Make Your Beauty Treatment Last

Real Simple

Stretch your dollars by stretching the weeks between haircuts, manicures, and more.

Photo: Lucas Allen

Prolonging a Haircut

First visit an experienced stylist; a precise cut looks better for longer than one from a novice hand. If you have short hair, which often requires monthly appointments, go with a style that grows out well.

• After a haircut, keep your ends hydrated by using a daily leave-in conditioner. If they look fuzzy some days, work in a dab of shine-enhancing oil to smooth them.

• Five or six weeks after your cut, when split ends start to appear, try an at-home glossing treatment to help seal strands and add shine.

• If you have bangs, trim them. Smooth down dry hair with a comb, then hold your shears so that the tips point up at a slight angle and trim a bit at a time, says Aaron Pursell, a hairstylist at the Bumble and Bumble salon, in New York City. Don't snip horizontally, which can lead to overcutting.

Maintenance Tools

1. Shine-enhancing oil.
Morroccanoil Treatment, starting at $32.50 on Yahoo! Shopping.

2. Sharp scissors.
Logo Japanese Steel Silver Shear, $50,

3. At-home gloss treatment.
Natural Instincts Shine Happy, $9 at drugstores.

More from
Real Simple:

5 Beauty Treatments That Will Save Your Life

The Smartest Beauty Buys

How to Correct 8 Common Beauty Mistakes

Extending Hair Color

Photo: Lucas Allen

Rich hair color makes hair look healthy, shiny, and thicker and can even brighten a face. But within a month, fading or visible roots can sour the effect.

• To keep your shade vibrant longer, use shampoos and conditioners formulated for colored hair; they contain gentle cleansing agents that won't remove color from the hair shafts.

• Once a week, you can swap in a color-depositing shampoo, which leaves behind a layer of semi-permanent pigment for a subtle boost. (Don't use one every day, however, as those pigments can build up and alter the professional color.)

• When roots begin to show, apply temporary color with an easy liquid touch-up wand. Dab directly onto the roots, then comb the strands to distribute (extra benefit: hair looks thicker). The no-commitment shade will wash out during the next shampoo.

Maintenance Tools

1. Temporary color wand.
ColorMark (available in 12 shades), $22,

2. Daily leave-in conditioner.
Nexxus Dualiste Color Protection and Intense Hydration Leave-In Conditioning Spray, $12 at drugstores.

3. Shampoo for colored hair.
L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Smooth Shampoo, $7 at drugstores.

Preserving a Post-Facial Glow

Photo: Lucas Allen

"Monthly facials are ideal, but if you tweak your skin-care routine, you can maintain radiant skin for up to eight weeks," says Los Angeles aesthetician Sonya Dakar.

• Every night after cleansing, use a toner that contains salicylic acid to slough off pore-clogging dead skin cells, suggests Diane Berson, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, in New York City. If you have dry skin, focus on the areas where pores often clog.

• Once a week, apply a clay-based mask to help draw out dirt and excess oil. (Use the mask twice a week if your skin is oil.)

• To keep skin smooth, use a mild at-home peel two times a month. Look for one that contains alpha hydroxy acids, which exfoliates skin gently.

Maintenance Tools

1. Clay mask. Bioré Purify Self Heating Mask, $6 at drugstores.

2. Gentle peel. Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Peel System, starting at $22 on Yahoo! Shopping.

3. Salicylic acid toner. Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3, starting at $12.50 on Yahoo! Shopping.

Maintaining a White Smile

Photo: Lucas Allen

Once the dentist gets your teeth as white as they can be, help keep them bright by removing stains before they set.

• Brushing teeth or chewing sugarless gum after meals and snacking on crunchy fruits and vegetables (like apples and celery) can help, says Mal Braverman, a dentist in New York City. Both increase saliva production to clean teeth.

• Carry a touch-up whitening product with peroxide and brush it onto teeth after drinking coffee or wine or eating berries. Rule of thumb: if it stains your countertops, it will stain your teeth.

• Once a week, brush with this at-home treatment: Add just enough hydrogen peroxide to a little baking soda to form a paste to polish away discoloration, suggest Marc Lowenberg, a New York City cosmetic dentist. Or use a store-bought deep-cleaning toothpaste with silicas instead.

Maintenance Tools

1. Deep-cleaning toothpaste.
Crest Weekly Clean Intensive Cleaning Paste, $4 at drugstores.

2. DIY Whitening Treatment.
A mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

3. Portable whitener.
Go Smile Flashlites, $10 for seven,

Protecting Painted Nails

Photo: Lucas Allen

A long-lasting manicure or pedicure starts at the salon: Choose a light shade of polish, which won't readily show chips. Ask the technician to push your cuticles back instead of cutting them, says Jin Soon Choi, a salon owner in New York City, as cut cuticles become ragged-looking faster.  

• Each day after your appointment, apply a cuticle minimizer to slough off dead cells and preserve smoothness and paint on a clear topcoat to maintain the polish's shine.

• Touch up any chips with a nail polish pen in a neutral color (with light shades, you don't have to worry about matching exactly).

• Moisturize hands frequently, and when feet begin to get dry, exfoliate in the shower with a gentle foot file; follow with a rich cream. Avoid using gritty scrubs, since they can dull polish.

Maintenance Tools

1. Foot-smoothing file.
Diamancel the Conqueror, $38,

2. High-shine topcoat.
Orly Won't Chip, $10,

3. Touch-up polish pen.
Sally Hansen Color Quick Nail Color Pen, $8, for stores.

4. Cuticle minimizer.
Butter London Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator, starting at $18 on Yahoo! Shopping.

Keeping Brows in Line

Photo: Lucas Allen

After a professional shapes your brows (whether she uses wax, thread, or a tweezer), it takes about four weeks for the hair to grow back fully. To preserve the shape, use an angled tweezer to pluck wayward strands between brows and under the arches as they grow in. (Take care not to alter the brow shape; just maintain it.)  

• Stand close to a mirror while removing a few errant hairs, then step back to check your progress. (Avoid looking in a magnifying mirror, as this can lead to overtweezing.)

• For expert-looking results, fill your brows in with a matching pencil and set them with brow gel. "This makes them look as if they've just been professionally waxed or tweezed," says Anne Marie Climi, director of training and education at Bliss Spa, in New York City.

Maintenance Tools

1. Tinted brow gel.
Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper, $20,

2. Brow pencil.
Paul & Joe Eyebrow Pencil Duo in 02, $18, Bergdorf Goodman, 800-558-1855.

3. Slant-tipped tweezers.
Anastasia Tweezers, starting at $23 on Yahoo! Shopping.


View Comments (0)