Last night I went to a party with Dakota Fanning and Sarah Jessica Parker wearing ripped tights from an old Halloween costume. This is the struggle of being a student in New York: you’re busy with finals and haven’t done laundry in a month, but then there are those random Gossip Girl moments that totally require you to wear couture… or at least look like you wash your clothes on a regular basis. It’s exam time so I know I’m not the only one who has been slacking on their beauty routine. Here is some advice on how to look good even when you only have 20 minutes to get ready, whether it’s for a normal school day or a last minute event.

Perfect Hair, Always

• Dry your hair in a t-shirt not a towel, it’s way more absorbent and gives your hair a lot of shine, saving you time when doing your hair. Bonus: Use a soft tee for soft hair, we don’t know why it works but it does!

• Dry shampoo is your best friend when going longer between showers. Running low? Use baby powder instead.

• For sweet smelling hair, spray some perfume on your hairbrush. Don’t spray directly on your hair as the alcohol will dry your hair out.

Do Your Beauty Routine In Half the Time

• Two in one products: eye pencil for eyeliner, coloring lids and filling in brows or lip and cheek stain.

• Like to unwind with painting your nails but don’t have time to let them dry? Put your fingers in a bowl of ice. This makes them set and dry faster.

• Moisturize your face before bed, and then use wipes in the morning. If you don’t have time to put on foundation at least you know your skin will have a healthy glow.

Look More Awake

• Use a luminizer on the inside of your eyes to brighten them up.

• Line the top of your eyes with brown liner to create contrast with white. Avoid black liner as it can be too harsh.

• Swipe some lip balm on for a healthy pout.

• Run some blush over your cheeks for a healthy glow.

Fake Your Laundry

• Use Febreze to freshen your clothes.

• Spray a little perfume and walk into it to get a signature scent that isn’t dirty laundry.

• Wear black. No one will be able to tell if you spilled a little something on it. Just watch out for deodorant stains.

DO NOT DO THIS: Iron clothes by taking a hot shower and hanging them in steamy bathroom – this does not work. I tried it last night and now have one soaking wet jacket and water damage in my bathroom. Try explaining that one to the building maintenance. Whoops.

Be Prepared For Anything

• Pack your bag the night before. It’s good to get in the habit of setting up for the next day right when you get home because somehow it takes half the amount of time the night before than it would in the morning.

• You have 50 million beauty products and probably only use 6 on a daily basis. Put the rest away for when you have 3 hours to get ready and only leave the bare necessities on your makeup table.

• Keep one pair of intact tights hidden somewhere for serious emergency moments.

• Have a go-to look you know looks always fab. Like your favorite jeans and tee that always look great no matter what, or a dress that fits perfectly for going out.

Kate was our Garage intern last summer but we forced her to stick around so she could keep entertaining us from her NYC flat. You can check out all of her posts in our Says the Intern feature.