1. Get a haircut that’s always in style
A simple, nearly blunt cut that falls somewhere around the shoulders—picture Jennifer Aniston, Natalie Morales or More’s cover celeb this month, Julianna Margulies—flatters most faces and grows out nicely, so you needn’t be an every-six-weeks slave to your stylist. It can also be worn curly or straight, allowing you to work with your natural texture, which saves both time and money. Maintenance cost: Pick up a brush with silk or boar bristles, says Kathleen Flynn Hui, a colorist at Salon AKS in New York City, who recommends the Mason Pearson ($88 and up; neimanmarcus.com). It enhances shine and babies hair, so you won’t have to worry about breakage (which is hard to hide when your cut has few layers).
2. Opt for shorter nails and nontrendy polish
“A rounded, short nail is always elegant,” says Jin Soon Choi, celebrity manicurist. For a look that’s never out of style, pair this shape with a shade that has no expiration date, says Essie Weingarten, founder of Essie Cosmetics. Pale pink and red have been in vogue for decades, but Weingarten says taupe and navy have joined their ranks as modern classics. Maintenance cost:For maximum shine and zero chipping, give OPI’s new GelColor manicure a go (average cost: $35–$55; visit opi.com for a list of salons). It offers the longevity (up to three weeks) of a traditional gelmanicure, but the drying time is fourtimes as fast, getting you out of the salon in about 10 minutes. GelColor is available in 30 hues; Cosmo–Not Tonight Honey! (a beige taupe) and You Don’tKnow Jacques! (a grayer taupe) are the most versatile.
3. Cultivate a healthy glow
Chic women like beauty mogul Aerin Lauder and designer Tory Burch often sport an enviable, just-back-from-Nantucket glow. It isn’t a tan exactly—more of a radiance—and not only looks healthy but has the added benefit of minimizing the appearance of sun damage, fine lines, blemishes, etc., saving you money and time at the spa or doctor’s office in pursuit of perfect skin. Maintenance cost: “Exfoliating regularly keeps skin glowing,” says Dennis Gross, MD, a Manhattan dermatologist; he believes you can do the job with at-home peels and scrubs. Try Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel ($80; sephora .com) or BareMinerals Intensive Glow Pads ($35;bareminerals.com). Then there’s the cosmetic approach: Mixing a littleself-tanner into your daily moisturizer will impart a subtle sunniness, as if you’ve been recharging on the Cape. We like Lancôme Flash Bronzer Oil-Free Tinted Self-Tanning Face Lotion ($30; sephora.com).
4. Play up your lashes
To establish a look that will do you for decades, take a cue from Angelina Jolie and keep the focus on your eyes, says Sandy Linter, a makeup artist at the Rita Hazan Salon in New York City. Why? Color trends come and go, but a dense set of black eye fringe is eternal. Maintenance cost: Jolie appears to get her eye-emphasizing look with multiple layers of thickening black mascara plus heavy liquid liner. But that routine is probably a bit onerous for every day. A realistic alternative? LashDip, a semipermanent color for your lashes, provides dramatic darkening and lengthening for up to six weeks (that’s right: no mascara application for a month and a half). Prices start at $150; go to lashdip.com to find the service at a salon near you. A less-permanent but still eye-opening option is Too Faced’s new Better Than False Lashes ($35; sephora.com), which fattens fringe at home in three steps (two coats of mascara plus a layer of thickening fibers). The promise: a result that rivals lash extensions.
6. Go for gleaming locks
Megashiny strands (think Salma Hayek) have always been in style. They make a simple cut seem more chic, show off your color to best effect and boost your confidence (imagine a good hair day every day). Maintenance cost: If you’re battling extreme dullness—or fuzz—consider Redken’s new-to-salons Shape Control System, a formaldehyde-free treatment that flattens frizz and bumpsup shine (prices start at $150 for your whole head; the cost is less if you’re doing just the bangs, top layers, etc.). Whatever your natural texture—curly or straight—you’ll walk out of the salon glossy. Results last up to four months; go to redken.com for more information.
7. Choose a complex scent
When it comes to a fragrance that endures, the more complicated the “recipe,” the longer the shelf life, say experts. So while simpler scents are trendy—right now think vanilla-cupcake, citrus and clean, “shower-y” scents, says Laura Slatkin, founder and CEO of Nest Fragrances—they’re not a smart investment. Maintenance cost: A fragrance you can wear todayand five years down the road should be as multilayered and complicated as you are, says Slatkin. One of her fa-vorites: Shalimar by Guerlain ($73 and up; nordstrom.com), which combines opulent florals with Oriental-vanilla notes. Other complex scents to try: Versace Yellow Diamond ($67 and up; macys.com); L’Eau de Chloé ($65 and up; bloomingdales.com); Givenchy Dahlia Noir ($67 andup; bloomingdales.com).