I recently caught up with my best college girlfriends after years of not seeing each other. No surprise that we spent a lot of time reminiscing. But we didn't gossip about the classes we took, or the late night chats we had in our dorm rooms. Instead, we talked about the one aspect of college that really mattered: spring break.
Of course, now that I have a full-time job (with minimal vacation days, sigh), I can only re-live the memories of scrambling to find the perfect location, filling empty water bottles with vodka, and somehow squeezing eight girls into a tiny hotel room.
While I can't turn back time and jet off to Cabo for a week without consequences, I'm still willing to help you look hot on spring break. So I talked to a bunch of hairstylists, makeup artists, and fashion experts to get you these trendiest spring break beauty tips and hottest vacation looks.
Check out a few of the secrets below, and then click here for the entire spring break beauty guide.
Using color is the easiest way to stand out on a beach of tanorexic bodies. First stop? Your nails. "Go with something bright and sparkly," says New York City manicurist Tatyana Molot. Orange, fuchsia, and lime green are great spring colors, and Molot recommends shades like Essie Nail Polish in Mojito Madness or Ole Caliente, $5.99.
Here's another cute idea. "Paint your nails green and draw a yellow smiley face design where the half-moon is," says New York City manicurist Ana-Maria. (Trace the half-moon, by the cuticle, for the smile and add two dots for the eyes.) Click here to see how to use colorful makeup.
The biggest style crimes you'll see committed in Cabo? Caked-on makeup, orange legs, and spider lashes ... just to name a few. This year, go against the grain and let your natural beauty do the talking. You'll be in the sun and around large bodies of water all day, so you're actually doing yourself a favor. Start by giving yourself a naturally dewy look with these tips.
When you let your hair down on the beach, it's bound to get over-exposed to the salt, sun, and sand. To avoid this, apply a conditioning hair mask like Redken After Sun Mask, $9, to your towel-dried hair and twist it into a bun. Then right when you get to the beach, take it out and shake out your hair, says hairstylist Andi Scarbrough of Byu-Ti Salon. The heat from the sun will open up the cuticle and let the conditioner penetrate more deeply. "Everyone else may look dry, leathery, and frizzy, but at least your hair will be totally touchable," says Scarbrough.
For a fashion-forward tropical style that you won't see on a million other girls, try a topknot or braided ponytail, says New York City hair pro Bryce Scarlett. "I've seen them on the runway, and I think it's a very sensible and flattering choice for the beach," she says. Click here for a step-by-step tutorial to get both the topknot and braided pony.
The best way to make sure your swimsuit is one-of-a-kind is to mix and match two different pieces. "It's a great way to wear any older bikinis that may be in the back of your drawer," says fashion editor Stephanie Rygorsky. "To make the look more mainstream, just look for pieces that have a similar color theme." Here are some other spring trends to try (hint: all-white suits and tomboy bottoms are just two of 'em).
A great cover up will transition your look from day to night, so you want it to make a bold statement. If you really want to go with something different, you can even borrow your boyfriend's oversized plaid shirt and wear it as a new shirtdress, says fashion stylist Stacy Cox. "Just add a skinny belt to bring it in at the waist, roll up the sleeves, and voila!" Check out these other cover-ups to try, including a detailed romper or crocheted tunic top.
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