A bad hair day, a wobble on stilettos or a sudden onset of the sweats can send confidence levels south. And it can be worse when those snafus happen during an important meeting or a hot date. We corralled a bunch of experts — from doctors to stylists — for their quick tips on tackling seven esteem sinkers.
1. Walk Tall
You’ve got the perfect shoes to go with that dress — now you just have to walk in them. If you’re feeling less than steady on heels, you can achieve proper balance through visualization, says Elisabeth Halfpapp, co-founder of the Exhale wellness centers across the country.
Practice first in bare feet. Stand tall and line the middle of your ears over your shoulders, keeping your chin parallel to the floor. Shoulder should be in line with hips. Keep hips over the knees and the knees over the ankle. Allow your tail to drop — no tucking! And avoid pitching your body forward. Keeping your chin parallel to the floor, begin walking on the balls of your feet. “Place one foot in front of the other in a parallel stance, similar to a runway model, which can help keep balance,” says Halfpapp.
2. Hair Rx
If your do is having an off day, fake it, suggests Gina Pieper, artistic director of the Empire Education Group, a network of cosmetology educational centers. For instant style, add a clip-on hairpiece. For instant modern style, pick up a braided headband. Sweep hair into a loose pony and tease at the crown for a bit of volume. Pull the bottom of the headband behind ears for a more natural look, says Pieper. You can also try clip-on bangs or a long, sexy pony for a fast fix and a new look. Just make sure to match the pieces perfectly with your hair color.
3. Get a Leg up
These days, daring to bare — your legs — is a fashion do. But what can you do if your gams aren’t as glam as you’d like? Camouflage uneven skin tone and disguise bumps by applying a blend of your foundation and daily moisturizer, says Pieper. Start with 1/3 part makeup, 2/3 parts moisturizer. Play with the ratio to get the perfect coverage for you. “For visible veins or scars, concealer works miracles,” she says. Just beware that your legs may be a different shade than your face; check the applications in natural light.
4. Wake up
Feeling beat? Fake bright eyes with an application of a light-reflecting concealer one shade lighter than the skin tone, recommends Achelle Dunaway, veteran makeup artist and product developer. “This will create an illuminating effect to wake up eyes,” she says. Another option: Apply white eyeliner to the corners.
5. Stay Dry
Never let them see you sweat: “The ingredients that keep underarms dry have the same effect to the parts of the face that have the most glands,” says celebrity makeup artist Joanna Schlip. Slick a thin layer of clear, unscented deodorant across along your hairline and upper lip — where makeup tends to melt. Follow with your favorite matte makeup look.
6. Banish Bad Breath
The result of excess bacteria in the mouth, bad breath can be the cause of many factors, including dry mouth. Pop some sugar-free candy or gum to keep the juices flowing and keep dryness at bay. “Always brush twice a day, floss daily and use an oral rinse to help kill odor-causing bacteria,” say Dr. Elisa Mello of NYC Smile Design, a cosmetic dental practice. Try a teeth whitener or toothpaste with whitener so you’re never worried about your smile.
7. Get Rid of Redness
Excitement, hot temperatures and drinking alcohol can all trigger a flushed face. If redness appears before a special event, Dunaway suggests washing with a gentle cleanser the night before, using your hands instead of a washcloth, which can be an exfoliator. On the big day, apply a green-based concealer to spot-cover any red areas. (Green neutralizes red for a more natural look.) To calm skin, you can also place your foundation in the freezer a few minutes before applying.
By Sandra Ramani for Completely You
Sandra has covered spa, beauty, travel and lifestyle topics for Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Essence and NYMag.com. She is currently a contributing editor for Organic Spa Magazine and SpaWeek.com.
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