12 hair tips that are GUARANTEED to make your life easier

I collect hair tips like it’s my job (which it is – and YAY for that!). Unfortunately, though there are precious few pro pointers that actually work in real life, for those of us who don’t have any army of hair stylists shadowing us every minute of the day. Because hair can be complicated. Those Alberta Ferreti twists may look ultra-effortless but I defy you to pull them off with only two arms that happen to be on the side of your body, rather than attached at the back!

Which is why I’ve culled through the season’s fashion week diaries and am giving you only those hair hacks that are feasible for normal mortals. And these are seriously pretty easy… in fact, you’ll pretty soon be wondering how you lived without them at all. I am!

Model Gigi Hadid walks the runway wearing Anna Sui Spring 2016 during New York Fashion Week (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

Model Gigi Hadid walks the runway wearing Anna Sui Spring 2016 during New York Fashion Week (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

How to ‘dry shampoo’: Dry shampoo can seem like a Godsend, right up until you are left with rough, chalky strands. To avoid that battle, spray the dry shampoo onto a paddle brush and then spritz some hair spray on top. Now run the brush through your hair and say hello to clean, shiny and chalk-free strands.

Too much dry shampoo (or texturising powder): I was constantly battling with this problem till I learnt the backstage hair quick fix. Simply blast the overdone areas with hairspray… it will dissolve the excess powder.

Hair spray, done right: As for hairspray overload (think stiff and unnatural hair… bah!), spray the hair spray on your hair brush after blow drying it. Then run the brush through your strands. This way, you’ll get the staying power of hairspray, sans the stiffness.

Mousse it up: Every single hairstylist I’ve ever spoken to has one suggestion – run some mousse through your hair, regardless of the style you’re going after. Mousse makes your hair look thicker, tames flyaways and keeps everything smooth and sexy.

Get the gloss: The trick is in only rinsing out your conditioner 70% of the way – an easy way to get glossy locks, though those with fine hair may find it makes their strands too limp. 

Easy, instant waves: Braid thin sections of hair and then run a flat iron over them. Then let the hair cool, unbraid and brush through gently. Voila, tight waves!

Vidal Sassoon for Issa (Photo courtesy St Tropez)

Vidal Sassoon for Issa (Photo courtesy St Tropez)

Volume, volume, volume: For the most OTT volume, spritz hair with some salt before anything else. The salt adds texture and makes hair more dense, making it easier to backcomb.

Braid it tight: If your braid always seems to start falling apart halfway through the day (or night), rub some hair cream in your hands before you start the twisting and knotting. The cream will work its way through the locks as you braid, helping keep everything smooth and in place.

Sleek ponies: To keep it sleek, slick hair back with pomade before tying the elastic.

Flyaways: Yes, theoretically you can use a toothbrush spritzed with a hair spray to tame flyaways. But unless you have just about 4 inches of hair on your head, this is going to take forever. Hair pros have learnt to swap the dental staple for a flat-topped kabuki makeup brush that’s light and dense enough to deliver the spray sans overloading, while being big enough to get the job done quickly.

No slip fix: The rubber band keeps slipping? Spritz on a texturising product – like dry shampoo  or hair spray before you tie it on, then add a shot of hair spray on top for added hold.

Colour fix: Need a fix that will hide those roots without a trip to the salon? Pick an eyeshadow that matches the colour of your hair and brush it on!

What’s your secret hair hack? We could all use the help!

How to look expensive (without robbing the bank!)

Want to look fabulously high-end even when basic necessities (a tank of gas) often trump little luxuries (expensive eye cream)? It’s entirely possible with a little help from Andrea Pomerantz Lustig’s book – How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous Without Breaking the Bank, in which the beauty industry’s top insider (she’s a Contributing Editor at Glamour, was Editor-in-Chief of Sephora.com and Beauty & Fitness Director at Cosmopolitan) reveals secrets gleaned from the world’s most famed hair stylists, makeup artists and skin specialists for looking your best for less. Here are my top 10 how-to’s from the book.

look expensive1. Los Angeles celebrity facialist Stacy Cox’s DIY kitchen peel recipe mimics dermatologist-office results: Mix 3 tablespoons apple juice (contains malic acid, which is a gentle exfoliator) with 3 tablespoons milk (lactic acid, a more intense exfoliator) and 1 egg white (to firm the skin). Apply for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

2. Mammoth pores? Dr. Bobby Buka, the New York “skin star”, suggests soaking gauze in soy milk and applying it as a mask an hour before bed.

3. Dr. Buka also has a solution for puffy, baggy eyes: Make ice cubes out of green tea and massage one under each eye till it melts. No ice? This solution from Ole Henriksen will work just as well: Grate a cucumber, divide the flesh and juice evenly, then roll it up into two seperate strips of gauze to make a mask for each eye. This optimises the cucumber juice, allowing it to seep through for the greatest depuffing action.

4. Lustig’s own favourite trick is to use coconut milk as a body moisturiser. Open a can and let it solidify in the fridge. It will turn into a solid butter you can use on your skin to make it silky soft: “…you’ll be able to get just as much moisturiser out of that one can as a tube of expensive body cream… but it’s natural and smells beyond!”

5. Swap dry shampoo for corn starch baby powder, says hair supremo Creighton Bowman. Makes sense, since this ingredient makes up the base of many dry shampoos anyway. AND it comes in an easy-to-use sprinkle container. To apply, pour a little in your hands, clap palms and rub them together, then run through strands. Voila!

6. For eyes that look dramatic without the faux-lash effect (which is just tacky), makeup pro Vanessa Scali often applies a volumising mascara from the root to the centre of the lash and a lengthening formula from the centre to the tips. The result is “gorgeously lush and seductively lengthy” lashes.

look expensive 27. Sometimes, especially when you are wearing a strong lipstick, it’s best to leave eyes bare with nothing but a touch of mascara. Makeup artist Talia Shobrook likes to dip an eyeliner brush into a thin mascara and use it at the very base of the lids – like liner – to invisibly emphasise the eyes (not glossy or matte like eyeliner, it just looks like you are wearing mascara).

8. Looking for an air brushed effect? Makeup pro Bobby Wells suggests spritzing your foundation brush with Evian Facial spray or a moisturising mist before using it. This will thin out your makeup, make it blend in easier and look more diffused.

9. And that’s not all: celebrity makeup artist Paul Podlucky spritzes finished makeup with a hydrating mineral or vitamin-infused water spray (or even just tap water in a spray bottle!) like MAC Fix+, holding it about 10 inches from the face and then letting skin air-dry to give it a fresh, dewy radiance. It will also take away any chalkiness, smooth out foundation that’s crept into fine lines and thin down a too-heavy application.

10. Finally, who can resist perfume? Beauty heiress (and now creator of her own makeup range) Aerin Lauder, spills the secret she learnt from her grandmother, Estee Lauder: Spray the scent onto your hairbrush. It will cling to natural oils in your hair and make you smell delicious without becoming overpowering.

What are some of YOUR favourite tricks for looking expensive?

Meet Priyanka Chopra. Or should I say, Alex Parrish from Quantico?

The first time I met Priyanka Chopra, she was tucked away in one corner of an extremely chaotic dressing room, devouring an entire pizza. All by herself. Refusing to share. It was a shoot for Cosmopolitan (India) and the young actress was just then stepping into the limelight, riding a combined wave of authentic acting talent and stunning good looks. She was rapidly climbing up the starry pyramid – though still wasn’t anywhere near the point where one could call the shots in a male-dominated industry.

Not that this little bit about maledom and hierarchies and all that other stuff stopped her. Ms Chopra was cool as a cucumber as she chowed down her pizza, waved away the makeup artist while she took time out to help her younger brother with his maths homework and debated the storyboard for the photo shoot till she was completely satisfied. This within an industry where most stars don’t study the storyboard of an entire movie… Priyanka, it was pretty clear even then, was different. Very, very different.

At that point, more than a decade back, I really didn’t like this girl who was so different. There is a safety to interviewing cookie cutter celebs and Priyanka would simply not let you enjoy that comfort zone. She was louder than anyone else I knew in the industry, more vociferous, more challenging, more intelligent, more energetic… just, simply, more of everything.

And she was just simply so contradictory: tough as nails on the surface, yet fragile as glass when she let down her guard (look out for the “daddy’s li’l girl” tattoo on her wrist – it will break your heart); wearing relationships on her sleeve yet refusing to hang out her linen, dirty or otherwise, for magazine inches; chowing down junk food by the carton and yet remaining svelte as a beanpole; scared of heights and yet skydiving from 17,000 feet for fun… you are getting the idea?

And while it was annoying for me as an interviewer to deal with someone who refused to be pigeonholed into mere words, it is this contrariness that has taken Priyanka literally across the world and into the stratosphere. Today, she sings with Pitbull and runs around trees in fantasy-glam Bollywood fashion yet she also shares many of life’s toughest nuances with five-time world boxing champion Mary Kom, who was born to struggle as the daughter of a landless Indian farmer. Her animated Planes was considered for the Best Feature Film category at the 2014 Oscars, while she was busy promoting the cause of Girl Up, a campaign by the United Nations Foundation. Her single In My City, featuring will.i.am, debuted as the theme song for the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football, even as Matthew Bishop, the United Nations Foundation New York Bureau Chief, referred to her as the smartest Miss World.

And now there is Quantico: the mega-budget television blockbuster which propels Priyanka into the uppermost echelons of American television (winning her the People’s Choice award!), as Alex Parrish. Faces like Nimrat Kaur and Archie Punjabi notwithstanding, this is the first time an Indian actress has grabbed the totem pole in a mainstream television series as a central anchor point and not in a character role or a token Asian presence. Quantico literally revolves around Priyanka’s character, putting her front and centre in the living rooms of possibly those very same “mean girls” who bullied her as a “brownie” when she attended high school in Boston.

Priyanka, as usual, defies stereotyping and pigeonholing. And this time round, I can’t help but cheer for her from the rooftops for this leap of faith.

So, meet Priyanka Chopra: Indian actress, American television star, model, singer, United Nations Foundation ambassador, former Miss World. The new villain of the much awaited Baywatch movie. The second most searched for name during this year’s Oscars and part of the Top 10 Best Dressed lists in literally every publication that tracks fashion on the red carpet.

Combine this with the fact that she’s the first Indian woman to become and international Guess girl – shot for the campaign by none other than Bryan Adams – and you know that this 33-year-old has definitely arrived. With trumpets blaring.

Time then, to have a proper chat with this multifaceted enigma and figure out what goes on behind those doe eyes and how in the world does she look so gorgeous, all the time!

priyanka chopra quantico2

Priyanka Chopra in Quantico

When do you feel most feminine?

When I slip into my Snoopy pyjamas and do my nighttime beauty rituals – applying different kinds of lotions all over my body, brushing my hair and so on.

The secret behind that show-stopping figure?

Pizza! No, seriously. I love junk food and the pizza in Mumbai is so good. And French fries… sigh! That’s soul food. [I can vouch for this after having seen “Piggy Chops”, as she is known in Bollywood, scarf down a whole pizza pie on at least THREE different occasions!]

So that’s it, all the time? Really?

[Big sigh] I do mix up the junk eating with sprouts, raw veggies (especially fresh red carrots), steamed or stewed stuff and high fibre snacks. I am also obsessed with coconut water and can have any amount of it at any time in the day.

And that’s how you get such flawless skin?

That and the CTM method: Cleanse-tone-moisturize. Every single day. I also take multi-vitamins and drink a lot of water to keep my skin clear and healthy. Water is really important as it keeps skin moist and sweeps out toxins, which would otherwise clog your body and make everything look and feel sluggish.

Shot by Bryan Adams for Guess

Priyanka Chopra shot by Bryan Adams for Guess

Do you have a nightly beauty ritual?

I can’t go to bed without washing my face thoroughly. Skin won’t breathe or repair itself till all the pore-clogging grime and make-up comes off.

Any secrets to achieving your silky, shiny hair?

I really believe in indigenous kitchen recipes. Warm coconut oil massages are fabulous, as they keep my hair soft and supple while being relaxing as well. At various times, I also bring out the beer, eggs and yogurt for deep conditioning.

What’s the best part about being a woman?

That we get to dress up! On a more serious note, women are emotionally far stronger than men. We can deal with anything and everything without cracking up like most guys. And more than anything else, our capacity to become mothers: That’s truly the most beautiful thing god has bestowed on women.

Channelling Bollywood for Ram Leela

Priyanka Chopra channelling Bollywood for Ram Leela

What would you do if you were a guy for a day?

Nothing really. I don’t think there is anything that a guy can do that a woman cant. However, I would definitely like to live like Winston Churchill for a day. I want to know how it felt to live with such rigid ideals.

What should guys know about women?

That we love getting loads of attention, lots of sympathy and want to be with someone who understands our point of view. Guys are usually too focused on getting others to see things from their point of view, or in analyzing and solving our problems rather than just listening… and that just does not cut it for women!

What’s the biggest mistake that women make in a relationship?

Being too overbearing or possessive, and not giving any space to your guy.

Priyanka Chopra, India-style!

Priyanka Chopra, India-style!

Your kind of guy?

He will have to meet a long list of requirements. Sincerity, intelligence, good looks — so that our kids, all six of them, will be good looking. He has to be adventurous and spontaneous. A good sense of humour is a must and he should share my fetish for cleanliness. AND he should be understanding, give me my space. Asking for much… why, whatever gave you that idea?

What’s a perfect date?

To the moon and back!

Most romantic dream?

I want to have 6 weddings – all with the same guy! The first will be a typical Punjabi wedding in Ambala (India), with rituals that go on for 18-20 days and the whole extended family stays under one roof. The second will be in a small Mother Mary church in Locarno, Switzerland. The third will be underwater, while the fourth will be in Vegas with Elvis officiating. The fifth will be a nikaah, because I find the whole concept extremely romantic. And the sixth will be as my husband wants it.

Is it easy being a celeb?

I wish people would see an actress as someone who is also human. As a girl at heart who wants to do all the normal girly things, like standing in the rain and having an ice cream. It’s not always about the parties, the glitz and the glamour.

What’s the gutsiest thing you’ve ever done?

Skydiving from 17,000 feet at Locarno, Switzerland. I have always been terrified of heights and had promised myself that I would break the fear before I was 22-years-old.

Excerpted from an interview I did for Marie Claire

How to really use the YSL Touche Éclat (In 16 different ways!)

You know that clicky gold pen the world and its cat have been raving about for the past 20 years? The one that’s sold somewhere in the world every 10 seconds? The one that’s supposed to cure all complexion woes, from whisking away dark under-eye circles to making cheekbones pop? The one that actually only seems to make those circles look even more prominent and turns your complexion lifeless? The golden tube that’s languishing somewhere at the back of your dressing table, since you can’t figure out what exactly this wonder product does?

ysl touche eclatMeet the YSL Touche Éclat: one of those beauty products with whom I’ve had a love-hate relationship since forever. I first tried it in college to erase signs of fatigue from under my eyes and ended up drawing every single person’s attention to them. Not surprisingly, I never went back.

That is until every single makeup artist backstage at fashion shows, photo shoots and on movie sets, started mentioning it as a ‘Top 10’ staple in their kits. Could I actually have been wrong? Did the YSL Touché Eclat actually work as advertised? Is it really the only thing you need in a makeup bag?

Yes, yes and yes. My biggest mistake (and that of zillions of other women, much to my relief) was in thinking of Touche Éclat as a concealer. It is NOT a concealer.

Yes, repeat after me: the YSL Touche Éclat is NOT a concealer.

Actually, it’s not even a highlighter. In fact, when Terry de Gunzberg created it in 1991, she actually gave birth to a whole new category of make up that’s now a staple in the lineup for almost every beauty brand. But YSL’s version is still the best and it works in so many ways… almost every make up pro that I meet tells me a brand new way of using this golden pen. Here’s a compilation of the top tips. Enjoy!

1. Banish under-eye circles: First, apply your regular concealer because – remember – YSL Touche Éclat is NOT a concealer. Then paint Touche Éclat in a a semi-circle around the eyes, starting from just above the inner corner, going down to where the eye area meets the cheekbone and moving back up to the outer corner; blend upwards. This will reflect light and illuminate the under-eye zone.

2. Perk up your eyes: A dab in the inner corner of the eyes will make them look wider and brighter, while concealing signs of fatigue.

3. Lift the brows: Blend a thin line below and over your brows to sharpen their definition and lift the entire eye area.

YSL Touche Eclat and the eye zone

YSL Touche Éclat and the eye zone

4. As an eyeshadow base: Use Touche Éclat all over the eye lid as a make up base or primer to improve the hold of eye shadow and help prevent any creasing.

5. Slim the nose: Draw a vertical stripe of YSL Touche Éclat down the bridge of your nose to make it appear slimmer and more chiseled.

6. Banish the red: Apply on the corners of the nose to neutralise redness and broken veins.

7. Hide wrinkles and fine lines: Dab a bit of Touche Éclat directly on wrinkles or laugh lines around the nose and lips, then blend it in with the finger tips. This will visually smooth the recessed areas and make skin look more youthful.

YSL Touche Eclat and the nose

YSL Touche Éclat and the nose

8. Enhance the cheekbones: Use Touche Éclat like a highlighter on top of cheekbones to make them appear more sculpted and brighten the entire face.

9. Make lips appear fuller: Place Touche Éclat around the edge of the lips and blend it inwards to create the illusion of a fuller pout.

10. Enhance your lipstick: After putting on lipstick, apply some Touche Éclat to the outside areas of both your top and bottom lip as well as the cupid’s bow. This will pull focus to a brightly painted mouth.

11. Enhance the cupid’s bow: As an added bonus, you can apply Touche Éclat around the cupid’s bow to sharpen and enhance its lines.

YSL Touche Eclat and the lips

YSL Touche Éclat and the lips

12: Sculpt and highlight your face: Use on the bridge of the nose, between the brows, on the top of cheekbones and on the chin, to sharpen your features. Use in the middle of your forehead, the bridge of your nose, the point of your chin and above your cheekbones.

13. Conceal signs of fatigue: Apply Touche Éclat to the darker areas of your face (underneath your eyes, at the sides of your nose, the corner of the mouth and the hollow of the chin.

14. As a make up corrector: Click Touche Éclat thrice and apply the drop over any smudge. Use the droplet as a corrector and wipe off with a cotton bud.

15. Define the nails: Blend Touche Éclat around the cuticle to shine the spotlight on pretty nails.

16. Elongate the legs: Use Touche Éclat down the side of the leg to elongate.

Have you ever used the YSL Touche Éclat? Do you think it lives up to its status as an iconic makeup must-have?