Beauty

By Tiffany Luning

Beauty guru Rona Berg recently penned a guide to “glamour on the fly” – you know, for those days that you oversleep, awaken hung-over, and have a meeting with your boss about that much-deserved and much-delayed raise, only to discover that you ran out of foundation…. oops!

Berg’s “FAST BEAUTY: 1000 Quick Fixes” is an impressive (yet pocket-sized!) book that provides you with solutions to everyday beauty problems, many of which are surprising, and rather ingenious. Berg has drawn on her extensive beauty-industry experience (former New York Times beauty editor, former Elle editorial director, contributor to several lifestyle publications, and so forth) to assist us in our never-ending quest to look as beautiful as possible, in little time. Hey, we’re New Yorkers – we’re always in a rush!

The book is helpfully divided into chapters (Hormonal Hangups – for teens, tweens, pregnant women, women “of a certain age;” On The Go – advice for traveling, gym-going, fixing up your scraggly-looking family members; and many more) for easy navigation. It also has an index, for quick reference, which you can browse by problem or solution. Excellent!

Berg presents lists of must-have basics – for your home, your office drawer, your gym bag – as well as tips on paring down your stockpile of beauty stuff. Sprinkled throughout, there are Q & As, such as “My favorite lipstick shade has been discontinued. Is there anything I can do?” sidebars on Jeopardy-esque topics such as cultural differences in beauty techniques, guides for must-haves and must-dos in specific situations, like a “fast guide for brides,” sections on hiding flaws and accentuating the positives, and sets of instructions for a 5-minute, 2-minute, and even a 30-second face! There is information on problematic body piercings, and tips for covering tattoos (the trick is two shades of concealer – I’d go through an entire Duane Reade supply of concealer trying to cover my tattoos, but it’ll work for smaller areas). There is even a whole section on debunking crazy beauty myths, which states that despite what Grandma says, shaving your legs does NOT make the hair grow back thicker. Proving that beauty is not simply a vacuous pastime, the book has a chapter on expected problems, and possible solutions, for women undergoing chemotherapy. And for the more frugal amongst us, “Freebies and Good Stuff” is a list of online stores where you can snag free samples. Woo-hoo! All this, and so much more, in a book under 300 pages – incredible!

We all know the usual tricks of the trade – wear sunscreen, the joy that is 99-cent Wet ‘n Wild #666 lip pencil, how to de-clump a bottle of nail polish – but it’s Berg’s inclusion of the unknown and innovative ones that really make this book a keeper. Thankfully, a great many of the tips are accompanied by product recommendations, so you don’t have to aimlessly search for light-diffusing foundation.

Here are just a few select tips from “FAST BEAUTY”:

- Lip Plumper – Moisten a bit of cinnamon and rub it on your lips before you apply lipstick. Or apply a bit of cinnamon oil to your lips (use only a drop, as some people are sensitive to it). Or try lip plumpers with niacin, a form of vitamin B that pumps up the circulation and thus plumps up the lips. Products: Alex and Ani Serious Lip Plump * Freeze 24/7 Plump Lips * Hydroderm Lip Plumper

- Get The Red Out – If you wake up with a pimple, Visine will take the red out. Apply a dab to the blemish. Then, using a small brush, stroke a bit of oil-free concealer in a circle around the pimple. Blend the edges out with a Q-tip, and dab a tiny bit more concealer on top. Blot very lightly with a tissue.

- Through A Glass, Darkly – You love the look of your lashes with mascara, but the tips sometimes touch the lenses of your glasses and leave little paw prints. To remedy this, after you apply mascara, touch the ends of your lashes lightly with a tiny pat of powder.

- Chocolate Locks – If you’re a brunette and your hair color looks flat, mix a teaspoon of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa into your palm with a few squirts of shampoo and wash your hair. It will make the color look richer, more lustrous, and, well, more chocolate-y! Plus, it smells yummy.

- Mission Impossible – Does the cap of your nail polish bottle “glue” itself shut each time you give yourself a manicure? Waste no more time struggling with the bottle! Smudge a tiny bit of Vaseline around the top of the bottle you twist it closed, and it will open with ease the next time.

- Wrinkle-Free – Not your face, silly, your clothing! If you don’t have a suit bag, lay your blouses and jackets flat, and place a dry cleaning bag on top. Then, roll your garment, like a sleeping bag, from the top to the bottom and pack it in your suitcase. The plastic will keep things wrinkle-free.

- Hand Helper – After your home improvement job is done, spray Pam cooking spray on your hands to remove grease or paint.

You can find “FAST BEAUTY” wherever books are sold – this handy-dandy guide to looking fabulous would make a great gift for your beauty-obsessed girlfriends, don’tcha think?

Originally published November 2005
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