Surprising Complexion Improvers

We're constantly barraged with new products to help our skin glow or fade past blemishes -- but there are easy ways to either cut back on these products or help them work harder for you. These unexpected beauty hacks take creams out of the equation with straightforward, start-today tips to put you on the path to perfectly luminous skin.

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Thicken Thinning Lashes

It's not your imagination. Your once lush lashes might actually be thinner these days -- a byproduct of aging and sometimes too much wear and tear. Fortunately, there are ways to thicken up your fine fringe instantly: makeup and over-time solutions that can promote new lash growth.

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Nail Art for Grown-Ups

Fun, colorful nail art doesn't have to be just for teenagers and celebrities. We asked some of our favorite bloggers and go-to industry pros to tell all when it comes to nailing the latest trends in nail art. With just a few simple tips and tricks, we know everyone -- including your friends and your teenage daughter -- will be coming to you for style advice!

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Banish Raccoon Eyes!

It's a common beauty complaint: In the a.m., your eyeliner and mascara look flawless, but by 3 p.m. it looks like you've slept in your makeup. Since you're probably not snoozing on the job, the source of your smudges is most likely liner or mascara that mixes with oil and sweat and migrates down to your undereyes. Here, easy tricks to clean up your act and prevent your next eye makeup meltdown.

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Goof-Proof Self-Tanners

If you like the look of a deep tan or even just a subtle, sun-kissed glow, sunless tanner is the only way to go (no skin-damaging UV rays!). But we all know application can be tricky. One false move and you can be left with an obvious streak that lasts for days. Fortunately, the latest crop of glow getters makes a faux tan faux pas free.

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Products You Need By 30

We're all for having fun and experimenting, but by the time you hit the big 3-0, you should be able to commit to a few reliable, no-fail beauty products. We asked top hair, makeup, and skin pros to reveal the stuff they think should be in every 30-something's bathroom.

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12 Beach Bag Must-Haves

Summer days are meant to be carefree, but that doesn't mean you can drop the, um, beach ball with your beauty routine. Here are our favorite warm-weather essentials to keep you feeling and looking cool, chic, and well protected.

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Your Anti-Aging Cheat Sheet

Anti-aging creams can pack tons of ingredients and big promises, but can they really deliver? We asked top dermatologists to simplify your skin care shopping process by revealing the seven best wrinkle-smoothers available over the counter. Consider this your cheat sheet to the active ingredients proven to keep skin looking younger, longer.

Retinol

It's the most popular and most studied over-the-counter retinoid. "Topical retinoids bind to receptors in the skin and stimulate collagen growth," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. "They can help thicken the dermis, or deepest layer of the skin, which evens out texture and reduces fine lines and wrinkles." While it may take a little longer to work than prescription-strength versions, retinol tends to be less irritating than Rx retinoids.

Scan labels for: Retinol, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, and retrinal

Try: L'Oreal Paris RevitaLift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Creme ($20; drugstore.com), with retinol.

Hylauronic Acid

This megahydrator is a natural lubricant found in our skin that decreases with age. When included in a topical cream or serum, it acts as a humectant, meaning it draws water from the atmosphere into the skin, giving the surface a smoother, plumper appearance (albeit, temporarily).

Scan labels for: hyaluronic acid, hyaluronan, and sodium hyaluronate

Try: Dr. Jart Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask ($48; sephora.com).

Peptides

These proteins are long chains of amino acids that send messages to cells, telling them to produce more collagen. Without adequate collagen, skin loses its firmness and wrinkles start to form. "Peptides have some clinical studies behind them," says Paul Jarrod Frank, a dermatologist in New York City. "They're proven to stimulate both collagen and elastin (which gives skin its resiliency)."

Scan labels for: hexapeptides, pentapeptides, oligopeptides, Matrixyl, and copper peptides

Try: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream ($29; ulta.com).

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

AHAs are acids -- typically from fruit, milk, or sugars -- that loosen the gluelike bonds that keep complexion-dulling dead skin cells hanging around. Once those cells slough off, fresher, glowier skin is exposed. With regular use, skin looks brighter, smoother, and more even.

Scan labels for: glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acids

Try: Philosophy The Microdelivery Mini Peel Pads ($38; philosophy.com), with lactic acid.

Growth Factors

When you get a wound, your cells send signals to start the healing process. Cosmetic companies were able to mimic these signals with synthetic and plant-based growth factors that stimulate collagen, essentially healing lines and wrinkles, Zeichner says.

Scan labels for: kinetin and epidermal growth factor (EGF).

Try: Kinerase Restructure Firming Cream ($98; kinerase.com), with kinetin.

Antioxidants

Think of topical antioxidants as fire extinguishers, Zeichner says. They neutralize free radicals -- unleashed by UV light, smoke, and pollution -- before they get a chance to do harm to healthy skin cells. Wear them in the morning, along with sunscreen, as an added layer of protection.

Scan labels for: vitamin C (ascorbic acid), green tea, ferulic acid, vitamin E (tocopherol), co-enzyme Q10

Try: EsteƩ Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF15 ($48; esteelauder.com), with vitamins C and E.

See 10 sneaky ways to take off the years.

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