Ready for a hair and makeup makeover, but don’t want to commit to a major change? No worries. Subtle tweaks can have a surprisingly big impact. Here are six baby-steps that will give you a whole new look.
Bring Back Eyeliner
If you stopped using eyeliner years ago, it’s time to reconsider. “Eyeliner is a tried-and-true way to make anyone’s eyes pop -- and it doesn’t have to be heavy or harsh,” says New York City makeup artist Kimara Ahnert, whose clients include Catherine Zeta-Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow and Isabella Rossellini. For a soft look, skip the liquid liners or pencils and apply eye shadow along your upper lash-line with a stiff eyeliner brush. This will create a forgiving natural line that won’t run or smudge. For the most flattering look, you can accent blue eyes with dark brown liner, hazel eyes with wine shades, or green eyes with bronze. Add depth and shine to brown eyes with emerald and purple jewel tones.
Define Your Brow
Embrace a fuller eyebrow shape with a little help from a professional. “Women tend to over-tweeze their brows,” says celebrity brow expert Ramy, whose motto is, “when in doubt, don’t pluck it out.” A well-groomed, professionally shaped arch can almost have the effect of an eyelift: Eyes look more refreshed, under-eye bags less noticeable. Brow artists do more than remove straggly hairs; they also carefully trim the hairs that remain with small grooming scissors -- something that can create bald spots if you try it on your own -- and they can tint pale, barely visible brows.
Roll up in Velcro
If you’ve been considering a professional straightening treatment or a permanent wave to add sleekness or volume to your hair, you can get the same effect by using medium-sized Velcro rollers. “It works well on both freshly shampooed, towel-dried hair and day-old hair,” says stylist Domingo Serquinia, co-owner of the Paint Shop in Los Angeles. “You’ll look like you just got a blowout.” The effects won’t last as long as expensive chemical treatments, of course, but you can get a good two days out of the few minutes you spend putting your hair in rollers if you avoid mousse and oil-based styling products. Finish your hair with a light-hold spray instead.
Add Some Highlights
Got the color blahs, but don’t want the bother of maintaining dyed hair? Talk to a colorist about highlights. They can create just as much pizzazz, but because they don’t lead to visible roots, highlights can be maintained with just three salon appointments a year. What’s more, says Los Angeles colorist Shanice Felix, “a few highlights placed around the face bring a brightness to the complexion that you can’t achieve with monochromatic color.”
Go for Red Lips
Expand your repertory of looks in 10 seconds flat by swapping your nude or neutral lip color for a sophisticated, bold red mouth. Yes, it may feel like a scary change, but you can ease into it by starting with a sheer berry or red lipstick or gloss, says Ahnert. Ahnert points out that today’s options go far beyond the old blue-red that could be difficult to pull off for anyone but women with pink undertones to their skin. Try brick reds if you’re olive-skinned, or deep purple or berry reds if you have a dark skin tone.
Bring on the Bangs
You want a radical new ’do but you don’t want to cut 6 inches from your long tresses. Done! Bangs can give you the head-turning shake-up you’re seeking -- without sacrificing length. Serquinia suggests skipping the full-on fringe and asking for softer, longer layers that you can sweep to the side. “Straight horizontal lines are too severe-looking,” he says. “Go for movement and the soft pretty haze of layered edges.”