Why Wait? Beauty Products That Offer Instant Gratification

Real beauty results — all the brightening, toning, glowing, and firming that you’re after — come with a long-term, apply-every-day commitment. Even perfected makeup, like a red lip, can be a total time-suck (exfoliate, prime, line, fill, brush, blot). After a while, though, all that primping, plucking, and peeling becomes a total drag.
But, if you’ve put in the work and your a.m. vitamin C serum just started to brighten up your skin tone after six months of constant use, you’re due for some instant gratification.
Because we're firm believers in that old adage that hard work deserves to be rewarded, we rounded up some fast flings that will let you cheat (a little!) on your long-term-relationship products by offering immediate results. To be clear, these aren’t fixes — they just look and feel that way.
Click through to see the products that offer an instant beauty boost. Your wrinkle-preventing retinols will never find out, we promise.

Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!
1 of 26
Photo: Via Nordstrom.
Whether you’re walking a red carpet or just taking some selfies, you won’t need airbrushing or a filter if you've prepped with this primer. A dime size of the silky formula makes pores vanish and skin look perfectly smooth. We love to wear it under our foundation, but it works this same magic on its own, too.
2 of 26
Photo: Via NARS.
How could this hall-of-fame color stick not make our list? The pinky-peach hue is universally flattering, and it imparts that morning-after glow on cheekbones even faster than a little lovin’ could.
3 of 26
Photo: Via Lancôme.
If you do opt for foundation, meet Lancôme’s latest miracle worker: a foundation and concealer in one. The skin-care-focused formula targets dark spots and minimizes pores and fine lines, all while evening out your complexion. You can skip spot coverage, too, as it’s built right in to cover blemishes, dark circles, and any other obvious imperfections.
4 of 26
Photo: Via Benefit.
We’re obsessed with fake lashes. Next best thing? This mascara. If it’s length, volume, and a lot of flirty fringe that you feel like batting around, a few swipes with this root-grabbing brush will really fan out each lash and coat them in a thickening, jet-black finish.
5 of 26
Image: Via Sania's Brow Bar.
It girl in the brow biz NYC-based shaper Sania Vucetaj sends her clients home with this two-in-one brush for express grooming. Not a sharp pencil or color-coated wand like you may be used to, this tool is more like a targeted, color-depositing wax. One end fills gaps while the other brushes the pigment through for a fast, natural finish.
6 of 26
Photo: Courtesy of Clinique.
Dewy? Done. This is the ultimate quick fix for dullness or dry patches. Skin feels instantly hydrated (but far from greasy) after you've blended in a bit of this fast-absorbing gel-cream.
7 of 26
Photo: Via YSL.
Alas, red lips are no longer a labor of love with this hybrid: an all-in-one gloss, moisturizing balm, and stain. The velvety flex-applicator curves to precisely coat lips in a high-shine color that sets like a stain in seconds — eliminating the chance for smudges.
8 of 26
Photo: Via Clarisonic.
Everything goes on better after washing with this electro-marvel, including serums, moisturizer, and makeup. Most who try it are instant converts to the brush’s rapid back-and-forth motion. It clears pores and exfoliates the skin's surface well enough to rival an hourlong facial.
9 of 26
Photo: Via Klorane.
Skip a wash — or three. This plant-based dry shampoo is more fun to use with each passing dirty-hair day. A few sprays soak up oil while adding major volume and texture. (Stylists use it for just this reason on clean, fine hair that tends to fall flat.) A quick braided crown, fishtail plait, or top knot just got that much better.
10 of 26
Photo: Via Target.
We’re addicted to these multitasking towelettes (and their delightful scent). Paraben-free and 99% natural, these let you combine cleansing with skin care — each packs mild alpha-hydroxy acids that take care of a day’s worth of dirt, yet they're delicate enough to remove mascara.
11 of 26
Photo: Via Fresh.
Polish away dullness and dry spots around heels, elbows, and knees with real brown-sugar crystals. As you buff, citrus oils brighten skin tone, and evening primrose, sweet almond, and apricot kernel oils soak in for 24 hours’ worth of moisture. And, the scent? Bliss.
12 of 26
Photo: Via Dr. Dennis Gross.
You can swing by his office in New York City for a peel, or just get it done at home in 10 minutes flat. The glycolic- and mandelic-acid-soaked pads minimize pores and brighten skin in two express steps, but they’ll take on fine lines and wrinkles with daily use.
13 of 26
Photo: Via Josie Maran.
Josie Maran just glows, so we’ll have what she’s having: a whole lot of argan oil. This sourced-from-Morocco natural goodness can hydrate our dry cuticles, tame flyaways and split ends, moisturize our face, and give every inch of our skin instant radiance.
14 of 26
Image: Via Kevin Murphy.
Give your hair some bright streaks minus the commitment with this intense, chalk-like color that gets sealed in with a misting of hairspray (but washes right out in the shower).

Kevin Murphy Color Bug Coloured Hair Shadow, $20, Kevin Murphy for salons.
15 of 26
Image: Via Colorescience.
Sunscreen 101: Applying it in the a.m. will only keep you protected until brunch. So, you’re going to want to be covered throughout the day with this easy-to-sweep-on, broad-spectrum solution — especially if you’re dining alfresco.
16 of 26
Image: Via Clairol.
Rinse out all signs of brassiness, yellowing, and buildup with this every-other-week shampoo — the rich, dark-purple pigment also maintains highlights, keeping them bright and buttery between salon visits.
17 of 26
Photo: Via Sonia Kashuk.
Take the science out of creating a smoky eye with this foolproof, paint-by-number kit.
18 of 26
Image: Via Kérastase.
Ultra-luxe hair line Kérastase bottled up texturizing mineral salt with sea-to-street style in mind. The mist sprays evenly over strands, building slightly matte waves that are lighter and more polished than those you’d get with other beach sprays.
19 of 26
Image: Via Goody.
Don’t underestimate these little doodads. They create seriously sophisticated chignons, high buns, and knotted updos when you’re pressed for time between desk and date.
20 of 26
Image: Via La Mer.
Zero streaks. Fast absorbing. And, infused with all the sea nutrients and antioxidant goodness this prestige brand is touted for. We know, gradual and instant are pretty different — but you’ll see a glow after just one application. The bonus: You can use the same formula on both face and body.
21 of 26
Image: Via Dior.
After discovering this at-home topcoat, we’re not sorry for skipping out on a gel manicure. Swap in Dior Gel Coat for your usual clear topper and get the same high-gloss look. It has a buildable thickness, which gives nails that desired lacquer-like finish (yet it dries surprisingly fast). Another time-saver? No need to soak in acetone. Regular nail-polish remover will do when you’re ready for a new shade.
22 of 26
Photo: Via RGB.
Switching from black to red and back to black again can leave nail beds stained. Shift into neutral while nails get a chance to recover with celeb manicurist Jenna Hipp’s collaboration with natural nail company RGB. A nod to mannequin hands, the skin-tone colors are like foundation for your tips — giving them a much-needed break from overpowering pigments.

Hipp x RGB Cosmetics Nail Foundation, $18 each, available at RGB Cosmetics.
23 of 26
Image: Via MAC.
Instantly brighten up nails without a drop of polish: Line a white pencil on the inside of your tips for a French-manicure look.
24 of 26
Image: Via Pantene.
We’re not saying your hair needs a 12-step program, but this once-a-week damage-reversal treatment will seal up broken ends for immediate shine and a healthy do-over.
25 of 26
Photo: Via Bobbi Brown.
Insta-glow? All you need is a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick. They’ve been in our illuminating arsenal for years, but there’s something extra special about the new Apricot limited-edition design with gilded shades (ranging from rose gold to chocolate bronze) for all-over highlighting.
26 of 26
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!