Forget monumental tasks when it comes to setting New Year resolutions—I mean, let’s be real, when was the last time anyone actually completed any of those? As we arrive at the end of 2018, planning for 2019 is inevitable. It’s a chance to recalibrate and start afresh, in life or well, in beauty. Whether you’ve been thinking about investing in that luxurious face cream, or simply staying up late binge-watching Netflix all too often, here are the little changes you can make to take you closer to a healthier, more beautiful complexion:
We all know the health benefits of adequate sleep: Including better productivity, less weight gain and improved cardiovascular health. Yet, more and more urbanites are getting insufficient sleep, especially with our growing dependence on our smartphones. Just take a look at Screen Time, a new feature on iPhone which enables you to track the amount of time you spend on your phone daily, down to the apps on which you spend the most time. Moreover, when you spend excessive time on your smart phones, you are sacrificing more than valuable sleep, but also compromising on your sleep quality when you eventually get some—just think of all the times you binge watch your favourite Netflix series.
To improve your sleep quality and get more sleep, try gradually reducing the number of episodes you watch nightly, dim the lights in your bedroom so it’s more conducive for bed time, or light a candle that has a relaxing scent. When you set the stage for rest, all it takes is a little conviction on your part and you’ll be well on your way for longer and better sleep.
As long as there’s sunlight, wear sunscreen
We get it, any extra skincare step can be a hassle when you already have dozens of things on your daily to-do list. And thanks to the rainy season, it can get tempting to skip sunscreen altogether since the days are grey and cloudy. However, no matter how gloomy the sky might look, an estimated of about 80 percent of UV rays still penetrate the clouds to reach us. And over time, it can also accumulate to cause serious damage to skin.
Alternatively, switch to a day cream that comes with SPF protection so you can combine two skincare steps into one. We like Avene Hydrance Optimale UV Light SPF 20, $50.90, which soothes, hydrates, protects and balances skin’s sebum production.
Dry your hair before sleeping
Just think of this scenario: You get home after a long day at work, hop into the shower and immediately sink into bed. Before you know it, you’re drifting off to sleep with your hair still damp. It might seem like not a big deal, after all, your hair is often dry by the time you wake up in the morning, and all you have to deal with is a wet spot on your pillow. Yet, there’s more than meets the eye.
For starters, sleeping with your hair wet can cause breakage—hair is most brittle when wet, so tossing and turning at this time will almost surely mean hair damage. But beyond that, going to bed with wet hair and a damp scalp means the moisture helps bacteria and fungus breed. If you’re prone to acne, the moisture on your pillow case can help bacteria proliferate. On the other hand, bacteria and fungus can also grow on your scalp, and cause flaking, itching and weakened hair growth.
Change your pillowcases
As mentioned above, pillowcases can be a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. And even if you don’t sleep with wet hair, your skin still emits perspiration and sebum overnight.
Not to mention the dead skin cells that can accumulate on your pillowcases, which is why changing your pillowcases once a week will go a long way in keeping bacteria at bay for clearer skin.
Skincare really is self-care
Trust us when we say you’re not the only person who finds skincare a hassle, especially when all you want to do is lie down and call it a day. Yet, consistency is key when it comes to a skincare routine, which means that sticking to it everyday is more important than occasionally treating your skin to extravagant, power-packed products. To help cultivate the habit, think of skincare not as another thing to check off your to-do list, but more of a time to pamper yourself.
Think of it this way: how much time in a day do you have where you can just totally focus on yourself and just be in the moment? Not much, except the few minutes you have in your bathroom when you can take your time to pamper your skin and your senses. Look for skincare products that have a calming scent that appeals to you, so that when you’re applying layer after layer of serums and creams, it’s almost like you’re giving yourself an aromatherapy facial.
We like the Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing Face Oil, $117, which softens and smooths dry skin, thanks to its high content of fatty acids. It is also crafted with sandalwood and geranium essential oils for a relaxing and uplifting effect.
Cleanse your skin adequately
If you think about it, most of your skincare concerns can be traced to laziness. And some of the classic examples include skipping steps from your skincare routine to haphazardly cleansing your skin with a cleansing wipe. While cleansing wipes are a great option for when you’re travelling or headed for the gym, nothing beats the efficacy of double-cleansing your skin thoroughly.
Firstly, massage a cleansing oil onto dry skin to dissolve makeup, including waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Then, add a little water to your palms and continue massaging. The addition of water emulsifies the cleansing oil to effectively lift it away from skin before you can rinse it all away with tepid water. Afterwards, follow with a cleansing foam to eliminate traces of dirt and gunk embedded within pores.
Practice mindful eating
As the saying goes, “You are what you eat”. So it’s natural that you should eat healthily if you want a healthy complexion. And while it takes only a few mere clicks on your smartphone to find out what are the beneficial foods you should be eating for healthy skin, it’s often easy to be swayed by temptation. Plus, setting resolutions when it comes to food can be tricky, and more often than not, they don’t end well because we all know what happens when you deprive your body of certain things.
To take a moderate stance on this, try keeping a food diary. This gives you a food log to look back on and be more aware of what you’re eating. Over time, instead of mindless eating to quell hunger pangs, you will begin to make a deliberate decision of feeding your body healthier food that it really wants vs what you think it wants.
Wash your brushes regularly
Like your pillowcases, makeup brushes are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria as they are often moist and kept in dark containers, which is why you should be cleaning them once every week or two.
And you don’t even have to buy expensive brush cleaners that make makeup brands sell. All you need is a gentle baby shampoo and some tepid water. Dip your brushes in a solution of diluted baby shampoo and gently massage the bristles to get as much makeup pigments out as possible. Repeat if needed and lay your brushes flat on a towel to dry as this helps prevent them from going out of shape.
Don’t reuse your face towel
For similar reasons as mentioned above when it comes to damp cloth, it is best to use a fresh towel to wipe your face. If you think about it, how often is the towel hanging in your bathroom ever completely dry? If your answer is hardly, then just think about how much bacteria has accumulated on that towel before you reach for it to dry your face. So unless you want to constantly introduce a colony of bacteria to your freshly washed face, you might want to use a face towel.
That said, you should also avoid hanging your bath towel in the shower because that means it never actually gets to dry thoroughly between uses, and bacteria for your body isn’t the ideal scenario. Hang your bath towel in an airy and sunny space, preferably near a window so you can know for sure that your bath towel isn’t creeping with bacteria.
Drink more water
While it is widely advocated that the average adult should drink six to eight glasses, or two litres of water everyday, the truth is, it could vary with each individual. Depending on your height, weight and physical activity level, your intake of water might not fall within what’s “usual”.
Instead, check in on the colour of your urine to see if you’re adequately hydrated. If it is colourless, that is a clear (no pun intended) indication that you have enough water in your system.