The Easy Trick for More Natural-Looking Curls

Whether you use a wand, curlers or an iron, chances are you’ve walked out of the house on occasion with hair that looks like you’re competing for the title of Miss Kentucky. Sure, those bouncy curls will fall after a couple hours, leaving you with the effortless tousle you originally wanted. But wouldn’t it be nice not to have to pull and tug at your strands just to achieve perfectly lived-in locks? We have an easy trick that doesn’t require any extra sprays or tools.

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What you need: A brush and your curling method of choice.

What you do: Divide hair, layer by layer, into one- to two-inch-thick groups with the brush. If you’re using a wand or curling iron, wrap the sections of hair around it–but leave out about two inches off the end. If you’re using curlers, begin wrapping the hair two inches from the bottom, leaving that same little tail sticking out straight. Proceed to curl as usual, making sure to keep ends straight as you go.

Why it works: Whether it’s by habit or instinct, we often curl the hair from the very tip all the way up to within inches of the roots. But if you let the ends remain straight, it makes curls appear softer and more natural looking without all the brushing-out nonsense.

No more ’80s-salon-style coifs for us, thank you very much.

The 4-Second Way to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

As if shaving isn’t terrible enough (hi, your knee is bleeding) once summer comes along, most of us have to deal with the dreaded ingrown hair afterward. We checked in with Dr. Mona Gohara, a dermatologist in New York, for the world’s easiest way to prevent those suckers in the first place.

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What you need: A tube of one percent hydrocortisone cream.

What you do: Right after shaving, apply a pea-sized amount of cream over any irritated spots where you’re prone to ingrowns–say, under the arms or along your bikini line. Continue to apply cream to the affected areas twice a day for a few days (but no more than a week, as it can thin the skin) until the inflammation subsides.

Why it works: The familiar first aid staple not only soothes itchy skin; it also helps to bring down swelling, which can prevent hairs from getting trapped under the skin and reduce the chance of scarring down the road. It will also speed up the healing of existing bumps (you know, the ones you got before reading this).

So? Bring it on, swimsuit season.

The Definitive Correct Order for Putting on Your Makeup

If you’re anything like us, you tend to just go on autopilot when it comes to applying your makeup every morning. But if you want to minimize smudging–and messes in general–here’s a guide to putting on your makeup so it always looks (and stays) fresh.

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1. Primer or moisturizer. Pick one, not both–as even the lightest lotion can make a primer less effective. Not sure of which to choose? If you’re on the drier side, opt for the moisturizer and skip the primer. If you’re on the oilier side, go straight for the primer.

2. Eye makeup (shadow, liner and mascara–in that order). Between smoky shadows and inky liners, eye makeup tends to be very messy. By starting with this step, you can easily clean up any mistakes without disrupting the rest of your makeup later. First, lay down your shadow to add some dimension to your lids, and then define your eyes with liner. Save the mascara for last so you don’t get your lashes dusty. (And if you do smudge, spot-treat with a moisturized Q-tip.)

3. Foundation, then concealer. Even out any blotchiness with a light layer of foundation. Afterward, apply concealer as needed. This way you’ll use less makeup overall, which will give you smoother coverage with less chance of it caking up or settling into fine lines later.

4. Bronzer (if you typically wear it), followed by blush. Bronzer is used to warm up your entire face, whereas blush is used to add color just to your cheeks. Sweep bronzer on the high points of your face first (so your forehead, down the bridge of your nose and tops of cheekbones), and then apply your blush to balance out the tone.

5. Lips. If you’re committing to a bold color, be sure to line your lips and fill them in with a pencil in a similar shade first. This will not only keep everything in the lines, but it will also keep the color on your lips longer.

6. Eyebrow pencil or gel. Let the rest of your makeup dictate how much (or how little) brow definition you need. If you’re rocking a more natural look, use a brow gel to smooth the hairs into place. If you’re glamming it up a bit, use a brow powder or pencil to fill them in.