BEAUTY HACKS TO THE RESCUE
Whether it's getting ready for a night out or a special event, or even primping for a selfie, perfecting a fresh, made-up face can be quite an undertaking. It's not just about mascara and lipstick anymore. These days you need a complete repertoire of makeup and associated apparatus -- brush guards, contouring tools, brow liners, exfoliators, thousands of eye shadow shades, and so on. Adopt a down-home regimen instead and try these 10 beauty hacks that can save you the grief of a messy, overflowing makeup bag, not to mention a few bucks for your budget.
MOISTURIZER OR OILS: MAKEUP REMOVER
What goes on must come off. Makeup left on overnight can block pores, break down elastin and collagen, and gradually harm your skin's overall health. Pharmacy brands like Neutrogena and Almay cost less than $10, and high-end companies like M.A.C. and Lancome sell makeup remover in the $20 to $40 range. Instead of purchasing a few bottles every year, try using your everyday moisturizer with cotton swabs or cotton balls. Olive, almond, and vitamin E oil also work well for makeup removal and will leave your skin feeling moisturized.
BAKING SODA: BLACKHEAD ERADICATOR
Pore strips that yank out oil and dirt are a popular remedy for blackheads and whiteheads, and cost about $6 to $10 a pack. But they're also abrasive and harmful if used too often, and some online reviews mention broken capillaries on the sides of the nose. For a natural, inexpensive assault on blackheads, try a mix of baking soda and warm water. The mild abrasive properties of baking soda will help clean your skin and remove impurities. Home Remedies for Life suggests a variety of methods and recipes.
BABY POWDER: HAIR FRESHENER
Washing your hair every day strips your scalp of its natural oils, so experts recommend skipping a day or two between washes. Our locks can get oily though, especially on a humid day or after a workout. Dry shampoo and hair powder soak up excess oil, add extra volume, and leave a fresh scent. Dove's dry shampoo sells for about $5, while Bumble and Bumble's hair powder costs $36 at Sephora. But old-fashioned baby powder will do the trick. Section off your hair in layers, sprinkle/comb in some powder, and style as desired. Like dry shampoo, baby powder efficiently soaks up excess oil for a quick hair fix.
LEMON JUICE: SWEAT-STAIN FIGHTER
Nothing ruins a perfect summer outfit more than unexpected sweat stains, that yellowish tinge on a collar or blotches in the underarm areas. Before shelling out $10 or so for a sweat stain remover, try lemons instead. The acidic properties in lemon juice break down sweat enzymes. Mix lemon juice and water and treat stains before washing.
POWDER: LIPSTICK SETTER
Lipstick commercials promise lasting shine and color for hours. Makeup gurus recommend applying lip liner, lip gloss, lip balm, or even a makeup setting spray on top to prolong the color. A lesser-known trick involves placing a one-ply piece of toilet paper over the first layer of lipstick, then lightly applying loose or pressed powder on the tissue with a brush. The tissue filters the powder, which pats down and sets your lipstick in place.
EYE SHADOW: DARK CIRCLE EXTERMINATOR
Eliminating dark circles under your eyes calls for plenty of hydration and sleep, but cosmetic companies also sell concealers and lightening pens in roller ball or brush form -- sometimes for megabucks. A luminizing pen from Yves Saint Laurent, for example, goes for $42 and promises radiance, a brighter complexion, and no more signs of fatigue. But if you have light, shimmery eye shadow and eyeliner, these products will deliver the same results. Apply cream or white eyeliner to your waterline (the area just above your lower lashes), or lightly pat a bit of eye shadow under your eyes for an instant brighter look.
PETROLEUM JELLY: FOOT HYDRATOR
It's almost summer, and that means heading to the nearest nail salon for a $20 pedicure. Cracked heels and dry skin can be unattractive in sandals and flip flops, so many people also opt for moisturizing foot masks or foot socks that add another few dollars to you beauty routine. For a cheap alternative without messy hassles, apply petroleum jelly all over your feet before going to bed and put on white cotton socks. When you wake up, your feet will feel soft and hydrated.
SUGAR: LIP EXFOLIATOR
These days it seems as though we're urged to scrub old skin cells from every part of our body: face, feet, and even lips. Lip scrubs contain enriching ingredients that exfoliate and condition. The ingredients in Sugar Lip Polish by Fresh, for example, include meadowfoam seed, jojoba seed, grapeseed oils, and shea butter, all for $22.50. There's no need to invest in a high-priced scrub intended for one use only. DIY recipes with natural ingredients, such as brown sugar, olive oil, and honey, produce your very own moisturizing exfoliant.
TOILET SEAT COVERS: OIL BLOTTER
If you have an oily complexion and need frequent touchups throughout the day, you're probably familiar with oil-blotting sheets. Companies like Neutrogena and Biore sell tiny packets of sheets that absorb oil and remove shine even if you're wearing makeup. You can stop shelling out $6 for a packet every so often -- just head to the nearest restroom and grab a toilet seat cover. This may sound unappealing, but the covers are made of the same rice paper material that absorbs facial oil. At home, cut it into small squares for future use.
DRY OR WET HEAT: LASH EXTENDER
Eyelash curlers may look like scary contraptions, but they're quite effective at creating flirty, voluminous lashes. Some makeup experts recommend heated eyelash curlers for a bigger, longer-lasting curl. The battery-operated Blinc Heated Lash Curler costs $24 and one from Panasonic fetches $30. Save your money by heating your curler with a blow-dryer or running it under warm water for a few seconds. Be sure to test the curler on your wrist before using it on your lashes to avoid singeing them.