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Secrets From the Pros

Makeup: Back to Basics

In the morning, if you're pressed for time, say our experts, apply moisturizer with SPF, then reach for just three things: concealer, mascara, and lip gloss.

  • "Your skin is like the canvas for your makeup, so you want it to look clear and even," says Christine Hackstaff, a makeup artist in San Francisco. Dot concealer where you need it: on ruddy areas by the nose and chin and on discolorations  -- and "blend, blend, blend!" she says. She recommends MAC's pot concealer.

    To hide dark circles, Toronto-based MAC makeup artist Jane McKay mixes her concealer half and half with eye cream so it's less prone to caking in fine lines. A common mistake: applying too much cover-up. That only highlights all those little lines and makes you look older, says Hackstaff.

  • Smudgeproof mascara  -- easier to remove than waterproof, so it's gentler on lashes  -- frames eyes and resists smearing. Lash Architect, from L'Oreal, is one of Angelia Senevisai's favorites. As you apply it, slowly move the wand from side to side to separate lashes for a more natural look. Skip using mascara on your lower lashes  -- it's harder to do without smudging or clumping.

  • Final touch: tinted lip gloss. "It instantly brightens your face and makes your lips look full and healthy," says Senevisai. She likes Blistex Silk & Shine.

  • "If you're really in a hurry, just put on a pretty shade of lipstick and add a pair of sunglasses, and you can walk out the door looking like Jackie O," says McKay.

    Beautiful Hair

    Jamie Swiggart, a hairstylist at Aerea Salon, in New York City, calls permanent color her own timesaving weapon: "It makes my hair look thicker, so I don't need to use volumizing gels and sprays," she says of her straight, long tresses.

  • To further speed a morning routine, she advises, shampoo every other day (with color-safe shampoo if appropriate): "Almost everyone's hair looks better the day after it's washed because it's more manageable." Use a dime-size amount of conditioner, especially on fine hair; it can look greasy otherwise. Try TreSemme Hydrology shampoo and L'Oreal ColorVive conditioner.

  • Get a jump on styling: Gently wring out excess water, then wrap hair in a towel for about ten minutes while you dress or do makeup. For long hair, simply run a wide-tooth comb through it, and let it air-dry. "When I do blow-dry, I use my hands to style," Swiggart says. This works for most hair lengths and textures: "Brushes can stretch hair, making it flat and static-y." If you have snarl-prone hair, use a large paddle brush instead to smooth it while drying.

  • Use styling products on damp locks  -- too wet and your hair will get flat; too dry and it'll look dull, says Dawn Ramsay-Hiller of Cutler Salon, in New York City.

    Brush Up

    Fingers are fine for minimal makeup, but brushes will give you a smoother, professional finish. Our pros like Sonia Kashuk's five-brush set, $15 at Target:

    Blush/powder: soft, large, dome-shaped to cover more area.

    Eye shadow: dense, soft, slightly rounded to wash lids with even color. Use the smaller brush below the crease and the bigger one above.

    Eyeliner: stiff, narrow, flat, to create a defined line with shadow. (For deeper color, wet brush first.)

    Lash/brow: comb for declumping lashes; bristles to groom brows.

    If You Have...

    Dry hair: Combine equal parts leave-in conditioner and styling cream  -- the combo makes hair easy to style and adds lots of shine.

    Limp locks: Spritz thickening spray from roots to ends, then blow-dry.

    Color-treated hair: Deep-condition once a week (also if hair is very dry). Try VO5 Total Hair Recovery.

    Product buildup or dull tresses: Use a clarifying shampoo every other or every third wash. Or, after shampooing and conditioning, mix one tablespoon baking soda with one cup warm water in a spray bottle. Spritz from roots to ends; after one minute, rinse with cool water. (Baking soda cuts through product residue and boosts shine.)

    Fast Fixes for Bad-Hair Days

  • To calm flyaway hair, Roni at Bumble and Bumble salon, in New York City, pats on Lubriderm lotion. (In fact, the salon's Grooming Creme was inspired by it.)

  • For wayward curls, Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl, twists the problem spiral into a pin curl, clips it for five minutes, then releases a tamed, defined curl.
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