11 steps to looking better without breaking a sweat

Quick fixes for skin, hair, makeup and style give an extra ego boost to encourage dieters

By Dawn Klingensmith CTW Features

It takes time to see results from exercise programs, skincare regimens and other lifestyle changes intended to make us look and feel our best.And while lifestyle changes are the best way to get and stay slim and preserve a youthful appearance, there are fast and effortless ways to look thinner, younger and healthier.Tasting success right from the start makes it easier to stick with resolutions that will bring about lasting improvements down the line.

Here’s a head-to-toe blueprint for instant gratification to complement your long-term nutrition plan.

1. Lighten your locks

Expensive, highmaintenance hair color looks good only as long as you keep it up, but adding subtle highlights or lowlights to the strands that frame your face doesn’t cost much and gives you an overall glow.“To create a natural look, you want to go only one level lighter or darker than your overall hair color.This will brighten your skin tone,” says image consultant Kelly Zinke, Stoltz Image Consulting, Fort Worth,Texas.

2. Fill in vanishing eyebrows

Sparse, overtweezed or graying eyebrows age your face, but penciled in eyebrows can look even worse. “Thicker, fuller brows are in,” Zinke says.“To achieve this look try a brow tint which uses a mascara-like wand to gently apply color to the brow. Color is deposited on the hair rather than on the skin, creating a more natural look.”

3. Start your day with eyes tea

Perk up tired, puffy eyes by gently applying cool, used (or pre-steeped) teabags to closed eyelids for about 15 minutes. Put them in a plastic bag in the fridge and squeeze out the excess moisture before applying. (In a pinch, soak the tea bags in hot water for a minute and then plunge them in ice water before using.) Green or chamomile tea bags are both “extremely soothing, and green tea has antioxidants that can help reduce swelling and puffiness,” says dermatologist Dr. Brooke Jackson, medical director and founder, Skin Wellness Center of Chicago.

4. Frame yourself

If you wear eyeglasses, they are as much a part of your face as your nose and lips.They’re also fashion accessories, with new lines introduced seasonally, so just like clothing, they can start to look dated.“Pick a frame color that goes well with your hair color, and don’t be afraid to go for a bit of pizzazz. Add a bit of glam with rhinestones or other accent pieces,” says Zinke, adding that each yearly eye exam offers a relatively inexpensive way to “hip up” your appearance.Antireflective lens coating eliminates glare so people (and cameras) can focus on your sparkly eyes.

5. Get cheeky

Don’t try to re-sculpt your face using blush, bronzers or contouring powder. Apply blush so it looks like you’re blushing (but not dying of embarrassment). “You should see your blush, but not where it starts and ends,” says San Diego makeup artist Mary Erickson. Invest in a pro-grade blush brush (the little quaredoff ones sold with the compacts tend to produce clownish results) or opt for a cream blush you can apply and blend with your fingers.

6. Plump up your pout

You know how black pants 6 make your rear look smaller? What’s true for your hips is true for your lips. Darker colors like reds, purples and browns have a thinning effect while lighter shades of pink, peach and coral will make your lips look pleasantly plump.

7. Brighten your smile

“I think people underestimate the impact of teeth on their overall appearance,” says Dr. Jennifer Ashton, co-host of ABC’s The Revolution and author of “Your Body Beautiful: Clockstopping Secrets to Staying Healthy, Strong, and Sexy in Your 30s, 40s, and Beyond” (Avery, 2012).“Drugstore whitening strips work. It’s an easy, quick, cheap thing to do.”

8. Elongate your neck

Rid your wardrobe of turtlenecks and high collars because the longer your neck, the thinner you look.“Vnecks flatter almost everyone,” Zinke says,“and they create a beautiful canvas to show off chunky necklaces.”

9. Give your bust a boost

Look as though you dropped weight without dieting simply by getting professionally fitted for a supportive bra that lifts your breasts up and off your rib cage.“It will improve your posture and make a dramatic impact on the way you look,”Ashton says. Farther south, a pair of shaping briefs (Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey swear by Spanx) will complete the gravity defying effect by reining in your rear and trimming your tummy.

10. Show some leg

Three-quarter-length skirts and dresses are all the rage in Hollywood, but they only flatter the “super thin” because they accentuate the widest part of the calf, Zinke says. However, “Almost anyone can wear a knee-length pencil skirt regardless of body shape.”

11. Wear the right boot.

Furry après ski boots are neither sophisticated nor flattering to most figures. And unless you’re tiny, tucking skinny jeans into tall boots will make your rear end loom large. “To create the proper proportions, be sure to wear a longer shirt with skinny pants tucked into boots,” Zinke says.“A wider pant works better with a shorter top and a higher heel.”

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