Lately, I’ve been in a real rush to get my makeup on (that’s when I look in the mirror, hours later, and see a smudged mess). And there are plenty of times I don’t even have time to apply it and I go bare-faced the whole day (that’s when I look in the mirror and see a pale, tired-looking stranger staring back at me).

So, when I received the book, InStyle: Ultimate Beauty Secrets, I was really excited. Because FACE it, I need all the help I can get when it comes to tips, tricks and shortcuts.

Here are some of the best ones I learned from the team of beauty editors, dermatologists and makeup artists who had a hand in putting together this guide (there are 200+ in all). I’m hoping it lessens my time in front of the mirror and that when I do happen to catch a glimpse of myself, I can greet that stranger with a smile instead of a sneer.

Want to win a copy of the book? Be the lucky 13th reader to leave a comment, and it’s yours. (Include your email in your comment so I can get in touch with you!)

  • For an at-home facial:

Mix one teaspoon of raw oatmeal with one teaspoon of honey. Apply to skin for 5 minutes, then rinse. Honey hydrates; oatmeal’s minerals are soothing.

  • Clean your cell phone:

To prevent breakouts on your cheeks and chin, use antibacterial wipes on your phone a few times a week.

  • Wash your brushes:

If you use makeup brushes, keep them clean with a clarifying shampoo once a week.

  • Look for the ingredient niacin in your cleanser:

It has been proven to increase cell turnover and help with dark spots by ridding the skin of dead cells that contain excess pigment.

  • For oil and shine:

Splash your face with cool black tea, which is a natural astringent. Don’t rinse.

  • To refresh your complexion:

Dip a washcloth in soy milk and apply to your face once a week for 10 minutes. Soy is a natural skin brightener.

  • To calm down a pimple:

Spritzing it with a small amount of nasal decongestant can lessen inflammation, just like it does for your nose.

  • Use sunscreen properly:

Apply it 30 minutes before going outside (that’s how long it takes to fully absorb into your skin). Reapply every two hours.

  • Calm down unruly brows.

Use clear mascara, brow gel or mustache wax for the extra-stubborn hairs.

  • No blush? Use lipstick:

Rub your finger over the lipstick 3-4 times then mix with a bit of moisturizer. Dot on cheeks and blend.

  • No eyeliner? Use powder shadow:

Add a few eye drops to the shadow and apply with a fine liner brush.

  • Don’t throw out cracked eye shadow:

Instead, pop it out of its tray, crush it and mix with a dab of Vaseline or eye cream. You’ve just created some cream shadow.

  • Reduce puffy eyes:

Place a cold compress of cold cucumber slices on eyes for five to ten minutes. Pat with eye cream or gel that’s been stored in the fridge.

  • Keep your mascara from drying out:

Don’t pump the want into the tube; this pushes air into it.

  • Brow-tweezing tips:

Tweeze after showering so the steam has a chance to open the pores and make it more comfortable. After tweezing, swipe with alcohol to prevent ingrown hairs. Cold cucumber slices or chilled green-tea bags can reduce any redness.

Want to win a copy of the book? Be the lucky 13th reader to leave a comment, and it’s yours. (Include your email in your comment so I can get in touch with you!) Sorry, offer is limited to residents of the U.S. only.

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