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Our festive fetes may look a bit different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still shine bright! The easy key to appearing 10 years younger and 10 pounds slimmer, whether having an intimate in-person gathering or a virtual on-camera get-together? Making small changes to our go-to hairdos, makeup tricks and wardrobe picks!
Bonus: Since we’ve been spending our days more casually for the past few months, these easy tweaks will amp up the holiday glitz and glamour too!
Makeup Tweak: Lift features with this 2-step technique.
Precisely placed highlighter and bronzer can add age-defying radiance, instant slimming and holiday-ready sparkle to any complexion. “That’s because highlighter’s light-reflective particles direct the eye up to where they are placed for a facelift effect,” says makeup artist AJ Crimson, who’s worked with Angela Bassett and Regina King. “And bronzer creates a slimming shadow that ‘raises’ cheekbones and masks a double chin.”
To do: Use fingers to tap a translucent highlighter like ColourPop Super Shock Highlighter in Monster ($8, Ulta) — it flatters all skin tones—onto the high points of the face, like the top of cheekbones, tip of the nose and cupid’s bow. Next, use a fluffy brush to apply a powder bronzer two shades darker than skin (like Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer, $16, Ulta) in a “3” motion on each side of the face, starting at the temples. Then blend at the bottom of the cheeks and along the jawline.
Fashion Tweak: Brighten skin with a bold statement necklace.
If you’re like us, you have a trusty black top that you can pull from your closet no matter the occasion — it goes with everything and never fails to flatter. The downside: The dark hue can sap color from skin and falls flat on camera, says stylist Anna Katsanis, who’s worked with Sarah Paulson and Jessica Chastain.
To help, she advises throwing on a beaded bib-style necklace (we like Aeravida Handmade Blue Cascades Turquoise Medley Trio Bib Necklace, $57.59, Overstock). “The colorful blue beads pop against a dark top and reflect light up to illuminate the complexion, brightening up the entire look.” Plus, beads are a great way to add elegance without overdoing the dazzle. If you’re like us, you have a trusty black top that you can pull from your closet no matter the occasion — it goes with everything and never fails to flatter.
Hair Tweak: Mask gray roots with a sideswept bun.
The 10-second “magic” trick that makes grays disappear? Create a deep side part that lines up with the eyebrow’s arch, says hairstylist Terrie Velazquez Owen, who’s worked with Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez. “A middle part’s ‘hard’ line can make errant silvers stand out, but moving the part to the side diffuses them.” What also helps: placing the rest of hair in a loose-braided bun. It pulls focus away from the top of the head and takes a strand style from so-so to stunning. Simply pull hair to the same side it’s parted on, braid and secure with a hair tie, then pin into a bun!
Makeup Tweak: Even out the complexion with a color-correcting cream.
The camera, whether on a computer or phone, has a way of emphasizing any facial flaws, especially redness, making the complexion look more rashy than radiant. Makeup artist Amy Zdunowski-Roeder, who has worked with Kristen Wiig and Malin Åkerman, suggests this quick fix: Apply a cream foundation that contains a mix of green and yellow pigments. “These colors instantly cancel out the red in skin for a brighter, more even tone in seconds,” says Zdunowski-Roeder. Even better? One that’s also infused with colloidal oatmeal and aloe (like IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Color Correcting Cream, $34, Ulta) soothes irritated skin to keep flare-ups and inflammation at bay.
Fashion Tweak: Elongate the neck with this eye-catching combo.
Donning a conservative blazer with traditional hoop earrings is a great way to dress up for a work meeting, but the look reads heavy on camera and stiff in person, says celebrity stylist Anna Katsanis. “Even worse, the combination practically swallows the neck for a thick, stocky look.” Instead, she recommends pairing a flashy V-neck and jeweled dangles (like Glittering Gold Rhinestone Mesh Dangle Earrings, $5, Amazon). “The more open neck style shows off the décolletage while dangles draw the eye vertically, ‘stretching’ the neck,” says Katsanis. “Plus, together, the metallic tones give the outfit a light and fancy feel.”
Hair Tweak: Volumize thin hair with a blowout.
The best way to achieve youthful volume along with a more elegant-looking ’do is with a blowout. Trouble is, when we attempt to do it ourselves, our hair ends up looking even flatter! To the rescue: Hairstylist Terrie Velazquez Owen, who’s worked with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, shares her simple technique to creating the salon-perfect style at home: Start by blow-drying hair at the roots only in one direction for 3 minutes, then flip hair so it falls in the opposite direction and blow-dry at roots for another 3 minutes. This ensures strands are propped up and off of the scalp so they look thicker from roots to ends. Next, section hair into 6 equal segments, leave one down and clip up the rest. Take 2″ sections of hair and blow-dry with a medium-size round brush. Repeat with each segment until all of hair is dry. For even more fullness, set the look with dry shampoo (like Hask Chia Seed Volumizing Dry Shampoo, $8, Ulta). The powdery spray gives hair grip and added lift for lasting volume.
Hair Tweak: Frame features with loose tendrils.
A ponytail never goes out of style — and all it takes to transform the classic casual ’do from everyday to extraordinary is to leave out curled face-framing tendrils, says hairstylist DaVonte Blanton, who has worked with Tyra Banks and Jennifer Hudson. “The loose, undone pieces create softness to the structured style and help highlight beautiful facial features like eyes and cheekbones,” says Blanton.
His to-do: Starting with dry strands, wrap 1″ sections of hair around a 1 1⁄2″ curling iron. Once all of hair is curled, lightly brush through it with a wide-tooth comb to gently break up curls so they look more like effortless waves. Then, section hair into two equal horizontal sections (a top and a bottom), take the bottom section (from the ears down) and secure into a low ponytail above the nape of the neck. Next, leave out a 2″ face-frame section of hair on each side of the face and gather the rest of the top section of hair into a pony and tie around the first ponytail; secure with an elastic. “Turning two smaller ponytails into a larger one boosts the volume.” Finish by gently tugging on pieces of hair near the crown to create a looser look, then set the style with hair spray.
Makeup Tweak: Whiten teeth with this toothpaste.
Since surface stains are harder to remove thanks to enamel weakening with age, yellow-tinged teeth add years to our look, leaving us self-conscious about flashing a smile to loved ones, says cosmetic dentist Lana Rozenberg, D.D.S., who treats celebrities at her New York City practice. Dr. Rozenberg’s fast-acting solution? Brush teeth with a blue-tinted toothpaste (like Luster Premium White Luster Now! Instant Whitening Toothpaste, $10, Walgreens). “This paste deposits a sheer wash of the cool-toned pigment onto teeth, offsetting yellow stains for a smile that looks six shades whiter — instantly.” What’s more, fluoride in the toothpaste strengthens enamel to prevent new stains from forming in the future. Simply brush as usual, but don’t rinse. This ensures the blue pigments stay in place for a sparkling smile.
Hair Tweak: ‘Erase’ forehead furrows with wispy bangs.
Fringe pushed to the sides of the head puts a direct spotlight on wrinkles above and between eyebrows. Instead, hairstylist Daniel Koye, who’s worked with Sofía Vergara and Vanessa Williams, advises styling bangs in “wisps” across the brow. “It can work better than Botox to hide lines, stat!” To style, start with damp bangs and use a paddle brush to comb hair to one side, then blast with a blow-dryer for 2 minutes. Next, brush hair to the opposite side and blow-dry for another 2 minutes. Position fringe so it’s “scattered” along the forehead and work a pea-size amount of pomade (like Kenra Professional Clear Paste 20, $15, Ulta) into ends to set in place.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.