When it comes to beauty, we’ve all got a few tricks up our sleeves. Whether it’s the namecard stencil trick for the perfect winged liner every time, or the instant zit-busting remedy passed down from Mom, a well-mastered beauty hack can save time-strapped career gals from choosing between a well-balanced breakfast and your morning beauty routine. And no, I’m not talking about “getting enough sleep to avoid puffy eyes” or “getting a low-maintenance haircut” like some articles propose. But practical beauty tips that: (A) are so easy you’ll be able to follow them in your half-asleep daze, (B) maximise the use of key beauty products to declutter your dresser and free up your budget for the IT bag you’ve been eyeing, (C) use inexpensive home items in a creative and scientific way which MacGyver would approve of – so you look like you’d spent hours and serious bucks primping.
Here are 5 tried-and-tested time-saving, problem-solving beauty hacks for your hair to the digits to help you look calm, collected and pulled together, always.
THE MULTI-PURPOSE BEAUTY OIL
Whether you’re a jet-setter or just chronically sleep deprived, this new group of skin saviours that has become the LBD of beauty world is a must-have in your stash. Although quality beauty oils such as pure argan oil have been used practically everywhere to moisturise us from our hair tip to finger tips, my personal favourite use for facial oils is as a luxe and marvellous waterproof eye makeup remover cum anti-ageing eye serum. Massage in small amounts of a good facial oil (caution: only use high-grade, skin-loving stuff on sensitive areas like the eye skin) to dissolve all traces of stubborn eye makeup, wipe off with a damp tissue or cotton pad, and slick on an extra tiny bit to nourish skin. This frees up precious space in the travel makeup bag, conditions fragile lashes for a stronger, fuller fringe, and counters moisture-sapping cabin air and age-accelerating stressful lifestyle to keep fine lines and dull, dehydrated skin around delicate lids and face at bay.
THE BABY POWDER THAT VENTURES BEYOND BABY BUMS
For the busy mums amongst us, that good old tub of baby powder that’s been saving your baby’s butt might save your ass, too. Instead of forking out for expensive dry shampoo which seems to evaporate in about three uses, simply sprinkle a little baby powder on the roots of your unwashed hair. Not only will that fairy dust soak up the grease, it’ll add some lift and volume at the same time. A couple of tricks to this: (A) Make sure you really rub it in. Otherwise you can end up with bigger hair but grey roots. Not the best look. (B) Do it at night. The tossing and turning in bed helps work the product all around your head as well. You will wake up with gorgeous, bouncy strands that smell baby fresh.
Baby powder also acts as a lovely lash and lip primer. For fuller, longer lashes that look fashionably faux but honestly real, run a Q-tip covered with baby powder over your lashes after your first coat of mascara, before the second coating of mascara. Voila! Wide awake blinkers that not only cheats hours of beauty sleep, but will bring you from day to night. (Bonus: Surgeon-steady hands and messy lash glue not required.)
To make your regular lipstick last the day, swipe on your chosen lip colour, hold a tissue over your mouth, blot and then dust some powder with the tissue paper your lips with a makeup brush. A tiny amount of powder will transfer through the tissue this way, locking in your colour. Add another layer of lippie to finish up, and repeat blot-powder-colour steps to intensify the colour if desired.
TRY: Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder for a talc-free, highly absorbent and sweet-smelling natural alternative.
THE 24-HEAVEN BALM
Oh petroleum jelly, how we love thee? Miracle balms such as Vaseline or Sloane Inc. Magic Balm are pretty much the Meryl Streep of the beauty world. So versatile, well-loved and used all over in Hollywood. Dry, flaky lips? Magic balm to the rescue. Just apply the balm over your lips to give it some slip plus a good dose of plumping moisture, before gently exfoliating away the flaky skin with a disposable mascara spoolie brush or a soft toothbrush for smooth lipstick application. In addition to healing minor skin irritations and scrapes (a common occurrence if you have a little one zipping around the house), rub a dollop of this on your driest, nastiest bits before heading to bed – rough elbows, chafed shins, cracked heels, chapped hands, tortured cuticles – and you won’t regret it.
If you have hands as steady as an alcoholic in rehab, make applying quick-dry nail polish a truly quick and polished exercise by smearing Magic Balm with a Q-tip right outside of your nails, and paint away! This ensures that any stray lacquer on the skin edges will come right off with a simple wipe, whilst conditioning the cuticles.
Oops! Ran out of brow gel, too? Give unruly arches a quick brush through after smoothing over a smidgen of Magic Balm to face the world looking perfectly groomed and in control, as always.
TRY: Sloane Inc. Magic Balm is specially formulated to form a semi-occlusive barrier on skin, which creates an ideal healing environment to restore smooth, healthy skin. And because it’s less occlusive compared to traditional petroleum jelly, it’s non-acnegenic.
THE PURIFYING BAKING SODA
Many a times, you don’t have to splurge on expensive products or expose yourself to a whole list of potentially harmful chemicals to get the best in beauty treatments. Baking soda is one multitasking wonder that’s probably already sitting pretty in your kitchen. Popping pimples at an age when you should fighting wrinkles and dehydrated skin? Make a paste by mixing a little baking soda with honey and use it as a gentle acne spot treatment to help clear skin without harsh chemicals. Apply for 15 minutes and rinse. We don’t recommend this for deep cysts, but it draws out the gunk of surface offenders like a charm.
Dark nail colours or leaving the polish on for too long can leave your nails looking yellow. Baking soda is the magic ingredient in your home manicure to whiten those nails and leave your skin smooth and bright. Lightly file your nails before soaking it in a solution of 1/2 cup warm water, 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of peroxide for about 1-2 minutes. Then, make a paste of three parts baking soda and one part water for a home scrub for your hands and rough elbows. Rinse clean with warm water, smooth on your moisturiser and apply polish as usual.
To get rid of residues of styling product or chlorine build-up in your hair, formulate your own clarifying shampoo by add a sprinkle of baking soda to your favourite shampoo in your palm. Work it into your hair and rinse as usual. Make sure you follow up this treatment with a good conditioner since this concoction leaves your hair ultra clean. By the way, it works for your hair brush too! Instead of tossing it away, give your hair brush that’s dirty with oil and product buildup a good cleansing by placing it in a bowl of warm water mixed with three tablespoons of baking soda.
TRY: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo is the hair equivalent of the brand’s famous facial-cleanser-cum-makeup-remover. This clarifying shampoo with volcanic onsen ferment works into a rich foam to remove product buildup effectively without stripping strands of moisture.
THE SKIN’S STAMINA DRINK
Shine and smeared makeup are no excuse for cutting your confidence in the board room or even a bad selfie. For those troubled by oily or combination skin, toners with BHA should not only be a permanent feature in your daily skincare regime to combat blackheads and acne, you can work yours doubly hard to bullet-proof your makeup throughout the day. The sleek nanomister that I’ve gotten hold of last year as a complimentary gift with purchase of the Sloane Inc. Calendula Toner has since gone everywhere with me, work or holiday. A quick spritz of the gentle BHA toner breaks up the excess sebum, refreshes your makeup in an instant, cools and invigorates the skin in sweltering summers, and delivers clog-clobbering skincare goodness anytime, anywhere – without even the need of a mirror. The end of bangs stuck to embarrassingly oily foreheads!
TRY: Sloane Inc. Nanomister is a worthwhile beauty investment that’s serves as an alternative to the generic travel-sized spray bottle as it produces a much finer and more even mist that will not mess up your makeup, but will prevent wastage of your toner or essence of choice.
– By Libby Tanada