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Do-It-Better Beauty


Use cleanser on wet skin: "If applied to dry skin, cleansers are less effective at loosening dirt and oil, and more likely to be irritating," says Mary Lupo, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University, in New Orleans.

Wash with warm water (hot is too drying). Splash on cold water for a final rinse; makeup sets better when applied to cool skin.

Smooth on moisturizer that has SPF 15. It'll help makeup glide on easily and guard against sun damage. This is for all skin types, says Dr. Lupo. (If your skin is oily, use an oil-free product.)


When using concealer on dark under-eye circles, first prime the area with a little moisturizer. Let it soak in for 5 minutes. Then dot on a creamy concealer  -- it'll go on more smoothly than a stick  -- with your ring finger. Choose one in the same shade as your face; a too-light concealer will highlight any problem area. Gently pat to blend, and be careful not to pull at the skin.

Before applying eye shadow, brush translucent powder on upper lids (to prevent creasing) and underneath the eyes (so you can simply sweep away stray specks of shadow).

Powder only those areas prone to shine  -- typically chin, nose, and forehead  -- so skin doesn't look chalky.

Use a non-oily eye-makeup remover if you plan to redo your eyes right away. "Greasier products work a little better, but they leave a film that makeup can't adhere to," says Amanda Redgrave, a New York City-based makeup artist.


Shampoo every other day, unless hair is oily or fine. "The oils in hair work almost as a leave-in conditioner, helping to control flyaways and static, and making hair easier to style," says Los Angeles-based celebrity stylist Cheryl Marks.

Rub shampoo into palms first, then onto your wet hair. "That provides a more even distribution than globbing it on," says Nancy Hamm, product development manager for Pantene.

Concentrate cleansing efforts on the scalp, where hair oils are secreted, then rinse well (tack 20 seconds on to your normal rinse time).

Use conditioner as you do shampoo: First rub it into palms and then apply to hair from roots to ends. If hair is long, concentrate the application at the ends, which are older, drier, and most in need of conditioning.

Try a no-fuss take on a 20-minute deep-conditioning treatment: In the evening or on the weekend, wet your hair and rub in your regular conditioner. Let the product dry; rinse out in your next shower.

Rinse hair with cool water to close and flatten the hair shaft, or cuticle. This will maximize shine and minimize tangles, says Steve Berg, style director of Aussie hair-care products.

When blow-drying, aim the air flow from roots to ends, which keeps the cuticle closed and flat, and helps protect hair from damage.


Push back cuticles when they're wet (best time is after bathing) or freshly moisturized, so they're less likely to split.

Massage a drop of moisturizer or petroleum jelly into cuticles before removing polish to prevent them from drying out.

Choose the right polish remover: A non-acetone formula, which is gentler on nails, takes off light or sheer shades, but darker, intense colors need the muscle of acetone, says manicurist Elisa Ferri, author of Style on Hand.

Clean excess nail polish from cuticles with a flat, square, natural-bristle brush dipped in remover. It's easier than using an orange stick or your fingernail  -- and gives a professional result, says manicurist Sheree Tadelman, of Spa de LaCour at the Bannockburn Club, in Bannockburn, IL.

Don't shake nail polish to mix it up  -- you'll whip chip-causing bubbles into the formula. Instead, turn the bottle upside down and gently roll it between your palms.

If your nails are polished, avoid hand lotions containing alpha-hydroxy acids. They can discolor polish.