Forget a head-to-toe makeover. From angling in bangs to upgrading your moisturizer to switching laundry detergents, a change doesn't have to be a big deal to be a real breakthrough. We've got 53 smart little ways to make you feel dazzling.
Deepen Your Color
Feel enriched—or at least enrich your haircolor with a tinted gloss. In-salon treatments are great, but an at-home version like John Frieda Collection Luminous Color Glaze ($10) works well, too, and keeps your color lush for about a month.
Every couple of months, you can use clear henna to add shine. Mix the powder with warm water, work the mixture through your hair, and leave it on for the recommended time (about 45 minutes).
Go for Glow
Brighten your face with a few face-framing highlights. Keep it subtle by going just a few shades lighter than your natural color.
Become a Blonde
Or if you're feeling bold (or bored), go for a dramatic haircolor change. If you've always wondered how you'd look as a blonde, now's the time to do it: The chemicals that lift dark color are gentler than ever, so you can lighten without getting fried.
Pump it Up
Really pump up your hair's volume by applying mousse the right way: Trace a thin stream of foam along your hairline and part. Then use your fingertips to lightly massage the product into the roots. The mousse will be more evenly and efficiently distributed than if you had applied it the way most people do, in one big blob.
Wake Up Gorgeous
Before bed, apply a liberal amount of leave-in conditioner on dry hair. With a soft elastic that won't leave a ridge, put it up in a high ponytail (which will create volume when you take it down). In the morning, your hair will be shinier and silkier. Or, if your hair is always stringy in the morning, apply a little Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder ($34) at night. The powder absorbs the oils in your hair, making it fluffier.
Hide Thinning Hair
If you have thinning hair and your scalp is starting to show, don't try to give your hair height with teasing or root-lifting products. Use a texturizing gel, and get a cut with long layers.
Freshen your cut with a few skillful strokes of a curling iron. Mist the ends of your hair with a thermal protecting spray (which adds shine and flexibility), then wrap them around the barrel of a medium or large curling iron. Your style will immediately look more polished.
Do the Flip
Create a new hairstyle with a flatiron. Run it down four-inch-wide sections of your hair. When you reach the ends, flick your wrist upward so that the bottoms flip up and out, giving you a lifted look. (This trick is great for heavy, bulky hair.)
Buy a boar-bristle brush. Unlike plastic, boar bristles evenly distribute your hair's natural oils from root to tip, and they help the outer layer of the hair lie flat, making it shiny.
Make an Easy Change
Switch your part! Moving it from the center to the side (or vice versa) can give you a refreshing change.
To get loose waves, separate your hair into two sections (as if you were going to make two pigtails), wrap each section around a chopstick, and push the point of the chopstick through your hair so that it's secure. Then mist your hair with water (unless it's still slightly damp after a shower), set the style with a blow-dryer, and wait about five minutes before taking out the chopsticks.
Bangs don't work for everyone, but they're a great way to get a new look without going shorter. Ask for a few tapered, side-swept bangs, cut at an angle and not too thick, so that they'll grow out easily. (Don't consider side bangs if you have a cowlick at the hairline or very curly hair.)
Apply Face Makeup
Help your foundation go on smoother, look more satiny, and last longer with a primer. Apply a pea-size drop to cleansed skin. (We love Laura Mercier Hydrating Foundation Primer, $30.) Let it set for a minute, then put on your makeup.
Get Dewy Skin
If you regularly use face powder, stop! Your skin will look fresher and dewier, because powder absorbs light, making your complexion look flat.
Swap Concealer for Foundation
When you don't feel like bothering with foundation, wear concealer only—around the eyes and the nose, and to cover redness on the chin or between the brows. Try a cream concealer applied with a synthetic bristle brush. Apply right on the spot where you need it most and then blend outward.
Brighten with a Bronzer
Brighten your complexion with the reverse bronzer trick: By brushing bronzing powder from the perimeter of your face inward, the powder will subtly frame your face, putting a spotlight on your features. Be sure to apply the powder with a fluffy, medium-size brush with tapered bristles.
For more radiant, dewy-looking skin, use a cream instead of powder blush. Cream blush melts into the complexion; powder blush has a tendency to sit on top of the skin and look flat.
For full-looking lashes, hold the wand vertically when you apply mascara; coat each lash by swaying the wand from side to side, like a windshield wiper.
And Open Up
Or, to get the illusion of more-wide-open, almond-shaped eyes and higher cheekbones, drag the wand horizontally outward and upward. Apply two coats.
Curl for Drama
Give your eyelashes more drama by curling them just after you put on mascara. The mascara acts like a setting lotion, freezing the lashes into place. When you curl bare lashes, they tend to go straight as soon as you unclamp them.
Your makeup will look refreshed if you recurl your lashes and apply another coat of mascara.
Intensify Your Eyes
Try eggplant eyeliner if you have green or hazel eyes; dark gray, if your eyes are blue or gray. For all eye colors, navy blue is less severe than black.
…and Make Them Bigger
To make small eyes look larger, apply white eyeliner pencil on the inner rims of the eye.
Hide Dark Circles
To brighten up your eye area, mix concealer with fluid highlighter and apply it underneath your eyes. The concealer will cover up any discoloration, and the highlighter will reflect light, detracting from bluish hues or fine lines.
Choose the Right Concealer
If you're fair, your concealer will look natural (instead of chalky) if you tap a creamy peach-colored blush just underneath your eyes (concentrating on any areas that are blue or purplish); apply concealer over that.
Add an Arch
Full, slightly arched brows make you look more awake. Use a brow powder one shade lighter than your natural color to fill in any sparse areas. Then brush your brows upward with a clear brow gel; the gel sets brows into place and gives them a natural sheen that's sometimes dulled by a powder or pencil.
Pop, You're Finished
And then, to make your eye makeup really pop, when you've finished applying it, dip a blush brush in a peachy pink powder blush and dust it lightly over your eyelids.
Make your teeth look whiter with a blue-toned lipcolor. Try a blue-based pink, red, burgundy, or plum shade.
Plump Up Your Lips
For a fuller-looking mouth, apply your lipstick or gloss and then trace your lips in a matching lip liner. This makes your lip contour look more defined.
Get a New Lip Look
Wear a richly colored lipstick as a lip stain. Apply your favorite lipstick, blot it with a tissue, then repeat the process three times. You'll have a gorgeous, long-lasting, natural-looking lip stain in a color you love (but without the creamy, makeup-y texture).
Get Full Lips, for Real
For the fullest-looking lips (that don't scream "fake"), curl your lips tightly over your teeth. Trace right along the edge with a nude pencil. When you release your lips, you will have slightly overdrawn them in such a natural way that no one will notice. Fill in the rest of your lip with the nude pencil. Buff it sheer with your fingertip and then apply gloss.
Go for Drama
Small change, big drama: Try a deeper lipcolor. If you've always worn pink, go for a rose, purple, lilac, burgundy, or cool red. Do you tend toward brown? Then try brick red, orange, or a warm beige.
Get That Glow
First question: Is your skin glowy? Second question: Do you regularly use a prescription retinoid (like Retin-A) or products containing retinol or glycolic acid? If you answered "no" to both, start using a cleanser, moisturizer, or serum containing one of those ingredients. Within two weeks your skin will begin to look fresher and more evenly toned.
Choose a Sunscreen
Become religious about using sunscreen, and choose yours carefully. Be sure that it's at least SPF 15 and that it gives you broad-spectrum UVA-UVB coverage (it will say so on the label).
Defuzz Your Face
Ask your doctor for a prescription for Vaniqa, which reduces hair growth. Vaniqa is safe for all skin types; it won't make you break out, and, in fact, it can help get rid of the hair that's irritating the follicles and causing pimples. It's not always covered by insurance, but it's cheaper than laser hair removal.
Get Rid of Red
Switching detergent may eliminate some of the redness, puffiness, dryness, and scaling you see on your skin; wash your bed linens and towels in a "free and clear" detergent (like All Free Clear). (Regular laundry detergent doesn't remove dust mites, cat dander, and other potentially sensitizing residue.)
Peel, Peel Away
Due to a buildup of dead cells, skin can look dull. Use Kinerase Pro+ Therapy Advanced Radiance Facial Peel ($85) daily for five days, then take a two-week break.
Clear Up Your Health, Too
A few other ways to a brighter, clearer complexion (and conscience): Add a cream with a strong antioxidant (such as vitamin C or coffeeberry) to your skincare regimen, eat antioxidant-rich foods, quit smoking, and cut down on alcohol.
Get a Better Moisturizer
If your skin tends to be dry and dehydrated in winter, look for moisturizers and creams containing hyaluronic acid. This natural sugar absorbs up to 1,000 times its weight in water. (Try L'Oréal Skin Genesis lotion, $25, or M.D. Forte Advanced Hydrating Complex Cream, $45.)
If you have age spots, blotchy pigment, or old acne marks, start using a treatment product that contains hydroquinone, which blocks new pigment (melanin) formation in the skin. You can get a prescription from your dermatologist, but many doctors believe that 2 percent hydroquinone, available over the counter, when combined with at least 7 percent glycolic acid (found in cleansers, moisturizers, and peels), can give results as good as prescription formulations.
Reduce Eye Puffiness
To reduce eye puffiness, apply ice cubes or a bag of frozen peas for three to five minutes. This is exactly what derms and plastic surgeons recommend to their patients to treat swelling after a treatment or surgery.
…or Try This
Dot a small amount of cream onto your browbone, pressing down on four equidistant points as you move from the inner to the outer corner. Apply a small amount of cream onto the lower orbital bone, pressing four times as you go from the outer to inner corner. Then press down along the side of your nose.
Wake Up Tired Eyes
If your eyes feel tired and watery, blink! When most people work on a computer, they subconsciously suppress the natural urge to blink every five to ten seconds. By blinking purposefully (say, every time you hit the return key), you'll be giving your eyes a minivacation.
Change Your Frames, Change Your Life
For instant pizzazz, change the color of your glasses; treat yourself to green, burgundy, or midnight blue frames.
Clear Up Red Eyes
You can get rid of red eyes in an instant with drops, but don't regularly use those that are vasoconstrictors—they contain tetrahydrozoline, naphazoline, or oxymetazoline, which can be habit forming. Plus, your eyes will get redder when you stop. Use lubricating drops instead. (Try Systane, $17.50.)
Firm Up Your Jawline
If you've begun to see a softening of your jawline, spend five minutes every morning and night chomping as though you were chewing a piece of meat. This will strengthen the jaw muscles and create more definition. (Don't do this if you have TMJ.)
Make Your Fingers Look Graceful
File your nails into an oval shape—it's elongating. A brave move: If you've never worn red nail polish, try it. Shiny (and short) red nails look glamorous and pulled together.
Soften Feet in an Instant
Faster than a foot scrub! Stronger than a pumice! A 15-minute at-home peel is all it takes to make your dry, calloused feet soft and smooth. (Try Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel, $42.)
Change Your Concept of Working Out
—it doesn't have to mean clocking in at the gym for 30 minutes three times a week. Incorporate fitness into your life: Instead of calling a friend to vent, ask her to meet you for a power walk (or take one by yourself). Rather than hitting the fridge during commercials, try a couple of minutes of jumping jacks. These short, painless exercise stints eventually all add up to a stronger, leaner, happier you.
For better z's. replace your pillow every year. If you're a side sleeper, you'll need a firmer one; a back sleeper needs a flatter one; a stomach sleeper needs a very flat one. Also, choose a pillow that's hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and made with synthetic down or foam. Sleepbetter.org offers a test to help you choose the right pillow for you.
SeeYourself as Others Do
Experts believe that others think you're 20 percent more attractive than you think you are.