Glow illustration
Illustrator: Yulia Brodskaya
All secret societies accumulate a treasury of their own uncommon wisdom, and the league of beauty editors is no exception. Here, all in one place for the first time, is the best insider intelligence.
1. The one thing we always drink to: water. But forget the rule about eight glasses a day—just drink enough so that you're not thirsty. Though there's no link between how much water you consume and how hydrated your skin is, when I'm parched, my complexion looks flaky and dry. Also: If you drink a glass of water before each meal, you'll be less inclined to overeat.

2. Sunscreen is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. Use at least SPF 15 every day, rain or shine. UV radiation is the major source of skin cancer and accelerated aging of the skin, both of which can occur without tanning or other visible signs of damage, says Steven Wang, MD, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

3. You can conjure up a prettier complexion while you sleep...with the magic of retinoids. Still the gold standard of topical skincare ingredients, vitamin-A derivative prescription retinoids (like Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac) stimulate new collagen, exfoliate your pores, and encourage cell turnover, says Mary P. Lupo, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane Medical School. Add a retinoid to your nighttime beauty routine.

4. Always treat your hands and neck the way you treat your face. The skin on the neck is thinner than the skin on the face, yet most women don't care for it as well. Same goes for the hands. After you apply a treatment (like a retinoid or antioxidant serum) to your face, rub it on your neck and the backs of your hands, too.

5. For the price of a tube of self-tanner, you can look as if you spent a month on the Riviera. Apply a moisturizing body lotion that includes a self-tanner to hide spider veins on your legs and to get a slimming effect all over.

6. There's gold in them thar drugstores. Take advantage of the bounty of inexpensive cleansers, moisturizers, and treatments that work just as well as (or better than) luxury brands. The large cosmetic companies that produce drugstore products want you to be loyal to them, so they don't skimp on their research and development.

Next: More secrets, including the beauty asset that trumps all the styling products in the world
7. Facials can be expensive, but luminosity is free. The fastest way to better skin tone doesn't cost a dime. Exercising gives you improved circulation and oxygen capacity, which causes the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, says Steven Dayan, MD, clinical assistant professor in the division of facial plastic surgery at the University of Illinois. The result? That healthy glow everyone's aiming for.

8. We never met an antioxidant we didn't like. Free radicals—certain kinds of molecules that can build up in your body and damage proteins and DNA—hasten the aging process, says Dayan. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants like coenzyme Q10, and vitamins A, C, and E can help reverse some of that damage. Applying antioxidants topically can also help.

9. One impeccable, classic haircut is worth more than all the styling products in the world. A haircut is a little like a dress: If you start out with terrific tailoring, accessorizing is unnecessary (but still can be lots of fun).

10. Good deeds = good looks. If you do something that makes you feel great about yourself, you're more likely to wear a happy expression. And studies have shown that a person who looks happy is perceived as more attractive than the same person who looks sad, says Dayan. So do something kind for someone. While you're at it, smile. And, for Pete's sake, be sure you're wearing sunscreen.

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