9 Beauty Resolutions You'll Actually Keep
Ah, January 1: The day when we pledge to do better, look better, be better. The problem is that within weeks, those promises tend to fall by the wayside.
So this year, we're resolving to make our resolutions doable—and not make those status quo commitments that we just can't keep. Why torture yourself at bootcamp when you love yoga? The truth is that making smaller tweaks or doubling down on something you're already working on is far more productive than the quick fixes (even if they take a little more time). But you're more likely to stick with it anyway, right?
That's our mindset for the upcoming year. Join us, won't you?
Forget the punishing crash diets, juice cleanses, and intermittent fasting. Just resolve to return to a more balanced diet, which shouldn't be too hard now that the party calendar has dwindled and the Christmas chocolate has been eaten. (No pressure, but if you're feeling hardcore, try giving up alcohol for the month of January—you'd be amazed at the difference it makes.)
Instead, focus your detox efforts on your skin and hair, which is far less painful but still necessary. This means focusing on product ingredients (more on that later), opting for all-natural formulas, and even foregoing cosmetics altogether for a few days to give your complexion a breather. Want to go the extra mile? Pick up Adina Grigore's Skin Cleanse ($35) and learn how to get that glow from the inside out.
And after several weeks of heat-styling and product-loading your hair for party season, go back to basics by avoiding the curling iron for a few weeks and stretching out time between shampoos. Skip any chemical-laden products and nourish your strands with a natural, leave-in treatment, like Macadamia Natural Oil's Deep Repair Mask ($32).
Rather than eliminating things from your diet, why not add some more of the good stuff? Supplements are a great (and gloriously easy) way to feel and look your very best. If you're not sure where to begin, it might be a good idea to check in with your doc or nutritionist, and maybe even get a blood test to see where your current nutrient levels lie. (Those who have dietary restrictions, like vegans and vegetarians, could definitely benefit from checking this annually.) Otherwise, a multivitamin is usually a good start, and if you live in an urban area, definitely look into a vitamin D supplement. (Many studies have shown that city-goers tend have low levels of this essential nutrient, which can have a serious impact on your mood, among other things.)
Try Blackmores' Alive! Women's Multivitamin ($30) for an overall boost in nutrients.
There's a reason why gym memberships are so expensive this time of year compared to say, October: Everyone decides that they're totally going to get in shape this year—no really, it's going to happen! 2016! Woot!—only many of us don't last the month.
But the solution is so simple: Why commit to something and accept that it'll be torturous when you can commit to something that will still get you in shape—even if it takes longer—that you actually like? If you know that you're into yoga, skip the gym membership and instead officially commit to a local studio that you frequent. (Trust us: If you do enough chaturangas, you're going to see a difference.) Also remember to tune out the buzz surrounding which workouts are trending or are purported to be the most effective. To be perfectly frank, the most effective workout is going to be whatever you do consistently, and chances are that's going to be something you enjoy.
On the other hand, if you haven't found a class or regimen you really love yet, then you have a great opportunity to "shop" around and try something new until you land on a fave. Most boutique studios and gyms offer trial periods that are either free or extremely discounted, and services like ClassPass make it exceedingly easy to discover new classes in your area.
It doesn't need to be remotely as extensive as that 10-step Korean routine. Start with the basic trio: cleanse, tone, and moisturise. Pick a day each week that you'll exfoliate, and another that you'll apply a mask. (We personally live for our Sunday spa day, FWIW.) Just establishing some regularity with your skincare can do wonders for your complexion, and you'll get addicted to the results—plus, you might actually find that it's a very relaxing part of your day.
Our final tip: Part of this is finding products you really love, that really feel wonderful on your skin. For skincare newbies, Eve Lom's cult-loved Cleanser ($73) is a great gateway product to get in the rhythm of pampering your face everyday—even if right now, just taking off your makeup at night is a struggle. Because it comes with a muslin cloth and its own signature application method, you'll fall in love with the ritual of it (not to mention the fact that it virtually transforms your complexion).
We'll be the first to tell you that experimenting is awesome, but it's also extremely valuable to nail down a signature look. Ideally, it should be something that you know is flattering and polished but is also easy to throw together. Don't overthink it: It's usually something that you tend to fall back on, like the beauty equivalent of the outfit you defer to when you're having one of those "I have nothing to wear" days.
Knowing exactly what you're putting on your body is just as important as knowing what goes in it—trust us on that. You read nutrition labels, so why not take the same approach to your beauty products? You don't even have to learn all the science jargon or become well-versed on different chemicals—just knowing the basics like what "natural" actually means and which ingredients to avoid is a great start.
New Zealand brand Antipodes is the perfect place to start if you're looking for natural products without any nasties. Our favourite has to be the ultra-creamy Manuka Honey Mask ($49).
Make 2016 your best hair year ever by adopting that detox approach we discussed earlier, indefinitely. As a rule, regular styling and product overuse tend to lead to buildup and damage of the hair shaft—which manifests as frizz, dryness, dullness, and breakage. (Thought that you just have naturally frizzy hair? That might not actually be the case.)
You don't even have to go completely nuts, but instead just take it to a degree that works with your lifestyle. In other words, pick and choose the following good habits:
- Give up (or limit) heat styling.
- Cut shampooing down to once or twice a week, or consider replacing it entirely with a gentler cleansing conditioner or oil. Alchemy's Rosemary Shampoo ($15) is naturally formulated, hydrating, and incredibly gentle, but it still effectively cleanses strands.
- Replace some of your colour touch-up appointments with in-salon gloss treatments instead, so that you're prolonging and protecting your colour (and minimising chemical abuse).
- At home, aim to use a hydrating mask about once a week—DIYing one totally works.
- Go straight into healing mode after bleaching or chemically altering your hair in any way.
- Again, get well-versed on ingredients and try to avoid sulfates and parabens. The longer list of plant-based ingredients, the better. (Some brands we like include Sukin Organics, Kevin Murphy, and Davines.)
- Nix split ends with regular trims.
- Nourish your strands from the inside out with a healthy, omega-rich diet and biotin supplements.
- Replace your cotton pillowcase—which can rough up the hair cuticle—with a silk one. Bonus: It'll help prevent wrinkles, too. (We love Slip's Ice Silk Pillowcase, $80.)
Meditation doesn't have to mean sitting down in a corner and closing your eyes for a predetermined amount of time. That's not even necessarily the traditional route: For example, forest bathing is an ancient Japanese practice that involves finding mental clarity simply by walking through nature. Whether it's hiking, doodling, weight-lifting, or driving aimlessly while you sing at the top of your lungs (← effective), take stock of the activities that calm you down, silence the mental chatter, and allow you to reflect.
And, tough love time: Get serious about unplugging and turning off your devices when you can.