? You could head to school just as you are—in your PJs, bare skin, hair unbrushed, and your classmates would probably hardly notice. Today, however, you’re in the mood to look put together—and with these five easy steps, the Fulcrum will have you looking good and out the door in no time.

Wake Up

It’s time to wake up your senses. Head to the sink and take ten seconds to splash some cold water on your face. This will get your blood flowing and gives you an instant flush. Pat your face dry, grab an eye-roller serum, and massage your under-eye for a few seconds using the tip of the roller. This will reduce under eye puffiness, no sliced cucumbers needed. Time check: Nine minutes left.

Product recommendations: Clinique All About Eyes De-Puffing Eye Massage at $35 or Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller at $15.97.

Knot it Up

Let’s be honest, you probably haven’t washed your hair in days (does anyone really shower during exams anyway?), so this is when dry shampoo becomes your best friend. Take your dry shampoo and spray it like you mean it. Direct the product to your roots, turn your head upside down, and use your hands to shake it out. This also serves to give you instant volume. Whether you prefer a top knot, a low bun, or a half ponytail, a sleek or messy bun is always chic and tames your mane in a matter of minutes, adding a few spritzes of hairspray to keep those flyaways in place. Time check: Six minutes left.

Product recommendations: Dove Refresh + Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo at $4.96 or TRESemmé Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo at $5.96 and TRESemmé Tres Two Extra Hold Hairspray at $6.26 or L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Strong Hold Hairspray at $15.98.

Conceal and Conquer

There’s no time for a full face of foundation, so opt instead for a creamy yellow or peach-based concealer to counteract any dark circles and even out your skin tone. Dot some concealer under your eyes, around your nose to cover up any redness, and on pesky pimples that have popped up from all of the late-night junk food you’ve been munching on. Use your finger to blend—using a creamy concealer makes this process much faster. If you have an extra minute feel free to set the concealer with a loose powder. Time check: Four minutes.

Product Recommendations: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer at $36 or Maybelline Fit Me Concealer at $6.96 and NYC New York Color Smooth Skin Loose Face Powder at $3.47.

Bright Eyed

The difference between “I’m running on two hours of sleep” and “I slept like Sleeping Beauty” lies in the mascara. Go for a volumizing formula, and layer on several coats. If you can’t live without your eyelash curler, curl away. It’ll open your eyes, and make you appear wide awake. Time check: One Minute.

Product Recommendations: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara at $6.97 or MAC Zoom Fast Black Lash $20 and Shiseido Eyelash Curler at $8-$24.

In Pout We Trust

If all else fails, and you have absolutely no time to get ready, apply red lipstick. No one will notice that your dark circles have become your signature look when you’re wearing classic red. It steers the attention away from sleep-deprived problem areas and straight to your pout.

Product recommendations: MAC lipstick in Ruby Woo at $20 or Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red at $7.46.

Now that you’re good to go in a matter of ten minutes, throw on some jeans and your favourite shirt, and go nail that exam.