15 Brilliant Beauty Tips A Harlem Woman Should Never Forget

beauty1_635x250_1390001819If skin docs and industry pros could sneak into your house, they might leave behind Post-its with these brilliant reminders. Just simple, easy tips–but honey, wait till you see what a difference they make,

1. Go bare for a weekend
If you’re a mani and makeup kind of girl, once a month, give your skin and nails a two-day breather. It gives your skin a chance to recharge and rebalance, “and for nails, it helps prevent stains and peeling,” says Tracylee, a celebrity manicurist for Sally Hansen, who’s worked with Emma Stone.

2. Clean out your makeup bag already!

When makeup has expired, the color can change and go on blotchy–but worse than that, “it can harbor all sorts of bacteria that you don’t want near your skin or eyes,” says makeup artist Laura Geller, founder of Laura Geller Beauty. To play it safe, replace mascara and eyeliner every three months, toss creams and liquids after a year, and chuck powders after two years. “It’ll help if you write the date that you open a product on the tube or compact,” Geller says.

3. Sneak more water into your diet
They didn’t teach us this in science class: “Hydrating and moisturizing are two different things,” says Los Angeles facialist Kate Somerville, whose clients include Katy Perry. “Hydration is getting water into your skin cells, while moisturizer locks it in.” The best way to hydrate cells is to drink plenty of water, “but taking fish-oil and flaxseed-oil supplements and snacking on watery fruits like cantaloupe also help a lot,” says Somerville. To stay on top of your H2O intake, the iPhone app Daily Water Free lets you track your daily consumption and set alerts for when to hit the watercooler.

4. Get a facial at the start of each season
It’s not just an exercise in pampering. “When dead cells build up on your face, your skin-care products can’t penetrate,” says Mona Gohara, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. “Getting a facial three to four times a year deep-cleans your skin in a way you can’t do at home. Plus, it gives you the chance to discuss your skin needs with an expert.”

5. Moisturize midday

For all but the most oily-skinned of us, our morning moisturizer stops doing its good work by the afternoon. So take a minute at your lunch break to pat on a few drops of an oil-free hyaluronic-acid serum (such as Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum, $48) or spritz your face with a hydrating mist (we love Benefit Ultra Radiance Facial Re-hydrating Mist, $26). “These products deliver loads of moisture to skin, but dry quickly and won’t ruin your makeup,” Gohara says.

6. Try a mental-health bath

“Taking 10 minutes to unplug gives your body and mind the time it needs to restore and regenerate,” says Howard K. Weissman, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and the founder of the Chicago Stress Relief Center. One of the easiest–and most enjoyable–ways is to slip into a tub, so draw a warm bath, “then add a few scoops of Epsom salts to soothe muscles and a couple drops of lavender essential oil, which is calming,” suggests dermatologist Ruthie Harper, M.D., director of the Nutritional Medical Associates Clinic in Austin, TX. Don’t think of it as a luxury–do it because you need to.

7. Put extra sunscreen on key spots
To all you people who say, “I’m not even going outside today; I’m just in the car”: Researchers have found that driving may be linked to the increased likelihood of skin cancer on the left side of the body. So before you go anywhere, slather on a face lotion with broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, such as Olay Professional Pro-X Age Repair Lotion with SPF 30, $29.99. To protect exposed body skin, the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70, $11.99, is a deodorant-size tube of clear, unsticky sunscreen that’s designed for swiping on arms, shoulders, the backs of hands–anywhere you need insta-coverage.

8. Wipe down your phone at night
Icky fact: “Your cell phone screen is a breeding ground for bacteria–particularly the kind that cause acne,” says Somerville, who suggests stashing antibacterial wipes on your bedside table and using one to clean your screen every night before bed.

9. Wash your pillowcases and towels on the regular
“They play a key role in your skin’s appearance,” says Harper. “Change to a fresh bath towel and pillowcase every Sunday to keep pore-clogging oils and bacteria off your face.” For the same reason, spritz your makeup brushes with an antibacterial brush-cleansing spray once a week. (We like Clinique Makeup Brush Cleanser, $15.) “Then once a month, give your brushes a thorough cleansing with soap and water,” Harper says.

10. Make Sunday night deep-conditioner night
You’re already watching The Walking Dead; use the couch time to nourish and strengthen your hair. Shampoo, then work a deep treatment designed for your hair type (Pantene offers a good range from $5.99 to $12.99) through your strands from mid-length to ends. Then hop out of the shower and park it in front of the tube for 10 to 30 minutes. “The longer you let the conditioner soak in before rinsing, the better,” says hairstylist Marcus Francis, who has worked with Kerry Washington.

11. Brush before you shower
Raking a brush through wet hair is a surefire way to pull out strands and create frizz, so detangle when it’s dry. “Brush the ends first and work your way up,” says Francis. A paddle brush (like the Conair You Brush, $7.99), which has wide-spaced bristles, reduces snags.

12. Skip the lather a few days a week
If you can use dry shampoo instead of the wet stuff every other day, “your hair will be softer and visibly shinier, and your color will last longer,” says Jennifer J., a Wella Professionals colorist.

13. Once a week, exfoliate from head to toe
Buff your body with a scrub that contains hydrating oils or glycerin. Bliss Hot Salt Scrub, $38, has both. Then, give your scalp a good weekly finger-scratching while shampooing. “This is especially important in the summer when you sweat more and oils build up on your scalp, and it can also help control dandruff,” says Francis. Plus, it just feels so good.

14. Put that face mask on your neck and chest!

“Use a rich, moisturizing one a few times a month to prevent crepey skin,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. Try Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Treatment Mask, $18.

15. Soften up while you sleep
Got dry, ashy arms and legs? “Before bed, rub on a body lotion that contains lactic acid, which gently dissolves dead skin,” suggests Gohara, who likes AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion, $16. To keep your feet smooth throughout the winter, “coat your heels with Vaseline at night, then slip on cotton socks,” she says.

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