Beauty fix: Solving everyday makeup dilemmas, from blemishes to chipped polish

Every week our Beauty Fix columnist takes on your questions about makeup, skincare, hair and more. Have a beauty question we haven’t answered? Email us at[email protected] or ask away in the comments below.

What’s the simplest alternative to professional gel manicures? They’re too time-consuming to commit to!
If you’re not able to commit your time (or money!) to gel manicures done by a pro, rest assured that you have a long-lasting alternative that you can pick up at the drugstore. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (shown in “Mad Women”, $11, at drugstores) is the latest and greatest from the nail authority, and this formula is heavy-duty without the fuss of a UV or LED light-curing process, boasting up to 14 days of chip-free wear. Simply apply two coats of gel colour (no base coat required) and finish with the Miracle Gel Top Coat. Both the gel colour and top coat formulas contain similar ingredients, but the top coat contains a photoinitiator that cures with natural UV light, so the gel colour becomes more durable as time passes. Bonus: 47 shades in a slew of different finishes means this system is one you’ll definitely be able to embrace wholeheartedly!

I have acne-prone skin, so what can I use on a daily basis that will fight acne and the appearance of past breakout scars?
Dealing with acne-prone skin is a delicate matter, but it doesn’t have to be an overly complicated one. The trick is to find the right blend of active ingredients and hydration so that bacteria and acne scars are being diminished without harming the skin’s lipid barrier. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+] ($26, at drugstores) is a reformulation of the classic acne-fighting Effaclar Duo, with the key change being the addition of a patented ceramide that prevents skin’s melanocytes (our pigment-producing cells) from forming a brown or red mark on the skin when a breakout occurs. In addition to that innovative ingredient, this formulation contains the heralded heroes of the previous formula: anti-inflammatory niacinamide, bacteria-fighting piroctone olamine, and salicylic acid, among other skin-loving ingredients. It can be used as a moisturizer all over skin or as a targeted spot treatment, and it doesn’t increase skin’s photosensitivity, making it suitable for daytime use under makeup.

How can I make my lash line appear thicker?
This is a very common inquiry, and the real trick is to get your liner as close to your lashes as possible for big impact with minimal product. Try using a slim liner, such as Hourglass 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eye Liner ($19,, which is ideal for wiggling into the spaces between your lashes to maximize the appearance of your lash line without committing to something more drastic, like lash extensions or false lashes. The obsidian black gel formula is waterproof, so it’s also excellent for tightlining or wearing on your waterline, and it applies with the ease of a pencil.

My usual shaving foam makes my legs burn like crazy. What’s a good alternative?
Traditional shaving gel or shaving foam can irritate skin due to high alcohol content, which doesn’t exactly make for a smooth, comfortable shave. It’s time to abandon the old foam and get into a shaving cream that hydrates skin while giving you the smoothest shave you’ve had in ages. The formulation of eos 24-Hour Moisturizing Shave Cream ($4, at drugstores) is enriched with shea butter, aloe and oat to soothe skin, and it contains protective oils to allow your razor to glide along your skin effortlessly for a close yet comfortable shave. Bonus: this stuff is so hydrating and cushions skin so effectively that you can actually use it to shave skin wet or dry.

What can I use to target multiple skin concerns? Should I use multiple products?
Using multiple products is always an option, but it’s not always easy to find products that play nicely with each other when they cohabitate on your skin. Too many active ingredients can do more detriment than good to your skin, so try to commit to a single product that can address as many of your concerns without overloading your skin. Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum ($69, delivers ingredients such as red algae, caffeine, hyaluronic acid, wheat germ extract, reparative enzymes, and brightening plant extracts to your skin in order for any concerns related to uneven skin tone, dullness, lines, wrinkles and loss of firmness to be a thing of the past with continued use. The formula is fragrance-free and suited to all skin tones and skin types.

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