Six Beauty Fixes With Big Impact
In pretty much every area of life, judicious tweaks can be transformative. Whether you’re fine-tuning a martini with the briniest olives or upgrading a sofa in drapey cashmere, the impact is undeniable. The same simple-but-sensational approach applies to beauty regimens, too—only better: Not only can the right beauty boost refresh your appearance, it can make your morning hustle less grueling by freeing you from the confines of concealer, flatirons, and more. So what are you waiting for? Liberation lies right this way.
End Your Fight With Frizz
Frizz: the other F-word. It eats up precious prep time—all that washing, round-brushing, flatironing—and then sabotages your style the second you step outside or onto the treadmill. You can’t exactly hit a blowout bar every single morning, so try this.
Pro Fix: The Cezanne Perfect Finish Keratin Smoothing Treatment ($350 and up) is “known to change morning routines significantly,” says Dana Tizzio, a senior stylist at Butterfly Studio Salon in New York City. “Air-drying is totally possible with the right leave-in, and when you do blow-dry, you only need your hands to smooth.” The formula is formaldehyde-free, acquiring its power from a natural silk protein, which envelopes strands, sealing hair’s outermost cuticle layer. The two-hour salon treatment can reduce frizz and loosen curls by up to 80 percent, according to New York City salon owner Nunzio Saviano, and can easily be customized for those wanting to retain ringlets while still depoufing. Results last about three months—longer if you don’t wash every day. Not only is the process safe for color-treated hair, but clients may actually notice hair getting healthier, courtesy of the hot-tools hiatus.
DIY Solution: The right frizz-fighting serum—one that boosts moisture and definition—can make styling less of a battle. For fine textures, try Kérastase Discipline Spray Fluidissime ($42; kerastase-usa.com). If you have skinny strands but lots of them, go for Oribe Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream ($52; oribe.com). And for thicker hair, try Leonor Greyl Éclat Naturel Styling Cream ($46; nordstrom.com).
Even Out Speckled Skin
Freckle pride is officially a thing—and we’re all for it. It’s sunspots we could do without. Bigger, darker, and blurrier than pinpoint freckles, these unrelenting brown spots have a decidedly less youthful vibe.
Pro Fix: An in-office procedure can zap widespread sun damage, leaving skin only slightly red for a few hours. Consider no-downtime lasers (such as the Clear+ Brilliant), which attack brown spots and are generally safe for all skin tones, or intense pulsed light (IPL) devices, which can tackle both brown splotches and red spots (caused by broken capillaries) but are safe only for light complexions. For both, you’ll need two to four sessions, at roughly $500 a pop. Dermatologists typically follow Clear + Brilliant with a vitamin C serum, like SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($165; skinceuticals.com), to fast-track radiance, as the laser “creates microscopic channels in the skin that allow for greater penetration of vitamin C, the spot-fading antioxidant,” says Zeichner.
DIY Solution: To score an even complexion at home, pick up AHA peel pads. Shereene Idriss, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, likes Cane + Austin Retexture Pads + 10% Glycolic Acid ($60; sephora.com) and a brightening serum. Try Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% ($20; clinique.com).
Minimize Dark Circles
When it comes to zombielike circles, Idriss says, “genetics plays a huge role.” With age and sun exposure, fat and collagen in the area dwindle, causing hollows to deepen.
Pro Fix: Your derm can brighten and smooth your undereyes for a year or more using a delicate layer of hyaluronic acid (HA) filler—one of the more dilute formulas, like Juvederm Volbella or Belotero ($800 and up). The process works by lifting skin up and away from bluish blood vessels and gently swelling the sunken area. But they should be used sparingly, to undetectable effect, so the undereye maintains some of its naturally concave appearance. To that end, dermatologists will often inject along the tops of the cheeks first, as “often, if you lift the cheeks just a bit, the undereyes will correct on their own,” says Zeichner.
DIY Solution: Tap on an HA-infused eye gel, like Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Dew It All ($48; sephora.com), which can help plump up hollows, temporarily diminishing darkness.
Fake Fuller Brows
Raise your hand if you survived the ’90s. Now raise your hand if your eyebrows did. Relax, it’s 2017—and there’s a better way to beef up anemic arches than pencil strokes and pomade.
Pro Fix: Microfeathering. It’s a more authentic-looking take on microblading (in which semi-permanent pigment is deposited into the skin with a blade), pioneered by eyebrow expert Kristie Streicher, who tends to such A-listers as Mandy Moore at Striiike, the Beverly Hills beauty studio she co-owns with her sisters. “My goal is to fill in only sparse areas of the brow with strokes that exactly mimic the natural hair and its growth pattern for a soft, natural effect,” she explains. While microbladed brows tend to look solid and tattoo-like, microfeathered arches resemble fluffier, more youthful versions of your own. “You shouldn’t be able to differentiate between the microfeather strokes and your real eyebrow hairs,” says Streicher. The two-appointment process ($1,000) begins with a test session, during which Streicher conceals a few flicks of color into brows to see how your skin responds. (Mild swelling, bruising, and discomfort are common.) Six weeks later, clients return for additional ink and final tweaks. Since pigment slowly fades, touch-ups are needed every six months, but in between, upkeep is super minimal—as in, clear brow gel only.
DIY Solution: Brow-enhancing serums, like RevitaBrow Advanced ($110; revitalsh.com) and GrandeBrow ($80; sephora.com), aim to restore arches with prostaglandin analogs, which are “hormonelike lipids that act as chemical messengers, signaling follicles to rev up hair growth,” says cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos. Added conditioners, circulation boosters, and peptides help promote lushness by nourishing follicles and strengthening hairs.
Get Rid of Fuzz
What’s worse than constant plucking or razoring? The irritation left behind. Consider upgrading your method.
Pro Fix: Modern hair-removal lasers are less painful and quicker than waxing. They take aim at pigment, delivering a blast of heat to “disable the reproductive cycle of the hair within the follicle,” says Christian Karavolas, a certified laser specialist and owner of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal in New York City. Thanks to built-in skin-cooling mechanisms, he says, the discomfort is about half that of waxing, and the upper lip or chin can be tackled in under five minutes. (Plus, no ingrowns!) In well-trained hands, these lasers are safe for all skin tones, but they work best on darker hair. Women can expect a 45 to 85 percent permanent hair reduction on the face, he adds—results vary based on age, hormones, and medical history. Figure 6 to 10 monthly visits (starting at about $75 each), plus one or two touch-ups each year.
DIY Solution: The Flawless Finishing Touch ($20; amazon.com) has a spinning head that disappears hairs in seconds without yanking or redness. Beyond the usual uses (later, mustache!), it makes for seamless foundation application by defuzzing a full face in a few seconds.
Soften Eye Crinkles
Radiating like sunbeams from the eyes’ outer corners, these crinkles form from repetitive muscle movement—with every smile or squint, the skin scrunches, etching in lines—coupled with a weakening of collagen proteins with age. On these creases, cover-up is the cosmetic equivalent of neon highlighter.
Pro Fix: If these creases bother you, a small dose of neuromodulator, like Botox or Dysport, can “relax muscles just enough to prevent skin from folding,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. (Shots start around $500 and last three months.) By addressing eye crinkles at the first sign of lines, not before, “we can usually get rid of them with Botox,” he adds.
DIY Solution: Beyond ample sunscreen and oversize sunnies, “a vitamin A–based retinoid cream can help by gradually thickening the skin to fill in lines,” says Zeichner. To ensure its potency is tailored to this sensitive area, choose a hydrating eye-specific formula, such as Ever Sublime Retinol Eye Wrinkle Smoother ($74; everskin.com).