Oh dear, I have only gone and used the term resolution and for that I do apologise - yes I am completely on board with self improvement but not so much with the under lying guilt, and pressure that comes hand in hand with resolutions. In my opinion trying is half the battle, so let's take it easy and only aim to make little changes and simple adjustments that are completely beneficial to our needs. Here are my top 16 beauty tweaks that are painless, straight forward and more often than not, free to do - 2016 may just be your best beauty year yet...
1, Use Hand Cream - I'm obsessive about washing my hands but I often skip hand cream, half of the time it is due to negligence (aka I can't be bothered) or because I simply forget. A lot like our face, the hands are constantly subjected to the elements and are the area of the body we cleanse the most, as such our hands are one of the first areas to show the signs of age. If that doesn't have you slapping on hand cream, I guess nothing will. I find leaving hand cream beside the sink and on my bedside table to be a great way to get into the habit of applying lotion to the hands - when it is in plain sight, I am almost pressured into moisturising my dried out hands.
2, Make 2016 the Year You Finally Use SPF Everyday - yes everyday, anti-ageing products are great but without a good, daily SPF you aren't truly protecting your skin. Find yourself a facial sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, apply daily (rain, sun, snow and all that is in-between) and thank me in the years to come. I've also made a concious effort to apply a little to my hands and neck - y'know to ward off the hands of time that little longer.
3, Brush your hair daily - I know, I know this may seem like a ridiculous step to include but hear me out. As someone with long, thick hair, that also works from home it is so tempting to scrape my hair into a top knot and forget about it. I do shower daily but reserve washing my hair to every second or third day - it becomes overly dry otherwise. The problem with a top knot is that my hair becomes tangled and neglected, which may lead to unwanted damage and breakage. Seriously if you can (I know this isn't always possible for those with curly hair), brush your hair every single day. You'll feel better for it and of course have less tangles to deal with in the long run.
4, Change Your Pillowcase - As someone with blemish prone skin one of the best skin care changes I have ever made is washing/rotating my pillowcases nightly. Think about it, your pillowcase touches your face for around 8 hours a night, absorbing traces of oil, skin care products and dead skin cells. A lot like make up brushes, all of that bacteria builds up and may irritate the skin, resulting in blemishes. Do yourself a favour and change/rotate your pillows frequently.
5, Deep Cleanse Your Make-Up Brushes - Following on from above, your make up brushes particularly those used to applied liquid facial products, will harbour bacteria if not deeply cleansed regularly. This can be hugely problematic if like myself you have blemish prone skin, I personally set aside a day each week and deep cleanse every brush I have used. Don't get me wrong, on-the-spot cleansing is better than nothing but if you have noticed that your skin is breaking out for no real reason, perhaps the key to clearer skin is to properly wash your brushes every so often.
6, Use More, Buy Less - Pretty self explanatory and a concept I really need to grasp; before purchasing any new beauty product, perhaps ask yourself if you really need another golden toned highlighter, or nude lipstick to add to the other 100 shades you already own. The money you save and the products you complete will feel far better than staring at another neglected beauty product.
7, De-Clutter Your Make-Up Collection - Weed out any product you do not use and/or, let go of any expired items. Not only will you have room to add new items to your collection should you wish or need to, but you will feel much better once you let go of any clutter - not to mention expired beauty products aren't exactly great for your skin.
8, Care Less About Trends - Not so long ago, contouring was all anyone could talk about. Now it seems to be the trend that is quick to be criticised, with many claiming it is outdated and over the top. Personally I couldn't care less, if I want to contour I will, if I want to shave off my eyebrows and replace them with Nike ticks I will (I have no immediate plans to do this) - my face, my rules and that is all there is to it. Be confident in not only your cosmetic choices but your natural beauty too.
9, Find Products that Work for You and Stick With Them - There is two things I know only too well: the joy of purchasing a long awaited beauty item and the constant search-slash-struggle for the next best thing. If you have a mascara, lipstick or any beauty product that you utterly adore, stick with it. Why waste time and money wondering if there is something better out there? Chances are you won't find an adequate replacement and end up repurchasing said item anyway.
10, Invest in a Pair of Sunglasses - I'm sure my cousin will forgive me for sharing this but in his youth he played football professionally, as such he spent a lot of time on a grassy pitch squinting into the sun, which has resulted in a lot of lines around his eye area. Admittedly Scotland is not the most sun soaked of destinations but on bright, sunny days I will be found with a huge pair of sunglasses on my face. You know what they say - prevention is better than a cure.
11, Sleep Well - This is my ultimate New Year resolution, I really struggle to sleep at night and according to Mother this has always been the case - I've read that our skin requires adequate hours of sleep (between 7-9 hours depending on the individual) to self repair. After months of dull skin and a broken temper, I have actively taken steps to gain a better night of rest and not only feel better but dare I say it my skin looks better for it too.
12, Drink More Water - Plumper, clearer, brighter skin not to mention healthier hair and nails, and all it takes is to drink your daily quota of water. I know that this is easier said than done, and to begin with the countless visits to the restroom may put you off but stick with it - I promise it is all worth it. If you need motivation to drain your water bottle, pop a 2litre bottle of water in your handbag and let the weight and overspilling handbag, spur you on to sip your way to better skin.
13, Read More - Before you impulse purchase another foundation/lipstick/face mask that you don't really need, why not run a quick Google search and see what people really think? I also think it is a savvy move to not only read up on what ingredients are within each product, but to learn just what said ingredients do - especially in relation to skin care products. The more you know.
14, Try Skin Journalling - If you have easily irritated skin and a passion for beauty products, you may find yourself constantly battling breakouts and never really knowing what is the root of the problem. A skin care journal in which you list what you have applied to your face and when, may help you to get to the bottom of the irritation. I will pop a full post with my example diary tomorrow and why I find it to be so beneficial.
15, Give Your Hair a Break - In person, one of the questions I'm asked most is how did I grow my hair so long, and what do I do to keep it fairly damage free. The truth is I don't use heat unless entirely necessary, I stock up on deep conditioning treatments and only do the minimum in terms of hair colour - i.e I don't get an all over colour/tint treatment, rather I only get my roots done. Less is more.
16, Embrace a New Brand - Part of the fun of being a beauty junkie is finding new products and brands; every now and then I urge you to throw caution to the wind and purchase a product from a company that is completely alien to you. I tend to use this as an excuse to try independent brands which is something I hope to explore more in 2016.
Whatever you vow to do in the following months, don't beat yourself up if you do forget to apply SPF, hand cream or brush your hair. No-one is perfect and I would rather be happy than bogged down by a regimented routine...just saying.