When it comes to your skin and hair, the New Year is the ideal time to step up your regimen. We have 10 simple habits that’ll transform your beauty regimen, including how to increase your odds of success.
Increase your ingredient IQ
There’s a whole lot of science that goes into the products that line the beauty aisles, and trying to understand every last ingredient on a label is impossible. Still, being smart about which ingredients are most effective for your skin type and any conditions you want to correct – such as acne, rosacea or signs of aging – is the best way to make your dollar stretch when it comes to buying top-notch beauty formulas. This year, take the time to research ingredients that’ll help you achieve healthier skin and hair.
Not sure where to turn? Your dermatologist, family doctor and hair stylist can offer expert opinions. Turn to trusted sources on the Internet, like WebMD, Mayo Clinic and, of course, Skincare-News.com.
Pamper with a purpose
Do you feel guilty indulging in spa treatments? There’s no reason to feel bad about devoting an hour or two every week – or even each month – to improving your mind and body. In fact, in addition to reducing stress, most treatments bring some sort of health benefit, which should be enough to justify the extra “me” time. Whether it’s a Swedish massage to soothe muscles and enhance circulation, a purifying body wrap to detoxify and polish skin or an anti-aging facial to ease fine lines and wrinkles, check out your local spa to see what services can help you feel and look your best.
For inspiring ideas, check out Winter Spa Treatments: Pamper Your Skin after the Holidays, 10 Penny-Pinching Ways to Pamper Yourself at Skincare-News.com and Experience a New Way To Pamper.
Experts widely agree: beautiful skin and hair starts from the inside. Filling your plate with healthy, nourishing vitamins and minerals gives your body the building blocks it needs to repair damage and maintain optimal function.
Eating a well-balanced diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Nutritionists recommend eating the full color spectrum of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. To read more about a beauty-healthy diet, check out Cold Weather Diet for Healthy Skin and Hair.
Prioritize beauty rest
It’s easy to shrug off the importance of sleep – especially in the wake of the holidays. But to maintain the health of your skin and hair, beauty sleep is essential.
How many hours is ideal? The magic number varies from person to person, but generally lies somewhere between seven and nine hours. Anything less and you risk a dull complexion the next day due to sluggish blood flow and less than optimal cellular production. According to skin expert Howard Murad, MD, the skin peaks its collagen production at night – and these fibers are crucial in maintaining a firm, youthful complexion. Since these activities rely on hydration, be sure to apply a moisturizer before bed.
While exercise can certainly help you lose weight and build muscle, revving up your heart rate also brings important beauty benefits. Better muscle tone can reduce the appearance of cellulite and boost blood flow, providing cells with a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients while flushing away toxins and other wastes.
The beauty benefits of exercise go even further. Working out relieves stress, which can alleviate certain conditions like acne and eczema. So, if regular workouts aren’t already a part of your beauty regimen, it’s time to renew or sign up for that gym membership.
Adopt a positive self image
Rather than focus solely on your flaws or challenges when modifying your beauty regimen, practice a more affirmative approach. Look in the mirror and identify your favorite features. Perhaps you have long, thick tresses that are the envy of all your friends. Or maybe it’s your clear, even complexion. Dwelling on the positive aspects of your appearance is a great way to put your other beauty concerns into perspective and maintain a healthy, positive body image. There’s nothing more beautiful than that.
Set goals, and share them with a friend
Ready to make improvements in your health or beauty regimen, but not sure how to make your changes last? An important step toward achieving success is to set small, realistic goals. And to significantly improve your odds of success try enlisting a friend. According to a study by Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University of California, individuals that wrote down goals, shared them with a friend and provided the friend with weekly updates were, on average, over 30 percent more likely to achieve success than those who simply stated a goal. 6
When it comes to building your beauty arsenal, it’s hard to know which products to splurge on – and where it’s best to scrimp. But knowing how to best allocate your beauty budget can help you get the most out of your regimen.
According to beauty experts, the following products are worth the splurge:
Foundation: It’s easy to buy the wrong shade when purchasing foundation at the drugstore. Stores that offer expert advice and allow you to choose from and try on a variety of brands are best, saving you money in the long run.
Powder, bronzer and blush: More expensive brands of powder formulas, including bronzer and blush, are produced with much finer particles, allowing you to layer and blend more evenly.
Hair brush: Cheap plastic hair brushes can damage hair by causing breakage. Brushes with soft boar bristles protect hair and boost shine.
Eye shadow: The pricier department store eye shadows tend to have richer pigments, making them appear deeper, plus they go on smoother and last longer.
Conditioner: Conditioners layer hair with penetrating ingredients that restore and protect by adhering to each strand long after you rinse and dry your locks. Pricier formulas tend to feature more sophisticated delivery systems to effectively deliver ingredients into the shaft of each strand, rather than just coating the exterior.
Lipstick: More expensive lipsticks tend to be creamier for a richer color, and often layer your lips with nourishing vitamins.
Tools: When buying blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons, you get what you pay for. Spending a bit more gets you the best technology for protecting the condition and health of your hair. Opt for ceramic irons and blow dryers with advanced ionic technology.
Treatment creams: Day and nighttime creams to target skin concerns like wrinkles, dark circles and age spots are built on advanced skincare science – and you can get more potent concentrations of active ingredients in the pricier productions.
The one exception? When it come so products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), there’s little difference between department store and drugstore brands.
Now that you know which products to splurge on, you can carve out some extra cash in your beauty budget by saving on the following items: lip gloss, mascara, daily cleansers and shampoo.
Visit the dermatologist
No matter how old you are, a routine visit to the dermatologist is a great way to stay ahead of skincare concerns – including conditions like acne, aging and skin cancer. Dermatologists complete extensive training to earn a medical degree and can provide expert assessments, advice and treatments for a broad range of skincare concerns. Many insurance plans provide coverage for basic care.
Use SPF daily
If there’s a single habit that can transform the future health and appearance of your skin, it’s SPF sunscreen. Health experts unanimously agree that applying sunscreen daily – even during winter – to block out damaging UV rays is the top strategy for preventing fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, and staving off potentially life-threatening conditions like skin cancer.
As you add this habit to your daily routine, be sure to use sunscreen that hasn’t expired. Typically, once opened, a bottle lasts up to three years. From now on, however, you should plan on stocking up when sunscreen is on sale since a bottle should never last more than a few months, or a bit longer during the cold weather season. The proper application for the entire body should be no less than one ounce (or the amount to fill a shot glass).
Don’t wait to get started on improving your beauty regimen. These 10 simple habits will transform the health and appearance of your skin and hair, with benefits that’ll last a lifetime.
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