Do your hair and skin a favor by making these beauty New Year’s resolutions you’ll actually want to keep.
’Tis the season to start thinking about what you want to do better next year. While the list typically includes dropping a few pounds or setting a new PR in your next race, why not add a few beauty and grooming New Year’s resolutions to the mix? These goals guarantee you’ll have a more beautiful 2017.
Wash your face every night before bed. Taking off your makeup is crucial, and guys, cleansing is just as important for you. “Every day, your skin endures bacteria and environmental pollution and can show signs of premature aging if not protected each day and night,” says Dr. Kim Nichols, Avon’s consulting dermatologist. “Cleansing your face is the beginning to every skin care regimen, and I recommend it twice per day.” To make sure you get a thorough wash, try a Clarisonic cleansing device, like the Clarisonic Mia Fit ($219, Sephora), which is gentle yet effective.
Too tired to get to the sink? It’s not the same as a soap-and-water scrub, but as an alternative, keep wipes next to your bed, like Yes to Cotton Comforting Facial Wipes ($5.99, ULTA Beauty), to take off the day. “When you don’t remove your makeup at the end of the night, this leaves bacteria on your skin that can clog pores and cause acne,” cautions Shani Darden, consulting celebrity esthetician for Garnier.
Apply sunscreen daily. “The single most important thing you can do for your skin is protect it from the sun,” Darden says. Even when you’re not at the beach, your skin is always taking in rays, from driving in the car to sitting in your office by a window. Switch to a moisturizer with a built in SPF of at least 30, like Garnier’s Moisture Bomb Sunscreen SPF 30 The Antioxidant Super Moisturizer ($16.99, drugstores).
Stop picking at your face. Popping that zit won’t do you any favors in the long run. “Picking often leads to acne scarring, a much more permanent skin imperfection than a three-day-old pimple,” warns Nichols. “It also leads to bacteria spreading from the popped pimple as well as from everyday bacteria from your fingers.” Plus, the inflammation and redness you leave behind are worse than any breakout, so opt for a spot treatment instead.
Drink more water. Even if you hit the H20 heavily at the gym, note that most people still aren’t getting enough hydration, especially those who exercise regularly. “Drinking water helps your skin stay young looking,” says Nichols. “Dehydrated skin appears dry, scaly, dull and less plump, causing you to appear more tired.”
Adapt a skincare routine. “Stop using the wrong products for your skin type,” Darden says. “Talk to your skincare professional to get on a routine that’s right for you. Once you find one that works, stick to it.” A board-certified dermatologist can help you start a personalized regimen.
Start using retinol. If you’re going to add just one thing to your skin care routine—besides sunscreen—make it retinol. “It’s the ingredient you need for younger-looking skin,” says Nichols, who recommends Avon Anew Clinical Line Eraser with Retinol Treatment ($40, avon.com). “Retinol is a form of retinoid, a derivative of vitamin A, that minimizes fine lines and wrinkles and diminishes hyperpigmentation, blackheads and dark spots.”
Treat your nails right. Imagine how great your nails would look if you gave them the same type of attention you give your face. End the nail and cuticle biting now, and get in the habit of applying a cuticle oil to give them the nutrients they need. Use polish that loves your nails back, like the Sally Hansen Color Therapy line ($6.99 each, Target.com), which is infused with argan oil to nourish nails.
Clean your makeup brushes regularly. Over time, bacteria will start to grow on them, mingling with the residue of old makeup. And think about what your brushes can pick up from the bottom of your gym bag or purse. “Always take proper care of your brushes because these are essentially your tools and should remain clean and in great condition so you can get the best application possible,” says Sir John, L’Oréal Paris celebrity makeup artist.
“One of my favorite brush cleaners is actually shampoo! I like to use L’Oréal Paris Hair Expert Color Vibrancy Shampoo [$4.99, lorealparisusa.com]. The formula is super hydrating and helps condition the brush fibers. Also, if I am working with a lot of cream blushes and liquid highlighters, I use old-school degreasing dish detergent.” For both, simply combine the cleanser and water, wash under water while gently circling the bristles to remove particles of makeup and detox the bacteria, and lay flat to dry, which helps avoid water dripping into the handle.
Toss old products. Can’t remember the last time you used that blush? That probably means it’s time to replace it. “Products, like food, have an expiration date,” states Nichols. “Old makeup won’t apply as easily and could result in skin imperfections if you apply expired ingredients. I recommend circling through makeup as directed, but almost always by three months.” Sir John uses the New Year as an excuse to make the swap. “You should always be keeping track of your makeup products and refreshing as needed,” he says. “Now is a good time to restart. Buy some new products you’ve been dying to try.”
Play with your look. Stuck in a beauty rut? Makeup is the easiest, no-risk way to mix it up and experiment. “That is the best part about makeup,” Sir John says. “You should always try something new and embrace fresh trends. This doesn’t mean you have to dive right into doing a full-on look, but you can always add a minimal pop or change up something in your current routine to give a freshness to your look.”
Where to get started? Embrace color! Sir John states, “Even if you are a minimalist and aren’t looking to do a super bold, bright blue eye, you can add a pop of color with a nice colored liner. I always tell my girls to start small and experiment. You never know unless you try.” The same goes for your hair. “We should be playing more, because why not?” says Matt Fugate, Kérastase Paris consulting hairstylist. “Be a hair chameleon this year. Playing with texture is the best way to switch up your look without permanent change.”
Brush your hair. Guys, we’re looking at you for this one, since you tend to skip this step. “Brushing your hair revitalizes the scalp and also makes hair look healthier and stimulates growth,” remarks Fugate.
Take it easy with the heat styling. In the winter months, it’s not always easy to lay off the blow-dryer, but keep it to a minimum and embrace air drying when the weather warms up. Heat is harsh and not natural for hair, and it can cause nutrients to burn away, resulting in split ends, frizz and a dull appearance. “Women should start using thermal protectors before applying heat to the hair,” Fugate suggests. “Especially in the past few years, I’ve seen the blowout bar trend lead to damage on my clients’ hair due to improper styling or product use. Using ‘hair armor,’ as I like to call it, will make the hair stronger, thicker and more radiant. Kérastase has always been the leader in thermal protection, especially with its breakthrough product L’incroyable Blowdry [$40, kerastase-usa.com]. It’s the new hair knight in shining armor.”
Get regular trims. “Keeping your hair healthy via haircuts is vital to the condition of your ends,” Fugate says. “Trims keep them snag-free, which limits unneeded breakage.” Every hair type is different, but on average, men should aim to see the barber every two weeks, while women can stretch it for six to twelve weeks.
Protect your hair color. This will both save you big bucks at the salon and prevent damage to your strands. Stretching your hue is easier than you think. “Shampoo less; try to rinse your hair and scrub your scalp with a conditioner to cleanse it,” Fugate says. “Also, use a protective shampoo and conditioner.”
Turn your home into a spa. You can get major beauty perks without stepping into a salon or spa. An easy, no-muss option: face masks. Since this trend is still going strong, there are plenty to choose from. “A face mask is important to help to gently exfoliate the skin, removing clogged pores, dry skin and built-up environmental pollution from everyday living,” explains Nichols. Aim to use one each week. In just five minutes, Kiehl’s Calendula Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask ($45, Kiehls.com) delivers an instant pick-me-up to all skin types. Masks aren’t just for your face—try a hair version. “There are plenty of treatments out there that can help,” Fugate says. “The trick to them is collaboration with your stylist so you can determine what your hair wants and needs.” Or apply coconut oil to your hair once a month for texture and shine.
Photo credit: Adobe, puhhha.