30 Beauty Boosters to Transform Your Look in Minutes
Photo: Johnny Miller
1. Vibrant Lipcolor [1 minute]
It's the easiest way to radically transform your appearance. Ease into a bold look with a sheer formula (like Lipstick Queen Saint Lipstick in Scarlet Red or Fire Red, $20 each; us.spacenk.com), then graduate to a more pigmented and powerful shade (like Lipstick Queen Sinner Lipstick in Fire Red).
2. Lash Curler [4 minutes]
Upturned lashes make your eyes look more open. Makeup artist Carmindy loves the diminutive Prima Japanese Eyelash Curler ($25; alconeco.com): "It lets you get really close to the lashline and never pinches. When I'm in a rush, I just squeeze it once on my outermost lashes."
3. Part Switch [1 minutes]
Your hair falls flat along your most natural part line; flipping it to the other side adds instant fullness. Deepening a side part helps elongate a round face and softens a strong forehead or jawline.
4. Gentle Scrub [2 minutes]
Brighten your skin in minutes with a microbead exfoliator (like Bioré Acne Clearing Scrub, $6.50; drugstores), which whisks away the dead skin cells that dull your complexion.
5. Radiance Recipe [3 minutes]
For a sheer, natural glow, mix one pump of liquid bronzer with two pumps of your regular foundation. (Armani Fluid Sheer in #3, $59; giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com and Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer, $34; sephora.com are a particularly luminous combination.) Apply with a foundation brush.
6. Nude Eyeliner [2 minutes]
Traced along the inner rims of your lower lashlines, it creates a gorgeous optical illusion: bigger, brighter eyes. Try Pixi Eye Bright Liner No. 1 ($17; target.com).
7. Super Moisturizer [1 minute]
Want to improve your complexion in a flash? Smooth on a serum or lotion with hyaluronic acid (like Dr. Jart + Water Fuse Water-Sure Gel, $38; sephora.com). It attracts moisture to the skin, plumping it (for a few hours) on contact.
8. Classic Barrette [30 seconds]
Like putting on perfect pearl studs, slipping a simple clip into your hair behind one ear can look understatedly chic. France Luxe Narrow Eva Clip ($12; franceluxe.com) is the right mix of pretty and practical; its curved design evenly fans out hair for a smooth silhouette.
Next: A quick way to amplify your lips
Photo: Johnny Miller
9. Complexion Renewer [10 minutes]
A glycolic acid peel brightens drab skin. Try an at-home version like Le Métier de Beauté Chem60 Pro-Peel & Glow10ai Mask Set ($265; neimanmarcus.com) or (not shown) Glytone Essentials Mini Peel Gel ($52; dermstore.com).
10. Quick Trim [45 minutes]
Taking off just an inch of hair can add volume to your style and freshen your overall look. (And a salon shampoo and head massage can freshen your overall outlook.)
11. Arch Enhancer [3 minutes
Give your brows a lift (and add some polish to your look) with the Clé de Peau Beauté Eyebrow Pencil ($60; neimanmarcus.com); its powdery texture creates long-lasting, natural fullness.
12. Roller Set [15 minutes]
Three reasons to love hot rollers: They smooth your hair while you go about your business (makeup application, breakfast, renovating the garage). They're less damaging than a flatiron. They create unparalleled volume. And T3 Voluminous Hot Rollers ($99; sephora.com) are the best of the latest generation.
13. Frizz Tamer [30 seconds]
A no-mess hair transformer: The superlight mist of Oribe Shine Light Reflecting Spray ($36; oribe.com) belies its style-smoothing, static-stopping, shine-enhancing power.
14. Sheer Cream Blush [4 minutes]
In makeup, as in poker, a flush is a smart bet. A wash of rosy color makes cheekbones more pronounced and eyes more sparkling. We love Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Colour in Rosebud ($24; lauramercier.com) or Bobbi Brown Sheer Color Cheek Tint in Sheer Cherry and Sheer Pink ($25 each; bobbibrown.com).
15. Buff Polish [5 minutes]
Two coats of Butter London Nail Foundation Flawless Basecoat ($20; butterlondon.com) leave your nails smooth and tinted a subtle, elegant beige.
16. Magical Manicure [15 minutes]
Apply one coat of Essie Repstyle Nail Polish ($8; essie.com)—we love silvery Snake, Rattle and Roll and deep green Crocadilly—then hold the magnetized cap over each nail. Presto! A snakeskin pattern appears.
17. Eye Refresher [10 minutes]
Soak a thin piece of cloth (like part of an old T-shirt) in cold soy milk and lay it over your eyes. "Soy milk is a terrific anti-inflammatory; it also hydrates to smooth fine lines," says New York City dermatologist Neil Sadick, MD.
18. Warm Bath [20 minutes]
Few things are as restorative as a soak in the tub. For a skin-softening effect, add a luxurious oil. When you step out, pat your skin dry and smooth on a bit more of the oil for extra silkiness.
19. Style Reviver [4 minutes]
Dry shampoo instantly absorbs the excess oil that makes hair fall flat. Spritz it at your roots, particularly along your part and at your hairline. Let it sit for a few minutes, then brush through.
20. Lip Amplifier [3 minutes]
Run a liquid highlighter along the bottom edge of your mouth and over your Cupid's bow to make your lips look fuller.
21. Tension Tamer [2 minutes]
Deep breathing cues your nervous system to calm down, and that relaxation shows up (beautifully) in your face. Integrative medicine expert Andrew Weil, MD, recommends this technique: Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat this cycle three more times.
Next: More instant beauty upgrades
Photo: Johnny Miller
22. Eye Definer [5 minutes]
Never underestimate the enhancing power of eyeliner. For the easiest application, make tiny dashes across your upper lashline, then use a Q-tip to blend the dashes together.
23. Body Builder [5 minutes]
Mousse makes your hair look and feel thicker. For the most oomph, distribute the foam evenly: Put a big dollop in your hand, run a wide-tooth comb through it, then drag the comb from roots to tips, says New York City hairstylist Cedric Celik.
24. Line Eraser [30 minutes]
Open to some serious intervention? The latest hyaluronic acid filler, Belotero, fills lines around the eyes and lips and plumps undereye hollows, without the potential side effects (tiny bumps, a blue tinge) of other fillers. You'll notice the difference before you leave the doctor's office; results last six months.
25. Shine Enhancer [20 minutes]
Like a top coat on your nails, a hair gloss gives your style a high-shine finish. Most last about two weeks. (Try Garnier HerbaShine SimplyShine Clear Gloss Treatment, $6.50; drugstores.)
Clockwise from bottom center
26. Root lifter [5 minutes]
Are you alone? Good. Now flip your head upside down, spritz your roots with hairspray (like Alterna Bamboo Style Ultra Hold Hair Spray, $22; beauty.com), massage your scalp for a few seconds, and flip your head back up. Hello, gorgeous!
27. Favorite Fragrance [5 seconds]
A scent you love boosts your spirits on first sniff. (The sense of smell links directly to the mood-ruling limbic system.) Two fragrances to make you happy right now: the crisp Nest Body & Soul Spray in Moss & Mint ($48; shop.nestfragrances.com) and the more earthy Chanel Les Exclusifs 1932 ($230 for 6.8 ounces; chanel.com).
28. Face Base [1 minute]
Primer leaves a light film over fine lines, so foundation looks smoother and more luminous all day. (Try Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Complexion Primer Potion, $31; urbandecay.com.)
29. Enduring Manicure [30 minutes]
Sally Hansen Salon InstaGel Strips Starter Kit ($30; drugstores) lets you experiment with nail art, from graphic dots to intense glitter—and the fun stays flawless for at least a week (in our experience, even two).
30. Bold Pedicure [25 minutes]
Vibrantly polished toes are a delicious little cold-weather secret, so slip off your winter wool socks and treat yourself to a stunningly bright pedicure. (A few suggestions: OPI Nail Lacquer in My Paprika Is Hotter Than Yours! and Can't Find My Czechbook; Essence Colour & Go Nail Polish in Oh My Glitter!; Rococo Nail Apparel in Sandrine; Nicole by OPI Nail Lacquer in Alex by the Books; Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Noble.)
Just Wait and See!
These five boosters are worth the extra time it takes to get results.
Rest Cure [8 hours]
Pictured left. To understand how sleep deprivation affects your appearance, all you have to do is look in the mirror after a late night. Always try to get at least eight hours. "When you don't sleep enough, your skin doesn't exfoliate and repair itself, so it looks dull and sallow," says Sadick. Have trouble drifting off? The scents of lavender, vanilla, and baby powder have all been shown to help. (L'Occitane Lavender Pillow Mist, $22; usa.loccitane.com)
Hair Repair [3 days]
After you shampoo, spritz a vial of Fekkai Advanced PrX Reparatives 3 Day Transformation ($100 for kit of three; ulta.com) through your damp hair. The mixture of keratin and emollients leaves hair soft and shiny. Repeat for three consecutive days for lasting glossiness.
Skin Stars [12 weeks]
Retinoids, the topical vitamin A derivatives, are pore-minimizing, pigment-fading, line-softening skincare superstars. Use one in a lotion or cream for three months and see your skin transformed. The most impressive improvement comes from prescription versions (like tretinoin and tazarotene); the retinol in over-the-counter products yields less dramatic, but still noticeable, changes.
Doctors' Duo [6 months]
To create softer, more even-toned skin, many dermatologists are using the new Perméa system, which combines an updated version of the Clear + Brilliant skin-resurfacing laser with SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic antioxidant serum. Downtime is minimal (redness for about a day); doctors recommend three to five monthly sessions and daily use of the serum.
Lifesaver [10 years]
In one study, daily sunscreen users tracked for ten years had a 50 percent lower risk of melanoma than non-sunscreen users. Another fine reason to protect yourself every day: "Your skin will simply look a lot better," says New York City dermatologist Anne Chapas, MD.
Next: Get shiny hair, silky skin and glowy makeup all winter