Easy Beauty Makeovers

A milestone birthday party. A wedding. A school reunion. Events like these (or any other where you’ll be photographed or come face to face with people whose opinion you value) require a take-no-chances plan for looking as great as possible. So we asked hair, skin and makeup pros to devise prepping strategies for four timelines: six months, six weeks, six days—or (silent scream) tonight. The goal?  Whether you have months or mere hours to get ready, you will look amazing

by Jennifer Laing
Photograph: By Gentl & Hyers

Your skin
A light peel at home (skip the in-office version—you’re a bit too close to your event to risk the potential redness and flaking) will help remove dead cells and even out the texture of the skin, says New York and Miami dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD. Try the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare kit mentioned in the six-week strategy or Philosophy Microdelivery Mini Peel Pads ($35 for 60 pads; sephora.com). If your skin is not overly sensitive, Tanzi says you could also go deeper with an in-office microdermabrasion treatment, followed by a skin-calming LED (light-emitting diode) treatment. Average cost: $150 for microdermabrasion, $275 for the LED. “The microdermabrasion gives skin a healthy glow, and the LED helps calm skin down,” she explains. (Neither produces the redness and flaking of a peel.) A dermatologist can help determine which treatment is best for you at this point, but to be on the safe side, schedule anything stronger than the at-home peel early in the week to allow for plenty of recovery time.

You may also want to apply self-tanner or, even better, have a pro-fessional do it. We’re not suggesting you aim for that bronze look you achievd during spring break back in the day—just the kind of subtle, healthy glow that makes almost anyone look fresher. Plus, even the lightest tan hides a host of problems, such as uneven tone, broken capillaries, arm cellulite and acne scars. Our favorite at-home formulas: Bare Escentuals Faux Tan Sunless Tanner ($22; bareescentuals .com) or, for a very sheer, understated glow, Perricone MD No Sun Tanner ($69; sephora.com).

Your hair
It goes without saying: This proba-bly isn’t the time to try a dramatic new style. But do try to squeeze in a trim early in the week, since it often takes a few days to get used to even the most minor cut. “Be very clear with your stylist: You’re just dusting the ends,” says Blandi. If you’re able, freshen your color, too, especially if you like the look of just-highlighted hair. If you don’t have time for a cut and/or color, you can at least boost your hair’s sheen with a salon or at-home gloss treatment such as Oscar Blandi At-Home Salon Glaze Shine Rinse ($27; oscarblandi.com).

Your makeup
If you plan to it apply yourself, do
a test run or two and have your husband, partner or friend snap a picture. “It’s easier to look at yourself objectively in a photograph than in a mirror,” says Kashuk. (While you’re at it, ask your photo snapper to weigh in as well.) If you are itch-ing for a little more drama than you get from your everyday makeup and you aren’t already wearing lash extensions, you may want to have a professional artist apply false lashesthe day of the event. Tip: Individual lashes applied at just the outer corners will give a more natural effect than a full strip of falsies will. Now is also the time to think of your nails: painted or no? Your call, but get them groomed (professionally or at home) within three days of your event. Tip: If you are woefully inept at DIY manis (and most of us are), stick-on nail strips like Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips ($9; drugstores) make it easier to appear polished. And don’t overlook the cosmetic value of whiter teeth. They can brighten your whole face and boost your confidence about smiling. The fastest, most effective at-home whitener we’ve found is Crest 3D White Two-Hour Express Whitestrips ($55; drugstores). Finally, if your brows are looking a little unruly, schedule a brow shaping at least two days before the event. “You don’t want to risk redness, a rash or an allergic reaction to brow wax any closer to the big day,” says Cosio.

YOU'VE GOT SIX HOURS (OR LESS)
We’re keeping this section short because you have work to do. Read quickly—then do some power primping.

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