Trends come and trends go and this season you don't want to be caught in public looking like last year (or worse, last ... decade). While we think it's cool to follow some trends, there are some timeless beauty rules that will get you through every season looking classy, no matter what coast you live on (or plain in between).
Beauty Do #1: Goodbye Helmet Head
No matter the trends, the less done your hair looks, the fresher you'll look. If you curl your hair, finger comb out the curls ala '50s pinups. If you opt for a bun on the back of the head, set it at the nape of the neck and let it get messy. If you're off to a formal event, spend more time on your makeup and accessories and leave hair loose and sexy. Remember: Fancy, hair-sprayed 'dos are terribly matronly and best left to your grandmother's set.
Beauty Do #2: Contrasting eyes and mouth
Beauty Do #3: Apply sunscreen every day no matter the weatherYou've heard this preached enough, but it's true. If you get into the habit of sunscreen application daily, you will thank yourself when you're older and relatively lineless.
Can't bother with too many lotions and potions? Consider a tinted moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15. If you can't stand looking pale, brush on a bronzer. At least it doesn't smell like fake tanners.
Beauty Do #4: Layer fragrances and lipsticks
Sophisticated women know how to properly layer fragrances to create their own signature blends. How to do it? Take your favorite scent and layer a new one atop it. Try out several versions until you find your favorite blend.
You can do the same with lipsticks. Create your own shades with mattes and glosses. If you don't like a shade, don't throw it out, perfect one with other colors in your beauty drawer.
Beauty Do #5: Moisturize after every shower
Skin left unmoisturized will itch, and itching (especially done when you're not paying complete attention) can cause scabs, which in turn can scar. In the shower, make sure you exfoliate your body thoroughly with a body scrub (see my list of the best body scrubs) or washable loofah gloves. When you get out and dry off, slather on the moisturizer. See a list of my favorite moisturizers.
Beauty Don't #1: High contrast French manis and pedis
A sedate French manicure can look classy, but the bright whites on fake nails that you see sometimes can look tacky. If you must have a French manicure, keep the colors as natural as possible sticking to light pinks.
Short, round nails are universally preferred over long talons. I love light pearl-colored manis (always classy) and I adore dark polishes, which are uber-trendy and a look that's lasted many seasons already. See my list of the best nail polish trends for 2011 and this funny piece on 5 really tacky nail trends.
For feet, please, skip the French pedicure, which we agree with a reader "looks like you have fingers on your feet." Again, if you must do a French pedi, the more natural looking it is, the better and please keep your nails cut short. Another no-no: Nail art on your fake fingernails, although we find the occasional flower painted on your big toe adorable.
Beauty Don't #2: Heavy foundation
So many beauty faux pas can be attributed to foundation misuse: Tell-tale lines along the jaw, a mask-like appearance, too-dark colors or raccoon eyes.
To achieve the always classy fresh face, stick to foundation use only on the areas that need it, typically around your eyes, along your your nose and on your cheeks. You don't need foundation on your forehead or even neck. Remember to blend and consider different colors for winter vs. summer, when your skin is naturally lighter.
Beauty Don't #3: Scaly anything
Keep your complexion fresh and vibrant all year long by exfoliating your face weekly with a great facial scrub (see my list of the best facial scrubs). Your body needs exfoliating as well, so invest in scrubs in your bathtub or shower. (We also recommend showering with exfoliating gloves). A quick pumicing on the soles of your feet during every shower will keep feet soft between pedicures. As for lips, try this Vaseline tip to keep lips from excessive scaling in winter.
Beauty Don't #4: Hair that falls to your hips
Demi Moore and girls under 21 can get away with super long hair, but not many others can. There is such a thing as hair that's too long no matter your face shape. Long hair can weigh your face down and once it grows far below your breasts it can look tacky. I have gotten reader complaints about this beauty don't -- usually from women over 40 -- and we can just agree to disagree. Look, if you get tons of compliments on your butt-skimming hair and you love it, by all means, keep it.