Little Risks, Big Rewards
Refreshing your look can be as easy as faking a bob (you laugh now...) or applying your makeup in a new, more modern way
Change is good. Without it, we'd still be securing our ponytails with scrunchies. But it isn't always easy to break out of your comfort zone. Many women are reluctant to take beauty risks because they are afraid something will go horribly wrong. But the truth is "even the smallest tweak to your appearance can set off a positive domino effect - it can make you feel more attractive and more confident," assures psychologist Gordon Patzer, Ph.D., founder of the Appearance Research Institute in Chicago.
That's right - no Lady Gaga lashes or Housewives lips. Just simple, no-strings-attached suggestions that will help you wriggle free of stale beauty habits.
1. Customize Your Nail Colour
Layer one coat of glittery polish over a solid colour, suggests celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann. Go for a soft shade like pink under gold or silver glitter, or try an unexpected combo, like a bright coral base beneath violet flecks. Just keep nails short and rounded (shimmery daggers look tacky).
2. Beef Up Your Brows
Fatten skimpy arches with a shimmery cream shadow. Brow hairs are naturally a bit luminous, so a shimmery colour makes them look fuller in a non-obvious way, says Emily Kate Warren, a makeup artist in New York City and San Francisco. Dip a clean, unused mascara brush into a shimmery cream shadow in a neutral tone close to your natural brow hue (Warren likes Shiseido Makeup Shimmering Cream Eye Color in Leather or Sable) and comb the colour between your brow hairs.
3. Bedeck a Basic Braid
Weave a colourful ribbon through it, suggests hairstylist Mark Garrison, owner of his eponymous salon in New York City. Since you want the ribbon to slide easily along the braid, choose a fabric that's flexible and satiny. Play around with the width - a skinny braid might get a boost from a thicker ribbon or look perfectly dainty with a slim one. For a festive occasion, use a shiny silver or gold ribbon, or let the ribbon ends dangle loosely down your back. Or twist your decorated braid into a chignon, recommends Garrison.
4. Ombre Your Eyes
Colour gradation has been a popular fashion and hair colour trend, and now you can use it as a sexy eye makeup technique. You'll need two shadows in the same colour family - one dark, one light, says New York City makeup artist Raychel Wade, colour ambassador for La Prairie. (Deep charcoal and shimmery silver are a good combo to try.) Sweep the darker shade along your lash line first and graduate the colour up to your crease, applying less pigment as you go. Then apply the lighter shade to your brow bone.
5. Pull Your Hair Back with Purpose
Classic half-up looks can seem unintentional (as if you slapped your hair up at your desk). The secret to a polished style lies in your barrette's placement: Make a side part, sweep the front of your hair over to the side, and secure it about an inch above and behind the top of your ear, "so the barrette is best viewed as you turn your head to the side, not from head-on, which can appear juvenile," says Adrian De Berardinis, salon owner and head stylist at De Berardinis in New York City.
6. Colour Block Your Face
Wearing several bold colours is the freshest new take on fashion. Think punchy dresses in orange and pink, or powerful red pants with a daring purple blouse. Apply the same concept to your makeup by picking two or more vivid hues to spice up your usual makeup look. Swipe one on your lips and the others on your eyes, suggests Wade. For example: Go for eyeliner and shadow in colours like blue, green, or copper, then sweep a contrasting shade (like bright pink) on your lips.
7. Fake a Bob
Not ready to chop your hair but want to play with shorter lengths? A temporary bob will let you experiment. If you have long locks, start by putting some loose waves in your hair with a large-barrel curling iron to really coax the ends under into a large curve, says Jet Rhys, a hairstylist and salon owner in San Diego. Next, use a small elastic to secure all of your hair into a loose ponytail about three to four inches away from your ends. Roll the ponytail up from the ends to the nape of your neck, and use hairpins to secure in place. Pin up any stray long hairs.
8. Glaze Your Hair
Light-blonde highlights can look out of place in the dead of winter. Instead, "ask your colourist to apply a glaze one or two shades deeper than your hair colour," says Denine Smith, a stylist at Warren-Tricomi Salon in New York City. It will give you rich colour and multi-dimensional shine, and because it washes out and doesn't last as long as regular permanent hair colour, it's less risky.
9. Colour Your Lashes
Swap out basic black mascara for a - stay with us here - funkier shade. "The difference is subtle," assures Warren, "but the hue will enhance your natural eye colour, making it more vivid, and brighten up the whites of your eyes. If you have brown eyes, try blue or green; blue eyes sparkle when paired with plum; and copper or deep amber flatters green or hazel eyes.
10. Lift Your Pony
For a ponytail that doesn't look like it belongs at the gym, simply place the elastic a few inches higher. Think Kim Kardashian's signature pony. While you're at it, give the tail portion a bit of oomph by curling or teasing (and gently brushing out) those strands so they're sexy and bouncy. Finish with a light-hold hair spray to lock in volume and shape, says De Berardinis.
11. Swap Gloss for Lipstick
The eye-catching intensity of a bright lipstick can give your look a total 180 - it lends definition to your lips and brightens up your whole face, says Wade. Plus, if the colour is bold enough, it can feel as special as a fashion accessory, like a poppy shoe or bag! The newest, coolest way to apply lipstick: Dab the colour onto your finger first, then pat it onto your pursed lips until you've built the colour saturation you want, says Wade. (This is a great technique for lipstick virgins who want to tread carefully.) Hot shades include vibrant corals saturated pinks, and bright cherry reds.
12. Make Over Your Manicure
If your basic baby pink or almost black is getting a little boring, try one of the new neutrals. Grayish purple, navy, and army green are hues that allow you to switch up your look without sacrificing subtlety, and they work for day or evening.
"These muted shades go with everything, but they're more modern and chic than the nudes we're all used to," says Jenna Hipp, a celebrity nail stylist.
13. Flip Your Part
"There's nothing as simple as a new part to change your look," says De Berardinis. What's hot now is a deep side part, starting where your head naturally curves down, an inch above your temple. And if you're used to parting on the right, go left (or vice versa). Flipping your part to the other side will impart lots of volume - perfect for someone with fine, limp hair, or wavy or curly texture, says De Berardinis.
14. Boost Your Blush
For an instantly slimmer-looking face (ideal for anyone who's feeling puffy and those with round faces), consider moving your blush swipe up a little bit, suggests Wade. Start the colour just above nostril level and extend a tiny bit closer to your temple than you might ordinarily go. Also, consider using cream blush. "It's great during the winter when your skin is drier and duller than usual," says Wade.
15. Make Waves - with a Flatiron
Instead of creating bouncy, almost pageant-ready spirals with a round-barrel iron, use a flatiron to get relaxed waves that look more natural and touchable, says Rhys. Take a face-framing section that's the width of your flatiron and clamp hair in the middle of the hair shaft (optimally somewhere around the middle of your cheekbones.) Then twist the iron vertically (spiraling away from your face) so the hair pulls through the iron; that way, you're not rolling your hair up on it like you would with a curling iron, but pulling it through the section. Repeat all over.
More from Women's Health:
- New Ponytail Ideas
- 5 Secrets to Amazing Skin
- Look Younger Longer
- The Best Jeans for Your Body
- 5 Tricks to Repair Damaged Hair
What are your favourite things to do in the summer?
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- Go camping
- Visit a cottage
- Patio drinks
- Spend time in the sun
- Go boating
- Road trip
- All of the above
- None of the above