You've spent the day shopping in frenzied department stores and you're running late for a date with your guy or some other p.m. appointment you want to look awesome for. The problem: Your hair has fallen flat, your eye makeup has suffered a meltdown, and since you've learned it's best to tote less when you holiday shop, the only thing you're packing is a lip gloss. Don't fret — instead, check out these artful freshen-up strategies.
Blot away oil-slicked skin.
If your face is shinier than the patent-leather pumps you just picked up, make a beeline for a bathroom stall. Since you don't want to wash away what's left of your makeup, tear off a piece of toilet-seat-cover paper and use it to dab away grease gently. Caveat: Don't rub or you'll smear off every trace of color.
Look for lotion.
Hit the beauty floor of a department store and seek out the one product that can cover the most get-gorgeous ground: moisturizer. You can use this multitasker to smooth dry skin on your face, clean up old makeup, and even calm frizzy hair. So pick a beauty counter selling skin-care items and use a sample of their latest silkener to lube up liberally.
Snag samples and do a speedy makeup job.
Next, get to work using the cosmetic color testers to foxify your face. Play up either your eyes or your lips using a bright or bold hue — emphasizing just one feature is a fast way to look hot and p.m. appropriate, says makeup artist Robin Nardaez, of NYC's Borja Color Studio.
Get blown off.
You can revive limp long-past-their-prime locks with a blast of warm air from the hand dryers found in most public rest rooms, says Lisa Chiccine, senior stylist for Avon Salon and Spa in New York City. Aim the nozzle toward your tresses and finger-tousle while the hot air hits them. To give definition to frizzed-out curls, wet your hands and use them to scrunch your twirls as the air blows. Note: If the nozzle won't turn upward, you can bend at the waist, flip your hair over, and massage your roots to amp up the volume.
Plump up your pucker.
The paper towels in rest rooms are just rough enough to polish your pout perfectly. First, wipe away any cakey leftover lipstick residue, then rub a towel over your lips to exfoliate dry, chapped skin and bring a natural, just-kissed flush to the surface.
Speedy "Yikes...I Overslept!" Strategies
By the time you finally hear your alarm, you realize it's been buzzing for more than an hour. Now how the hell are you gonna pull it together enough to look bright-eyed and beautiful when you're nursing a school-night hangover and have to be at work ASAP? Don't panic. We have sneaky tricks to resuscitate your look on the double.
Wake up your complexion.
Give your tuckered-out skin a jolt with a splash of very cold water to bring color to your cheeks, then dab moisturizer on your cocktail-dehydrated epidermis. We like Chanel Precision Energizing Radiance Lotion, $36. Don't forget to fix red eyes with a squirt of eye drops.
Since you don't have time to apply base expertly all over your face, apply concealer just where you need it — over blemishes, under-eye circles, and any red areas, says Sephora makeup artist Charlie Green.
Work second-day makeup.
Slept-in eye makeup can look inexplicably great, says Nardaez. So if you couldn't muster the motivation to clean your face before you crashed, use it to your advantage in the a.m.: Dampen a cotton swab, then clean up any smudges and go.
Put color in your cheeks.
You tend to look pasty after a night of revelry, so enliven your skin with a peachy shade of rouge to avert "someone had a late one" comments from your coworkers. Use a cream blush, which looks more natural than a powder when you're going for a lot of color. We like BECCA Creme Blush in Byzantine, $27.
Create a stylishly sloppy mane.
Since you don't have time to shampoo, blow-dry, and style your strands, sweep them into an easy updo. Put hair in a ponytail, then pull it through again, stopping halfway, and leave some pieces hanging loose, says Chiccine.
Getting Decked Out Deskside
The only date you have planned for the night is with your remote control until your coworker springs a last-minute invite to a hottie-filled happening. There's no time to go home and primp, so what's a girl — whose morning makeup is all but a memory — to do? Try this advice to go from rundown to ravishing.
Switch your style.
Revive a tired workday do with a quick coif change. If your hair's been up all day, the pony holder or clips should have given your mane some sexy texture, so shake it out and scrunch the crown to emphasize that volume. But if you've worn your locks down all day and they're looking a bit bedraggled, try switching your part or sweeping your hair into a twist to make it look more party-girl pretty. If you don't have a comb, try a plastic fork, which is also really good for teasing your roots, says Chiccine.
Darken your lids.
You can make your regular daytime eye shadow look sultry and nighttime trendy by wetting the applicator before you apply it. Just go over your lash lines, then smudge the color across your lids, says Nardaez.
Take a utensil to your lashes.
Curled lashes make eyes look big and bright, but who carries a curler around? No need to! A metal spoon from the office break room can fill in. Hold it against your desk lamp to warm it, then place the back of the spoon under your upper lashes and press up lightly as you partially close your lid.
Shine, shine, shine.
If there's one bit of beauty loot you should make a permanent place for in your desk drawer, it's shimmer powder. When impromptu p.m. outings arise, use it to add radiance to your collarbone, shins, cheekbones, and even your hair. We love Victoria's Secret Bare Bronze Collection Flawless Glow Face Bronzer, $17.50 and Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Makeup Loose Shimmer Powder, $18.
Erase your cuticles.
If you haven't tended to your talons in weeks and your cuticles are overtaking your nails, use the eraser tip of a pencil to push back the overgrown skin gently, then buff your nails to a shine with a tissue.
Highlight your pout...literally
Desperate times call for desperate measures. On those occasions when you find yourself stuck without lipstick and craving some color, dot a nontoxic pink highlighter over your lips and lightly rub them together before the color sets. Yes, a Cosmo editor has actually done this and it looks good — like a pink popsicle stain. We swear!
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.