20 No-Fail Beauty Shortcuts

Finding time to look good when balancing a busy lifestyle can be a little daunting--but it doesn't have to be. Use these quick tips and you'll be out the door looking better than ever in a cinch. By Kelsie Blazier, REDBOOK.

Get out of the door on time and still look amazing with these quick beauty tips. Dry n' dash
If morning showers are your thing, but drying your hair isn't, fear not. There are several ways you can get your damp locks to perk up quickly. First, blot your hair with paper towels, a chamois, or toilet paper, says Siobhan O'Connor, co-founder of No More Dirty Looks. After letting your hair air dry for ten minutes, O'Connor suggests using some of her favorite products. "Intelligent Nutrients Volumizing Spray, coats the hair, protecting it from heat and sealing it, making it smoother and dryer faster," O'Connor says. "I also use an Intelligent Nutrients paddle brush that conducts heat without getting too warm - or melting the bristles, god forbid. This combination has my very thick head of hair sleek in about 10 to 12 minutes flat - seriously."

Emphasize your eyes
If you're strapped for time but refuse to leave the house without dabbing on some makeup, try this simple routine from Helen Seicento of Lola's Secret Beauty Blog: "Use a nice, neutral eye shadow for a quick wash of color on the top lid, and then an eyeliner pencil that you can quickly apply into the lash-line if you want a natural look," Seicento says. "You can wing if you want a more dramatic look."

Nix the oil
Greasy hair is a beauty bummer, and it takes more than one product or solution to keep hair from acting like a broken oil-rig. "In the long term, not over-washing your hair, using a clarifying shampoo, keeping your hair off your, face and minimizing brushing can all help with over production of oil," says Christine Mikesell of 15minutebeauty.com. However, even with all of these tips, it's sometimes easier to add some product, especially when time is scarce. "For days that you don't have much time and need to get rid of the oil, my favorite fix is dry shampoo," Mikesell says. "I spray it into problem areas, distribute it with my fingers and brush excess out five or ten minutes later."

Dry hair be gone
The winter air is incredibly damaging to even the healthiest manes. If your normal conditioner isn't cutting it, try adding on multiple products. "For very dry hair, use a heavy conditioning mask once per week like Ojon's Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment, a daily conditioner, and even a spray in conditioner," says Hope DeAngelis Schmid of Jet Set Girls. She recommends Aveeno's Nourish + Condition Leave-In Treatment.

Strip naked
Nude lips are all the rage right now, and they're easy to find on-the-cheap. To make your own nude lipstick at home, blend your regular foundation with Vaseline and a light pink lipgloss. You can use darker foundation for a deep-toned nude, or lighter for paler skin tones.

Turn up the volume
Long, sultry eyelashes will never go out of style. Unfortunately, attaining mega lashes isn't easy for every woman. The simplest way to do it: layer a lengthening formula over a volumizing one. "My lashes look much longer and thicker with two mascaras," says Mikesell.

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Powder up
No time to buy dry shampoo? No worries! "If you just need a spot treatment, you can use a little powder in an area," Mikesell says. Generic baby powder and talcum powder dabbed onto roots can quickly dry up excess oil in the hair. If you're out in public and don't have access to dry shampoo or powder, face blotting papers and paper toilet covers can also do the trick.

In the bag
Annoying, dark undereye circles can seem impossible to hide, but a little makeup maneuvering can help minimize the shadowy effect. "I use a little color corrector on the worst area (peach to cover the dark blue, green if it is bit red) and apply concealer over this," Mikesell says. Imagine an upside down triangle under each eye, with the point of the triangle on the inside and outside corners of your eye and the tip at the edge of your nostril. "I apply concealer in that entire area and blend it out. Make sure it goes up onto your nose a little bit," she adds. "I then apply a little into the inner corner of my eye. The upside down triangle makes the heavy concealer look much more natural."

Try a retinol
Retinol products are among a new breed of anti-aging skincare for women. Seicento recommends products like FutureDerm and Roc Retinol Correxion Max Wrinkle Resurfacing System, which when applied each evening, work to repair damaged skin cells, fight aging lines, exfoliate dead skin cells, and even skin tone, helping to improve the appearance of your skin. Who knew one small cream could do so many positive things?

Do an at-home facial
Remember when you were in high school and used to pore-strip your nose? This gelatin mask is just like that, except for your entire face. All you need is one packet of unflavored gelatin and 1.5 tablespoons of milk, and you'll be seeing and feeling smoother skin immediately. After heating the gelatin and milk in the microwave for 10 seconds, apply the mixture to your face and wait 10-15 minutes before peeling it off. The mask works to exfoliate skin and shrink pores, which is a tad tough on skin, but with some added moisture throughout the week, Mikesell says the facial is completely worth it, and will cost you under $10.

Scrub up
Throughout the skin-drying winter, it's important to get the dry, flaky, irritated skin off of your lips, especially if you want smooth, soft lips to which to apply lipstick. "Exfoliate them gently with a touch of baking soda mixed with honey, or a homemade sugar scrub with any kind of sugar you have handy, some olive oil, and some vanilla extract for scent," O'Connor says. "Once you're done, lick your lips and apply a rich oil or alcohol-free lip balm."

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Keep things light
Surprisingly, darker lipsticks make lips look much smaller, so stick to lighter shades to pump up your pout. Start with a nude liner close to your natural color to extend the shape of your lips. Soften the line you create and apply your lipstick, following up with gloss to add fullness and color.

Camouflage roots
If you don't want to spend money on new products, simply look in your makeup bag. Women with darker hair hiding light or grey roots can use their mascara to cover up unsightly hair flaws. "There are also easy-to-use hair mascaras to hide roots that are more obvious," says Mikesell. "Gray Disappear is the one I've tried and it worked well."

Shower power
The opportune time to apply lotion to your skin is right after you get out of the shower. "Your skin will absorb your products more quickly, and you will need to use far less," Seicento says.

Plump up
Fritz suggests adding a small dot of lipgloss on top of your regular lipstick to give the illusion of a buxom pout. If your bottom lip isn't as plump as your top lip, apply the clear gloss in the middle of your bottom lip.

Stay in shape
You can prolong the time between visits to the salon by learning to maintain your brows at home. Of course, you can tweeze the unruly little hairs, but the best results come from trimming and brushing. "I use a spooly brush to push the hair straight up, and using brow scissors I'll trim anything that is over my brow," Mikesell says. "Try not to trim a lot of hairs at once, you don't want any big groups of hairs that are cut at the same point." To keep your brows from moving after styling, use eyebrow wax or clear gel.

Highlight away the pounds
If you've mastered contouring, try highlighter to make your face look thinner. "Applying a highlighter with a light hand can accentuate the parts of the face that you want to play up by introducing more light," said Seicento. "The combination of a contouring product alternated with a highlighter will create an appearance of light and shadow modeling."

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Sit back and relax
Sometimes doing nothing is best, at least in the case of at-home microdermabrasion and exfoliation. "I caution women all the time about over-exfoliation," O'Connor says. "Your skin is remarkably clever. Leave it alone and it tends to leave you alone, too. Scrub it within an inch of its life and all kinds of problems can emerge, from deeply compacted acne to redness to irritation."

Grow nails long and strong
"Protecting your nails can sometimes be hard," says Mikesell. "They shouldn't be used as tools. You should wear gloves when washing dishes and avoid acetone to remove polish." Adding cuticle cream and extra moisturizer to your nail-area can will soften hands and promote nail-growth.

Pearly whites
Professional whitening can break the bank and create painful sensitivity in your teeth, so Mikesell suggests using hydrogen peroxide after you brush to increase the brightness of your smile. "I heard from a pageant winner that she would dip her toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide after brushing and rebrush for a minute or two," she says. "Initially you start with every day, but as your teeth whiten you reduce the frequency of peroxide brushing." For whitening on the go, Schmid recommends Go Smile capsules.

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