28 DIY Beauty Hacks For Your Hair, Makeup, Nails and Skin

In a pinch? Just play MacGyver with these time-saving, problem-solving beauty tricks.
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Katrina Persad
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In a pinch? Just play MacGyver with these time-saving, problem-solving beauty tricks.

As you guys might've guessed, I'm obsessed with beauty. (Really obsessed.) I also happen to collect tips from Lifehacker like it's my job. 

So what do you get when you mix beauty and lifehacks

Beauty hacks! A beauty hack is a simple DIY effort—maybe even using an unexpected household item—that will save you time and solve a specific beauty problem. 

Here are 28 beauty hacks that I swear by (as demonstrated by my beautiful cousin). Let me know if you've tried any of these—or if you have a hack or two of your own!

Hair Hacks

1. Double Your Ponytail Volume 

Wish your ponytail wasn't so wimpy? The trick is to create not one but TWO ponies. 

Pull the top half of your hair up into a ponytail and secure with an elastic. Then, secure the remaining hair into a ponytail just below the first one. You'll achieve instant volume and length! If the ponytails are too visible, take a 1-inch section of hair from the bottom pony and wrap it around the two ponytails.  

Volume ponytail trick

Double your ponytail volume by creating not one but TWO ponies.

2. De-Frizz Your Curls

If you've run out of clean towels, not to worry—a cotton T-shirt is actually way better at keeping the frizz down. Curly girls, take note! Just remember to squeeze the water out, don't rub; then wrap your hair in a T-shirt turban to dry.

3. Keep Bobby Pins in Place

Ever find that bobby pins don't stay in your hair? Here's what pro hairstylists do. Lay them down on a paper towel and mist with dry shampoo or hairspray. It'll add "grip" so they won't budge in your hair. 

Dry shampoo on bobby pins

A spritz of dry shampoo helps bobby pins stay in place.

Pro tip: Remember to insert your bobby pins with the smooth side up for the best hold.

Bobby pin tip

The ridged side of the bobby pin should be closest to your scalp.

4. Anchor Your Side-Swept Hairstyle

Want your hair to stay over one shoulder or tucked behind one ear? Create a small braid on that side—it'll guide your hair in the direction you want it to go, keeping it locked in place.

5. Shape Your Hair Without Heat Tools

If you hate struggling with heat tools, this is a favourite trick of mine: use bobby pins on damp hair to create the shapes your want your hair to have. 

I'm a big fan of this technique for creating the kind of front volume Michelle has been talking about (see Nina Agdal at the Guys' Choice Awards). Or, try the lazy girl's finger waves:

Bobby pin waves

Easy finger waves with minimal effort.

6. Make Your Own Beach Spray

Who needs Bumble and Bumble? In an empty spray bottle, add unflavoured seltzer water and a tablespoon of sea salt. Shake well, and then mist through your hair.

7. Get No-Heat Waves

If you've never been able to get your curling iron technique quite right, try what I like to call the "dog ears method". Divide your hair into two halves (try to make them as even as possible). On each side, twist your hair away from your face and secure with an elastic at the bottom. 

Once both sides are twisted, bring the ends together in front of your chin and secure the two sections together with an elastic. Sure, you'll look a little silly, but sleep on it—and when you take your hair out in the morning, you'll have beautiful, swirly waves. 

No-heat waves

These waves are well worth looking a little goofy in the process—see?

8. Maintain Your Blow-Dry Volume

Here's how to prevent your hair from falling flat. Swirl your freshly blown-out hair into a big, floppy bun on top of your head, and clip it loosely to secure. If you allow it to completely cool this way—while your roots are lifted—you'll have maximum volume when you're ready to take it down and head out the door.

9. Tame Your Baby Hairs

Don't throw away those toothbrushes you get from a trip to the dentist! They're perfect for smoothing the baby hairs along your hairline into place. Just mist the toothbrush with hairspray for extra hold.

You can also use a spare clean toothbrush to brush your brows into place, to scrub flaky lips and even to clean out your hairbrushes.

Makeup Hacks

10. Prevent Lipstick From Getting On Your Teeth

Judging from lots of the red carpet photos we see here at Beauty Editor, many celebrities still don't know this hack! To prevent the dreaded lipstick-on-your-teeth scenario, just apply your lipstick as normal, and then clamp your lips around your index finger and slide it out. 

Prevent lipstick on teeth

The index finger trick is simple but SO necessary, and effective.

11. Make Your Lipstick Last

If you need your lip colour to stay put all day (and don't we all?!), then follow this process. Apply your lipstick, and then blot it gently with a tissue. Separate the tissue into 1-ply, and then hold it over your lips as you lightly dust them with translucent powder. Apply a second coat of lipstick, and you're good to go!

12. Make Your Own Lip and Cheek Stain

You can multi-task with just one lipstick. Apply it to your lips with a fingertip, concentrating the colour on the centre of your lower lip. Take the excess on your finger and dab it on your cheeks, blending well, for a perfectly matched flush.

13. Draw the Perfect Cupid's Bow

Sometimes, it's the little things. When you're wearing a bright or dark lip colour, making your Cupid's bow more defined can take your look to the next level. 

To draw the ultimate Cupid's bow, you don't have to be a whiz at outlining your lip shape. Simply use a lip liner in the same colour as your lipstick, and draw an X at your cupid's bow. Then, fill in the rest with lipstick. 

Cupid's bow

A precise Cupid's bow totally elevates your lip look.

14. Create Natural-Looking Contours 

Does traditional brown contouring powder look muddy on your skin? It's a common problem for cool-toned complexions. Instead, try a mauve-taupe eyeshadow. Yes, really! 

Chanel knows all about this—the brand came out with the cult hit, Notorious Ombre Contraste/Sculpting Veil, two years ago and it immediately sold out! Look for dupes such as Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Heather. And remember that a light-handed application will provide the most realistic-looking contour.

15. Get Sexy "Morning After" Liner

You don't actually have to sleep in your makeup to get that lived-in liner look. Just rim your lower waterline (upper, too, if you're feeling fancy) with eyeliner, and then squeeze your eyes shut a few times to transfer the product onto both the upper and lower lashlines. Clean up any mess on your lids with a makeup remover pad, and voilà: semi-rimmed, morning-after liner!

Bonus hack: If you don't have any eyeliner, eyeshadow applied wet can make a good substitute. But don't try mascara, as it can irritate your waterlines. And definitely don't copy Taylor Swift, who once used a Sharpie to do a cat eye.

16. Fix Your Crumbled Makeup Palette

Nope, you don't have to throw away a favourite pan of pressed powder, blush or shadow that's cracked and crumbled. Simply add three to five drops of rubbing alcohol to the pan and let it absorb. Mix into a paste, and use the back of a spoon to firmly smush it back in place. Leave it overnight, and your makeup will have solidified again. Magic!

17. Do Quick Smoky Eyes

Perpetually late—or just uncoordinated? You can still pull off a smoky eye in no time. Just draw a slanted hashtag (#) on a diagonal angle at the outer corner of each eyelid. Use an eyeshadow brush to blend out the edges for an instant smoky look.

Quick smoky eyes

The fastest smoky eye technique around.

18. Fill in Your Eyeliner Gaps

Got gaps in your liner application—but can't quite see 'em with one eye closed? Here's what you do. When applying eyeliner across your top lash line, tilt your forehead back so that your chin juts forward and your eyes are almost closed. Now, get in really close to the mirror, and you'll be able to see the gaps along your lash line where you've missed applying liner.

19. Tame Your Brows

Brows are big right now—but if yours are a little too unruly, you can easily tame them with a clear lip balm. Just dab on, and then brush into place with a spoolie brush. No wax or brow gel required!

Pro tip: Clear lip balm also makes an awesome highlighter for underneath the brows, and the tops of the cheekbones.

20. Perfect Your Eye Makeup

Who says you have to be a pro with liquid liner? (Or any other eye makeup, for that matter.) If you didn't get your lines quite even or in the right position, use a cotton swab dampened with makeup remover to simply wipe away the makeup where you don't want it—without having to start all over again.

This trick also works well for creating the diagonally-shaped, cat-style eyeshadow that we've been seeing on lots of celebs lately. After you apply the shadow, the Q-tip helps create the sharp angles you want at the edges.

Bonus hack: Create your own pointy-tipped swabs by pinching a third of the cotton off a regular swab, and then twisting the remaining cotton into a point.

Q-Tip and makeup remover

A Q-tip dipped in makeup remover will sharpen up your lines and angles.

21. Blot Oily Skin on the Go

You don't need fancy blotting papers to tame oily skin in a pinch. Anything with absorbing qualities will do: think Starbucks napkins, toilet seat covers and even coffee filters will temporarily soak up grease. 

22. Make Your Curled Lashes Last

Got stubbornly straight lashes that never seem to hold a curl? Try holding your metal eyelash curler in the crook of your arm or against your thigh for 30 seconds. The warmth of your body heat will heat it up, helping to "set" the curl.

Note: You can also try this trick with a blow-dryer to heat up the curler, but make SURE to test the curler on your hand before putting it to your eye, as you don't want to burn yourself!

23. Build Your Own Commuter Makeup Kit

Who wants to lug around a bunch of full-sized tubes for makeup touch-ups? Ain't nobody got space for all that packaging. 

You can pour a weekend's worth of your cream and liquid products into contact lens cases for easy access on the go. This is great for commuting during the daytime, or a night out with a tiny clutch.  

Makeup in contact lens case

A new use for all those contact lens cases you've got lying around.

Nail Hacks

24. Dry Your Nail Polish, Fast

Nobody likes waiting around for their nails to dry, so here's a little shortcut. After you're done painting, wait three minutes. Then, submerge your fingertips in cold water for at least 30 seconds. Lift your hands from the wrist out, so the water drips down off your nails. The cold helps the polish set, speeding up the drying time. 

Speed up your mani with this cold water trick.

Speed up your mani with this cold water trick.

25. Prevent Staining

If you've ever experienced stained cuticles from your favourite nail polish shades, there's an easy way to prevent it from happening. Keep your skin from getting stained by swiping a bit of lip balm on your cuticles before painting your nails. (Just make sure you don't get it on the nail beds themselves, as it will prevent the colour from adhering properly.)

 This trick also works with home hair colour. Covering your hairline and ears with Vaseline (or a non-petroleum equivalent) before you dye.

Skin Hacks

26. Make Your Hands and Feet Super-Soft

An oldie but a goodie: slather a moisturizing cream on your hands and feet, and then put on some gloves and socks right before you go to sleep. If you can handle wearing those extra layers to bed, you'll be amazed by how soft your skin feels in the morning.

For an even deeper hydration, supercharge it by layering an oil underneath the cream.

27. Get a Smooth Shave

Want to shave your legs and 'pits, but you're out of shaving cream? No worries. Hair conditioner makes an excellent substitute. The creamier, the better—the conditioner will soften the hair and make it just as easy to get a close shave.

28. Remove Your Makeup Without Makeup Remover

You don't need a fancy oil cleanser to get your makeup off—and I mean ALL off. Coconut oil actually makes a great (and cheap!) makeup remover. Gently massage on a small amount to break up the makeup, and then follow up with a regular cleanser to remove all traces of the oil, dirt and makeup.

Pro tip: Coconut oil also makes an awesome body moisturizer, and an excellent overnight hair mask (ends only though!). 

Have Your Say

Have you tried any of these beauty hacks? What are the beauty hacks YOU swear by?