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Washington Post

Tips to undo bad grooming habits

Pretty up your daily routine with smart products and techniques for curing bad makeup habits. (We’re looking at you, Ms. Smudged Polish):

Don’t pump your mascara. Repeatedly drawing the wand in and out of a mascara tube to get more product allows air to enter the container, which can dry out your lash-luxing formula and shorten its lifespan. “You had to do that in the old days because the packaging was thick at the bottom and narrow at the top,” says Marla Beck, co-founder of the Washington cosmetics emporium Blue Mercury (Bluemercury.com). “But now mascaras are designed to be long and narrow for maximum coverage on the brush.”

The fix: If your Diorshow or Great Lash has lost its luster, add three to four drops of hot green tea to the bottle. The warm liquid loosens up the contents, and the antioxidants in tea just might promote lash growth.

Don’t think red lipstick isn’t for you. “Playing with makeup is half the fun of being a girl,” says D.C. beauty blogger Lara Ramos of Theglossarie.com. “Just let loose.” Perhaps the most feminine beauty product out there is a tube of bright-red lipstick. While you may initially balk at the “Look-at-me!” Marilyn Monroe-meets-Gwen Stefani vibe, Ramos thinks true reds work for every skin tone. Not ready to take the plunge? Use your finger to dab a little red on and top it with a sheer gloss.

The fix: True reds are universally flattering. We’re sweet for Illamasqua’s matte lipstick in Box ($24, Sephora); Ramos swears by Maybelline’s Red Revival ($8, CVS).

Do apply a top coat to your nails. You’ve managed to make it past the smudge zone (phew), but that doesn’t mean you can give yourself a well-manicured high five. “Bad habits are a result of not enough time,” Beck says. Rushing your paint job and failing to apply a top coat leaves your digits susceptible to chips and dings. Take an additional five minutes to seal your polish with a long-lasting top coat that will save you time in the long run.

The fix: Illamasqua makes a high-gloss, non-yellowing top coat that dries evenly in as little as five minutes ($12, Sephora). The heavy-duty varnish can extend the life of your manicure for up to two additional weeks.

Do wash your makeup brushes.

Using a dirty brush is like applying makeup with the bottom of a shoe. “When you’re putting something on your face, you want to make sure it’s clean,” Ramos says. “Brushes carry a lot of gross bacteria because they’re sitting in your bathroom or floating around your makeup bag collecting germs.” Maintaining brush cleanliness extends their life and keeps evil, acne-causing organisms away from skin.

The fix: Beck recommends disinfecting brushes at least every three months. Swirl damp buffers in Sephora’s Purifying Brush Shampoo ($6, Sephora) before letting them dry. You’ll return to clean bristles minus the buildup.

– Holley Simmons, Washington Post

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