10 Beauty Hacks That REALLY Work

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I have always been a seeker of information and a collector of ideas. For most of my life it has been my habit to amass as many lifestyle and fashion magazines as possible. Even at the age of twelve I devoured them. As a teen I spent hours sitting on my bed with a notebook and pen, writing every tip and noteworthy suggestion I could gather. Some ideas were a success, while others drove my mother crazy. I learned quickly that half a jar of mayonnaise is not the best hair conditioner. However, I was on a quest.

To this day I still love helpful hacks and beauty products. Equally, I love great design and I am a marketer's dream. So, when that "must have" product comes in a great package, I am among the first to whip out my wallet. And I am a complete sucker for anything that comes in apothecary jar or a clinical-looking box.

That said, I do have a slightly frugal and sensible side to my personality, which may explain why I love hacks. Some hacks really are fantastic and make life a bit easier, but many don't seem worth the effort. Here are ten favorite tricks and tips that I have used for years that truly make a big difference, and take very little effort.

Castor Oil
Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to waiting on eyebrows to grow out. Sadly, I feel victim to an overzealous eyebrow threader. After reading about the benefits of castor oil and hair growth, I decided to give it a try. Apply castor oil to the brows with a cotton swab before bed each night to encourage new growth and strengthen the hairs. It works wonders.

Eye Drops or Saline Solution
Most people know that mascara should be tossed after three months (beyond that timeframe it can collect bacteria). However, if your mascara becomes a bit dry within the three-month window, revive it with a couple of drops of saline solution or eye drops. Adding a few drops to flaky mascara will make it moist again.

Tea Bags
The quickest way to de-puff and tighten the skin under the eyes is to apply cold tea bags to the eyes for 5 minutes. Simply steep two tea bags in warm water for 2-3 minutes, remove from water, store tea bags in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, then place them on the eyes. Most days I drink green tea and save the used tea bags in the refrigerator until needed.

Baking Soda
Baking soda is likely one of the most versatile items found in your pantry. It is an excellent and natural exfoliant that softens the skin, allowing for a cleaner face. Simply mix a very small sprinkling in the palm of your hand, mix with your cleanser and gently wash away. It's also a favorite of Emma Stone.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one product that I cannot live with out. I don't step out of the shower without bathing in coconut oil. Coconut oil is more easily absorbed when your skin is still warm and supple from a bath or shower. Not only is it a great body lotion, it's also an amazing cuticle oil and lip balm.

Ice Water
Make your nail polish dry faster by soaking your nails in ice water after polishing. Fill a bowl with ice and water, and soak nails for a few minutes after polishing. The cold water will set the polish and help them dry faster.

Every morning I drink lemon juice and warm water to jumpstart my day. Drinking the tangy concoction first thing in the morning can help flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body.

To reduce the appearance of dark elbows, use leftover lemons in the shower. Simply rub the elbows with half of a lemon and rinse; it works like magic.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar does wonders for your skin. Not only do I drink warm water and lemon juice each day, I add 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 8 ounces of cold water twice a day. Because apple cider vinegar contains a variety of nutrients (vitamins C, A, B1, and B6, potassium, and iron to name a few), drinking it can help to improve psoriasis symptoms. Even better, it's a natural diuretic.

Soft Bristle Toothbrushes
I have tried every lip exfoliant on the market, and nothing beats a soft bristle toothbrush. To remove the flakey skin from your lips, apply a tiny bit of lip balm to a toothbrush and softly brush in a circular motion.

I love Vaseline. It is a multitasking miracle cream that you can use for a slew of timesaving tricks. Here are my two favorite uses:

Apply Vaseline on your pulse points before spraying your perfume to make the scent last longer. Not only will it soften the skin, it will hold the fragrance on your skin all day.

For eyes, place a thin layer of Vaseline under the eyes to lock in moisture and form a protective barrier. A regular application of petroleum jelly to the eyelids at night will banish dry, flaky skin.