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Quick Tricks: Look Beautiful Instantly

Fifteen fast beauty tips for a flawless complexion, shiny hair, kissable lips, and a whole lot more.

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Get Healthy, Glowing Skin

As skin starts to lose elasticity and sag, shadows form. Look more luminous by applying white eye shadow to four key points: the inner corners of the eyes, the brow bones, the temples and above the peaks of your upper lip, says Darac, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. Light skin tones look best with a white shadow that has cool blue undertones; darker complexions need a complementary golden or off-white version. (A pick that's flattering on everyone: Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Eye Illuminator, $28, peterthomasroth.com.)

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Erase Wrinkles

Cover your face with a towel soaked in hot water for 10 seconds, then spread on a thick layer of cream or a moisturizing mask. "The heat swells pores, allowing the line-plumping ingredients to sink deep into skin," says FITNESS advisory board member Howard Murad, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California at Los Angeles. Cut and place pieces of plastic wrap over cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead to seal in hydration; remove and tissue off after a few minutes.

Quick Fix: Ahava Intensive Hydration Mask, $28, ahavaus.com, suits all skin types.

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De-Puff Your Morning Face

Woke up looking bloated? "Sleeping facedown causes fluid to pool under skin, and eating sodium-rich foods -- such as last night's Chinese takeout -- makes you retain water," says Yael Halaas, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in New York City. The solution is in your freezer. "A bag of frozen vegetables, especially peas or corn, conforms to the face perfectly, bringing down swelling in about five minutes," Dr. Halaas says.

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Get Bright Eyes: Lengthen Your Lashes

Long, fanned-out eyelashes instantly make eyes look well rested. Try this wide-awake tweak by makeup artist Jessica Liebeskind: Using mascara, sweep middle lashes upward toward brows; inner corners, toward nose; and outer lashes toward temples. Always choose black -- darker hues offer the most definition. And skip lower lashes; undereye smudges make you look wiped out.

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Get Rid of Crow's-Feet

Don't have a peptide-pumped eye cream on hand? To tighten skin, tap lip balm onto the area around your eyes. "The deep moisture keeps skin smooth," Darac says. Avoid balms made with petroleum; it can cause foundation to cake.

Quick Fix: HollywoodSecrets Five-Minute Eye Transformation, $89.95 for 32 sticks, h-secrets.com, has peptides that firm fine lines.

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Raise a Few Brows

Well-groomed arches can lift your entire face. The simplest fix: Shape them with hair serum (not gel). Apply it using your fingers or a clean mascara wand in an up-and-out motion, says Farah Reid, a stylist at Blow in New York City. "The serum holds brows in place all day and adds a light-reflecting glow to the eye area," she explains.

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Get a Sexy Smile: Brighten Those Whites

It's possible to get a megawatt grin in just a day, says New York City cosmetic dentist Jennifer Jablow, DDS. First "exfoliate" the top layer of stains by brushing with a gritty paste made of silica (such as Crest Weekly Clean, $3.99, drugstores). Then apply a whitener (the fastest fix: Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening Kit, $24.99, drugstores). "Removing the discolored surface helps the bleach work on more serious stains," Dr. Jablow says.

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Plump Your Pucker

Buff lips with a battery-powered face exfoliator (try Dove SkinVitalizer, $9.99, drugstores) for 30 seconds, says FITNESS advisory board member David Colbert, MD, founder of the New York Dermatology Group. Doing so "swells lips, plus stimulates cell turnover for a long-term collagen boost," he says.

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Smooth Out Lines

Talking, eating, even sipping from a straw can cause tiny vertical lines around lips. Erase them with a silicone-based filling lotion (you'll see filler in its name or on the label), says New York City dermatologist Patricia Wexler, MD. "It plugs up creases, so skin looks smoother," she explains.

Quick Fix: L'Oreal Paris Collagen Filler Lip, $19.99, drugstores, hides lines and plumps lips.

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Get Glossy Hair

Dull hair looks damaged, and it makes you appear older. The shortcut to sheen: Apply a quarter-size drop of hair serum through dry strands (start at the ends -- the oldest and driest area -- and move up toward roots), then blow-dry hair for a minute, celebrity stylist Ursula Stephen says. The heat opens the cuticle, allowing the shine-enhancing ingredients to penetrate deeply. Lock them in with a blast of cold air, which seals the cuticle.

Quick Fix: Glisten with Pro-found Beauty Glossary Shine Serum, $30, profoundbeauty.com.

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Look Younger Instantly

Take off five years with two smart styles. First, sport a ponytail, says Mark Garrison, a salon owner in New York City. "Positioned just above the crown, the style spotlights cheekbones, making them and the rest of your face appear lifted," he explains. Don't want to pony up? Part hair above the center of your right or left eye and comb to the opposite side, allowing strands to graze over your forehead. (Use a dryer and round brush to set them in place.) The "bangs" help hide lines.

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Add Bounce to Your Hair

Layers of styling products and oil cause hair to fall flat and look greasy. To fix: Wet your hair, squeeze out excess water, then rinse with a mix of a half cup of apple-cider vinegar and one quart of water, says Reid. "Unlike clarifying shampoos, the vinegar gently washes away residue without stripping color, leaving hair volumized and vibrant," she explains. Finish with a quarter-size dollop of conditioner from mid-strands to ends.

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File and Style for Pretty Hands

Turn back the clock with the right nail shape and shade. Step one: Trim nails so they're no longer than the tops of fingers, then file them into a "squoval," or straight line with rounded edges. "It gives hands a lengthened look," says nail-salon owner Jin Soon Choi. Buff in one direction; a seesaw motion can weaken tips, causing them to split and chip. Finish by painting on a coat of a frosty or shimmery polish (neutrals look great on everyone), which "catches light and brightens hands," Choi says.

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Hide Imperfections

Camouflage UV-induced damage such as fine lines by applying a face mask to hands. "Masks contain a higher concentration of hydrators than hand lotion, so you'll see immediate improvement in texture that lasts all day," says Troy Surratt, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. Leave the treatment on for five minutes or so, then tissue off.

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Scrub In Softness

Exfoliating hands with a salt- or sugar-oil treatment can relieve scaliness, stat. (Dryness emphasizes fine lines.) Rub a half-dollar-size scoop on skin for 30 seconds. "Apply it as though you're lathering up with soap and water," says Roxanne Valinoti, a manicurist for Creative Nail Design. The gritty texture sloughs roughness while the oil rapidly absorbs into skin. Pat hands dry and lock in oil with lotion.

Quick Fix: Deflake with Ola Hawai'i Pacific Salt Scrub, $24, hawaiianbodyproducts.com.

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Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2009.
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