The average woman spends 25 minutes daily doing her hair and makeup. Over 30 years, that’s equivalent to a ‘makeup gap’ of 3,000 hours.

There are four ways to deal with this ‘makeup gap’. Each of the women below took a different approach.

Zero Makeup

In 2016, singer Alicia Keys picked Option 1, embracing the #nomakeup hashtag: “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”

Not everybody is willing to go that extreme. At the FinTech Forum in Paris, I posed the question to a group of international women during the “Women in Finance” luncheon. Here’s what they told me.

Makeup for Meetings Only

Galit from Tel Aviv

“When I first met my now-husband, he was shocked that it took me just 20 minutes to shower and do my hair and makeup. His previous girlfriend took over an hour just on her makeup! I don’t like to waste my time on all of this. It’s not that I don’t care how I look, but I’d rather take the extra 10 minutes having coffee and chatting with my kids in the morning. I used to put on eyeliner on the train into work, but I started feeling very stupid doing that. Now, thankfully, I work from home, so I wear makeup only for the office or outside meetings.”

Makeup Multi-Tasking

Sara from Philadelphia

“My better ideas come when I’m sitting at home in sweatpants. It is such a relief now that I can work from home. A few years ago, when I had to go into the office, I coped by considering makeup to be one of the steps in my workday. It would take me 25 minutes each morning to go through my routine of putting on primer (for dark spots), moisturizer, primer (for foundation), foundation, blush, eye shadow, and finally mascara. It was so boring that I would multi-task in between each step and check my email or make the bed – I couldn’t just sit there.”

Minimal Makeup

Gabrielle from Montreal

“While I used to take 20-25 minutes to do hair and makeup in the morning, my partner got to start his day before me by doing emails and some reading during that time. He has more time to work and learn in a day than me…my makeup routine is now as short as possible at around 10 minutes.”

Gabrielle shared this article from Fast Company about double-standards in grooming and how much extra it costs women in time and money.

Personally, I hate putting on makeup, so I do the bare minimum. I have my routine down to just under eight minutes and to combat my irritation I simultaneously do a type of yoga breathing to maintain vitality.

When I have a large public event to attend where I absolutely have to look perfect, I outsource hair and/or makeup to a professional. The whole thing takes 30-60 minutes. I bring my laptop—and get a surprising amount of work done!

Barbara Stewart, CFA is one of the world’s leading researchers on women and finance, focusing on real life financial behaviours and providing global insights into how smart women think and communicate. Barbara is an advocate for women, for diversity, and for financial education. In addition to her Rich Thinking® research, Barbara uses her proprietary research skills to work as an Executive Interviewer on a project basis for global financial institutions seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their key stakeholders, both women and men. Barbara is a frequent interview guest on TV, radio and print, both financial and general interest. She is a contributor to the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor website. For more information about Barbara’s research, please see