New year, new you, and all that jazz right? We’d like to think so, but often resolutions are much easier made than actually done (see: that untouched yoga mat we bought at the beginning of 2015). Maybe beauty resolutions are kind of clichéd by now, but we went ahead and listed out the ones that we think are actually important, and not that hard to keep. It’s all about the small steps, people.
#1: Wear SPF daily, and not just on your face
(Image: Nivea Facebook page)
By now, the beauty industry has scared many people into applying and reapplying SPF on their faces every day, because of a few little things we call dullness, pigmentation, and wrinkles. As always, we don’t like to be scaremongers, but if fear has to be what motivates people to take proper care of their skin and prevent ageing in the long term, then we’ll do it. And you’ll be glad you were scared into taking action, when in 20 years you look younger than all your peers.
But while skin on the face already gets plenty of attention, we came to the realisation recently that the rest of the body has been neglected. And that needs to be fixed, because don’t the rules of UV-induced ageing apply to the skin on the rest of the body as well? In 2017, take a few more minutes every morning to slather on sunscreen on the other parts of your skin that are exposed; go ahead and use your facial sunscreens as well, or if those are too precious, try these affordable options for the body.
NAÏF SPF50 Protecting Sunscreen, $35.90. Available at Gallery & Co.
NIVEA Protect & White Lotion SPF50/PA++, $24.35. Available at Watsons, Guardian, Cold Storage and NTUC Fairprice.
#2: Make eye cream a habit
You’ve probably shrugged off any eye cream that crossed your path, thinking that it’s one of those beauty products that belong in the realm of older women. Not entirely wrong, but you’d also be wrong to not be starting on eye cream at this age.
Just like how it’s definitely advisable to be beginning to use anti-ageing skincare in your 20s, eye cream is the kind of product that is better used as a preventive measure, rather than a desperate cure. Plus, given how much this generation spends in front of screens both big and small, and how half of us spend our days not sleeping enough, we’d say our eyes definitely need some TLC. No need to pay for some ultra-rich cream designed for skin decades older; a lightweight, gel-based version, applied over the eye contours daily, is good enough. Keep at it, and you just might never have to upgrade to the ultra-rich stuff.
Benefit Firm It Up! Eye Serum, $67. Available at the Benefit store and counters, and Sephora.
Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream, $45. Available at Sephora.
#3: Use a chemical exfoliant instead of a physical one
(Image: Paula’s Choice Facebook page)
We hate to break it to you, but most scrubs have a coarse texture that can leave tiny tears as it abrades away the surface, leaving the skin’s barrier damaged. And those cleansing brushes with stiff bristles? Yup, they can have the same negative impact on your epidermis too.
Instead, try swapping out your scrub for a chemical exfoliant. AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliants are the all-important, unsung heroes of the skincare world and are often overlooked. Whether you’re looking to combat signs of ageing, clear your acne, achieve a radiant skin tone, diminish rough, bumpy skin, or all of the above, these gentle and non-abrasive chemical exfoliants can go beyond what any scrub is capable of doing.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid, $43. Available on paulaschoice.sg.
REN Glycolatic Radiance Renewal Mask, $85. Available at Sephora.
#4: Don’t neglect the neck
It’s not all about the time and effort (and money) you put into taking care of the skin on your face, because it’s the neck you want
to watch out for the first signs of ageing. You know it – no matter how much your face says that you’re not a day over 25, those dreaded fine lines on the neck will betray you.
Just the simple step of spreading your moisturiser beyond the jawline and massaging it into your neck during your morning and night skincare rituals is all it takes. Some beauty brands have created creams specifically for use on the neck, although we think regular facial moisturisers still just fine; no harm giving them a shot, though, if you like to compartmentalise your skincare products. Whatever you choose to do, just keep your neck looking as young as your face does.
innisfree Soybean Energy Neck Cream, $28. Available at innisfree stores.
Estée Lauder New Dimension Tighten + Tone Neck/Chest Treatment, $170. Available at the Estée Lauder store and counters.
#5: Stop picking at your face
(Image: Nexcare Facebook page)
We know, we know. That knee-jerk urge to pick or pop a new blemish is way too difficult to resist, but tampering with a pimple that wants to be left alone will not only increase your chances of an infection, the bacteria would also spread and lead to even more breakouts. To speed up the healing process with minimal interference, pop on a pimple patch to keep those pesky hands away. It’s also a good idea to employ the help of a targeted acne treatment as it’ll stop any are-ups in its tracks and effectively eradicate any existing blemishes in order to prevent new ones from forming. Trust us, you won’t have to deal with more red marks on your face if you heed our advice.
Nexcare Acne Patch, $8.20 (36 patches). Available at Guardian and Watsons.
Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment, $52. Available at Sephora.
#6: Make sure your foundation shade is right – under all kinds of light
(Image: Dior Spring/Summer ’17, courtesy Dior)
Now this is a tricky thing. Common advice, when it comes to picking the right foundation shade, has always been to let the experts do it for you: i.e. the beauty advisors at the stores and counters, who are supposed to be more well-versed in how skin undertones work, and how they affect what is the perfect shade for you in whatever foundation range.
However, we’ve heard more than one account of people buying foundation in a shade that looked right under the store lights, but turned out completely wrong under natural light. Store lighting is out of our control, so we can’t always blame well-meaning beauty advisors for getting it wrong. What you can do is understand your own skin better, and study the colour of the foundation you already own and you know is right for you. This way, you can more easily identify the right shade whenever you’re looking to try a new product, and don’t be afraid of speaking out if you feel the beauty advisor isn’t recommending the correct colour, or ask for foundation dramming (dispensing of sample-sized amounts) if the brand provides that service. It’s also wise to stock up on a bottle or two of these shade-adjusting drops, for a quick x whenever a tan ruins all your base makeup.
The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops, $29.90. Available at The Body Shop stores.
Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, $68. Available at Sephora.
#7: Step out of your comfort zone
(Image: Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer ’17, courtesy ghd)
It’s really easy to fall into a makeup routine and stick to that, because if it ain’t broke, why fix it? While most of us have a beauty regimen that becomes a part of our muscle memory, sometimes it pays off to step outside of your comfort zone. After all, the reputable makeup artist François Nars once said, “don’t be so serious; it’s only makeup!” Dare yourself to try a bold new makeup product or learn to master a trending technique, such as the art of contouring. Don’t be afraid to rock those vivid violet lips or replace your basic black liner with a bright zing of cobalt – it’ll only amplify your personality, and what’s wrong with that? Who knows, maybe you’ll find your defining beauty look in 2017.
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Cobalt, $10. Available at NYX stores and Sephora.
Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Matte Lipstick in Unicorn, $33. Available at Sephora.
Urban Decay Naked Flush in Streak, $48. Available at Urban Decay stores and Sephora.
#8: Wash your brushes at least once a week
By now, you should know this already, and all the warnings of breakouts and swiping nasty bacteria onto your skin, together with your favourite foundation or brush. But putting it into practice? Probably a different matter entirely.
What we’re trying to say is, just don’t be lazy. You probably already own a few products that can double up as brush cleansers anyway – hand soap, body soap, micellar water, and our favourite, the Daiso brush cleaner that only costs $2. If you know you’re not going to be using your brushes a certain day, such as a weekend when you’re staying in, make a mental note to wash your brushes the day before, so they have time to dry and will be all ready for your next use. It’s not about dirty brushes causing a breakout, people; even if dirty brushes don’t harm your skin, it’s just… gross.
Detergent for Puff and Sponge, $2. Available at Daiso stores.
Sephora Daily Brush Cleanser, $13. Available at Sephora.
#9: Pack your makeup nicely
Hardly anything brings more satisfaction than compartmentalising all your makeup into neat stacks or rows, packed in clear trays, boxes and drawers. Besides not having your stuff in such a mess that you always seem to be taking 15 minutes just to find that one particular berry lipstick you absolutely need for that day, it actually helps with keeping everything in plain sight, so you end up using what you can see – and don’t end up losing products in a jumble of other things, only to have them be long expired by the time they’re finally unearthed again. Of course, we recommend Muji acrylic storage.
MUJI Acrylic Storage, $1.30 to $59. Available at MUJI stores.
#10: Use a hair mask once a week
(Image: Hellessy Spring/Summer ’17, courtesy Aveda)
If you struggle with dry hair, the primary conclusion is pretty obvious – your tresses simply lack moisture. While moisturising shampoos and nourishing conditioners are the first things we tend to reach out for to tame our unmanageable mane, those workable solutions aren’t exactly long term ones. Your hair needs an extra dose of hydration in the form of a weekly hair mask. Wrap your lifeless locks in a silky cocoon as you indulge in that relaxing bath tub of yours and watch it soak up all the nutrients. However, if you have fine and thin hair, try not to use a hair mask too often as its conditioning components can weigh your hair down.
L’Oréal Paris Hyaluron Moisture Mask, $15.90. Available at Watsons, Guardian, and Fairprice.
OUAI Treatment Masque, $21 (3 packettes). Available at Sephora.
#11: Take care of your scalp
(Image: Tome Spring/Summer ’17, courtesy Aveda)
While our bathroom shelves are often spilling with all sorts of conditioning hair treatments to quench our parched tresses, we tend to forget the most important thing that determines our hair health: the scalp. A greasy scalp with overactive oil glands can do more damage to your mane than you would think. Those clogged pores on the scalp can often result in limp locks and gradual hair loss. Hence, it’s just as crucial to set aside some time to show your scalp some much needed TLC. Switch out your regular shampoo for one that’ll get rid of any dandruff and incorporate a nourishing serum into your haircare routine to soothe any scalp irritation.
Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo, $38. Available on sephora.sg.
Aveda Invati Scalp Revitalizer, $110. Available at Aveda stores and counters.
#12: Set aside some “me-time”
Work, meetings, happy hours and get-togethers can leave us with only a wee bit of time each week to relax and decompress from daily stress. While we often remember to recharge our phones, we rarely remember that we need to recharge ourselves, too. This year will be different, though. Set aside some time for yourself each week by turning your phone off and putting that laptop away. Forget all about the daily grind as you immerse yourself into a warm tub infused with a fun bath bomb or detoxing bath salts. Go ahead, enjoy a good read and light a rose-scented candle while you’re at it. It’s high time you treated yourself well.
LUSH Frozen Bath Bomb, $18. Available at LUSH stores.
Herbivore Botanicals Calm – Ylang Ylang + Vanilla Dead Sea Soaking Salts, $28. Available at Sephora.
Diptyque Roses Candle, $102. Available at escentials.
Main image: Paula’s Choice Facebook page