Pretty up your daily routine with smart techniques for curing bad grooming habits. (Were looking at you, Ms. Eyebrow Over-Plucker.):
DONT WASH YOUR HAIR DAILY
Your scalp constantly produces oils that nourish, moisturize and protect hair. Unless your lifestyle requires you to sweat a lot (marathon runner, hot-sauce tester), theres no need to strip your tresses of a healthy amount of grease daily. The less product you use, the longer you can go without washing your hair, adds Marla Beck, co-founder of the Washington, D.C., cosmetics emporium Blue Mercury.
The Fix: Look for a cleansing spray to keep your hair fresh between showers.
DONT RUB WRISTS AFTER APPLYING PERFUME
Perfume is a delicate combination of scented oils and alcohol. Spritzing it on and smashing your wrists together creates friction between the oils in your perfume and those in your skin, which can distort the sillage (the scented trail left after applying a fragrance). It wont necessarily make your Chanel No. 5 smell like Eau du Dumpster No. 12, but it will result in a slightly different waft than the maker intended.
The Fix: Spray each wrist separately, along with your colletage. If you overdo it, smear a little rubbing alcohol on the application points to dilute.
DONT THINK RED LIPSTICK ISNT FOR YOU
Playing with makeup is half the fun of being a girl, says beauty blogger Lara Ramos of Theglossarie.com. Just let loose. Perhaps the most feminine beauty product out there is a tube of bright-red lipstick. While you may initially balk at the Look-at-me! Marilyn Monroe-meets-Gwen Stefani vibe, Ramos thinks true reds work for every skin tone. Not ready to take the plunge? Use your finger to dab a little red on and top it with a sheer gloss.
The Fix: True reds the unshaded hues of stop signs, cherries and fire trucks are universally flattering.
DONT PLUCK YOUR EYEBROWS TOO CLOSE TO THE MIRROR
Here a hair, there a hair, and before you know it, youve plucked yourself into a Dr. Evil look-alike. Sculpting your brows too close to a mirror means you can lose sight of their overall shape.
The Fix: Get your brows groomed by a professional and maintain upkeep of strays, steering clear of the arch itself. No time to consult with the pros? Brow stencils provide an easy-to-follow blueprint.
DO MOISTURIZE YOUR NECK
Everybody forgets the neck, Beck says. But keeping it moisturized is essential to projecting a youthful appearance. Indeed, a womans aging neck can be a source of contention as years wane. Giving your neck attention could determine whether people believe youre celebrating your 30th birthday (again).
The Fix: Extend a moisturizer to your neck. Looking for something lightweight? Beck recommends a serum. Sometimes people dont want to put moisturizer on their neck because they fear itll get on their hair and clothes. A quick-absorbing serum is a good alternative.
DO APPLY A TOP COAT TO YOUR NAILS
Youve managed to make it past the smudge zone (phew), but that doesnt mean you can give yourself a well-manicured high five. Bad habits are a result of not enough time, Beck says. Rushing your paint job and failing to apply a top coat leaves your digits susceptible to chips and dings. Take an additional five minutes to seal your polish with a long-lasting top coat that will save you time in the long run.
The Fix: A high-gloss, non-yellowing top coat can extend the life of your manicure for up to two additional weeks.
DO WASH YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES
Using a dirty brush is like applying makeup with the bottom of a shoe. When youre putting something on your face, you want to make sure its clean, Ramos says. Brushes carry a lot of gross bacteria because theyre sitting in your bathroom or floating around your makeup bag collecting germs. Maintaining brush cleanliness extends their life and keeps evil, acne-causing organisms away from skin.
The Fix: Beck recommends disinfecting brushes at least every three months.
DONT WASH YOUR FACE IN THE MORNING
Like your hair, your face benefits from a healthy amount of naturally secreted oils. Cleansing skin at the end of the day strips it of environmental factors such as pollution and dirt buildup as well as makeup. But washing it again in the morning is overkill. So many women start their day with a cleanser and they dont need to, Ramos says. Theres nothing touching your face at night, so washing it in the morning just dries you out.
The Fix: Trade harsh cleansers for a warm washcloth or gentle wipes, which nourish and refresh a sleepy dermis.