Makeup should be fun, not frustrating — and you definitely don’t need to fork over a bundle to look great. These 25 DIY beauty hacks are fast, easy, and will help you look amazing without spending a fortune. Save time, save money, and get gorgeous — really, what more can you ask for?
1. De-grease with baby powder
Wake up with greasy roots? Rub a pinch of talcum or baby powder between your fingertips, then scrunch your fingers along your roots. The powder will absorb the oil and mattify any shininess. Start with just a little powder, and add more if you need it.
2. Make your own dry shampoo
For easy “lived in” or “second day” hair, you can easily mix your own dry shampoo with ingredients from the supermarket and health food store. For light-colored locks, use corn starch, and for darker hair, choose cocoa powder. Then sweeten things up with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Put it into a spice or salt shaker, shake it on your roots, and brush or finger-scrunch through your locks.
3. And your own leave-in conditioner!
You can create a DIY leave-in conditioner simply by diluting your normal conditioner with water in a spray bottle. Use a maximum of one part conditioner to three parts water; if it seems like it’s weighing down your tresses, add more water. You can use it after you shower to help detangle, or later in the day to fend off frizz.
4. Cover up split ends
Don’t have time (or cash) to head to the stylist for a trim? Use a little of your lotion to conceal your split ends — make it extra easy on yourself by just using what’s left on your hands after you’ve applied it to your bod. Pinch it through just the very ends of your hair to help damaged strands look healthy.
5. Tame flyaways with a toothbrush
Stray hairs making your updo or braid a mess? Spritz a clean toothbrush with hairspray (it doesn’t have to be brand-new, a retired one will totally work!). Then, use the brush to gently catch and comb down flyaway strands. You’ll look polished in no time! And p.s.: If you want exactly the opposite — a textured, messy look — use a toothbrush to gently back brush or tease your locks. It’s way gentler than a comb, and will let you add texture to small sections of hair (like the pieces of a finished braid).
6. Brighten eyes in an instant
Fake being wide-eyed and light up your face with just a dab of shiny loose powder (pearl works great on paler skin tones, while gold makes deeper skin gleam). Just stick your pinky in powdered eye shadow and gently press at the inner corner of each eye.
7. Master a perfect cat eye
Want a sexy, winged-out cat-eye? Instead of trying to use your eyeliner like a calligraphy pen (easier said than done, and let’s face it, it doesn’t sound that easy to begin with!), create an outline and fill it in. Use a fine-tipped liquid eyeliner to draw a wing up and out from the outer corner of your eye, then start a second line a little further in and connect it to your first one (like a tiny triangle). Next, draw a line starting near the inner corner of your eye that follows the curve of your eyelid and connects to your initial triangle. Now all you need to do is take your liner and fill in the shapes!
8. Create a sexy smoky eye
To keep smoky eyes from looking messy, use two shadow brushes. Apply your shadow with one brush, then use the second clean brush to blend the color outward. Using a clean brush lets you just soften the edges on the shadow you’ve already applied without putting down even more color.
9. Curl lashes perfectly
An eyelash curler’s an absolute must for super-size lashes, but to get the best results, heat it up a little before you use it. When you start doing your makeup, stick your eyelash curler in your bra or (if you’re sitting down) between your thighs. Awkward? A little. Easy? Um, yeah. Another option: If you’re blowdrying your hair, blast your curler for a few seconds (you want it warm, not hot). Then curl away!
10. Nix clumpy mascara
Got mascara clumps? It would be great if you had an eyebrow brush or a clean mascara wand to get rid of them, but let’s be real, not a lot of us keep them around. What are you more likely to have that will also get rid of clumps in a snap? A clean toothbrush. Just use the very tips of the bristles to gently remove excess mascara and break up clumps. Bonus tip: Speaking of mascara, always apply it last. It will cover up any powder or shadow that has fallen onto your lashes, which a) hides all that messy stuff but also b) helps your lashes look thicker!
11. Instantly brighten your face
Blush helps you look fresh-faced and healthy, but it’s not a makeup bag staple. Want to give your face a mid-day lift? Dot your brightest (not darkest, brightest) lip color on the apples of your cheeks, then use your fingers to blend up and back. A matte lipstick works best, but anything from lip gloss to lip stain can help give your cheeks a pop of color.
12. Make your own bronzer
Want to brighten up your face or body? You can actually whip up a quick bronzing powder right in your kitchen. Combine 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder until evenly mixed. Use a large makeup brush to lightly dust the mixture everywhere you want to glow. (Bonus: In case you didn’t guess already, yes, this stuff smells great.) Want to use it all over? Mix it in with your lotion, then just rub it in.
13. Clear pores with a DIY mask
Blast your blackheads with a super-easy and super-cheap DIY mask. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda (not powder) with one tablespoon of juice from an orange (not OJ — squeeze an actual orange!). Apply a nice thick layer to your face, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then use a damp wash cloth to take it off.
14. Fake extra definition
Here’s an easy way to make your arms and legs look more toned without hitting the gym (though if you’ve been hitting the gym, this will really help you show off your results). Before applying lotion, mix in a little highlighter — liquid is best, but if you use a powder that will work too. The extra gleam catches light and helps give your muscles extra definition.
15. Fix self-tanner mix-ups
It’s easy to go too strong with self-tanner, especially on your hands, feet, and elbows. To dial your tan down a notch, mix a cup of water with a half a cup of lemon juice and a tablespoon of baking soda. Use a loofah, sponge, or even an old toothbrush (great for cuticles and knuckles) to gently exfoliate — and lighten up — blotches and dark spots.
16. Get a fuller pout
Get fuller-looking lips by applying shimmery eye shadow in the center of your lower lip. Once you’ve applied your lip color, stamp your thumb in some frosted, glittery eye shadow. Make a kissy face, and press your thumb (pointed up, like you’re giving your own face the thumbs up) right onto the center of your lips. Having the light-reflecting color at the center of your lips creates the illusion of a fuller pout, and as a bonus, the powder helps set your lip color.
17. Define with concealer
You think about lining your lips to give them shape, but what about the areas around your mouth? Applying concealer strategically around the corners and at the base of your philtrum (the indent between your nose and the middle of your upper lip) can help define your smile and give you a more pronounced cupid’s bow. Just don’t go too thick — a little dab will do ya.
18. Give lip gloss staying power
Sure, you can seal lipstick with powder, but what about gloss? Adding powder to a shiny, wet look is a no-go. Instead of sealing on top, work from the bottom up by creating a sturdy base for lip gloss to cling to. Use lip liner in a complementary color to your gloss to line your lips, then fill them in. A liner that looks like a chubby crayon will usually be more comfortable (less dry!) than one that looks like a pencil. Then apply your gloss on top of your lip liner base.
19. Mix any lip color
You can make a colorful lip pigment in any hue using stuff you may well have sitting around in your bathroom now (good for every day, extra good for occasions when you need something that’s just right and don’t want to spend a fortune). You just need a loose powder eye shadow in your chosen color, and some lip balm — regular un-tinted stuff works great. Put a little of the lip balm into an empty pill container (or anything else that’s small and sealable — that way, you can take it with you later for touch-ups). Then shake a little of the powder onto it. Mix well, until the powder is evenly distributed through the balm, then apply using a lip brush or your finger.
20. Create a perfect Cupid’s bow
Want to give your upper lip extra definition? Using a lip liner that matches your the lip color you’ll be wearing, draw an “X” right at the center of your upper lip. The top two “arms” of the X should follow the line of your Cupid’s bow, and will make it perfectly pointy and defined. Apply the rest of your lip makeup as normal, and you’re good to go!
21. Prep nails in an instant
After you’ve removed your old polish and before you get going with a new one, wipe off your nails with a paper towel dampened with vinegar (any kind of vinegar will work). The vinegar will whisk away any leftover oils and polish remover, giving you a clean, clear surface. This will help prevent bubbles in your new polish and help it adhere better, for neater nail color that lasts longer.
22. Do an easy multi-colored mani
Get a quick ombre manicure by applying all of the colors you want at once. Cut up a few makeup sponges until you’ve got 10 squares or rectangles (each just needs to be large enough to cover one nail). Using you different polish hues, paint three lines right next to each other on each sponge — your darkest color, you medium tone, then the lightest hue. Press the sponge directly onto your nail and voila! A graduated mani without having to do each color one by one.
23. Dry your nails faster
If you don’t want to sit around waiting for your nails to dry (which is as fun as it sounds), before you start your mani, empty a tray of ice cubes into a large bowl of cold water. Once your nails are done, air dry them for three minutes, then dunk them into the ice bath for another three. (Sitting by a fan or waving your hands around just creates air bubbles.) Your polish will harden up and you’ll be good to go.
24. Fix smudged polish
Couldn’t sit still that long? If you smudge a nail while the polish is still wet, you can fix it without leaving a mark by gently licking your nail. Yes, it tastes gross (you really want to just barely lick it, you should NOT ingest nail polish!) but
it’s way faster than redoing your work.
25. Get perfect cuticles
Got dry, chapped cuticles? Moisturize them with a little bit of lip balm — any type will work, but balm that’s petroleum jelly-based (look for stuff that’s in a pot rather than stick, and isn’t completely opaque) does the best job. Unlike with cuticle cream, which you maybe remember to use if you’re actually doing your nails, it’s easy to get in the habit of rubbing a little lip balm around your nails any time you’re moisturizing your lips. Extra tip: You can also apply lip balm to your cuticles pre-manicure to keep excess nail polish from sticking to them.
Featured photo credit: Andy Rennie via flickr.com