15 Smart Beauty Tricks for Spring

Completely You: Appearance

By Karen Tina Harrison for Completely You

Who wants to be high-maintenance? “Women today are too busy for labor-intensive, fussy beauty looks that are time-consuming and complicated,” says celebrity makeup artist Pat McGrath. This season, these smart and thrifty beauty tricks help you economize while you glamorize.

  1. Extend your color between salon sessions. Brunettes can banish annoying gray roots with a flick of waterproof mascara. Use brown mascara instead of black -- unless your locks are raven.
  2. Hydrate skin with “natural oils like grape seed, jojoba and sweet almond. Apply them head-to-toe to keep your skin soft and smooth,” says Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home. Uses include bath oil, body lotion, eye makeup remover, cuticle cream and hair gloss.
  3. Augment your beauty with a perfect smoky-eye look cost-free by repurposing your darkest powder shadow. Mix in a few drops of water to create a creamy consistency; line lids with a brush or sponge-tip applicator. A second coat adds emphasis.
  4. Designer gift-ribbons make fashionable, fun hair accessories. Try wrapping a ribbon around a ponytail, plaiting into braids or tying on as a hair band (best anchored with bobby pins).

  5. Work some homemade body glitter when you’re showing decolletage. Apply rich lotion to your skin, and then pat or brush on a subtle sprinkle of sheer, sparkly eye shadow.

  6. Save nail polish. We all hate throwing away a half-full bottle of nail color that has thickened. Stop! Add a bit of polish thinner to renew the texture. (A small bottle of thinner will last for years.) Another smart beauty trick: Store your lacquer in the fridge to keep it fresher, says Jin Soon Choi of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spa in New York City.
  7. Max out on your hair conditioner and leave it on for more than a minute. Shave your legs, wash your body and do your other shower stuff, then rinse out conditioner. The result: a shiny finish that lasts for days.
  8. A seemingly used lipstick is actually still viable. There’s about a third of the fill deep in the tube, in fact. Scoop it out with a toothpick, slim lip brush or cotton swab. Apply as is or mix with a dot of petroleum jelly to form lip gloss.
  9. For a new lease on your fragrance life, try mixing. Haul out the perfumes you’re tired of, and then make like a scientist: beauty division. Use a small funnel to experiment and mix two, or even three, scents.
  10. Get a sexy wavy-hair look without a visit to the salon. Mist your hair and make six to eight braids, starting high on your scalp. Either sleep in them or blow-dry, finger-comb and spray. You’ll have more waves than a surfing tournament.
  11. The fragrance strips that come in magazines and store catalogues make sense as sachets. Cut them out, fold back to expose the scented side, and fasten with tape. Stash in your drawers, luggage and shoes.
  12. If you use foundation, you don’t have to spring for concealer. Drip one drop of foundation onto a flat, nonabsorbent surface, such as your countertop. Let it evaporate and thicken for five minutes, then dab on a la concealer.
  13. You don’t need to pony up for blush, either. Lipstick makes an excellent cream blush if you use a light touch with a non-frosted rose or peach shade.
  14. Give your hands and feet a home spa treatment every week or two, says Choi. Before bedtime, scrub your hands using a loofah and scrub cream. Then coat your hands and feet in body lotion or petroleum jelly, pull on cotton socks or gloves and let your digits soften.
  15. Get whiter teeth painlessly and procedure-free. Look for naturally whitening toothpaste that is accepted by the American Dental Association. Some brands can remove 80 percent of tooth stains in just two weeks. Nothing beats a flawless smile!


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was the beauty director of Sassy Magazine, and has consulted for a variety of beauty companies. She covers lifestyle topics for publications including The New York Times, Glamour and About.com.

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