Readers share their tried-and-true (and sometimes surprising) beauty practices. 

By Real Simple
Updated February 09, 2016
Dan Page

Only use your pinkie finger to apply lotion around your eyes. It’s the weakest and keeps you from pressing or pulling too hard.
—Teresa Hosford, Kingston, Washington

Smile and use kind words. Roald Dahl once said, “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” This is so true! Inner beauty always radiates out.

—Katie Wickersham, Seattle, Washington

I sleep on a silk pillowcase each night. I’ve been an aesthetician for over 18 years, and this is the best skin-care advice I was ever given. The fabric allows skin and hair to move easily over the pillow’s surface. Flannel, cotton, and linen types may grab and abrade the skin. Of course, I follow the other rules for good skin (no sun, no smoking, and SPF every day), but this has been the most beneficial.
—Lisa Marie Parra, Portland, Oregon

Take care of your eyebrows. They define your face.
—Leslie Reyes, Crescent City, California

Never sleep in your makeup!

Eyelid primer! How did I live to my mid-30s before discovering this gem?
—Sarah Malcolm, New Haven, Connecticut

Rosewater facial mist. I use it first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and right before bed. I love the fresh feeling I get when I put it on, and the light fragrance is an added bonus.
—Darlene Perry, Valparaiso, Indiana

Eye cream and sunscreen every day. It may sound vain, but I want to be as wrinkle-free as possible for as long as possible. When I was in college, I worked at a cosmetics store, and one of my coworkers told me, “None of these creams will get rid of your wrinkles. You have to take care of your skin now.” I have never forgotten that.
—Sarah Cost Pettus, Austin, Texas

Stay out of the sun, and slather on the coconut oil.
—Mary Robertson McConnell, Syracuse, New York

Every time I cook with olive oil, I dab a bit at the corners of my eyes to keep crow’s-feet at bay. It’s a trick I learned in my teens from my beautiful aunt, who now at age 70 has amazingly supple skin.
—Rachel O’Keefe, Elkhorn, Nebraska

Avoid magnifying mirrors!
—Marti Franti, Lincoln, Nebraska

My number one beauty rule is not to compete with other women. Lamenting that someone else’s legs are longer or tummy is flatter does nothing but sap your own energy and leave you feeling ugly inside.
—Susan Youakim, Tampa, Florida

Weekly waxing.

Love begets love. I remember looking at my mom when I was little and thinking she was so beautiful. Now when my kids look at me, I know they don’t see the wrinkles or dry spots; they see someone they love and who loves them. If that can’t give me a glow, no amount of moisturizer will be able to, either!
—Sarah Hudspeth, Durham, North Carolina

No shampoo. For three years, I’ve used just baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and the occasional conditioner, and my hair has never been healthier.
—Pamela Roy Howell, Nashville, Tennessee

My number one beauty rule: Would my grandparents recognize me?
—Laurie Lane Goldberg, Loveland, Colorado

Love your freckles!
—Amanda McAllister, Seattle, Washington

Curled eyelashes make all the difference. On days that I go makeup-free, curling my stick-straight lashes opens up my eyes and makes me look more awake.
—Allie Stewart, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Excellent posture. It takes conscious, consistent practice, but it pays big dividends. And it’s free!
—Christine Dice, Broomfield, Colorado