Look Awake in No Time

Today is my first day back to my day job since the day before Christmas Eve; an unpredecented holiday break (my employer has a use-them-or-lose-them vacation day policy) for me. So, as I’m sure anyone in a similar situation can imagine, this first Monday of the year is a molehill that feels like a mountain as I make my way through the motions of my workday. But hey – at least I look awake!

Professionals, students, and Moms, you can relate: Sleep is a beautiful, precious thing. Even though I find significant joy in makeup, one cannot get through the days as a functional human being on joy and/or a perfectly executed winged liner alone.

On a daily basis, I prefer more sleep over more time to primp. I am a Snooze Button fiend. In spite of my extra sleep, I often still look pretty tired and sleepy until my second cup of coffee (and even then, coffee doesn’t cure dark circles). I’m not always a fan of looking like death-warmed-over, though.

Fortunately because I find myself in this situation more often than I care to admit, I’ve become pretty good at handling it. Regardless of the reason we’re time-deprived, most of us have three minutes. Yes, three. That’s it. This isn’t a, “no makeup-makeup look,” that requires you spend more time than you’d ever expect. This isn’t a full blown morning routine complete with sun salutations and lemon water, though – this is JUST making your face look less exhausted without doing a full face. Give me three minutes and I can look like my cats didn’t wake me up three times last night or like I did more harm than good by thrice-striking snooze.

First, concealer, post haste. I still really love Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer, even though the packaging could be better. I’m cracking open my fourth tube, soon – and let’s face it, how often do we makeup fanciers repurchase something 4+ times? Yeah, I dig it. We understand each other.

Look Awake In No Time
Look Awake In No Time…with my highly sought-after diagrams /s

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Nail Prep Tips

The trick to a lasting manicure is ensuring a strong bond between your nail and the polish you’re slapping on top.

How? My three top nail prep tips are after the jump.

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Beauty Hacks & Tips

Warning: This is the first installment of Wall of Text Wednesday. Just kidding, that won’t be a routine thing.

After comparing my list to so many top hits from Google from silly magazines, I’m confident that MOST of these are not cookie-cuter tips. So many of these, “beauty hacks,” are old hat to me just because I’ve been doing them so long – but it’s come to my attention that some of them are apparently, “sneaky beauty hacks.” I figured, “Why not share?” We’re all trying to streamline our life and make time for other things – even as someone who enjoys beauty, that doesn’t mean I have an hour or two to throw at it on a daily basis – in fact, writing that made me laugh.

Let’s get on with it!

Hair Hacks

  • Maximize efficacy of your dry shampoo. It will absorb oils as you sleep so you aren’t in such a rush in the morning. As much as I love dry shampoo, sometimes I want it to do what it does faster than it does. Solution? Use your dry shampoo at night before you go to sleep. I like Psssst!
  • If you buy large bottles of shampoo and conditioner (such as Tresemme’s 39oz monstrosities) and transfer them to smaller bottles, you will be pleased to learn that the caps for Dawn dish soap fit on a lot of bottles that take pumps. Pumps aren’t the best for transferring thick product to other containers, but swapping one of those caps makes life a LOT easier.
  • Want shinier hair? Of course you do; no one is like, “Wow, I wish my hair was matte and dull…” DIY hair glaze safely, inexpensively, AND easily from home – no professional required!
  • Does your hair tend to tangle in the shower from washing? Brush before getting in, and don’t get all spastic and rough your hair up during shampooing. It will be easier to condition and and take care of later. I love The Wet Brush for before and after showering, as well as…well, any time.
  • Bobby pins go squiggly-side down towards your scalp; not facing out. Your style will look and hold better.

Beauty Hacks

  • If you don’t often wear a full-face of makeup (i.e., you spot conceal and wear eye makeup) often, cut your makeup wipes in half with some clean scissors. Half a wipe should suffice for most eye makeup.
  • Manage to get mascara on your lids or elsewhere? Give it a few seconds to dry in place, grab a spoolie brush, and gently swipe it away.
  • Products don’t always need to be used as intended. I find that contour powders make excellent crease/transition shades, for example. Don’t limit yourself.
  • Pointed cotton-swabs are not only good for cleaning up errant eyeliner, but other things – nail polish, what-have-you. They also have household applications, so keep a box around.
  • Bad about taking your makeup off at the end of the day? Keep makeup wipes handy at your bedside. It’ll be harder to make excuses when you don’t actually have to get up.
  • Mix your foundation with primer or moisturizer to sheer it out.
    I’ve seen this tip elsewhere suggesting that you can mix moisturizer with a foundation that is too dark to, “make it lighter.” That isn’t the case – but it will make it less opaque, therefore less obvious. YMMV.
  • It takes some practice, but swiping mascara on the topside of your lashes will result in a fuller look. Just try not to get mascara on your eyelid…but if you do, see above.

Nail Hacks

  • Light (but not sheer) polish shades will help give short nails the illusion of a longer nail bed. Bonus points for light shimmer.
  • Like gel polish? Yeah, me too.If you have trouble removing it when its time to redo your manicure, try only using the dehydrating primer product during prep around the perimeter of the nail – but only do the, “front,” and sides, don’t do the area closest to the cuticle. It won’t affect the longevity, but when it is time to remove it won’t be like pulling teeth. Less soaking/scraping/annoying.
  • If your polish is chipping on a nail or two and you don’t want to redo, slap a chunky glitter on top of the affected ones. Sometimes, even skillful polishers can have difficulty making same-color patch jobs look seamless, but glitter will distract (or cover!) that entirely.
  • Cleaning up a messy polish application isn’t fun. This is less of a tip and more common sense: pay close attention to the positioning of the brush as you swipe polish onto your nail bed. Don’t bring polish down to the cuticle; strokes should go from close to (not at or on!) the cuticle out over the free edge. Align the end of your brush a millimeter or two from your cuticle, press down slightly to move some color towards the cuticle, then pull back to bring the color down the nail plate. Be conscious of the sides, too; you’ll spend less time cleaning later.

Skin/Body/Other Hacks

  • Stop wasting money on whitening strips. It isn’t that they don’t work, its just that they’re rather expensive for what they are…and if your teeth are anything less than straight you pretty much can’t use them effectively. Instead, pick up a tube of Plus White gel (at drugstores and mass merchants, too) and get a mouth guard like this one (no need to get one that is, “made for whitening,” it’s all the same stuff). For less than $10 you have dozens of treatments.
    Tip: If you’ve never molded one of these, fret not – it isn’t hard, but it does feel REALLY WEIRD at first. I suggest consulting YouTube, though, or a friend or family member who has done so before.
  • Skip the awkward cheese-grater-esque foot files or the dangerous callus rasps and go for something like a Mr. Pumi bar – or even go with something heavier duty, like a powered buffer, pedicure dremel, or an Amope Pedi Perfect. I haven’t tried the Amope, but my husband got me this one for Christmas and it is pretty cool.
  • AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) moisturizers are great on hands and feet as well as facial skin. Make sure you use sunscreen when using chemical exfoliants, though you should be using one anyway.
  • Some DIY beauty recipes are silly (baking soda does not go on your face), but if you don’t want to keep a separate body scrub on hand, bring a few tablespoons of sugar to the shower with you and scrub it on along with your body wash. Apply by hand so you don’t wind up with sugar in your bath brush/pouf/scrubby gloves.
  • Conditioner makes a good shave barrier (a lot of popular shave gels contain alcohol which is drying), but don’t use your badass, makes-your-hair-feel-like-kittens one; a cheap one like V05 or Suave’s classic stuff will do just as well and costs, oh, $2-3?
    Bonus: it is often easier to recycle those bottles than it is to recycle spent cans of shave gel and you don’t run risk of silly rust rings.

That’s it for my round-up of Beauty Hacks. I hope I helped you learn something today, or at least inspired you to think about your beauty products and routine a little differently. If you have any sneaky beauty hacks or tips share it in the comments!