Not all of your New Year’s resolutions need to be grand career ambitions or total body transformations. Smaller acts of self-improvement are just as worth your time – even if they seem superficial.
Let’s make 2018 the year we embrace beauty (because no, caring about the way you look and feel doesn’t make you a ‘fool’), look after our physical selves as a way to help our mental selves, and treat ourselves to a bit of indulgence. It’ll be easy, promise, and unlike a lot of recommended New Year’s resolutions, these will actually be enjoyable.
1. Embrace oils
If you’ve ever been cursed with shining skin or acne, the idea of putting oil directly on to your face sounds like madness. But do not panic, pals. Oils will not make your skin a slick. Instead they’re an effective way to properly hydrate and moisturise the skin, preventing dry skin from producing excess oil to compensate. Try an oil cleanser, give skin gritting a go, or massage a few drops of facial oil into your skin before bed. Not only will oils do wonders for your skin, but they feel ultra luxurious.
2. Regularly clean your pillowcases and bed sheets
Easy to put off or forget, but you really do need to be popping your bedding into the wash on the regular. Facialist Andy Millward recommends washing your pillow cases between every two to four days so the ‘cocktail of sweat, sebum, and dead skin cells’ will be cleaned away before it wreaks havoc on your skin. Plus the joy of snuggling into freshly washed and dried sheets is wonderful and should be experienced often.
3. Stop worrying about gender
Men, you can wear whatever makeup you fancy. Your skin will not suddenly melt off and you won’t be kicked out of the club of being able to call yourself a man. If you like the idea of wearing a bold lipstick or popping on some concealer, do it. You’re allowed. You’re not limited to skincare options in red and black packaging with ‘FOR MEN’ splashed across the front. Don’t restrict yourself to the men’s section when there’s a whole world of incredible, ungendered skincare products out there.
Try face masks from Origins (I’m a big fan of their clay retexturing mask), pick up a hot cloth cleanser instead of relying on that heavily scented wash you got as part of a manly gift set.
Men’s skin really isn’t that different from women’s, and you do not need to avoid amazing products just because you have a penis. Women, buy men’s razors and deodorants if you’re keen. They’re so much cheaper and they get the job done.
4. Actually wear sunscreen every day
You know you should be doing this, but you don’t, either because it feels like a lot of effort or you hate the feeling of greasy sunblock on your skin. Make sun protection part of your routine so it starts to feel natural, and get yourself a facial sunscreen that won’t clog up your pores or make makeup impossible to apply smoothly.
Eve Lom’s Daily Protection is pricey at 70 euros for 50ml, but feels luxurious, while Clarins, La Roche-Posay, and Ultra Sun all make budget-friendly creams that absorb quickly without leaving a grimy film on your face.
5. Stop relying on face wipes
The majority of face wipes really aren’t doing much for your skin other than moving oil and bacteria from one bit of your face to another. They’re also terrible for the environment. Swap the face wipes by the side of your bed for micellar water and cleansing pads for nights when you’re so exhausted you just want to get rid of makeup before collapsing into bed, and stick to cleanser and a hot cloth to get rid of makeup on a nightly basis.
A double cleanse is magical. Once you’ve got rid of the makeup and visible dirt on your face, use another cleanser to clear away any lingering bacteria.
6. Clean your brushes and sponges
Let this woman’s skin infection be a reminder of the damage dirty makeup brushes can do. Wash anything that comes in contact with your face – cloths, brushes, sponges, spoolies – once a week (at least. Ideally you’d wash them after every use) using a brush cleanser or a gentle shampoo.
7. Dedicate some time to self-care
It might sound indulgent, but pencilling in time to give yourself a proper pamper each week can be a huge part of looking after your mental health. And it’ll make you look glorious. Make your beauty self-care an appointment, write it in your planner, and stick to it. We’re talking face masks, foot soaks, hydrating hair treatments, manicures, lounges in the bathtub. Do all the stuff that’s good for your body and makes you feel brilliant. It’s important to make that a priority in 2018, because you deserve to feel good.
8. Give your hair a break
Calm down on the heat tools, we beg of you. Avoid tight ponytails that make your head sore. Just stop being so harsh on your hair this year. It’s worth pushing through your initial discomfort to embrace your natural hair in all its glory, but if that feels impossible, just have a few days each week when you’re not putting your hair through intense styling. Get regular trims, do hydrating treatments once a week, and let your hair dry naturally when you can.
9. Be gentler on your skin
Skincare shouldn’t be painful. That means no peel-off masks that you have to tug away from your face, no scrubbing away with physical exfoliants, and no lip plumping devices that leave you with a bruised ring around your mouth. Take a gentler approach in 2018. Swap peel-off masks and pore strips for chemical exfoliants, clarifying masks, and extractions carried out by a professional. Avoid harsh scrubs. Don’t exfoliate too often. Just be a little kinder to your skin this year, okay?
10. Clear out your products
We all have mascara from years ago and powders that aren’t at their best. Use the new year as a push to give your beauty drawer a proper clear out. Get rid of stuff you don’t use and never will, chuck out that one moisturiser your skin didn’t agree with, and bin makeup that’s been around for months or years (think of the bacteria you could be smearing over your face). The majority of makeup and skincare products will have a period after opening (PAO) symbol, showing an open jar and the timeframe you need to use the product within before it goes off, but here’s a general guide to how long different products stay safe.
How long different makeup products last:
-Eyeliner: For gel and liquid eyeliners, there’s a shelf life of around six months.
-For pencil liners you can keep ’em around for a year
-Mascara: Three to six months Powders: One year. Give products a sniff before using and chuck out any that smell. Liquid foundation: If it’s in a pot, keep foundation for six months. If it’s in a pump bottle you can use it for up to two years.
-Lipstick: Two years, but throw out lipsticks if you spot changes in colour, texture, or smell.