Beauty & Makeup Tips

10 Beauty Secrets to Steal From Pageant Queens

These ladies know all the tricks for looking tiara-ready.​

For the average person tuning into the Miss USA or the Miss America pageants, the ladies competing on there can feel like an entirely different species. They have flawless makeup, shiny hair, and a blinding smile, all while radiating an easy confidence. But it only looks easy — a lot of work goes intobeing a pageant queen. These competitors possess a wealth of knowledge about looking and feeling your best. We asked current, and former, pageant queens to spill their secrets on everything from hair and makeup to posing and posture. Here’s how they look tiara-ready.


1.Give your skin a jumpstart every new season.

“Get a facial every time the season changes to help your skin reset for the different weather,” recommends Kari Christensen, Miss Oregon 2007. Your skin will thank you with fewer breakouts and blotchiness in the summer as it adjusts to the heat, and less flaky, dry skin in the winter as it goes through the same process for the cold.

2.Remove your makeup easily with coconut oil.

Ashley Bendiksen, Miss New Bedford 2009, raves that coconut oil an unparalleled makeup remover. “Massage it all over your face, and all over your closed eyes — dry, no water, just the straight coconut oil — and then wipe it off with baby wipes,” she advises. And speaking of baby soft skin, Kari Christensen has a similar tip for your legs: “I use conditioner or body wash instead of shaving cream. It will leave your legs extra soft and moist, and it’s less expensive.”

3.A cheap teeth whitener is already in your pantry.

On a similar DIY note, Gina Kiner, Miss Western Massachusetts 2008, found one of the best teeth whiteners: baking soda! “For a more radiant smile, mix a little baking soda with water and use it as toothpaste once a month,” she instructs. “This removes any stains on your teeth to brighten them up without needing to break the bank on professional teeth whitening.

4.Disguise under eye circles by diffusing the light.

If you didn’t get enough sleep last night, Jessica Victoria Johnson, first runner-up at Miss Wisconsin 2015, suggests this quick solution: “Use a lighter shade of concealer and then a high definition, or reflection powder and put it on your under eye circles.”

5.Get an amazing manicure at the drugstore.

If Miss Westchester 2016, Morgan Modugno, is ever in a tight pinch (or on a tight budget) and can’t swing a full manicure, she knows exactly what to do. “I pick up a box of the DIY acrylic nails from the drugstore and do them myself,” she says. “I’ve received so many compliments on what looks like my ‘fresh gel manicure’ and little do they know, I spent under $10 and saved so much time!”

6.Peppermint tea brightens up your eye area.

Miss Rhode Island 2015 Alexandra Curtis’ trick is to always keep peppermint tea bags on hand — and not just for drinking. “When I have a photo shoot or a big event, I will dampen two bags the night before and let them chill in my fridge. In the morning, I take them out and lie down with them under my eyes for 10 minutes. It’s my secret to looking refreshed and doing away with under eye circles.”


7.Skipping shampoo makes your hairstyle last longer.

Good news for all you ladies who don’t love washing your hair every day. Jill Lawton, Miss Worcester 2008, says “dirty hair holds better.” So before you make yourself late trying to fit a good suds and a blow out in before work, just throw a few loose curls in your hair or do a high pony instead — the natural texture produced by dirt and oils makes these styles hold beautifully all day. If your hair tends to go a little limp without daily washing, you can always blast it with a little dry shampoo at the roots so you aren’t missing out on any volfoundation.

8.Dewy makeup looks great on aging skin.

“I find that in my forties, foundation is a bit much, so I swear by Dior Hydra Life BB cream,” explains Miss New Mexico 1994, Jill Foley. “It has an SPF of 30, and gives a dewy, even-tone finish that I love.”

9.Double-sided tape is your best friend.

If you haven’t visited your tailor lately, Morgan Mudugno has a solution for you: “Never leave home without double-sided tape; you never know when it’ll come in handy. I sometimes use it to adjust the hem on my pants depending on the heels I’m wearing.”

10.Do your eye makeup first.

The order you go in is key to a flawless finish. Dana Wachter, Miss Hudson Valley 2016, says, “Do your eye makeup first so that if any eye shadow falls during application, you can wipe it off without ruining your foundation.”

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