1. Day 1
A vanity case brimming with products is overwhelming—and inefficient. Narrow your everyday makeup repertoire to five items (we vote for concealer, lash curler, black mascara, berry lip gloss, and rosy blush) and keep them together in one sleek bag. Throw in a pocket mirror and you can look polished in less than five minutes—wherever you are.
2. Day 2
Wear a great red lipstick
It's festive, it's elegant, and if it's blue-based, it'll make your teeth look whiter. Against pale skin, pinker reds (like Estée Lauder Limited Edition Signature Lipstick in Simply Red) are prettiest. Olive skin tones can pull off true ruby and cranberry shades, and dark complexions are flattered by deep, almost purple reds. 6 more bold, pretty lip shades
3. Day 3
Reinvent your manicure
Like eggnog and family drama, red polish is a holiday staple (it looks best on short, round nails). This year, enliven the classic crimson with a sparkling top coat. Try Creative Nail Design's Dark Ruby (above) under Jade Sparkle, or layer Lippman Collection's Superstar over It's Raining Men.
Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation
4. Day 4
And if you need to, fake it. Studies have shown that simply turning up the corners of your mouth can improve your mood
. When you feel better, you look better. Our own (less scientific) research suggests that a smiling face is infinitely more attractive than a grimacing one.
5. Day 5
Upgrade your eye cream
Ingredients in a winning formula include caffeine to soothe skin, illuminators to brighten shadows, and hyaluronic acid to temporarily plump up fine lines. Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream and Lancôme High Résolution Refill-3X Eye Cream each contain all three.
6. Day 6
Give your eyes a lift
Makeup pros agree that the combination of a lash curler and mascara is the simplest, most surefire eye-opener. Get the curler as close to the lashline as possible for maximum upturn, says makeup artist Kimara Ahnert. Set the curl, and lengthen lashes, with a couple of coats of mascara. To refresh your lashes at the end of the day, try Bobbi Brown's new Extreme Party Mascara (above); it goes on over existing mascara without clumping or flaking.
Try the step-by-step guide to dramatic evening eyes.
7. Day 7
Light up your smile
For the best and brightest results, start using drugstore teeth-whitening strips
(like Crest Whitestrips Daily Whitening + Tartar Protection) today—five minutes daily and your smile could be a couple of shades whiter by midmonth. Prefer an ounce of prevention? Swish water around in your mouth after every holiday glass of red wine to avoid staining (and rinse away that instant, and embarrassing, purple cocktail-party tint).
Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation
8. Day 8
Transform your hair
If your hair is long, a ponytail goes from fallback to fancy when it's anchored at the nape of your neck, slightly off center. Short hair can be dressed up with a twist (or two). Create a clean side part, then twirl small sections behind each ear and secure them with a pretty bobby pin or comb. Need more ideas? More party perfect styles.
Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation
9. Day 9
Get a glow
Dead skin cells make your face feel rough and prevent it from reflecting light. Buff away those cells and your complexion will look more luminous. Use a cleanser that contains microbeads, or just rub a bit of sugar over clean, damp skin. The sugar crystals smooth rough patches (and dissolve quickly, eliminating the risk of overexfoliating).
10. Day 10
Buff your lips
A couple of gentle strokes with a dry toothbrush whisk away flakes so your lipstick or gloss glides on with a silky finish. Lips still peeling? Check the ingredient list on your toothpaste; some contain triclosan, an antibacterial agent that can be irritating, says Chicago dentist Margaret Mitchell.
11. Day 11
Put on a happy scent
Since the areas of the brain that process olfaction and emotion are linked, smelling a scent that appeals to you improves your mood
. To enjoy your favorite fragrance all day, spritz it on your wrists and forearms, says Alan Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. With every gesture, you'll catch a whiff. Idole d'Armani (above
) tops rose and jasmine with crisp notes of orange and pear.
12. Day 12
Rediscover rollers (or experience them for the first time)
The self-grip variety is easy to master. Brush a little hairspray through dry hair, secure a few rollers around your hairline and on the crown of your head, blast them with a blow-dryer for a minute, and (privately) go about your business. After 15 minutes, remove the rollers. Your hair will fall away from your face in soft waves.
For long hair, use medium or large rollers, like these gold 1 1/4 inch RickyCare Fusion Self Grip Rollers. For shorter hair, try small, 1 inch rollers, like the silver Denman Thermo-Ceramic Rollers.
13. Day 13
Perfect your complexion
needn't be painstakingly blended from hairline to jawline. For the most natural effect, apply a creamy formula (like Maybelline SuperStay 24HR Makeup, above
) with your fingers (which will help melt the product into your skin). Start in the center of your face, where you probably need the most coverage, and blend out. Be sparing, and skip powder.
Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation
14. Day 14
Prep your pillow
A spritz of lavender fragrance or sprinkle of baby powder can help you sleep better
. Both scents have been linked to feelings of relaxation. And because skin cells replenish more readily while you sleep, getting eight hours helps you wake up with a glowing complexion.
Photo: Courtesy of Klorane
15. Day 15
Try a dry shampoo
When you've skipped a shampoo (or two), these fine powders refresh your style in seconds; use them on clean, dry hair, when you just want extra volume. We recommend spray versions (like Klorane's ECO-friendly Gentle Dry Shampoo, $18; Sephora.com
): Hold the can six inches above your head and direct it along your part, section by section. When you're done, shake hair gently at the roots with your finger tips, wait several minutes for the powder to absorb excess oil, then brush through.
16. Day 16
Take some liner notes
Trace an eyeliner pencil (like Maybelline Line Express or Shiseido Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil, above) along your upper lashes, starting at the inner corners (or halfway to the middle of your eye if your eyes are small or close together). Gently push the pencil into your lashline, then flick it up just the slightest bit at the outer corners to give your eyes a little lift.
17. Day 17
Touch up your roots
You can do it in ten minutes with L'Oréal Paris Excellence-To-Go—apply the color only to any regrowth, start your timer, and then work it through the rest of your hair for the last two minutes before you shampoo it out. Or, for a root fix in seconds, try ColorMark TouchBack Hair Color Marker, a pen that covers grays until your next shampoo.
18. Day 18
To give your skin a subtle sheen, mix one part liquid bronzer with two parts body lotion. But don't slather the mixture over your whole body. Apply it only along your collarbones, the tops of your shoulders, the length of your arms (skipping the elbows), and—if you're going bare-legged—the top of your shins, says makeup artist Mally Roncal. Estée Lauder Luminous Liquid Bronzer and Nars Body Glow have just enough shimmer.
19. Day 19
Revive your eyes
Soak two tea bags in cold water, lie down, and place them on your eyes for five minutes. Sound too messy? Any chilled compress helps reduce puffiness. Soak a washcloth in cold water or grab a bag of peas from your freezer. How to get rid of undereye cirlces
20. Day 20
Hunt down a mousse
New ones don't just provide volume and hold; they also add shine, even control frizz. To encourage waves and curls, try L'Oréal Paris Glossy Curls Mousse or Garnier Fructis Wonder Waves Mousse. For fine hair, stylists rave about Kérastase Lait Nutri-Sculpt. A little goes a long way; use a wide-toothed comb to ensure even coverage.
21. Day 21
Brighten your eyes
A nude eyeliner rivals Visine in getting the red out of tired eyes. Run the liner along the rim of the lower lashes and blend it in the inner corners of the eyes (at the tear ducts). You'll conceal any pinkish tones around your eyes and make the whites appear whiter. Use a pencil that's matte and waterproof, like Pixi Eye Bright Liner (above
). 5 more tricks for brighter eyes
22. Day 22
Take a deep breath (or ten)
When you're stressed (and this close to the holidays, you probably are), your body releases cortisol, a hormone that disrupts collagen formation and contributes to skin aging. Diaphragmatic (from your belly) breathing helps alleviate stress by signaling your nervous system to calm down, says Amy Wechsler, MD, a dermatologist and psychiatrist. 3 ways to really relax
23. Day 23
Eat an orange...
...and a grapefruit and a kiwi. The higher your vitamin C intake, the fewer your wrinkles and the more elastic and hydrated your skin, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
. Vitamin C is integral to both collagen synthesis and the skin's regeneration process. Here are 8 very tasty ways to get your vitamin C
24. Day 24
Pamper your hair
A rich conditioner smooths dry or overprocessed hair so it feels softer and looks shinier in a matter of minutes. Comb a large dollop through wet hair and let it soak in while you lather up (or shave, or sing) in the shower. Oribe Signature Moisture Masque is one of the thickest we've tried, packed with wild mango butter.
25. Day 25
Book an at-home facial
After all the presents have been opened, give your face a gift. La Mer's Hydrating Facial is a cloth mask, steeped in a luxurious algae-infused cream, that you smooth over your skin before lying down for ten minutes. It leaves your complexion silky, and there's plenty of product left in each package to massage over your neck and décolletage when you're done.
26. Day 26
Taming wayward hairs along your part or hairline makes any style look more polished. Spritz an old blush brush (like Sephora Grab n' Go Brush, above) with a little hairspray and run it over fuzzy areas. Bonus: The alcohol in the hairspray will absorb any oil along your roots.
27. Day 27
A soft rose or peach will warm up your complexion. Dab a cream formula on the apples of your cheeks and blend it along the cheekbones. If you want to look more awake, smooth a little just above the apples of your cheeks, to contrast with the whites of the eyes. Sonia Kashuk Super Sheer Liquid Tint and By Terry Rose de Rose blend seamlessly into your skin.The best new bold blushes
Photo: Courtesy of L'Oréal
28. Day 28
Pull up your shade
Try a shampoo that gives you a little color boost. The idea is to enhance your existing shade, not to change it, so choose a shampoo in your current color family (i.e., don't pick red if you're a blonde). The L'Oréal Colorist Collection (available at local salons) comes in 12 pre-blended shades of shampoos and moisturizers.
29. Day 29
Smooth your brows
Plucking and trimming can be time-consuming (not to mention tricky). Instead, run a clear brow gel or mascara (like CoverGirl Professional Natural Lash Mascara, above) over your brows to instantly tame them and define your natural arch. Brush the gel up and out from the inner corners of your brows to the ends.
All the tools you need for perfect brows.
30. Day 30
Boost your body wash
New formulas infused with shimmer leave a subtle gleam on your skin even after you towel off. (We like Nivea A Touch of Sparkle Cream Oil Body Wash and Olay Body Wash Plus Tone Enriching Ribbons.) Use one of these in your bath or shower before a night out.
31. Day 31
Yes, you can use bronzer in December and look naturally radiant. Swirl a brush over a powder bronzer (like St. Tropez Bronzing Rocks, above
), and tap it on a tissue to remove excess. Dust the powder around the perimeter of your face, then lightly over your forehead, nose, cheekbones, and chin.
More Great Holiday Style