Breaking Bad Beauty Habits
The Blowout Devotee
If the merest sign of frizz sends you to the salon, rein yourself in. "The combination of extreme heat, tearing, and pulling is brutal for those who blow-dry daily," says N.Y.C. hairstylist Mark Townsend. Excessive styling—say, more than twice a week—leads to wispy ends and allover fuzz.
Step 1: Protect Strands
Coating damp hair with a primer like Living Proof Style Extender ($20; sephora.com) works in two ways: It smooths cuticles with emollients to strengthen and protect against breakage, and it locks out the blowout-ruining dirt and humidity you face every day.
Step 2: Make It Last
Combat limp locks by going to the roots of the problem. Dose them with a dry shampoo (try Serge Normant Meta Revive, $25; nordstrom.com) and then brush like Marcia Brady. "You're raking out the starch particles that have soaked up the heavy oil from your scalp," says Townsend.
Step 3: Switch It Up
What do sexy waves and luscious buns have in common? They're both genius ways to conceal strands slightly past their prime. Twist sections around an iron, or pull them up through a handy foam bun tool (Remington Perfect Bun, $5; walmart.com), which makes a perfect topknot on the first try.
The Botox Junkie
Despite its name, onabotulinumtoxinA, Botox isn't toxic when injected locally in small doses. The real risk? Looking like you're wearing a scary plastic mask. "Women actually appear older when they're expressionless," warns New York dermatologist Marina Peredo.
Step 1: Gain Some Perspective
Shakespeare once wrote, "With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come." And he's got a point. Creases and lines are the remnants of joy—and not having any at all is a bit of a bummer.
Step 2: Sleep On It
A potent night cream or oil can smooth wrinkles without freezing your face. Formulations like Sunday Riley's Luna Sleeping Night Oil ($105; sephora.com), smooth out fine lines and wrinles while lightening dark spots and lifting fallen skin.
Step 3: Pick a Peptide
With consistent use, a moisturizer with peptides (try Skinmedica's TNS Essential Serum, $270; skinmedica.com) can help keep skin plump and smooth. Need a quick fix? L'Oreal's Revitalift Miracle Blur Roth's ($25; lorealparisusa.com) diffuses light to minimize fine lines in an instant.
The Hair-Color Fanatic
"Color processing changes the structure of the hair shaft, which weakens the integrity of your strands," says L.A. colorist Tracey Cunningham. While conditioners help conceal damage, they won't reverse it. One single process after the next leaves hair dull and prone to major splitting and breaking.
Step 1: Minimize the Fade Factor
Fact: Anytime you wash your hair, pigment seeps out and rinses down the drain. To get the most mileage from a dye job, "shampoo no more than three times a week," says colorist Sharon Dorram. "Use a dry shampoo on off days."
Step 2: Get a Color Boost
A shampoo that deposits color back onto the hair shaft is ideal. Choose a non-stripping, sulfate-free formula like Tigi's Violet shampoo for blondes ($17; ulta.com); Clairol's Shimmer Lights shampoo for brunettes and redheads ($10; sallybeauty.com) enriches tones with the help of color-balancing pigments.
Step 3: Go the Touch-Up Route
If you're rocking a hue that's drastically different from your base shade, Cunningham advises making an appointment every six weeks (every two weeks for grays). And if the tiniest bit of regrowth makes you wary, extend the time between dates with an at-home kit, like Clairol's Nice'n Easy ($7; pgestore.com.)
The Skin Nitpicker
Pampering your complexion is a good thing. But trying every product, laser, and treatment available can leave your face raw, inflamed, and vulnerable. "Some of my patients don't want to hear it, but the ideal regimen tends to be fairly simple," says N.Y.C. dermatologist David A. Colbert.
Step 1: Return to the Basics
Three products—a gentle cleanser, a daily moisturizer with SPF, and a night cream—are the backbone of a solid skin-care routine. Commit to using your faves regularly.
Step 2: Target Problem Areas
Whether it's acne, anti-aging, redness, or uneven tone, pinpoint your greatest skin concern, then find a single treatment that addresses the issue. And stick to it. For acne, "most formulas take weeks to have a true effect on reducing pimples," says Nashville dermatologist Michael H. Gold. He suggests Tanda's Zap Power device ($79; tanda.com) that uses blue light and sonic vibrations to treat lesions.
Step 3: Invest in a Fix-All
No matter what's troubling you, everyone can benefit from at-home fractional red-light therapy (try Silk'n Face FX Anti-Aging, $150; silkn.com.) Yes, devices are pricey (most cost around $300), but the collagen-stimulating effects will improve pore size, skin tone, texture, and wrinkles.
N.Y.C. dermatologist Dana Stern says gel manicures pose two risks: UV exposure from curing lights and peeling from acetone removers. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brown University researchers suggests the minimal UV light probably doesn't increase the risk of skin cancer but may accelerate the aging of the skin on hands.
Step 1: Become a DIY Diva
Gel polish is a pain to remove, and speedy manicurists often soak nails in harsh, drying acetone and then scrape off the color. Take your time with removal by using an at-home kit like Sensationail ($9; drugstore.com), a foolproof system using squares of foil to help acetone gently lift the polish.
Step 2: Take a Break
Alternate a gel mani with a regular one. N.Y.C. manicurist Patricia Yankee recommends six weeks on, two to four weeks off, and dosing nails with a nourishing conditioner like Duri Rejuvacote ($14; duricosmetics.com), which mends with keratin and calcium.
Step 3: Wrap 'Em Up
Nail polish appliques (try Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Tight Rope and Glitz Blitz, $9 each; target.com) are nearly as durable as gels and give you cute tips quickly. Even better? They don't require UV light or acetone.
The Self Tan-A-Holic
There's no graceful way to put this: Too much sunless tanner can make you look like an Oompa Loompa. "Your face will appear muddy," says N.Y.C. spray-tan specialist Kristyn Pradas. Also keep in mind that "the FDA has received reports of coughing, dizziness, and fainting due to inhaling spray-tan fumes," says cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson.
Step 1: Build It Up
A natural way to look sun-kissed? Use a daily moisturizer like Jergens Natural Glow Face Daily Moisturizer ($9; drugstore.com), which contains enough of the tanning molecule DHA to give you a healthy flush without telltale streaks.
Step 2: Be Strategic
The highest planes of your face get more sun, which is why a uniform tan looks fake. To create a believable glow, dust bronzer (try Lancôme Cheek and Contour Brush, $40; lancome-usa.com) along your forehead, the bridge of your nose, chin, and cheekbones. An angled brush will give you the most precise application.
Step 3: Dress Wisely
N.Y.C. stylist Rachel Wirkus says whites, brights, and neons all make your skin look darker. If you still need a hint of color, a bronzing gel (try Soap amp Glory One Night Tanned Gel, $24; sephora.com) yields instant results (and will wash off in the shower).