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
An at-home mask can plump and lift in little time, helping your complexion look the way it does on the last day of a (one can dream) monthlong vacation. Some of our favorite at-home treatments: Peter Thomas Roth Instant FirmX ($48; sephor.com), a 10-minute mask that tightens tired, lax skin, leaving you looking refreshed for up to 12 hours; and StriVectin’s Dermal Infusion Mask ($69; sephora.com), which soothes red, dry or irritated skin and makes even the most parched complexion look and feel plumper and softer. You can also do a quick, gentle peel to brighten the skin (for best results, do the peel first, mask later). A new one we like that’s safe for all skin types:M-61 Power-Pro Peel ($28 for 10 peels; bluemercury.com).

Your hair
You probably have a salon appointment scheduled for today—assuming you knew about your event in advance. If, however, you’re on the Hail Mary plan, head to a walk-in salon or blow-dry bar for a professional blow-out. One reasonably priced ($40 per service) national chain to try if it’s in your neck of the woods: the Drybar (thedrybar.com for locations). “A blowout with body [as opposed to one that is super straight and sleek] is always a safe choice, because it helps you look polished and never goes out of style,” says Blandi. But to be certain you and your stranger-stylist are on the same page, bring along a picture of a style you would like to emulate (or, better yet, a photo ofyourself with your hair looking its best). If the event came as a total surprise and you’re just doing the best you can with hair that hasn’t even been washed within 24 hours, spritz some dry shampoo into your roots. This will revive the hair and add a bit of volume. Try Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo ($3; drugstores). If your hair is truly beyond repair, a ponytail (even a stubby one) or a simple knot at the nape of the neck is fail-safe and age appropriate. (This is why Grace Kelly’s signature chignon is called a classic style.)

Your makeup
Doing your own makeup but haven’t had time for a trial run? Experts strongly recommend you keep things simple. Smooth on your favorite foundation or tinted moisturizer, brighten your complexion with a touch of bronzer or blush, apply a gray or brown eyeliner to your top lash line (then smudge), swipe on mascara, fill in sparse spots in your brows—and add a creamy lipstick in a looks-good-on-everyone, bright berry color. Our favorite lip colors for fall: Dior Rouge Nude 683 ($32; dior.com), a brownish berry and Chanel Rouge Allure in Exaltée ($33; chanel.com), a vivid strawberry. Tip: If you’re hitting a salon for your hair, ask if there’s a makeup artist on staff who can apply a simple, natural face and, if there’s time, add a few extra lashes to the outer corners of your top lash line. “A few falsies really pack a punch and can transform your face without adding any extra color,” says Kashuk. If time is too tight for a pedicure or even a manicure, use a sheer base coat like Deborah Lippmann Turn Back Time Base Coat ($18; beauty.com). It disguises ridges, imperfections and discolorations in the nail and dries in seconds. Finally, if you aren’t already sporting a subtle glow, consider smoothing on a faux-glow lotion like St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Glow Body Lotion ($18; sephora .com). This goof-proof DHA-free formula gives skin a natural-looking, transfer-proof sheen that shows up instantly and is easily washed away with soap and water. Last piece of advice? Smile—and be sure someone takes photos. Who knows when you’ll look this gorgeous again! 

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