You've probably heard it before, but make sure you wash your face every night, no matter what. If you wear makeup, you need to get all of it off your face before you go to sleep. For those of you who think you can skip this step because you rarely wear makeup, oils and dirt still build up on your face during the day, and you need to remove those before you sleep.
Determine your biggest skin or cosmetic issue, and then find a product that works the best to correct that issue. If it's expensive, don't feel guilty about it. You can skimp in other areas of your cosmetic budget, but splurge on that one product that performs miracles for you. Maybe this means a particular anti-wrinkle serum, but it can also mean you splurge on that one high-end mascara that absolutely makes your eyes pop. Or maybe you have a signature lip color that costs a little bit more? If it is lightning in a bottle for you, it's worth that little bit more.
Find a pared-down daily routine that works for you, and hone it until you can apply it in your sleep if you had to. Eventually, you'll be able to have your full morning routine done in minutes flat, and you'll still look your best. Find a neutral look that complements your face, and don't worry about matching your clothing to your makeup; you'll save time and you'll always look pulled together.
Makeup artist Mel Rau recommends using products only where you need them. For example, she says that most women do not need foundation over their entire face, but we apply it all over anyway. Apply it only where you need it, and you'll still look great, but you'll save time and you'll make that bottle of foundation go farther.
Don't forget your sunscreen! Protect your skin daily from UVA and UVB rays to prevent skin trouble later. Some makeup offers built-in sunscreen protection, but you may need to reapply throughout the day as you would with traditional sunscreen. Check the labels to see if you can get away with allowing your makeup to do double duty.