Ask Dita Von Teese: How Do You Get Ready In Just 20 Minutes?

Although it does appear that I have a high maitenence-looking beauty style, over the past 15 years, I've managed to figure out ways to get ready quickly when I need to.
Publish date:
April 9, 2013
shoppables, eyeliner, Dita Von Teese, ask dita, liquid eyeliner

Dita Von Teese has agreed to be our newest xoJane advice columnist, answering your questions about how to incorporate glamour into your everyday life -- from styling tips, clothing, lingerie, body image, confidence and loving yourself.

Hello Ms. von Teese! I had the pleasure of seeing you at the Crazy Horse in Vegas a few years ago. I was in heaven. Do you plan to do more Crazy Horse shows? Also, I once read an interview where you said that it only takes you something like 20 minutes to get ready?!? Can you please share with us how this is possible when you always appear so well put-together? I need an hour at least from shower to stepping out the door, with the majority of my time spent blowing out my long-ass hair. It is necessary if I'm to go out without a frizzy mess o' tangles. Finally, what is your favorite liquid eye-liner, and do you have application tips/tricks? Thanks in advance! -Lacey

Hello Lacey,

Thank you for your question. I'm asked this often, so I'm pleased to explain my routine in detail for you and readers. Although it does appear that I have a high maintenance-looking beauty style, over the past 15 years, I've managed to figure out ways to get ready quickly when I need to. I do not like to keep people waiting for me whenever I can help it, plus I'm usually far too busy to be leisurely primping in front of the mirror, so I have a system in place for glamorizing.

I believe that the keys to maintaining glamour and not being late for things is to is prioritize, focus, and practice. Having a beauty regime in place helps with the time factor. I have definite ideas of which things I need to do for myself to feel confident about facing the world, and those are things that I have become well-practiced at achieving quickly. I advise you to consider what those things are for you. It sounds like your hair is important to you, and it's at the top of the quintessentials list for me too.

When I have very little time, I stick to the basics that I have decided are important to me. For instance, before leaving the house in the morning for my Pilates class, I will bounce out of bed, brush my teeth, splash my face with water, apply a light moisturizer with SPF, and then a sweep of mattifying powder.

Recently, I've discovered a great product called Miracle Skin Transformer (...I don't work for them, I just like this cream for my busy days). It's similar to the new "BB" creams that you may have noticed are getting a lot of press lately. These creams have it all; moisturizer, sun protection and beautifying/mattifying in one product. There are lots of options out there, at many different price points, so see what works for you.

The next thing I do is put my hair in a neat twist or chignon, which I can do very quickly. I advise every woman to learn and practice a chic, simple updo that you can do anytime, anyplace. I can do it without even looking in a mirror!

Next I put on a matte red lipstick, because red lips top my personal list of "Things I will NOT leave the house without." Then I put on a pair of sunglasses and I'm out the door in mere minutes, because I also have a "uniform" for my workout-wear: a simple black fitted tee, black capri pants, ballet flats and a coat if it's chilly. I can do all of this in under 10 minutes, maybe even less! I think I need someone to break out a stopwatch and start timing my various beauty routines.

So I come home after my workout and I want to get ready for my typical afternoon. Let's say I plan on going out to lunch with a friend. Not a business lunch, but with someone I'm close to.

I think about my hair. If it's still feeling clean, I will immediately plug in my hot rollers and take a quick shower. When I get out, if the rollers are hot enough, I do a very quick roller set, with maybe 10 rollers, just to add a bit of bounce and bend. (if they aren't hot enough yet, I will fill that time by choosing what to wear or washing my face).

Then I do a quick makeup while the rollers cool. On a normal day, I wear a touch of foundation or concealer just where I need it, a sweep of powder (I like MAC Mineralize Skinfinish), a touch of blush, a sweep of ivory eyeshadow, I curl my lashes and apply mascara, and of course, my mandatory red lipstick.

I brush out my hair, and if I like what I see, I spray it and go. If I don't, it's time for another chignon. Another trick I have to getting out the door quickly is to think about what to wear while I'm primping. When in doubt, wear something you KNOW you love.

If I have a little more time, and if I'm having a business meeting, I might draw a little cat-eye liner, or I might spend more time setting my hair, or making a more polished french twist. I would say that on a day when I am not being photographed, or going on a date, or going to a party, I rarely spend more than 20-30 minutes on beauty.

If I'm turning on full-power glamour for a red carpet appearance, photo shoot, etc, I like to block out more time. I usually give myself an hour and a half to two hours to allow for things like a leisurely bath, intermittent texting, having a snack (never show up at a cocktail party starving!) mixing a cocktail, playing music, and extra time for any possible wardrobe snafus or those "I have nothing to wear!" moments.

If you're the kind of girl who loses track of time, try creating a playlist that runs a certain amount of time so that you can notice when you should be getting out the door. I like to put a ridiculous song at the end of my playlist so it's my obvious cue to hurry up!

I also have clocks everywhere, especially at my vanity. It's really rude to consistently keep people waiting, and if you show up late with a glamorous look, it can be especially annoying to people because no matter what it is that made you late, they're likely to think it was your primping that did it, and we don't need to be giving glamour a bad rap, do we?

To answer your eyeliner questions.

If you're in Europe, you'll love my signature gel eyeliner I've created for ART DECO beauty.

If not, try MAC's Blacktrack gel liner with a fine brush. I prefer gel liners to liquids usually, but I keep various liquid liners around too. I also like Guerlain's glamorous gilded liquid eyeliner wand. The only thing I do not like for drawing cat-eyeliner is a felt tipped liner pen or pencil, but that's just me, because i like the smoothness of a gel or liquid, and I've been using a fine-tipped brush for the 20+ years I've been wearing my eyeliner the same exact way.

I'm a creature of habit, and like I said, I think the key to getting a fabulous makeup look is practice, and I don't like to change what I've perfected. I do find that when I don't wear eyeliner for a while, like when on holiday, or if I'm at home sick, I can't do it as well or as quickly, even though I've been doing it for so many years. So practice, practice, practice!

One simply cannot decide to get a perfect high-glamour look for a special occasion without practice. If you do want to do a new look for a special event, start practicing in your daily routine weeks ahead of time, and why not make some effort to infuse a little extra va va va voom into your day?

Some tips for my cat-eye liner style:

-If you're using my recommended gel liner in a pot, turn the open pot upside down as you draw to keep it from drying out.

-Decide right away how much "sweep" you want for your cat-eye. I have various styles I like, but I try to decide right away if the flick on the outer corner is going to veer upwards or outwards, or if I'm going big or small, or if I want it thick or thin. There are many different ways to paint, and if you look closely you will see that my styles vary slightly. I go back and forth between each eye until they seem even, checking different angles in the main vanity mirror with my secondary hand-mirror. A lighted round vanity mirror with a slight magnification on one side is ideal. I don't care for highly magnified mirrors.

-Don't be hard on yourself if they don't match perfectly every time. Just keep practicing and do your best!

-I keep a tissue handy and wipe the brush often as the eyeliner might tend to dry and become thick and hard to use. I always wipe the brush clean after use. Throw out dried out gel-liner, it's too difficult to draw a smooth line with thick liner, which is why I never use pencil.

-If you tend to get watery, allergy eyes as I do sometimes, keep a waterproof liner handy. I love MAC LiquidLast, but you have to be very careful to allow extra drying time or you'll have an absolute disaster on your hands, because it doesn't come off easily!

I wear this liner just in the corners when I need it, and I use my usual liner for the rest of my eye. I use LiquidLast by itself when I'm performing a show with lots of water, like my Birdcage show, which rains down water for the finale. It doesn't budge! With it, you could paint a Maria Callas-worthy cat-eye and go for a swim, emerging from the pool as glamorous as ever!

-I like to clean up liner mistakes with a q-tip with a bit of non-oily makeup remover, and then a use a heavy powder like MAC StudioFix on a flat brush to cover the spot. You can also find pre-treated q-tips at some beauty supply stores.

-Wait for liner to dry before curling lashes and applying mascara. I keep an inexpensive little hand-fan in my beauty kit to dry it quickly.

Lastly, I'm glad you enjoyed my performance at The Crazy Horse Paris in Las Vegas. The Crazy Horse has an incredible history in Paris, I've been fascinated with it since I was very young. I may be returning to the authentic Crazy Horse in Paris sometime this spring/summer, so perhaps you can consider coming on over to see me at the original cabaret there that's been open since 1951! Stay tuned to my website and Twitter for updates on all of my shows, including my full-length revue, Strip Strip Hooray!

Wishing you lots of luck in your glamorous adventures!



Don't forget to ask Dita all your style-related questions either in the comments or at

Earlier: How Do I Get A Casual Style For The Times When I'm Just Chilling With My Dogs In The Park?