What Is the Most Brilliant Beauty Trick You’ve Ever Learned?

Some tricks require magic wands or smoke and mirrors. But for these beautiful feats, all you need is olive oil, baby powder, and a little ingenuity.

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Photo by Christopher Silas Neal

Exfoliate your face with baking soda once or twice a week. About 20 years ago, I incorporated this step into my beauty routine after an acquaintance revealed that it was the secret to her amazing skin. I mix half a tablespoon of baking soda with a little water to make a paste and massage it onto my face and neck. Over time, this has made my skin look and feel brand-new. And at about $1 for a one-pound box, it couldn’t be more budget-friendly.

Jennie Dugger

Sapulpa, Oklahoma

A few times a week, mix a couple of drops of olive oil into your moisturizer to give your face a healthy glow. I learned the tip from an article about the many benefits of olive oil. I’m someone who wears minimal makeup, so keeping my skin hydrated makes all the difference in how I look. I’m in my 40s, but no one would guess it.

Amy Elizabeth Echols

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Regular face towels can be too abrasive for sensitive skin, so my mom taught me to dry my face with baby washcloths. They are soft, gentle, and just as absorbent.

Megan Melloy

Chicago, Illinois

Years ago, while taking a shower, I was fresh out of shaving cream, so I shaved my legs using hair conditioner. This last-minute replacement left my skin feeling so silky-smooth that I started using it all the time. Bonus: one less bottle cluttering up my shower.

Mischelle Turi

Bayonne, New Jersey

After I complained to a makeup-counter salesperson that my mascara always became dry and clumpy within a month, she suggested submerging the closed tube in a bowl of hot water for three minutes to make it creamy again. (Just don’t try to revive expired mascara.) This solution has stopped me from tossing out salvageable makeup, saving me money in the process.

Tina Bird

Venice, Florida

Because I have so much hair, my ponytails were perpetually saggy—until, that is, a hairstylist showed me how to create a two-in-one ponytail. I split my hair into two sections (top and bottom), secure the lower section with an elastic, then comb the rest of the strands over the bottom ponytail and tie both sections together. The hidden ponytail holds most of the weight, so my ponytail stays perky.

Heather Corin

Cary, North Carolina

As I’ve aged, my eyebrow hairs have grown thicker and stiffer, making wayward strands quite noticeable. I spritz a tiny amount of hair spray on a clean mascara wand and brush it onto my brows. The hairs stay groomed and in place until I wash my face at the end of the day.

Lanie Saint Aubin

Roseville, Michigan

One of my daily annoyances used to be when makeup rubbed off on my clothes when I got dressed, no matter how carefully I pulled my shirt over my head. Now I flip my hair over my head so it covers my face before I slip on a top. My hair protects my shirt from stains, and my makeup never smudges.

Laura Hipps

Delray Beach, Florida

All my life, like most women, I had been selecting a foundation shade based on the color of my cheek or forehead. Then, a few months ago, a television makeup artist said that I should choose a hue that matches the skin on my neck, which is generally a tad darker. I now look back at old photos and can see that I was sporting two different skin colors!

Alisha Youch

Dover, New Hampshire

If I don’t have time to properly wash my hair (like after working out at the gym), I sprinkle a little baby powder onto my roots and blend it in. Since my college roommate introduced me to this method six years ago, I’ve found it more effective at getting rid of grease than any other product I’ve tried.

April Salazar

Aliso Viejo, California

I’m obsessed with glitter nail polish, but it can be such a pain to remove. To make the process easier, I picked up a genius tip from an Instagram user: Brush a thin coat of school glue onto your nails, let the glue dry, then apply the base coat and the glitter polish. When it’s time to change your polish, you can peel the glitter coat right off.

Stacey Kaplan

Rock Hill, South Carolina

As a quick fix for tired-looking eyes, I apply white eyeliner to the inner rims of my lower lash lines, as well as to the inner corners of my eyes. This brightens my face and instantly makes me appear much more awake and alert.

Melissa Baker

Little Rock, Arkansas

Instead of cutting open a sample packet, create a small hole with a pin to dispense the product. Your freebie will last for up to three weeks, instead of a day or two. This clever method allows me to test an expensive product thoroughly before deciding to purchase it.

Sarah Oates

Carbondale, Colorado

About 10 years ago, I read a magazine interview with an actress who recommended looking down into a mirror when applying mascara. I tried her approach and discovered that the angle makes my lashes easier to see and the hairs actually curl upward.

Diane Rusniak

Chicago, Illinois