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Preparing for 9 to 5 (Again)

MORNING ROUTINE

HAIR:

Use a shampoo and a conditioner that treat your hair needs: Some smooth split ends, add volume, or de-frizz. In effect, they make it easier to style your hair.

The speediest blow-dry for chin- or shoulder-length hair, from Lisa Baltazar: Using a big round brush, blow out the front toward your face; then lift hair at crown and blow through to ends. Finally, flip head upside down and run brush and dryer through ends to shape and lift.

No time to blow-dry? Sweep hair into a low ponytail. Or do an up-do: Turn head upside down, twist hair around index and middle fingers. Flip upright; secure with comb or clasp.

If your hair is too short for those, finger-comb gel through hair to give it a softly imperfect air; tuck behind ears. A skinny headband or a wide black stretchy one is a fail-safe help.

FACE:

Streamline skin care with multibenefit products, such as Eucerin Plus for the Face, an alpha-hydroxy moisturizer with SPF 15.

Pare down to three makeup items, advises Bobbi Brown -- whatever you think has the most impact: say, concealer, blush, and lipstick.

Timesaving and two-in-one makeup formulations also help. Prescriptives' Exact Matchstick long-wear foundation is a new swipe-on stick. For a matte finish, try foundation and powder in one product, such as L'Oreal Visuelle Invisible Coverage Creme-Powder Makeup.

For lips, Maybelline's Lip Express Lipstick N' Liner In One is a combo pencil. Or try stains or glosses you can finger-apply without a mirror, like Blistex's Lip Tone.

Sleep deprivation showing? Pat on an eye brightener: Ultima II Brighten Up, Tighten Up is designed to diminish the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. BeneFit's High Beam adds a glow to brow bone, cheeks, or nose (for information call 800-781-2336).

BODY:

Besides control pantyhose, shapewear can be a true ally. New fabric technology has made bike shorts, control briefs, and butt-shapers quite comfortable. Victoria's Secret catalog and Bodyslimmers by Nancy Ganz have good selections.

Count on knits' forgiving, comfortable chic in skirts, tunics, and jackets (knit pants may be too casual). Tailored clothes give you sleeker lines: a fingertip-length jacket with defined shoulders and lean torso; an A-line skirt. Keep one piece of your outfit body-skimming, like a short-sleeve knit top over wide-leg pants. All-over billowing only makes you look bigger.

After you're dressed, throw on a robe to protect work clothes from the baby's glurps. Give yourself a once-over before you leave, for spit-up stains, leaky breasts, and mismatched earrings, shoes, or socks.

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