THIS IS NOT A PICTURE of me. But one thing I've learned, after more than a decade in the business, is that mere mortals can look model-esque, provided they follow a bit of expert advice. Oddly, despite writing hundreds of articles full of such advice, I never followed it myself before turning 30. But then I hit 30-and, well, it wasn't pretty. That's when I vowed to actually practice what I'd preached. And you know what? It made a difference. So, without further ado, I bring you the 30 beauty moves I wish I'd committed to before 30. Luckily, it's never too late to get back on track, lookswise.
1. FOCUS ON YOUR EYES when you want to make an impact. They're what people notice first. False lashes, black liner, shimmery shadow, and good brows will take you far, even if you don't wear lipstick and haven't washed your hair in three days.
2. AVOID CREAM-TO-POWDER FOUNDATION unless you're really oily. If your skin is combination, normal, or dry, the product will suck all the moisture out of it as it evaporates.
3. SIDESTEP STREAKS BY MIXING SELFTANNER WITH MOISTURIZER before applying. This dilutes the formula so you don't look stripey.
4. BLOWDRY RATHER THAN CHEMICALLY STRAIGHTEN YOUR HAIR. Most stylists say they'd rather see you use a blowdryer every other day (even though you risk heat damage) than apply harsh chemicals to your hair. I learned the hard way.
5. LEARN HOW TO BLOWDRY LIKE AN EXPERT. The real reason you can't replicate the way your hair looks after a visit to the salon? Poor blowdryer skills. Ask your stylist to show you exactly what she does, step-by-step. (For example, once I stopped using a round brush on my bangs, I finally got them to lie flat.)
6. SEEK PROFESSIONAL BROW HELP. Brows are like the hair on your head-dramatically better when groomed by an expert.
7. BUY THE RIGHT TOOLS for the job. I now rely on an eyeshadow crease brush (by Bath & Body Works) and an angled blush brush (by T. LeClerc). They make application goof-proof.
8. KEEP TWO FULLY STOCKED MAKEUP BAGS to save your sanity in the a.m.-one for items you use every day (and can apply in the dark), the other for all those crazy impulse buys that you'll only try when you have time for experimenting.
9. KEEP THE RAZOR AWAY FROM YOUR BIKINI LINE. Exfoliating and waxing-and exfoliating some more-is really the only way to avoid bumps.
10. OWN A FRAGRANCE WARDROBE. My favorites include Botrytis by Ginestet, Matin Calin by Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Prada, and Narciso Rodriquez Musc for Her. Fragrance is the quickest pick-me-up: You just feel confident when you smell good. Why do you need several? For the same reason you have a closet full of clothes-options.