20 Brilliant Hair and Beauty Hacks You Never Knew You Needed
Beauty pros, editors, and experts—and some gorgeous women like you—share their favorite beauty hacks and touch-up tricks for any time of day.
When you're on the go with a jam-packed schedule, even one time-saving, life-changing beauty hack is helpful—and we've got 20. Keeping breakouts at bay during a workout? Touching up your makeup at the office? Paring down your morning routine? Check, check, and check. Even if you think you have your beauty routine down to a science, these editor-approved makeup, hair, and styling hacks are worth the read.
Cut Your Morning Shower Time in Half
If you’re a morning hair washer, shampoo and condition your locks simultaneously. Lather up the top of your head, run conditioner from the middle to the tips, then rinse out both at the same time. Your roots are where you need shampoo the most (dirt oil, and products build up there), while the ends require hydration and minimal cleaning.
Speed Up the Air-Drying Process
Wearing a towel turban may seem like a good way to dry your hair, but surprisingly it’s not. Once the cotton is soaked, it keeps the hair wet, prolonging the drying process. The cotton can also rough up the hair cuticle, increasing the likelihood of breakage and frizz. Let hair air-dry or opt for a gentler and more absorbent microfiber towel. We like Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Towel ($30; aquis.com).
Style Your Hair While You Sleep
Another beauty hack for your hair? Spritz some dry shampoo along your roots before bed as a preemptive measure. This will absorb excess oil as the oil is produced. Your hair will feel extra fresh come morning, and you’ll need only a quick touch-up before heading out the door. Try Dove Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo ($5; target.com).
Focus on Your Brows
When there’s no time for full makeup, one simple beauty hack is to focus on grooming your eyebrows—it can go a long way toward making you look put together. Use a clean spoolie brush to comb brows backward, starting at the tail. This reveals any sparse areas that you can then quickly fill in with a brow pencil, like Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil ($24; benefitcosmetics.com).
Repurpose Office Supplies (Yes, Really!)
When an unwanted sheen appears while you're at work, resist the urge to keep powdering your nose—too much powder can quickly start to look cakey. Gently blotting away excess oil is a better bet, and you don’t even need fancy blotting paper. Your office restroom or kitchenette probably has everything you need: Toilet seat covers from the bathroom or a coffee filter from the break room work just as well. (We won’t tell your boss.)
Avoid Mascara Smears for Good
Believe it—a business card doubles as an excellent eye makeup tool. When you’re applying mascara, place one directly behind your upper lashes or underneath your lower lashes. The card acts as a shield, letting you work the wand all the way to the base of your lashes without leaving smudges.
Instantly Upgrade an Updo for Work
Make any pony, braid, or bun office-ready by creating the illusion of added volume, no hot tools required. Simply dust a root touch-up powder onto your hairline, your part, or any areas where your scalp is exposed. Your hair will instantly look fuller. A good one to try: Madison Reed Root Touch Up ($34; amazon.com).
Give Yourself a Makeup-Free Makeover
If that late afternoon slump is starting to show on your skin, there’s no need to redo your makeup. A colorless hydrating balm revives your entire look. Dab it onto cheekbones, lids, and lips for an immediate pick-me-up. Try Milk Makeup Hydrating Oil Stick ($24; sephora.com).
Create Perfect Beach Waves While You Work Out
Don’t plan on washing your hair after exercising? Mist on texturizing spray and put your hair in a topknot. The warmth and humidity generated during your workout, coupled with the styler, will produce pretty waves. Try KMS HairPlay Sea Salt Spray ($18; amazon.com).
Stop Sweat-Induced Breakouts in Their Tracks
Keep That Ponytail Smooth All Day
All it takes to transform your ponytail into an office-appropriate style that lasts is an extra hair tie. Secure the hair with one tie. Then add a second for extra hold and lift, making your pony look intentional. Spritz Tresemmé Compressed Micro-Mist Hair Spray ($5; target.com) onto a toothbrush and run it along your hairline to smooth errant hairs.
Soften Strands While You Sweat
Before working out, apply a hair mask from midshaft to ends, then throw your hair into a bun. The heat from exercising will help the mask penetrate. As an added time-saver, you can skip conditioner after you wash it out. Try L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Treatment ($7; amazon.com).
Apply Foundation More Quickly
Dust a powder foundation, like IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation ($36; ulta.com), all over your skin. Then spritz a setting spray, such as Cover FX Illuminating Setting Spray ($31; sephora.com), on top. It gives the powder a creamier finish, similar to that of a liquid foundation—without the time-consuming application—and helps it last longer.
Go From Day to Night in One Step
When taking your makeup from day to night, simply reach for a bright lip color to punch up your look. You don’t have to reapply blush; the cheek color left from the morning is all you need. Extra blush, if coupled with a vibrant lip, can make your complexion look too red (here are a few more makeup mistakes to avoid too.)
Spruce Up Your Nails in Minutes
If you don’t have time for a manicure, clean and brighten nails by buffing them with a toothbrush (yes, you read that right) and a dab of whitening toothpaste. Finish with a swipe of hydrating cuticle oil for a pretty and healthy-looking sheen.
Help Your Fragrance Last
To up the staying power of your perfume, first apply an unscented lotion, like Curél Fragrance Free Body Lotion ($8; amazon.com), all over your body. Your pores will absorb the lotion, causing the fragrance to break down more slowly and stick around longer so you smell amazing all night.
Guarantee a Picture-Ready Complexion
A night out inevitably involves photos, so don’t wear foundation containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, found in sunscreen. These can reflect light into the camera, leaving skin with a gray or white cast in flash photos. If you only have a formula with sunscreen, dust on a little extra bronzer.
Perfectly Pack Liquid Products
Packing your liquid or cream makeup and skincare products? Instead of taking the whole bottle(s), store them in clean contact lens cases. They hold the perfect amount for short trips or to keep in your purse for midday touch-ups.
Banish Airplane Hair
Before boarding, spray a leave-in conditioner, like It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin ($21; ulta.com), from midshaft to ends. Then, if you have longer hair, pull it into a low, loose bun. A little conditioner is all it takes to help keep any style smooth and detangled.
Consolidate Your Makeup
Swap powder blush and eye shadow for a multipurpose color stick, like Bite Beauty Multistick ($24; sephora.com). This single product can add color to your cheeks, lids, and lips, and you won’t need to pack any brushes for application.