What's Your Most Reliable Beauty Shortcut?

Real Simple readers reveal their tried-and-true tricks for looking and feeling their best.

Photo by Tara Donne


I stopped fighting my naturally curly hair and accepted it for what it is―curly! No more wasted hours battling with a straightening iron, no more lost summer days spent sitting inside to avoid the humidity, and no more running from the rain. Now I just wash my hair, add some gel, and go. I may not look quite like the girls in the magazines any more, but now I bear a strong resemblence to my grandmother, and that is a beautiful thing.
Debbie Richmond
Haslett, Michigan

Now Hair This

About once a week, I slather on a thick deep conditioner (so thick that it holds my hair in place) before heading out for my morning run. My body heat plus the sun’s rays helps the conditioner penetrate my hair and work its magic, and this saves me time in the shower. I love that I’m sneaking in a bit of pampering during an otherwise unglamorous endeavor.
Anne Sherry
Evanston, Illinois

Post–blow-drying, a quick brush of clear mascara fixes my flyaway hairs much better than hair spray or any other products I’ve tried.
Diane Hickey
Cranford, New Jersey

The glorious and ingenious piece of elastic known as the ponytail holder has been my most reliable beauty companion for as long as I can remember. This simple band can take me from workout to work to a business dinner. The ponytail never goes out of style.
Shelly Buchman
Houston, Texas

My most reliable beauty shortcut is without question my great hairstylist. Every couple of months, for years now, he has given me the perfect shag―it dresses up, dresses down, looks sophisticated when it’s sleekly styled, and looks fun and tousled when I sleep on it wet. It’s exactly as easy or as complicated as I want to make it.
Sarah Bullion
Venice, California

Every morning, I use Velcro hair rollers to save time and add extra curl. I roll my hair and let it set while I apply my makeup, eat breakfast, and watch the morning news. Once I’m done with all my morning routines, I take out the curlers, use a little pomade and finishing spray, and head out the door.
Jaime LaVenture
St. Paul, Minnesota

I’ve saved so much time and money by having a very short, easy haircut that I’ve never colored, despite the fact that I’m prematurely gray. I spend less than five minutes daily on my hair, and my monthly hair appointments take only a half hour. I always get compliments from strangers on the fact that my hair isn’t dyed, and I secretly hope I can inspire more women to go natural.
Andrea Porter
Omaha, Nebraska

My baseball caps allow me to just get up, put my hair in a ponytail, put my cap on, and go. I have them in every color.
Kelleah Hampton
Longview, Texas