Surprising Ways to Improve Your Complexion

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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Beauty , Skin Care
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Skip the Soap (Really!)

"If your face feels tight after washing, you've removed all the oils that keep your skin looking fresh and youthful," says Jennifer Linder, a dermatologist in Scottsdale, Arizona. Your best bet is a nonsoap cleanser like Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser ($10; burtsbees.com).

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Color-Correct Your Hair

Your hair could be your skin's worst enemy. "If the color doesn't complement your skin's undertones, you're going to look washed-out and sallow," says Doug Macintosh, a colorist at Louise O'Connor Salon in New York City. If you have warm skin, you need honey or golden pigments in your hair, he explains. Cooler tones should go for ash or blue-based shades. Not sure where you fall? Take a look at the undersides of your wrists. Do your veins look blue? If yes, you're cool. If you've got greenish ones, you're warm.

Slip Into Silk

Ditch your cotton pillowcases and wake up looking refreshed. "Silk cases are slippery, so they create less friction against your face," says Canyon Ranch's Hittleman. It might sound like a small change, but over time all that wear and tear adds up on your skin.

Become a Back Sleeper

The side of your face that you sleep on will develop more wrinkles, so staying flat helps fight the signs of aging. Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist in Washington, D.C., suggests sleeping with pillows on either side of your head to keep you from rolling to your side during the night.

Get Water You Can Drink All Day

"As simple as it sounds, water can go a long way in waking up your skin. Every part of your body needs water to operate at its best, so if you're dehydrated, your skin can suffer," says Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist in Boston. Not a fan of plain h20? Add watermelon, cucumber, or orange slices.

Get Creative with Carrots

"Carrots are high in beta-carotene, which is converted into skin-firming retinol when your skin absorbs it," says Los Angeles dermatologist Jessica Wu, author of Feed Your Face. Here's her recipe for a homemade treatment: Whisk 2 egg whites with 1 Tbsp. finely shredded raw or cooked mashed carrots. Keeping your eyes closed, apply the mixture to your eye area and relax for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing with a damp towel.

Work Up a Sweat

New research shows that exercise can help reverse the signs of aging. Canadian scientists had subjects 65 and older participate in moderate workouts twice a week for three months. The skin biopsies at the end of the study looked similar to what you'd expect in people 20 to 40 years younger.

Go Green

"My solution for tired skin and tired bodies is a daily 4 p.m. green juice," says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection. "It will not only revive your mind, but also give your complexion a nutrient and hydration boost."

Vargas' Mix: 1 green apple, 1 handful of parsley, 1 handful of kale, 2 handfuls of romaine, 3 celery stalks, ½ cucumber, juice of ½ lemon, and 1 inch ginger, juiced together

Keep Your Hair Shiny

If your hair is dull, there's no way your skin will look luminous. Here's colorist Macintosh's favorite at-home shine-boosting trick: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 10 parts water in a spray bottle and mist onto damp hair. "The vinegar smell disappears as your hair dries, and your hair will look glossy and alive once you style it," he says.

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