The definition of health and beauty has evolved so much, we don’t blame you if you’re feeling confused. Now, it’s about going on a no-sugar diet, masking every body part from head to toe, and adding more steps to an already comprehensive skincare routine.
It can get overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. At the heart of healthy beauty are these 7 basic and essential tips you can easily follow to look your best.
1. Drink enough water
It's a small step to take but a giant leap towards looking healthy and beautiful in the long run. Water keeps your skin hydrated, which means improved skin elasticity and a reduced appearance of fine lines. It also helps to flush out waste and toxins from your body.
We've all had the 'drink at least 8 glasses of water a day' rule drilled into us since we were children but get this: not all bodies are created equal and everyone needs varying amounts of water daily to function optimally.
Eight glasses day is a general recommendation but you should also factor in your lifestyle. Have you eaten a lot of water-rich foods, like watermelon, today? Did you just finish a strenuous workout on a hot day? Listen to your body's cues: drink if you're thirsty and also when your urine is any darker than light yellow.
2. Don't skip using sunscreen
Do you only reach for your sunscreen on beach days? You shouldn’t, because you’re exposed to UV rays all the time – when you drive, as you sit by a window, when you jog in the morning – and this product might be the only thing standing between you and fine lines and hyperpigmentation in the near future.
Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun – UVA which can accelerate skin ageing, and UVB which gives you sunburn. Not to mention, sun exposure increases your risk of skin cancer – all the more incentive to invest in a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
One of the common mistakes in using sunscreen is applying it only on your face. The skin on your body is just as vulnerable to UV rays, so be sure to cover all exposed areas with sunscreen. Don't forget to re-apply sunscreen so you can keep the UV rays at bay for the whole day.
3. Load up on vitamins, protein and healthy fats
From boosting your immune system to strengthening your bones, you name it, vitamins do it. Vitamin A for one, is necessary for healthy vision and skin. You can obtain it from milk, cheese, carrots and pumpkins. You might even have seen vitamin B3 in some skincare products as this vitamin brightens your skin and reduces wrinkling.
We also need proteins to stay healthy. Proteins carry out many important processes in our bodies, make up most of our hair and nails, and exist in every cell in our body. That said, the body does not have a store of protein, so eating too little can cause a loss of energy and muscle weakness.
Fats – they have a bad rep but they too, are essential for survival. Unsaturated fats and omega-3s help to fight fatigue, improve your mood, increase your energy levels and even improve the heart’s ability to pump. You can find healthy fats in nuts, avocados, fatty fish and tofu.
4. Exercise regularly
Another pillar of a healthy lifestyle is regular exercise, one that you cannot run away from. It strengthens your body, lowers the risk of multiple diseases and also improves your mental health.
Unfortunately, with a sedentary lifestyle, our bodies don’t see much action, so it’s important to schedule in regular exercise. With as little as 30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week of exercise, you can feel the difference in your sleep quality, energy levels and your mood. You don’t have to get ripped but you definitely should get moving.
5. Get enough sleep
In this busy world, one can hardly be blamed for giving up sleep to accommodate other parts of one’s schedule, but the truth is, sleep is not a luxury – it is a necessity.
Sure, you could get by on a few hours of sleep a day, but lie in for a few hours more and the difference is palpable. You feel more energetic, your skin is brighter, your mood is improved and you concentrate better.
While you sleep, your body repairs itself and grows, and scientists think that your brain might be processing information as you snooze. Without adequate sleep, your body doesn’t have enough time to repair damage sustained during the day, or discard irrelevant information from your brain. The intricate cycle of hormones regulation can also be disrupted, leading to weight gain and stress.
6. Cleanse your face well
In a day, your skin accumulates oil, bacteria and viruses, pollutants and dead skin cells. Not only does this thick layer of impurities dull your skin, it also makes it challenging for skincare products to properly penetrate it. You could slather on the most expensive skincare available, but it’s just wasted on skin that isn’t well-cleansed – that means proper makeup removal with a cleansing oil, micellar water or milky cleanser, followed by double-cleansing to take off the dirt.
Keep your skin clean, and it will stay clear and healthy.
7. Practice mindfulness
Often, we get lost in our thoughts and spiral into a state of anxiety or brooding. Practicing mindfulness can help you to remain grounded and process your feelings, increase your attention and fully engage in activities.
There are different forms of mindfulness, so it depends on what appeals to you. There is basic meditation – sit quietly and focus on your breathing and bodily sensations. You can also practice mindfulness by experiencing emotions without judgement: soak in the emotions but let go of them so that they come and go without affecting you. Urge surfing is a similar concept, except it involves letting cravings come and go without reacting, knowing that the urge will subside.
It might take a while to get the hang of it, but mindfulness is just one of the ways to improve your mental health and quality of life.
Could you be Guardian Singapore's Face of Healthy Beauty?
If you’ve already got healthy beauty down pat, you might just be the one that Guardian Singapore is looking for.
The search for Guardian Singapore’s Face of Healthy Beauty is open to women aged 18 and above. To take part, upload a short video (up to 30 seconds) introducing yourself and explaining what ‘Healthy Beauty’ means to you. You may submit the video here or upload it on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook, with the #TheFaceOfGuardianSG hashtag. The video must be accessible throughout the contest period, from now until November 29 2019, and you must also be contactable during this time.
The Grand Prize winner will win $3,000 cash, a one-year Guardian ambassadorship, $3,000 of Guardian cash vouchers, a one-year supply of products from supporting partners worth up to $1,600, a six-month Fitness First membership, and apparel worth up to $1,000 by Zalora. You’ll also win a one-year digital subscription to Her World and a feature story in Her World.
There are also prizes for the first- and second runners-up, as well as prizes for four category winners: hair, wellness, cosmetics and skincare.
Join the search for Guardian Singapore’s Face of Healthy Beauty here.