It’s always fun to gather with family, friends, and co-workers during the holidays. Of course, it comes with added pressure as we want to look our best, whether it happens in person or over a computer screen. But all the energy spent battling aging bothers like lackluster skin, fixing last-minute “arghs” like lipstick smudges, and dealing with mid-celebration mishaps like fall-flat hair can swiftly dampen any festive mood. To the rescue: Top hairstylists and makeup artists share their secret beauty tricks to sidestepping downers for a beautiful, confident you!
For a Flyaway-Free Style
Winter’s static-filled air causes flyaways to pop up the second we step outside, ruining the sleek hairstyle we worked so hard to achieve. The beauty tricks to preventing them? Use a flyaway-busting spray before styling hair, advises celebrity hairstylist Julien Farel, who’s worked with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Rachel Weisz.
These sprays – we like Color Wow Dream Coat (Buy from Sephora, $28) – are made with polymers that evenly coat hair and seal its cuticles when they come into contact with the heat from a blow-dryer. “This creates an invisible barrier over hair that keeps it lying flat, even once confronted with static-filled air,” says Farel. Simply spritz all over damp hair, then blow-dry and style as usual!
For Lush-Looking Brows
Just like the hairs on our head, the ones on our brows tend to fall out and thin with age. And if you’re like us, you find that every time you pencil them in for an event, they just look fake, aging you even more!
Luckily, there’s a way to draw on natural-looking brows and erase 10 years, says brow expert Tonya Crooks, whose clients include Halle Berry and Julia Roberts. Her secret: First, dip an angled brush into a fill-in powder and use it to outline and fill in brows. “This creates a base that enhances your brows’ natural shape.” For a tried-and-true brow powder, we like Arches & Halos Duo Luxury Brow Powder (Buy from Target, $9.99).
Next, use a fine-tip brow pen – like the Glossier Brow Flick (Buy from Glossier, $18) – to draw small lines of “hair” in featherlike strokes on top of the powder, says Crooks. “This adds natural-looking dimension and texture to brows so they appear thick and lush.” Finish by applying a clear mascara over the brows to lock in the color so it won’t smudge.
For a Voluminous Blowout
If you’ve ever attempted an at-home blowout, you’re familiar with the precision, strength and coordination that maneuvering a blow-dryer in one hand and a brush in the other requires. And after all that hard work, the results often fall flat (literally!). The good news? New innovations abound, like a blow-dryer and brush in one that simplify the process by allowing you to style hair with one hand, giving you better control and making it even easier to create volume that lasts. We like Conair Double Ceramic Medium Oval Dryer Brush (Buy from Ulta, $39.99).
For best results, Anna Kimble, director of education for blowout franchise Drybar, recommends moving the brush through two-inch sections of hair and rotating the barrel inward while pulling it through strands toward the ends. Then, holding the tool horizontally at the roots, pull through to the ends in an upward motion.
Top Beauty Tricks the Bounciest of Curls
We love the spirals created by our curling iron before a celebratory night out, but they never seem to look as buoyant by the end of it. The key to locking bounce into curls, says celebrity hairstylist Julien Farel, is to swap the hot iron for good old-fashioned hot rollers. We like Remington Pro Hair Setter with Thermaluxe Advanced Thermal Technology (Buy from Target, $26.79). As opposed to the heat-the-curl-into-place-and-unwrap technique of an iron, wrapping dry hair around hot rollers heats it up to form a curl, then holds it in place while it cools down.
“This sets strands into a beautiful, bouncy shape, giving the style more staying power,” says Farel. His to-do: Wrap a three-inch section of hair around one hot roller, then pin up at the scalp. Repeat with the rest of hair, let sit for 20 minutes before unrolling, then gently comb through. Another swap? Set the look with spray-on wax – like Got2b 2-in-1 Glued Spray Wax (Buy from Walmart, $4.97) – instead of hair spray to give hair grip so curls keep their form.
For Bangs with Oomph
Full fringe works wonders to frame the face, hide furrows and showcase pretty features like bright, wide-awake eyes and high cheekbones. The only downside? Since bangs rest against the forehead, they tend to absorb oil on skin’s surface throughout the day, which makes hair look greasy.
To refresh fall-flat bangs, Andrew De Mio, a hairstylist at the Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City, advises lightly dampening them, then blowdrying them using a paddle brush – we like Olivia Garden Essentials Styling Collection Large Paddle Brush (Buy from Ulta, $14.95) – in a back-and-forth motion, starting at the roots and moving down to the ends until hair is almost dry. Then switch to a large round brush, like the Ion Boar Ceramic Thermal Round Brush 1 1 ⁄4″, (Buy from SallyBeauty, $10.99), to finish drying. This resets bangs, restoring volume and ensuring they don’t lay flush with the forehead. Finish by spraying bangs with dry shampoo – we like Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo (Buy from Ulta, $26). The powdery spray will sop up any new or excess oil so bangs remain grease-free.
For a Glowing Complexion
No matter how much moisturizer we apply during the winter, dull-looking skin is an inevitability. To instantly enliven that lackluster complexion, makeup artist Andrea Claire, who’s worked with Alanis Morissette and Hillary Scott, says to mix two drops of a liquid highlighter into your foundation before applying to skin. “The highlighter’s reflective pigments bounce light onto the face for a subtle glow.” And one that contains hydrating glycerin and jojoba oil, like L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer (Buy from Walgreens, $14.99), helps reinforce youthful radiance that lasts long after makeup is removed.
Also smart? Topping off your makeup with a setting spray that contains vitamin C. We like Real Techniques Sponge+ Glow Finish Blend Extender (Buy from Amazon, $6.99). It locks in your makeup all night, but also brightens the complexion so it appears more luminous and dewy to boot.
For Fade-Proof Lips
A swipe of a bright, bold lipstick dresses up any ensemble. It’s just too bad that the color can transfer and fade as the night goes on. To prolong lip color, try these three easy steps, says makeup artist Suzy Gerstein, who’s worked with Annette Bening and Julie Bowen.
- Prep lips with a sea salt lip scrub. We like ChapStick Total Hydration with Sea Minerals Moisturizing Lip Exfoliator (Buy from Target, $8.99). The salt’s fine granules whisk away any dead, flaky skin while its minerals hydrate lips so they have a smoother surface.
- Outline, then fill in lips with a lip liner in a similar shade of the lipstick you’re going to wear. “This gives lipstick something to hold on to, and if the color wears off, it will look less noticeable since the color underneath is the same.”
- Top with two coats of lipstick, blotting with a tissue between coats to ensure an even application. Then apply a lip gloss in a clear or a coordinating hue to add shine and lock in the color. We like Babe Lash Plumping Lip Jelly (Buy from BabeLash, $25).
For Flake-Free Eyeshadow
A simple way to take your look from gorgeous to super glam? A glittery eye shadow. Unfortunately, glitter particles are notorious for falling down onto the face, causing your makeup to look messy before you’ve even left the house. Celebrity makeup artist Andrea Claire recommends applying an eye shadow primer before sweeping on shadow. We like Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Buy from Ulta, $24).
The formula adds grip to lids so shadow remains on the eyes and off of the face. Next, dampen an eye shadow brush with a mist of water before dipping it into your eye shadow. Water acts like a bonding agent that turns powder eye shadow into a more liquid-like formula. So, once it dries down, the color and glitter particles won’t budge. And should you spot some glitter flecks on your cheeks mid-party? Claire advises: “Tap them with the sticky side of a small piece of Scotch tape. The adhesive lifts them off of the face without removing or altering makeup. It’s genius!”
For Stay-Put Strand Style
If your hair begins to unfurl quickly after you’ve meticulously pinned every strand into place, the likely culprit is either hair that’s too clean or hair that’s overly conditioned. Both are too slick for necessary grip, making it almost impossible for an updo to stay intact, says hairstylist Andrew De Mio. “I tell my clients that when they have an event coming up, not to wash or condition their hair the day or two before. It creates some natural texture and grit that locks in an updo.” Another trick? Mist bobby pins, clips and elastics with hair spray before securing into hair. “It adds another layer of hair-holding grip.”
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.