It's a new year and what better time to begin to forge new habits, routines and embrace the unexpected. You may be feeling a tad overwhelmed with the promise of a fresh start and limitless possibilities - who can blame you? - so let me help you simplify your beauty check-list and aid you in getting the most out of the products you already own and more...
1, Quality over quantity - Admittedly this is a mantra that I will be expanding into all areas of my life including blogging but this year, I do want to focus on products that I use daily and agree with my skin. I have slowly learnt along the way that I have no purpose for a shelf full of half used foundations and pockets full of mismatched nude lipsticks. Over the following months I am going to weed out any product that has no real place in my collection and only replace what I really have to. I should also stress that I don't necessarily believe that quality equates to high end cosmetics.
2, Take care of your skin inside and out - You can slather on all the night creams and high coverage concealer in the world but if you don't properly take care of your body internally it will all be for nought. I'm not in any position to preach about how to best attack healthy eating but what I will say is that I am embracing the everything in moderation "rule" this year and aiming to drink at least two litres of water a day.
3, Treat don't pick - The majority of us will be guilty of picking at our skin at some point in our lives. From blackheads to that pesky blemish that just won't disappear in time for an important event. I understand that it easier said than done but if you can muster up the strength to leave your skin alone to heal, you'll be doing yourself a huge favour in the long run and won't have to worry nearly as much about hyperpigmentation or scar tissue. Trust me as someone who suffered from adult acne, my complexion would be more even in tone and texture if I had willed my blemishes to heal, rather than taking matters - literally - into my own hands. By all means, attack the problem areas with targeted treatment products (I swear by a double hit of Kiehls - the Blue Herbal Spot Treatment for the blemish and the dark spot correcting serum for the aftermath) but resist temptation to pick, pluck and squeeze.
4, Indulge every so often - No this isn't an universal sign to bust out your credit card and run amok within Space.NK (well if you have the means and need to do so, go right ahead) but rather a call to say that it really is okay to purchase the odd product you have lusted after for months on end, every now and then. I've seen a lot of product shamming comments on social media as of late and the truth is, if the consumer can afford to purchase the product, really who's business is it but theirs how they spend their money? For those that are curious I am side stepping my all but daily Costa Coffee habit in favour of saving up to purchase the new Charlotte Tilbury Palette and the Hot Lips Lipstick in Kim K.W.
5, Form proper and tailored routines for your need - Are you guilty of applying products to your skin simply because you have them? Do you really need to call upon three different facial oils before curling up into bed? No probably not. I do believe in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra so if you and your skin are entirely happy with your current set up, skip this point, otherwise perhaps it is time to streamline your stash. Ask yourself what is your skin really calling out for and rotate your products around your needs, rather than using items simply because they are neatly presented on your bathroom shelf.
6, SPF; all day, everyday - Yes I am obsessed and a somewhat SPF vigilante, in my mind it is one of the most sensible things you can do for both your health and skin - not to mention easiest. First of all skin cancer is both serious and preventable; to be sun smart all you really have to do is apply a high SPF daily and avoid the direct sun during peak hours (seek shade). Skin is of course damaged by UV rays which are present all year round - even when it is cloudy/rainy and generally miserable outdoors - by applying SPF to any exposed skin you protect it both from environmental damage and premature ageing. Start today (if looking for great facial options try Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 and La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Face Ultra-Light Fluid SPF50+ are solid options), and you'll thank yourself in the years to come.
7, De-clutter and de-stash - It is difficult to let go of that bright, pink blush you bought a few weeks ago, wore once and decided that yes you did indeed look more sunburnt than naturally flushed. True story. Why hold onto products you know that you'll never willingly use again? Wouldn't it be better for your mind and physical space - because a gal does have limited storage - to wave it goodbye now, than allow it to collect dust or spoil in the coming months...or worse years? Grab together all your lightly used but neglected products and donate them to either a friend or send them onto Give and Makeup.
8, Take stock every so often - Story time part two: last year will in Sephora I found myself Googling my own site in order to see if I owned a certain lipstick in a very specific shade. It was there and then that I realised that I a, had the memory of a Goldfish and b, really had let my make-up habits spiral out of control. Don't be that guy. I'd also like to use this point to urge you to go through your general beauty stash every now and then, and check that your products are fit for use. I can not stress this enough in regards to mascara. No-one wants pink-eye...no-one.
9, Be true to you - Over the coming months new beauty trends will sweep the likes of Instagram and YouTube, which is undoubtedly exciting. However don't ever feel pressurised into doing something that isn't 100% authentic to you. There is nothing wrong with bucking trends, just don't be that person on Twitter bemoaning new concepts...no-one likes that guy. Live and let live.
10, Don't put off what you can do now - That mountain of dirty make-up brushes you swore you'd tackle on Sunday? Crawled in later than expected and despite the loud ringing of a nagging voice at the back of your head to take off your make-up, you neglect to do it and wake up to the mother of breakouts? Yeah we've all been there. If something takes less than a few minutes, instead of putting it off, do it there and then - better skin in both instances awaits.
11, Try something new - Let 2017 be the year of adventure; have you always dreamt about having killer bangs but never mustered up the courage to actually do it? Book that appointment a.s.a.p. and remind yourself that it if does turn out not to be your best decision, hair grows. Let's all support new, upcoming and indie brands and step outside our comfort zones every now and then - who knows bright, blue glitter eyeliner might just be the boost of confidence a drab Thursday requires.
12, Find a great hair salon and visit frequently - I fear the hair dresser more than the ripper but if I want to lob off any dead ends or make a drastic change, I'm afraid I'm going to have to suck it up and muster up the courage to let a stranger touch my hair and scalp once again. My advice to finding a great salon is to research and then research some more, don't be afraid to ask around, snoop through Yelp reviews and ask all the questions you could possible think of before sitting in that chair. It also doesn't hurt to attend your appointment prepared and armed with visual representations of your expectations.
13, Learn more about the items you use - I am guilty of blindly slapping on beauty products of all categories without ever paying close attention to the ingredient list; all well and good if you have hardy skin, not so wise if like myself you have various allergies. Take the time to learn the scientific name for anything that you would rather avoid and it label reading will become a whole lot easier and clearer. I also urge a
14, Stress less - Stress affects the entire body which coincidentally includes the complexion and of course your hair. Grab a pen and piece of paper, scribble down anything that is bothering you and one-by-one, cross out anything that you know deep down in menial. So what your brows aren't perfect - honestly who cares? Everyone around you is too concerned with how they look and the amount of retweets their crappy dad joke is gathering, to notice that you over or under plucked. In the words of *N'Sync - this I promise you.
15, Sleep and sleep some more - Need an excuse to sleep more? Of course you don't but did you know that a good night of rest is impetrative for skin renewal and repair? Forget feeling unhip about forgoing a trip to the pub in order for a few more hours in bed, your plump and fresh skin is all the reward you need. Aim for 8 hours a night and maybe, just maybe, embrace a weekend lie-in...you deserve it after all.
16, Conquer your make-up fear - A new year can indeed mean a new you in many, many ways. Why not use the fresh start as an opportunity to learn something new? With YouTube tutorials for practically everything and anything you can comfortably learn a new trick or technique in the comfort of your bedroom, free of charge. Personally I'm dabbling with the concept of enrolling in a make-up artistry course.
17, Be happy - not a beauty call of action but rather a little reminder that yes you do look wonderful when you smile and laugh and that life if for living. Go out there, kick ass, take names and make this the best year yet.
Happy New Year!