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Beauty

13 Holiday Hair and Skin Beauty Hacks for Women Over 40

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and your calendar is chock-full of festive celebrations with family, friends, and co-workers. But you’re so busy prepping for these gatherings that you left little time to tackle confidence-sapping agers like gray roots, crepey hands, and sparse eyelashes. So we asked the pros who get celebrities red carpet–ready for the last-minute tricks they use to reverse aging beauty bothers in a snap. Read on to discover the holiday beauty hacks that will guarantee a gorgeous you all season long.

Quickly conceal gray roots.

Use eyeshadow for a time-sensitive touch-up. Hair growth is sneaky — one glance at your roots, and it seems as though you can make it a few more days without retouching them. Then an hour later? Boom, there’s an inch worth of grays. To mask them in a flash, hairstylist Kendall Dorsey, who has worked with Alicia Keys and Kelly Rowland, suggests this genius hack: Dip an eye shadow brush into a matte eye shadow similar to your natural root color (it blends in best with hair) and dust onto grays along the scalp or hairline; set with hair spray to lock in the color. “The shadow’s fine, powdery texture creates a natural and seamless cover that masks grays instantly,” says Dorsey. What’s more, the shadow can also be used to camouflage any sparse spots around the hairline or at the temples — tricking the eye into seeing a thicker, fuller head of hair.

Slim your face in seconds.

A massage can help tighten up your facial skin in a pinch. A camera isn’t the only thing that adds optical weight. Both water retention in the face and saggy skin at the jawline can create the illusion of a double chin. The quick way to make it disappear? A cold-spoon massage, says aesthetician Amber Rose Johnson, founder of the Facial Lounge in Corona del Mar, California. Simply store two spoons in the freezer until cold, then place the back of one spoon on each side of the base of the front of the neck. Then, move the spoon in brisk, upward strokes toward the chin for one minute. Next, rub the spoons along the jawline for another minute. “The massage improves circulation and boosts lymphatic drainage, which pushes stagnant fluids away from the jawline,” says Johnson. And the spoons’ cold temperature immediately tightens lax skin along the jaw for an instantly slimmer appearance.

Lift droopy eyelids fast.

Applying eyeliner with a slightly upturned wing at the end not only looks chic, but it’s also a quick way to pull focus up, counteracting saggy eyelids — if only it didn’t require a steady hand to get it just right. The simple solution, says makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff, who’s worked with Taraji P. Henson and Sharon Stone? Before drawing the wing, place a three-inch piece of Scotch tape just below the outer corner of each eye at a slight angle, going up toward the temple. Then draw on eyeliner across the upper lash line and extend out past the outer corner of the eye along the top of the tape. The tape ensures the wing looks sharp and even on both sides.

Thicken brows in a pinch.

Soap can make your brows look fuller. We’ve long relied on an eyebrow pencil to fill in bald spots along our brows, but it never fails to leave our arches looking one-dimensional and contrived. What can help: Makeup artist Azra Red, who’s worked with Rosario Dawson and Nicole Scherzinger, suggests plumping brows with soap before using a pencil. Simply rub a clean, damp spoolie brush against a bar of soap, then sweep it over brows in the direction of hair growth (upward and outward). Let dry for two minutes, then fill in brows using light, hair-like strokes with a fine-tipped brow pencil like Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyebrow Liner (Buy from Thrive Causemetics, $22). How it works: Most bar soaps contain glycerin, a humectant that bulks up individual brow hairs so they have added fullness — this “fills in” bare areas so less pencil is needed. The result? Brows that appear naturally thicker.

Instantly volumize hair.

Your blow-dryer can help you unlock fuller locks. If you’re like us, you spend what seems like hours trying to builds volume into your fine, thin mane — only to see it fall on your way out the door. For volume that lasts (and only take 10 minutes to achieve), hairstylist Daniel Koye, who’s worked with Vanessa Williams and Susan Lucci, uses this styling trick: First work a dollop of mousse, like Pureology Style + Protect Weightless Volume Mousse (Buy from Ulta, $29) through damp hair to give it a grip, along with added lift and volume. Then use a paddle brush to comb hair to one side and roughly blow-dry for another three minutes. Finish by styling hair to your liking and set with dry shampoo (this gives hair voluminous texture and absorbs volume-sapping sweat and oil). This two-way drying technique ensures strands are propped off of the scalp and stay that way, so hair appears fuller from roots to ends all night long.

Swiftly Firm crepey hand skin.

A shimmery French-tip manicure takes years off aging hands. No matter how much work we put into making our face appear younger, our wrinkled hands give away our age. The simple secret to youthful? Glittery French nail tips, says celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec, who has worked with celebrities like Jessica Chastain. By applying shimmer to tips, it keeps the focus on nails and away from hands. Plus, the reflective formula bounces light onto skin, “blurring” creases, says Kandelac. Her to-do: Paint all nails with two coats of light pink polish, like Zoya in Sari (Buy from Amazon, $10); let dry. Next, place a Band-Aid lengthwise down the nail so the tip is exposed and the bandage’s curved edge creates a semicricle guide. Then paint tips with a shimmery pearlescent polish, like Morgan Taylor Nail Lacquer in Adorned with Diamonds (Buy from Walmart, $9.50). Let dry; remove the bandage and seal nails with clear top coat.

Lengthen and plump eyelashes in a snap.

With just three steps, your lashes will look longer. As our eyelashes become sparser with age, a simple swipe of mascara isn’t always enough to help restore their once-lush appearance. Sure, gluing on a pair of falsies can help, but they can be difficult to apply and tend to look more faux than fabulous. The better, easier, and more natural-looking remedy, according to celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff: Swipe mascara on in three different directions. “I call this trick the ‘Uptown, Downtown, and Crosstown,'” says Sheriff. First, place the mascara wand at the base of the lashes and brush up toward the tips. Next, swipe the brush from the tips down to the base. Then, starting at the base, sweep the wand in a horizontal wiggling motion while slowly moving upward to the tips; follow up with a second coat of mascara using the same three tips if needed. Applying these three ways helps coat and separate each individual eyelash. The result? An instantly lusher, longer-looking set of lashes.

Oops-proof your holiday look with stick-on patches.

To thwart “chub-rub”: Prevent the irritation that occurs when thighs rub together while wearing a dress or skirt by smoothing on The Chub Rub Patch (Buy from The Chub Rub Patch, $8.99). before getting dressed. When applied along the inner thighs, the soft, skin-safe patch forms a protective barrier that eliminates any friction-related rashes.

To avoid sweat stains: Say goodbye to those embarrassing sweat marks under your arms by sticking on Dandi Pads (Buy from Amazon, $7.49 for a pack of 14). These thin, absorbent sweat pads can hold up to 2,000 times the average amount of underarm sweat to keep the moisture from seeping through clothes. Bonus? No more permanent yellow fabric stains that sweat manages to leave behind.

To banish blisters: Shoes that are new or too tight can rub against skin on the back of our heels, causing painful blisters or bleeding. To the rescue: Ballotte Heel Grips (Buy from Amazon, $16.97 for a pack of eight). These cushioned gel inserts attach to the heel area inside the shoes, acting as a barrier to prevent harsh rubbing and blister formation.

Secure a sparkling smile — stat.

Best for mild surface tooth stains: Swipe on a temporary white tooth “paint,” like CHROM Toothpolish in Ultra White (Buy from Amazon, $19.99). The nontoxic, tooth-safe formula creates a tasteless layer over the enamel that covers surface stains for up to 24 hours. To use: Dry off teeth with a tissue and paint a thin layer onto teeth; let dry five minutes.

Best for a yellow tinge: Since yellow is opposite purple on the color wheel, a violet-tinted tooth serum like Hismile V34 Colour Corrector Serum (Buy from Hismile, $20.30) deposits a sheer wash of cool-toned pigments. that cancel out any yellow tones on teeth. To use: Add a pea-sized amount on your toothbrush and brush and rinse as normal.

Best for darker stains: When used together, the tooth-bleaching hydrogen peroxide and blue light (it activates the gel) in White Glo Blue Light Teeth Whitening Accelerator Kit (Buy from Walgreens, $29.99) deeply penetrate the enamel to nix embedded discoloration. To use: Insert the gel-filled tray in mouth; treat with blue light for 10 minutes.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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