marie claire asked the experts for their best advice on your top hair, skin and make-up queries.

View Comments

How can I make my make-up last all day? I work in a busy office and don't have time for touch-ups. Any tricks of the trade? - Bianca
Celebrity make-up artist Bobbi Brown advises you go easy on your moisturiser and, instead of applying it all over, use it just where skin feels dry, and don't use eye cream near your lids. "Set foundation with powder - instead of a puff, use a powder brush and concentrate on your forehead, cheeks and nose where skin tends to be oilier," adds Brown. "Then, create a long-lasting lip stain - dab on lipstick, then rub your finger in a powder blush that's a similar shade, and press it over the top." Also, look for products built to last, such as Gorgeous Cosmetics iPrime Eyeshadow Base (1), $37; Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Pale Almond (2), $68; and Revlon ColorStay Mineral Blush in Petal (3), $26.95.

I have terrible trouble with ingrown hairs after waxing - nothing seems to help. Any suggestions? - Claire
Regular exfoliation with a non-oily scrub or heavy-duty loofah should improve the situation. It's also a good idea to invest in a topical treatment to bring ingrown hairs to the surface. "If you're prone to the problem, and only after you've tried exfoliating with products made specifically for after hair removal, go to a recognised salon where a therapist can help remove ingrowns," advises Gilly Harriott, owner of Les Smooth waxing specialists in Sydney. If you continue to suffer, she suggests you consider returning to the razor. Try Payot Pâte Grise Purifying Care, $40; The Body Shop Hemp Body Mit, $17.95; or Jurlique Body Exfoliating Gel, $45.

I'm sick of looking bland and safe. How can I be more adventurous with my make-up without looking over the top? - Connie
"The most modern and flattering way to try a strong colour is by wearing it on one part of your face – there's nothing more dated than wearing dramatic eyes and lips at the same time," says Brown. If your eyes are your favourite feature, she suggests playing them up with a creamy eye pencil, smudged to achieve a smoky result, while keeping lips soft and neutral. "Or try a red or wine-toned lip, which is classic and perfect for a night out," she adds. If you're timid, consider a sheer-textured lipstick or gloss in a bold tone that's a cinch to apply – no mirror required. Try Max Factor Colour Collections Lipstick in Flame Tree, $20.75; and Bloom Eye Pencil in Black, $24.

If you have hair on your top lip, should you bleach it, wax it or use hair-removal cream? - Phoebe
"It depends on your hair type," offers Harriott. "If it's darker hair, waxing is ideal. Bleaching will only make it lighter so, in daylight, hair will still be noticeable." If you have dark hair and pale skin, she suggests that laser hair removal could be your best option. Just be sure you do your research and select a reputable practitioner."If, however, your lip hair is light, ask a friend for her honest advice as to whether it’s noticeable in daylight, or after your foundation is applied," continues Harriott. If the answer is "yes", she suggests you consider waxing for a smoother finish. "If it's simply fine and light facial hair though, it's best just to leave it alone – unless it really annoys you."

How can I stop my skin from looking dull and tired under my make-up? - Carolyn
"The most effective way to wake up your skin is to hydrate it both inside and out," advises Brown. "Start your day with a big glass of water flavoured with a splash of lemon juice, then focus on your skincare routine," she says, recommending that, if your face is feeling tight or dry, you should upgrade to a richer cream. "Take a few minutes to let the moisturiser absorb, and do another round if your skin still feels dry," adds Brown. Next, prepare your complexion for make-up with a perfecting primer that works to even out skin tone, creating a smooth canvas for your foundation. We like Avon Magix Face Perfector SPF 20, $39.99; and Dr. LeWinn’s Private Formula Instant Beauty Radiance Booster, $54.95.

I have been plucking my eyebrows for years and have hardly any left. What can I use to create shape? - Rene
"If you have over-plucked and are trying to regrow your brows, but still want to look groomed, use the assistance of a brow stencil so your eye gets used to a new shape," advises arch expert Steve Supple of Brows By Steve in Sydney. "You can shade using either a shadow or pencil. A shadow will impart a softer look, but it may fade. A pencil will last longer, but should be softened down by brushing the colour into your brows with a soft brow brush," he advises. We like bareMinerals Brow Color in Dark Blonde/Medium Brown, $38; and, for a range of stencil shapes, ModelCo Eye Brows Designer Brow Kit in Medium, $48; or L'Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Professional in Medium-Dark Brown, $23.95.

I follow a strict beauty regimen and cleanse, tone and moisturise. Even so, I face breakouts, dry skin, under-eye circles...why? - Ishita
Perhaps the products you're using, or the routine you employ, may be wrong for you, explains Ruth Muller, research and development at Dove. "Your cleanser may be stripping your skin of essential oils, causing dry cheeks and an oily T-zone, due to the over-stimulation of sebaceous glands." Dark circles and breakouts can be exacerbated by hormones, stress and ill health, so Muller advocates drinking plenty of water, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly. And consider switching to gentle, fuss-free buys, such as Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion (11), $3.99; and L’Oréal Paris Perfect Clean Gentle Scrub + cleanPod in Glow, $12.95.

I'm noticing dark circles under my eyes. How do I treat them? - Pamela
Start with an eye-specific treatment. Used twice a day on the delicate skin beneath your eyes, it'll work to soothe bags, puffiness and shadows. Then, get smart with concealer. According to Brown, the antidote is a combination of two shades. "Start with a pale pink shade to 'correct' the purply-green colour of your circles, then layer on a yellow-toned concealer," she explains. "Application is key: make sure you apply concealer under the eye up to the lashline and into the inner corners. Use your fingers to gently blend, then lock it in place with pale yellow loose powder." Try Bobbi Brown Beige Creamy Concealer Kit, $60; Jane Iredale Circle\Delete in 1, $58; or Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Eye Treatment, $88.

I have recently gone blonde from brunette. I have very dark eyebrows - should I lighten my brows, too? - Jaala
The current trend, especially for those with blonde hair, is to stop lightening your brows to avoid orange-looking, lighter shades. "If you already have naturally darker brows, simply keep them groomed of longer, thicker or darker wayward hairs to keep them from overpowering your look," says Supple. "This will still enable them to enhance your facial structure and features." If your brows are more fair, Supple suggests adding definition and fullness by tinting them a shade or two darker to frame your eyes. Then remove any stray hairs, but don’t be tempted to change your natural shape too much - fuller arches are far more flattering. Stay in shape with Elite Professional Eyebrow Tweezers, $8.95.

I am plagued with uncontrollable, frizzy hair. What are some tips for taming my mane without using hair straighteners all the time? - Alexa
"Hair products are now so much more advanced, and those designed for curly or frizzy types are often formulated with special conditioners and antistatic agents to smooth hair and help reduce the impact of humidity," says Muller. "Dryness can increase frizz, so it's essential to use hydrating products, like a daily treatment or leave-in conditioner." Pantene expert stylist Barney Martin suggests plaiting your hair when it's partially dry to reduce fly-aways. Try Pantene Pro-V All Day Smooth Light Weight Crème, $6.99; John Frieda Frizz-Ease Smooth Start Hydrating Shampoo, $15.99; and Dove Daily Conditioner with Treatment Intense Damage Therapy, $7.99.

My hands show signs of ageing more than any other part of my body - what can I do to stop the clock? - Melanie
"The first thing you must do is apply a sunblock to your hands and reapply throughout the day," insists Hobson. "In addition, there are some fantastic treatment hand creams that either address hyper-pigmentation, or include some of the latest ingredients that fight the ageing process." She adds that it's a good idea to regularly exfoliate your hands and protect them by wearing gloves when cleaning. It’s important to switch from harsh soap to a moisturising liquid wash to help beat dryness. Protect and nourish with Elemis Pro-Collagen Hand And Nail Cream, $76; or Innoxa One & All Anti-Age Hand & Nail Rescue SPF 15, $7.95; and revitalise with Pod Puraceuticals Liquid Manicure, $30.

Is there a safe way to fade freckles and sunspots? - Danielle
"The new wave of treatment products for pigmentation are safe and can have a positive impact on skin brightening, primarily by acting as melanin suppressors [the pigment that colours the skin]," says Emma Hobson, education manager at the International Dermal Institute. "It's important to consider the depth, duration, severity, hereditary background and cause, as each is a factor in the effectiveness of the treatment," she explains, adding for best results, use the products every day, and avoid sun exposure. Consider Dermalogica ChromaWhite TRx Pure Light SPF 30, $124; Jan Marini Age Intervention Enlighten Facial Lotion, $160; and SkinCeuticals Pigment Regulator Daily High Potency Brightening Treatment, $149.

How can I get rid of blackheads from my nose and chin? I've tried everything! - Belinda
No matter your skin type, blackheads plague most of us. Hobson suggests seeking products that work to decongest skin, such as antibacterial wipes and oil-absorbing mattifiers, combined with twice-daily cleansing. "Use an exfoliant at least twice a week to keep dead skin cells at bay, and protect daily with an oil-free moisturiser that states it is non-comedogenic [it won't clog pores]," she says. Be gentle when trying to extract blackheads - Hobson suggests leaving the job to a skin therapist. Use Aveda Outer Peace Blemish Relief Pads, $59.95 for 50 pads; Garnier Skin Naturals Innovation Pure Active Blackhead Clearing Scrub, $10.75; or Biotherm Biopur Pore Reducer One-Minute Unclogging Mask, $55.

How can you use make-up when you're over-tired to make you appear fresh? - Anna
Enlist blush to help reinvigorate a tired complexion. Brown suggests using two different shades for best results: your neutral, everyday option, plus a brighter, rosier tone. "Apply the neutral shade the way you always do - starting on the apple of the cheek and blending upward into the hairline," she explains. "Then, dust the brighter shade of blush just on the apples of your cheeks - this added pop of colour will give you a glow that'll last all day." Get the look with Sisley Phyto Blush Eclat in Pinky Rose, $105.

How can I lessen everyday hair loss? - Lynda
"Some loss is normal, as hair follows a growth cycle, meaning up to 10 per cent of your hair could be falling out at any given time," explains Muller. "Lifestyle factors such as stress and diet can increase hair loss, so look after yourself and follow a healthy diet to reduce the problem." Martin adds, "When you wear your hair up, don't tie it really tight. This can weaken hair in the place where it’s been tied, and puts stress on the root, which can encourage hair fall." Try care products formulated to address this issue, such as Shiseido Professional Prosynergy Treatment Shampoo, $28; Apivita Propoline Tonic Shampoo for Thinning Hair for Women, $26.90; and Kérastase Specifique Cure Intensive Antichute, $215 for a box of 42 phials.

As a new mum, could you provide me with some tips for a quick make-up routine? - Karolina
"I recommend the 'five-minute make-up' routine for when you're tight on time – it's a low-key look, perfect for running errands, or just spending time at home with your new baby," says Brown. She suggests using a creamy concealer under your eyes to erase dark circles, then apply a stick foundation just around your nose where there's redness, or try a tinted moisturiser. Next, add a hint of mascara, and blend a little cream blush onto the apples of your cheeks. Finish with lip gloss. Try Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear SPF 30+ in Medium, $32; Napoleon Perdis Long Black Mascara in Double Black, $33; and Garnier Skin Naturals Roll-on Anti-dark Circles, $18.95.

What's the right age to start using anti-ageing products? If you start young, are there long-term effects? - Sylai
"All skin is different, so there's no specific age you should start using anti-ageing products – it's more about how your skin looks and feels," says Muller. There are two steps she suggests you follow to ensure your complexion stays smooth: keep it moisturised and use an SPF daily. "If you keep skin well hydrated and protected from the sun and free-radical damage you should expect fewer lines and wrinkles, a more even tone and softer, more youthful-looking skin." We like SK-II Skin Signature Cream, $200; Olay Complete Defence Daily UV Moisturising Lotion SPF 30+, $14.69; and Natio Ageless Daily Moisturiser UV Protection SPF 30+, $18.95.

Is there any way I can keep my hair looking great all day? I do like to leave my hair out, but at the end of the day, it can look a bit flat and oily - Marissa
Add a volumising product to damp strands before you blow-dry, focusing on your roots. You will only need to use a tiny amount - too much and your hair may look oilier than it did before. You can also enhance your look with a dry shampoo. "They work really well to give your hair a bit of much-needed freshness," enthuses Martin. "Spray it on the roots and rub into your hair for instant results, and a bit of texture too." Boost body with L'Oréal Professionnel Volume Architect tecni.art Thickening Blow-Dry Lotion, $25; and Pureology PureVolume Thickening Spray $42.

I can't afford to go to the salon every month. What is the best way to go from blonde to a darker shade at home? - Kat
Belinda Jeffrey, celebrity colourist and Nice'n Easy ambassador, advises against making big changes by yourself. "If you want to go darker by three or more shades, you should go to a professional who will 'fill' your hair [prepare it for a darker tone], then layer it with colour to get a natural-looking and lasting result." If you do DIY, "use a medium or dark blonde colour on the roots of your hair only. As for the ends, you'll need to grow out your current colour and top up the roots every six weeks," says Jeffrey. Try Clairol Nice’n Easy Root Touch-Up in Dark Blonde, $12.59; or, if you're darker, L’Oréal Paris Casting Crème Gloss in Iced Chocolate, $16.45.