London - Believe it or not, everyday items such as tea spoons, coffee filters, Post-it notes and tumble dryer sheets have genuinely impressive secret beauty uses.
All it takes is a little imagination and a bit of expert advice to make them work their magic for you…
Teaspoon to curl lashes
Supermodel Miranda Kerr caused a stir recently when she told a reporter she sometimes uses a teaspoon to curl her lashes.
Curling makes them seem longer and thicker and gives the eyes a wider, more youthful look – but how on Earth do you get that effect with a teaspoon?
Says top make-up artist Sophia Price: “Simply hold the bowl of the tea spoon behind your upper lashes and work your way along your lash line with your thumb – pressing the hairs up and holding them for a few seconds along the edge of the spoon until they have a noticeable bend in them.
“It works better if you warm the spoon between your fingers. Apply mascara immediately after curling to hold the shape.”
Use a matchbox to file your nails
A split nail can be infuriating and will catch on everything until it’s filed down. If you don’t have an emery board or clippers to hand, try the beauty editors’ favourite fast fix and search for a box of matches.
“The strike strip – the bit you run the matches along – makes a surprisingly effective emergency nail file,’ says Roxanne Campbell, current UK Manicurist of the Year.
Coffee filters to keep your skin dry
Does your skin tend to look shiny within hours of applying make-up? Facial blotting papers, which come in a book or pouch, are a great way to soak up oil but can cost a lot if you use them every day.
Frugal beauty bloggers say a much cheaper option is hiding in your kitchen. Chosen because they are highly absorbent and lint-free, coffee filters, cut into strips, will soak up oil as well as any blotter, for a long-lasting matt effect.
Post-Its for eyeliner
Love the Sixties “kitten eye” look of thick black eyeliner that flicks up at the outer corners – but find drawing those neat lines difficult? Try using the sticky edge of a Post-it note as a guide, says celebrity make-up artist Julia Carta. It works best with a soft black pencil rather than gel or liquid liners, which are likely to smudge.
“Begin by sticking a small sticky note on to the skin at the side of your eye at an almost vertical angle,” she says. “Using the edge of the note as a ruler, decide where you want the tail of your flick to finish and draw in from there, working along the stickie, and in and along the lid with feathered strokes.”
Ring reinforcer for a French manicure
You don’t need to pay a fortune to get a French manicure. You can get the professional look by using ring reinforcers (the sticky circles with a hole that stop paper tearing in a ring binder) to help you paint neat nail tips in minutes.
Begin by sticking a reinforcer on each nail, leaving a ½cm sliver between the tip and the upper edge of the sticky circle. Now paint the tips in your colour of choice.
Wait for the polish to dry completely before removing the reinforcers. Finally, paint the entire nail with two coats of clear polish for a chic, finished look.
Cooking oil to dry nails
Manicurists will often spritz freshly painted nails with a special oil to make the polish dry more quickly. But did you know that cooking spray – the oil you buy in a can and use to lubricate a pan – can also cut drying time by half?
“Although it’s not quite as fast and effective as the specially formulated manicure spray, a spritz of cooking oil will help nails to dry more quickly,” says Roxanne Campbell.
Once you’ve painted your nails, hold them over a sink or protected surface and give them a light spritz of oil. Hold the can 30cm from your nails as you spray to avoid damaging the finish.
“Use plain oil rather than a low fat or flavoured type and don’t try spritzing with a refillable pump-action spray – it’s the propellant in the pressurised can that helps the polish dry,” says Campbell.
Tumble dryer sheet to stop flyaway hair
Online tipsters say stroking a tumble dryer sheet over flyaway hair will instantly remove static and leave your hair smelling fresh.
“It certainly makes sense,” says Ondine Cowley, artistic director at Nicky Clarke salons. “The conditioner in the sheet should reduce static and add shine.”
If you don’t have dryer sheets, Cowley says applying a little hairspray to your palms – letting it dry for a few seconds, then running it over your hair – should do the trick.
An old toothbrush is the ultimate tool
If you suffer from flaky lips, cover them with a creamy cleanser and gently scrub in circles with a clean toothbrush to remove rough and peeling skin.
A clean toothbrush also makes an excellent eyebrow groomer – and is often used by hairdressers to tame stray baby hairs. “Just spritz the toothbrush with a little hairspray,” says Cowley, “and stroke ever so gently over your up-do or fringe to get a beautifully groomed result.”
Make-up artist Julia Carta sometimes dips a toothbrush in a little moisturiser and uses it to buff away areas of patchy fake tan on knees, ankles and knuckles. “I also use a toothbrush dipped in lemon juice or toothpaste to clean and whiten polish-stained nails.” – Daily Mail