Forget the gym - here's how to cheat at looking good with a few simple tips
PUBLISHED: 20:27 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 20:27 19 January 2020
Need to look your best, fast? Just cheat, says Sharon Morrison
Those fitness classes are really busy right now aren't they? It's the natural reaction to a fantastic Christmas break. Perhaps we should have refused seconds, not eaten quite as much Christmas pud and as for the chocolate and alcohol consumption… but not resisting temptation is what makes the Christmas break so much fun. It's the one time of the year when we can relax and indulge ourselves without feeling guilty. Then we start the new year resolved to kick the bad habits once and for all. A regime of regular exercise and healthy eating will pay dividends, but if you're doing it properly then the losses, weight and inches, should be slow and steady. But slow and steady isn't really helpful if you have to go to an event in the next couple of weeks and want to be in stunning shape. For that you need fast and furious. In other words, you'll need to cheat; the best news is that looking fab-u-lous won't even take a day to achieve.
Starting at the top and working all the way down to your toes, here are my failsafe tips on what you can do to look your very best, very quickly, without spending a fortune:
Hair: A good hairstyle matters, but there's no time for a dramatic makeover, so you need to work with what you've got. Whether you prefer neat or messy, make sure your hair looks healthy. If those split ends which should have been cut off weeks ago are still there, then apply a tiny amount of argan oil to give your hair some sheen. If the roots are showing, cover them; there are plenty of DIY powder alternatives if can't get an appointment with your usual hairdresser.
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Eyes: We're all a lot better at looking after our eyebrows these days, and I guess I don't need to mention monobrows or Frida Kahlo here do I? Let's assume all straggly hairs have been plucked away and you know how to use a little brown or grey eye shadow to fill in any gaps or make them a little more intense, but not Cara Delevingne intense. The focus is now on your eyes. They may be the windows to your soul, but nothing ruins a photograph or Instagram post more than if those windows look shut. You need eyelashes that make an impact and open up those eyes. If your own lashes are long, then it's worth investing in a good quality eyelash primer and mascara. Need a little more help? Then false eyelashes are a safe option but, if you can't put them on yourself ask a friend or, if you buy the lashes from the cosmetics counter (big stores only), the makeup artist will apply them for you. Some women are advocates of lash extensions, which can look amazing. The Russian style might be a little OTT and Classic too light, so you could opt for Hybrid, which is a mix of the two. Once they've been applied, they're yours for four weeks or so, and you don't need to apply any mascara to achieve that wide-awake look. Lack of sleep or inherited undereye shadows can make you look tired, even if you don't feel it, so don't forget the concealer.
Lips: If you haven't used filler to make your lips fuller, don't do it now, experiment when you're not in the spotlight, just in case you have a reaction. There are some lip plumping products out there, but in my experience they have a limited effect; to give your lips the appearance of fullness start using lip balm - do it now - to keep your lips hydrated, which will make them look softer and less lined. Then you need lip liner, which you can apply slightly outside the edge of your lips, but make sure the colour is only a tad darker than the lipstick you're wearing (don't do a Jackie Collins). A matt lipstick may be too drying, I'd go for a satin effect and then apply a little clear lip gloss to the centre of your lips to create an optical effect of plumpness.
Body: Often it's not the outfit that will make you look a million dollars, but what's underneath it. Whether you're wearing a dress, skirt or trouser ensemble, a more streamlined figure will make it look that much better, which means you'll feel more confident and will wear it well. You may have a tummy you'd like to see less of, a waist you'd like to find or boobs that have given up the fight with gravity; if that's the case, only good underpinnings will solve the problem. M&S was my mecca for bras until I discovered Rigby and Peller; their lingerie stylists know how to select the size and design that will be perfect for enhancing your shape in a specific outfit, but their bras aren't cheap and, as they only have nine boutiques in the UK, not that accessible. The important thing is to make sure your bra not only gives you good support, but a good shape too. You need both, not one or the other. If you want to reduce the size of your midriff, waist, stomach, hips, bottom or thighs, there's an abundance of shapewear available to you, and they are far more comfortable than they used to be; you may feel a little restricted at first, but it's so worth it. Spanx is a well-known brand, and Kim Kardashian's Skims range has amazing variety, but there are cheaper own label ranges out there and you're spoiled for choice. If you don't need as much help in this area, there are some great control tights and slips (petticoats) for a light smoothing effect. There's no shapewear for bingo wings, so you either decide to flaunt your arms, or cover up as Helen Mirren does (although I think her arms look great). Don't forget your hands though, a manicure or false nails, will make them, and you, look more soignée.
Legs: If they're going to be on show, and you're not wearing tights, you might want to consider flashing a tanned pair. There are many good quality self-tanning products on most chemists' shelves, but a spray will give your legs an immediate a healthy glow. Don't forget a pedicure, as that completes the look.
Now you're ready for that party, and both the effort and cost of getting there have, let's face it, been minimal.