It was early, but I was running late. My train, miracle of miracles, was right on time.

I really needed to get ready in a hurry.

As you know, I now have a firm policy not to apply any makeup on the train, so I was desperately looking for steps to cut out of my admittedly lengthy morning beauty routine.

Here are the things I skipped, and how successful that was (or wasn't).

Face primer. I have a multistep priming routine — a generous mist of Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($32 at Sephora), followed by the Milk Makeup Blur Stick ($36 at Sephora) on my nose, cheeks, and chin, and Milk Makeup Cooling Water ($24 at Sephora) on the perimeter of my face — so skipping all of them was where I saved the most time. I was surprised to find I didn't really notice a difference in how my makeup went on — but I definitely noticed a difference in how it wore throughout the day. Hello, pores and fine lines! To try to counteract the issue, I added additional pressed powder (Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pressed Powder, $30 at Sephora), which made my skin look better but left me feeling like I was wearing a lot of makeup. Verdict: No more skipping the primers.

Eye primer. I have used the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, $22 at Sephora, so consistently for so many years I wasn't sure how my favorite eye shadows would perform without it. Spoiler alert: They didn't perform well. I grabbed the colorful new Urban Decay UD x Kristen Leanne Kaleidoscope Dream Eyeshadow Palette, $39 at Sephora, which I had been using all week with fantastic results. But without primer, the shadows looked patchy from the get-go, and the bold color faded throughout the day. Verdict: Not only am I never skipping this one again, I'm buying backup primer in case I ever run out mid-makeup application.

Setting powder. After I apply all my liquid and cream products, I usually set them in place with a translucent powder (I use the bareMinerals Mineral Veil, $23 at Sephora). Turns out my ultra-dry winter skin looked better without setting powder. (That is, until I used more powder midday to try to hide my pores.) Verdict: Going forward, I'll powder only those areas that get shiny or need a little extra pore coverage (for me, that's my nose and cheeks).

Brow gel. After I fill in my brows with the  NYX Micro Brow Pencil, $10 at drugstores, I typically set the hairs in place with the NYX Tinted Brow Mascara, $7 at drugstores. It turns out my eyebrow hair isn't as unruly as I thought, because although I could see a difference when I skipped the gel, no one else could. Verdict: This could be a place to save $7 and 45 seconds.

Lip liner. I opted for a sheer gloss so I wouldn't have to line my lips (I like the NYX Retractable Lip Liner, $4.99 at drugstores). Verdict: My unlined lips looked just fine with the gloss I'd chosen, but I wouldn't skip the liner if I were opting for lipstick (and you shouldn't, either).

Alison Smith will try to wake up earlier next time. Got a burning beauty question? Email