Our Best Beauty Secrets and Tips
Appealing Aid for Feet
If a banana peel is the foot’s sworn enemy, the contents can be its best friend. The fruit makes a superior skin softener, says Robin Jones, the spa director at the Lake Austin Spa Resort, in Austin, Texas, who developed this mask for weatherworn heels: Mash half a banana in a bowl, mix in a few drops of honey, then massage into your heels. Wrap your feet in plastic wrap and allow the mixture to soak in for at least 10 minutes. Rinse, then gently exfoliate the area with a pumice stone.
Depending on how you apply your makeup, your deep-set eyes can go from sunken looking to sultry in a blink, says Tina Turnbow, a celebrity makeup artist based in New York City. “Instead of using flat, dark brown or charcoal eye shadows on your lids, sweep a pale, shimmery color from lash line to crease,” she advises. Light will reflect off the pigments and bring your eyes forward ever so slightly so that they don’t seem as recessed. Finish with brown mascara.
Make the Cut
You can do a bang-up bang trim at home, says celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend. First, gather your bangs in your nondominant hand while holding a pair of hair-cutting scissors in the other. Pull the hair down until your thumbnail rests vertically on the bridge of your nose. Trim right around the tip of your thumb. This will give you a gently rounded arc from temple to temple, which is more flattering than a straight, Buster Brown fringe.
DIY Eye Depuffer
From Rosario Gonzalez of the Alchimie Forever Spa, in Washington, D.C., comes this trick to help brighten and tighten the skin’s appearance around your eyes temporarily: You’ll need 2 bags of green tea, steeped and slit open at the top; grated cucumber; and 1 snack-size bag filled with frozen peas. (1) Stuff ½ teaspoon of cucumber into each tea bag, then place a bag over each eye. (2) Lay the bag of frozen peas across both eyes. (3) Remove after 10 minutes. The brew is high in antioxidants; the chilled peas reduce puffiness.
Put a Sock in It
Can’t master the topknot? This easy technique will knock your socks off. Take a regular old ankle sock and cut off the toe; roll the remainder into a doughnut shape. Gather your hair into a high ponytail and secure with an elastic. Next, pull the ends of the tail through the doughnut. Wrap them around one side of the doughnut and gently roll it all the way down to the elastic (using the same motion you would if you were rolling up your sleeve) until you’ve formed a bun. No need for pins—the wrapped hair holds and covers the sock. Create a sock bun easily yourself by following our step-by-step photos.
Easy on the Eyes
Neutrals are nice, but it’s fun to spice things up a tad. For a simple, speedy way to wear color on your lids, New York City makeup pro Sonia Kashuk recommends going monochromatic—with a twist: “Use three shades of the same color. Apply the lightest one all over the lid, the darkest near the lash line, and the medium-toned one from the lash line to just above the crease.” Blend. Done.
See Spots Run
If you have visible sun damage, you’re probably guilty of skipping the SPF—be sure to apply sunscreen religiously. And to help even out your complexion, try this trick from Los Angeles facialist Kate Somerville: Three times a week, gently rub a (washed) strawberry on discolored areas. Keep the juice on your skin for two minutes before rinsing. The fruit acids may help lighten splotches. (Best for nonsensitive skin.)
Make Lipstick Last
The key to long-wearing, transferproof lipstick is layering, says Dick Page, the artistic director of Shiseido Cosmetics. First, apply color directly to your lips. Next, separate a two-ply tissue and hold one sheet against your lips while dusting translucent loose powder on top. Remove the sheet and apply another layer of color. Blot one last time with the remaining sheet and you’re good to go—for hours.
Help for Ticklish Tootsies
If you wriggle instead of relaxing during a pedicure because your feet are ticklish, try this distracting trick from Marcela Correa, a medical pedicurist at the Julien Farel salon in New York City: Wrap your hands around your leg right beneath the knee (as if putting it in a choke hold) while the technician files the calluses on that foot.
Eye Makeup Made Easier
In makeup, as in life, timing is everything. If you tend to apply concealer first (as many women do), try starting with eye makeup instead, advises New York City salon owner Kimara Ahnert. That way, you can easily clean up any powdery residue that migrates below your eyes—and that could cast dark shadows—with a cotton swab soaked in makeup remover. Then top with concealer for a bright-eyed finish.
A Trick for Complete Coverage
Even the best liquid foundation won’t give you a flawless complexion unless it’s well blended. To make color melt into your skin, dab it on with a dampened synthetic makeup sponge, says San Francisco makeup artist Emily Warren. Wet the sponge, then squeeze until it’s almost dry. Next, dispense foundation onto the back of your hand, press the sponge into it, and apply wherever you want coverage.
Master Purrfect Eyes
Can’t seem to conquer the cat eye? Try this trick from Carmindy, a New York City celebrity makeup artist with Sally Hansen Natural Beauty: “Place a credit card flat against your skin, so that you form a roughly 45-degree angle from the outer corner of your upper lash line to the outer corner of your brow. Sweep liquid liner along the upper lash line and as far past the corner of the eye as you like, using the top of the card as a guide.”
Get a Hold on Hair
If you have trouble getting bobby pins and barrettes to stay in your hair, this technique from Mark Townsend, a Los Angeles–based celebrity stylist with Dove Haircare, should help: Spray the fasteners with dry shampoo right before slipping them in. The product gives the clips a slightly tacky feel, so they won’t slide out, whether your hair is thick or fine. For even more holding power, anchor bobby pins by crisscrossing them over each other.
Cut Down Product Buildup
Most people glop hair products at the front of their heads and work backward. But according to Stefanie Henriquez, a stylist at the Frederic Fekkai salon at the Mark in New York City, this method causes too much product to pile up at the hairline, weighing down the roots. Instead, gather your hair at the nape of your neck and begin the application at the ends, working toward the crown. Use what’s left at the hairline.
A Style Worth Pinning
From Rebecca Friedman, a co-owner of the Goodform Salon, in Los Angeles, comes this easy, romantic spin on date-night hair: Use a vintage brooch or pin as an embellishment. Side-part your hair, mist with spray, then curl the ends under with an iron. Tuck one side behind your ear and place the brooch above it. (If your hair is thin, you may need to anchor it with a bobby pin or two.) Works for most lengths.
Get a Longer-Lasting Home Manicure
Make your home manicure last longer with this pointer from Kristina Saindon, a Denver-based manicurist for the nail-care company CND. After you’ve applied a base coat, paint a little more of it across the tips of your nails. Follow as usual with two coats of color. The extra step reinforces the tips, where peeling starts.
A New View of Your Skin
Do you ever stand an inch from the magnifying makeup mirror and despair that needles and lasers are the only answer? Step away from the glass—you may be experiencing proportion distortion, says Loretta Ciraldo, a dermatologist in Miami. “No one else scrutinizes your skin that closely,” she says. “I’ve saved many women from the scalpel by suggesting that they ask a friend to take a picture of them from a foot or two away. Then they can assess what they may really need.” Which might be just moisturizer and a good night’s sleep.
No Time to Shampoo? Try This
For salon-level style on those mornings when you barely have time to shower, try this trick from Bonnie Thorpes, a blow-dry stylist at Blow NY: If your hair is shoulder length or longer, set it in hot rollers, then spritz the roots with a dry shampoo. This gives hair some body and also absorbs excess oil. Get dressed while your hair sets, then undo the rollers and you’re on your way.
On the Flip Side
As you know if you’ve ever fumbled with a round brush and a hair dryer in vain, emulating a pro blow-out at home can pose a real challenge. Grace Yun, a stylist at the Frédéric Fekkai salon in New York City, has the answer: Use your head—literally. First blow all the hair from one side of your head toward the other. Then do the same on the reverse side. Keep flipping sides until your hair is completely dry. Basically, your noggin acts like a big Velcro roller, smoothing your strands into glorious submission.
A New Eye Do
In a perfect world, you would be able to apply liquid eyeliner in such a straight line that it would blend seamlessly into the base of your lashes. Unfortunately, morning caffeine jitters can make that a tough feat. To camouflage “slights” of hand, makeup guru Bobbi Brown recommends correcting any bumps with a pencil liner in the same color.
Get the Point
To prevent a makeup pencil from reaching the breaking point when you sharpen it, put it in the freezer 30 minutes beforehand, says Jemma Kidd, a makeup artist in London. This makes the tip less apt to crumble and produces a neater line. Before using the liner, soften it a bit by drawing a quick stroke on the back of your hand.
From the Top
To avoid a news-anchor blowout—that is, round and puffy—start drying on the top of your head, says Patrick Melville, a salon owner and a celebrity stylist in New York City. “Most people flip their hair over and begin drying at the nape,” he says. But in the meantime, the front portion air-dries and doesn’t lie flat. For a sleek finish, pull small sections of hair taut with a flat-backed brush, beginning at your forehead and working back, and aim the air from the part to the ends.