In these busy times, with so many tasks vying for top priority, it's hard to find the time to practice a daily, step-by-step beauty regime. But there is one thing you do to make yourself a little more beautiful. You know -- that thing that you do, not all the time, but when you really want to look good? It's your beauty secret. Most women have one, whether it was learned through trial and error or passed down from Mom or a favourite aunt. We've gathered the beauty secrets of 25 women across Canada -- and now we're letting the cat out of the cosmetics bag!
1. I haven't done this in ages but as a young teen, I used to experiment with kitchen items as ingredients for a facial. I really liked putting a nice hot cloth over my face for five to 10 minutes, then using honey as a mask and putting cut cucumbers over my eyes. I'd sit in the tub like this for about 10 minutes and then rinse the honey off. Very natural and refreshing!
-Heidi Rodgers, Labrador City, Nfld.
2. My mother always told me to wear a moisturizer with at least SPF 15 every day of the year, even in the winter, to prevent skin damage caused by UV rays.
-Jamie MacDonald, Halifax, N.S.
3. Origins is the best self-tanner because it looks natural (not orange) and does not streak. I use it more in the winter so I don't feel like a ghost-face, and sometimes in the summer to enhance my real tan.
-Carolyn Burton, Winnipeg. Man.
4. If you are going to sharpen your eyeliners, put them in the freezer first; they will sharpen much better.
-Leah Cahill, Bedford, N.S.
5. On the prairies, it's important to apply chapstick before lipgloss, so as to fight against those cool northern winds. Practicality, then beauty. And mix your cover-up with your moisturizer to avoid that caked-on look.
-Avery Wolaniuk, Winnipeg, Man.
6. Pay special attention to the eyes! Good eye makeup makes all the difference. The eyes are the focus of the face and the more you accentuate them, the better you look. And you don't have to spend much time on the rest of your face, since the eye makeup does all the work!
-Natalie Murray, Halifax, N.S.
7. When applying cream on your neck, rub upward and not downward, so you don't pull the skin. And never leave the house without sunscreen on. My grandmother is in her 70s and she looks 60. She never goes in sunlight and has no wrinkles. It must work!
-Virginia Mills, Summerside, P.E.I.
8. Never wash your face with soap. Instead, in the morning, wash using liberal and frequent splashings of room-temperature water. Do not dry your face with a towel; it would be like taking a broom to a still-wet Picasso. Instead, apply to your damp face generous helpings of Oil of Olay, fondly called Oil of Delay by generations of women. This process will seal the moisture from both the water and conditioner in your pores. I've been using this method for over 30 years and at 53, do not have webs of wrinkles around my eyes or anywhere on my face, for that matter.
-Meredith Brown, Calgary, Alta.
9. I like Lubriderm lotion because it is the right mix of moisturizing without a greasy or heavy feel. It doesn't have a heady scent either, and also comes in unscented. I also like Cetaphil face wash because it is really gentle and doesn't dry out my skin.
-Olivia Dueck, Winnipeg, Man.
10. I have a short neck, and I follow the old rule of creating the illusion of length by wearing open necklines with wide collars and V-necks. Turtlenecks not allowed!
-Cath Gray, Hornby Island, B.C.
11. My mom has always used Dove soap to clean her face. Although I've tried lots of other products, it turns out Mom is right! Dove soap still treats my skin the best. Less dryness and fewer pimples.
-Laurie DeBoer, Burlington, Ont.
12. Witch hazel works as a miracle astringent. It is a natural skin toner and also useful for removing makeup, reducing puffiness under the eyes and soothing sunburns, and it doesn't dry your skin.
-Norma Penner, Toronto, Ont.
13. I have many, as my mom has a book on homemade remedies. A few good tips are to rub lemon rinds on your fingernails to soften cuticles and to wipe your fingernails with vinegar before applying nail polish. This will help it to adhere better.
-Shirley Pascarielle, Toronto, Ont.
14. It's all trial and error. If something doesn't work, don't keep using it. It took me years to find my Oil of Olay (for sensitive skin) and now that's all I use.
-Danielle Johnson, Vancouver, B.C.
15. I use Mary Kay Oil Control Lotion. It makes my skin so smooth and soft and helps to keep my oily skin shine free throughout the day. I even wear it to bed just to get that extra little bit of moisture in my skin overnight.
-Brenda Koerner, Edmonton, Alta.
16. If you want to have bouncy curls, you'll need a straightening iron and a wooden pencil or a spoon, depending on how big you want the curls to be. Apply mousse and let your hair air-dry. Once it's dry, take a section of hair and circle it around the pencil, then take straightener and place it gently around pencil (with the hair), and leave on for just a few seconds to set. Wind the hair off pencil carefully, so as not to disturb the curl, and voilÃ -- you have a beautiful, bouncy curl.
-Lauren Wilson, Sackville, N.B.
17. I exfoliate every seven to 10 days and I moisturize with a product containing SPF 15 a few times a day and, so far, no major wrinkles.
-Jen Moore, Cape Breton, N.S.
18. I like to wash my hands with warm water before I go to bed and then rub some Weleda Skin Food (a face and body cream for extra-dry skin) into my cuticles. This product is really moisturizing and really great for any dry spots -- apparently you can even use it as a lip balm. A little tube goes a long way.
-Michelle Mitrovich, Toronto, Ont.
19. If you're blessed with a "generously proportioned" nose, try shading the area around it with a darker powder than the one you use all over. It draws attention away from the nose.
-Sarah Heffernan, Montreal, Que.
20. Applying a little frosted white/light beige shadow in the corner of your eye (the inner corner) totally lights up your eyes (your entire face actually) and adds a bit of drama. Also, if you have time on your hands and a steady hand, separating your eyelashes with a pin goes a long way toward improving the job mascara does.
-Paula Aquilina-Shin, Toronto, Ont.
21. I put vitamin E on my face every day. Also, I use Johnson and Johnson baby cream (it comes in a white-and-green bottle). My skin is pretty soft, if I might say so myself.
-Tabatha Bezanson, Rockingham, N.S.
22. I always do a cold-water splash after washing my face before bed to close the pores. I find that I have fewer breakouts that way.
-Jocelyn Longworth, Toronto, Ont.
23. Day-old beer (use leftovers from a party) is a good hair rinse. It makes your hair really shiny. Just pour on and let it sink in, then rinse -- well.
-Libby Campbell, Ottawa, Ont.
24. My hair is really curly, which means that it is also super dry. To moisturize my hair, I always use a hair treatment (I use Redken Shea Butter Hair Treatment). Place lots on your hair when it is damp, place in braids and instead of just leaving it on for 10 to 15 minutes, leave it in all night. By the morning, when you wash it, your hair will be wonderfully soft and nourished and you will see the difference that it makes all week!
-Amanda Oates, Bay Roberts, Nfld.
25. Get your hands on a bar of solid cocoa butter -- not the body butters or creams that are made with cocoa butter, but the real deal. In its solid state, it's almost like a stick of real butter. Gently rub it between your hands until it melts a little. Then take the melted cocoa butter and massage it in all over your body, for the most incredible moisturizer for dry skin.
-Sarah Riley, Moncton, N.B.