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Pretty Confident: Flaunt Your Unique Beauty Features

Worried about your crooked smile? The bump on your nose? Whether your hips look too big in running tights? Fuhgeddaboudit! These FITNESS readers learned to embrace -- and celebrate -- their one-of-a-kind beauty features. You can too!

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Flaunt Your Natural Hair Texture

"My hair has a mind of its own; it's Ms. Independent."
-- Eljon Wardally, 29

"When I was a kid, my mom kept my corkscrew hair cropped ultrashort. Nowadays I wear it loose. If it doesn't want to curl right, I try to reason with it using my favorite cocktail: a silver-dollar-size dollop of curl cream, a dime size of shine gloss, plus a quarter size of gel. I rarely straighten it with an iron. My hair in its natural state is fun and energetic -- a lot like me."

Celebrate It! Before working out, apply a few drops of coconut oil (find it at health food stores) to your ends to keep them smooth, says Kimberly Kimble, a celebrity hair stylist. Then wrap strands in a cotton scarf; the absorbent fabric will sop up sweat, which leads to pouf.

Style Secret: Emphasize the soft texture of your ringlets by wearing tops made of chiffonlike fabrics.

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Flaunt Your Grin

"The gap between my teeth makes my smile special."
-- Lauren O'Leary, 29

"After trying braces and even considering surgery to close the gap, I've finally come to love how my teeth look. I stopped thinking about them as a flaw and looked at the positives: People always remember my smile, even if they forget my name. My gap makes me pay more attention to dental hygiene; I haven't had a cavity in eight years. Now I'm the girl who grins from ear to ear all the time."

Celebrate It! To remove stains, rinse with a small capful of hydrogen peroxide (don't swallow it). Then brush with a whitening paste, like Colgate ProClinical Daily Whitening Toothpaste ($4.49, drugstores).

Style Secret: Draw attention to your mouth with a blue-based matte-red lip color; it will help your teeth look whiter. We like CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain in Scarlet Pucker ($7.29, drugstores).

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Flaunt Your Scar

"My scar stands for my ability to heal emotionally and physically."
-- Katy McLaughlin, 28

"When I was 18, I was in a car accident with my boyfriend. Our car slid off the road and hit a tree, and my right cheek hit the windshield. When I went back to school after recovering, everyone was staring at my injury. Eventually, as the wound healed and the scar lightened, I grew fond of it because it proves I'm a survivor. I even had the option of getting laser surgery to remove it, but I chose not to. The scar is part of me, and it opens the door for my story to be shared."

Celebrate It! Massaging a healed scar a few minutes each day has been shown to flatten its fibers, so the scar looks and feels smoother, says Jessica Wu, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles.

Style Secret: A big piece of jewelry makes a statement. If the scar is on your cheek, big, fun earrings frame it, saying, "Look at how tough I am!"

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Flaunt Your Booty

"My curves make me feel womanly and sexy."
-- Leilani Sanchez, 24

"I work in the fashion industry, so it's hard not to compare myself to models and wish my body were more like theirs. In the past I'd get frustrated after falling in love with clothing trends only to find that with my big bum, I couldn't pull them off. I'd work out and diet, hoping to change my shape. I got thinner, but the curves didn't budge. My butt runs in my family, and that's what gives me the confidence to embrace it proudly."

Celebrate It! Create a bikini-ready rear by using a head-to-toe layer of self-tanner, like Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer ($8.99, drugstores), before bed. Then reapply the product in the morning, focusing on cellulite-prone areas to mask bumps.

Style Secret: Balance your silhouette by wearing tops with volume in the sleeves. Your butt will steal the show, but this helps highlight the rest of your fabulous figure.

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Flaunt Your Freckles

"My freckles make me stand out. They're my best accessory."
-- Allison Vernon, 29

"I've been covered in freckles since I was a toddler. When I felt a little insecure about them as a teen, my parents told me they were angel kisses. Cheesy, I know, but from then on I haven't tried to cover them up, which is a time-saver because I don't have to put foundation on my face. After a workout, it takes me only five minutes to apply a little concealer, blush, mascara, and lip balm."

Celebrate It! With repeated sun exposure, freckles can merge into dark splotches, Dr. Wu says. Prevent burns, which speed up this process, by putting on a lotion with SPF 30 every three hours. A good one: Aveeno Continuous Protection Active Sunblock Spray SPF 30 ($10.99, drugstores).

Style Secret: If you have freckles on your arms and chest, show them off in sleeveless, backless, or V-neck tops and dresses.

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Flaunt Your Eyes

"They are my top beauty asset. I love having all eyes on mine."
-- Gizem Ozcelik, 21

"Rather than inheriting my mom's twenty-twenty vision, I got my father's astigmatism, nearsightedness, and dry eyes, which make it nearly impossible to wear contact lenses. I'm in my glasses all day, but I don't mind. They frame my favorite feature. The only downside to them: I'm a goof at heart, and people who don't know me often take me too seriously!"

Celebrate It! If you want your eyes to sparkle under spectacles, apply a shimmer-flecked shadow, like Maybelline New York Eye Studio Color Pearls Marbleized Eyeshadow ($6.99, drugstores), in a shade that contrasts with your irises, says Emily Kate Warren, a makeup artist in New York City.

Style Secret: Leave the brown glasses on the shelf. Wear frames in funky shades like teal (shown here) and purple so that your eyes pop.

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Flaunt Your Birthmark

"It took me years to appreciate that my birthmark makes me one of a kind."
-- Erin Sholl, 30

"Once, when I tried to cover up the mark behind my knee with gloppy makeup, people noticed the patch of foundation more than they had ever noticed the birthmark! From then on, I stopped trying to hide it. Besides, it serves a purpose: When the skin around it gets tan, my birthmark becomes more visible -- that's my indication that it's time to slather on more sunscreen or seek shade."

Celebrate It! Birthmarks can change over time, says Dr. Wu. Some get darker, some get lighter, and some even disappear. If you notice a birthmark that itches, bleeds, or grows larger, show your dermatologist who can determine if it's a more serious skin disorder.

Style Secret: Stop dressing to cover your birthmark and start searching for clothes that show off your great, toned legs. Look for above-the-knee skirts and dresses to draw the eye to your legs. Don't let the mark keep you from being proud of the body you've worked so hard for.

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Flaunt Your Nose

"I wouldn't change anything about my crooked nose: It shows I'm unique."
-- Heather Lappi, 25

"After I broke my nose in sixth grade while cheerleading, other kids would joke about its shape. Today, I'm proud to say that it has become a part of my personality, and, frankly, sometimes I forget that it is crooked! As I've gotten older, I've learned to love myself, and with that came love for my nose. It wasn't until I was truly happy with who I was on the inside that I could appreciate my exterior. Besides, my nose is a great conversation starter on first dates!"

Celebrate It! Brush a luminous bronzer from cheek to cheek across your nose to make it a part of your face, but not the main attraction, says Warren.

Style Secret: Long, brow-skimming bangs frame your face in such a way that your nose and your pretty eyes get equal amounts of attention.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July/August 2010.

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