11 beauty resolutions for 2011

makeup brushes

Cheers to a beautiful new year. While I’m not huge on new year’s resolutions (my main one this year is to write more consistently), I always have some beauty-related resolutions each year. A few of my 2011 resolutions overlap from my 2010 beauty resolutions. It’s more of a recommitment to my structured beauty routine, but it’s always effective to think about how you can constantly improve.

1. Wash my makeup brushes twice a month.

 

makeup brushes

 

Though this is simple (it takes all of five minutes to wash your makeup brushes in mild soap and warm water), I always fall short on washing my makeup brushes on a regular basis. For those of us who are prone to breakouts, washing your makeup brushes more often helps keep the bacteria count down and your face that much cleaner. To wash your makeup brushes, simply choose a mild soap or shampoo (baby shampoo is a popular choice), place a drop of it in your hand and gently massage it into your slightly dampened brush. Rinse the brush, keeping the running water away from the brush head (where the glue meets the bristles — you don’t want to weaken the glue), and gently squeeze out any excess water. Set your brushes on the edge of the bathroom counter to dry so the brushes dry evenly and back into shape — this could take a few hours, so be patient (and invest in a few extra brushes to use while you alternate cleaning).

2. Wash my face every night before bed.

 

asian baby washing face

We’ve all been there: It’s been a long night, you’re dead tired and you just want to crawl into bed. Washing your makeup off and prepping your skin for recovery takes all of 10 minutes, but knowing that you’ll have to drag yourself away from the comfort of your warm bed and slightly awaken yourself a little more sounds terrible. But you know what else sounds terrible? Waking up to a fresh crop of breakouts, mascara smudges on your pillow and beat-up looking skin that is deprived of moisture and oxygen. Going to bed with a caked-on layer of makeup keeps your pores from breathing and regenerating, giving you a less-than-stellar glow the next day. This year, I’m recommitting myself to my trusted bottle of baby oil (it’s excellent at removing eye makeup and oh-so-cheap) and a quick splash of warm water and facial cleanser every night.

3. Invest in a monthly manicure.

manicured nails

{People notice your nails. Keep them well-groomed! Photo By Zicon/Courtesy Flickr}

If you’re the type of person who talks with your hands a lot, listen up. Whether it’s investing time or money, a monthly manicure makes a difference in your appearance — for both women and men. One of the first things I notice about a person is the state of their hands. Are their nails jagged? Are their fingers callused? Taking time to trim, file and buff your nails (polish optional!) makes a statement about who you are. Do you pay attention to detail? Do you take your nerves out on your nails? Try to send the right impression. While I may not make it to the nail salon every month, I’m going to take a step back from my busy lifestyle and make sure my hands reflect who I am: a put-together, clean, stylish woman.

4. Purge my beauty stash.

 

stash of beauty products

 

This resolution is a recommitment from last year’s list, but it still holds true this year. While I’m not much of a hoarder in general, when it comes to cosmetics, I just can’t get enough — and then I just can’t bear to part with them even when they’re past their prime (or a discontinued color to which I have become too attached). As I begin to go through my cosmetics collection, I’ll be revisiting this list from last year so I can remind myself how to know when it’s time to get rid of beauty products.

• Cleansers/Moisturizers: Toss after six months. Active ingredients in natural cleansers and moisturizers will break down over half a year’s time, so be sure to only buy what you can consume in that amount of time.

• Liquid Foundation: Toss after six months. Foundation becomes thick and goopy, which makes for uneven application. Plus, liquid foundation is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria (especially if you dip your fingers in it or use a dirty sponge).

• Powder: Toss after two years. I don’t know anybody who has been able to make her powder last that long, but after a couple of years, powder can get dry and cakey.

• Mascara: Toss after three months. Don’t chance it with makeup that can affect your eyes! Mascara can easily go rancid and dry up, so this one is an easy toss. Just look at the consistency when you take the wand out. Mascara tubes are breeding grounds for eye mites, so just don’t risk it.

• Eyeliner Pencil: Toss after two years. Luckily, every time you sharpen your eyeliner pencil, you eliminate the old surface and any bacteria on it — just be sure to give your sharpener a good wipe-down with alcohol.

• Lip gloss: Toss after a year. Lip glosses with wand applicators invite bacteria, and pots of gloss aren’t much better (unless you’re diligent enough to apply it with a lip brush or cotton tip every single time). Lip gloss can also become very goopy and sticky, so again, check the consistency before you apply an aged gloss.

5. Wear sunscreen every day.

 

sun's rays

 

Here’s another recycled resolution. Throughout most of 2010, I was diligent about wearing a daily facial sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every single day. Toward the end of the year, I put my small bottle of facial sunscreen away and resorted to using my tinted moisturizer with SPF 15 — not as great an option, as most women don’t apply enough foundation to get the full spectrum SPF offered on the tinted moisturizer’s bottle — but better than nothing, right? This year, I’m putting my bottle of facial sunscreen back on the bathroom counter and using it over my daily moisturizer and under my foundation.

6. Schedule a skin cancer screening.

 

bare back

 

No one likes to think about upcoming doctor’s visits, but this year, you should definitely consider this one. Find a dermatologist in your area and schedule a skin cancer screening. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. A skin cancer screening will probably be the easiest, least-invasive doctor’s visit you’ll have this year; your dermatologist performs a visual inspection of your skin — your body’s largest organ — to check for abnormal moles, freckles, spots or birth marks. Your dermatologist will also teach you how to perform self-skin cancer examinations. Take charge of your health. Being proactive is your best bet against preventing skin cancer (and if you haven’t already, please ditch the tanning beds — use some pretty bronzer if you must have that sun-kissed glow when it’s negative degrees outside.).

7. Moisturize every day.

 

smooth legs

 

In the winter, I’m all about the moisturizer. I load on the creams, oils and lotions to keep my skin from peeling and flaking. But that’s just on my face. My poor, white legs are dying of thirst, but I choose to towel off quickly and get dressed rather than taking a couple minutes to slather on some body oil and light lotion to keep my gams silky and smooth. This year, I’m breaking out the body oils and pumping some uber-moisturizing, organic oils onto my legs to keep them quenched and flake-free. Some of my favorite body oils are from Aromafloria; I love the Rosemary & Mint Bath & Body Oil. Its refreshing, energizing scent, derived from natural essential oils, combined with a luscious base of organic soybean oil, provide all-over moisture and sheen. If I want to stay especially smooth, I’ll top my legs with a layer of thick, creamy lotion to set the body oil and really treat my moisture-deprived legs.

8. Cut my hair and maintain a healthy hairstyle.

 

josie maran organic argan oil

 

I’ve never been the girl with long hair. Last year, I only trimmed my hair a couple times in an effort to grow it out to “the perfect length,” but now that it’s there, my long hair kind of bores me. This year, I’m going to find a fun style and stick with it. Stylists recommend trimming your hair every six to eight weeks to maintain the hairstyle’s shape and keep the ends healthy. My ends are far from healthy; until I find the perfect cut, I’ll continue to treat my split ends and lifeless long hair with a few drops of argan oil after a shower and a thickening cream to keep my hair at least looking healthy and full. I like to use Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil coupled with Living Proof Full Thickening Cream.

9. Dispose of my contacts before my eyes get really, really red.

 

brown eyes

 

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way! Because I like to stretch my budget (and spend my money on things more fun and pretty than contact lenses), I’ve had a few days where it has stung to put my contacts in my eyes. This year, I’m vowing to replace my disposable lenses (I wear Acuvue 2) every month instead of every three months (oops). My eye doctor got after me at my appointment last year and told me that there were obvious changes to my corneas because of the lack of oxygen to my eyes. Contact lenses break down with daily wear and let less oxygen in to your eyes as the lenses get older. My doctor told me that if I’m not replacing my lenses every two weeks as directed, I should at least try to pop in a new pair every month. Done. Now I can save some room in my purse by getting rid of the Visine and rewetting drops I usually have stashed in there. :)

10. Take shorter showers.

 

showerhead

 

This one may be difficult to implement, as I love my long, hot showers, but if I want to save my skin (and my water bill), I’ll need to wise up about my time in the shower. Exposing your skin to long bouts of hot water actually dries out your skin, and with all the moisture-heavy resolutions I’m making this year,  it would be counterproductive to lose it all every time I step into the shower. During long, hot showers, you wash away your skin’s natural oils, or sebum, which results in that tight, itchy feeling you may sometimes feel afterward. Turn down the hot water dial. Opt for warm, short showers, and remember to load up on the lotions while your skin is still damp to lock moisture into place.

11. Get more sleep.

 

siamese cat napping

 

I’ve always been a night owl and used to pride myself on being able to get by on 4 hours of sleep or less. Not anymore! Toward the end of 2010, I got a little smarter about going to bed at a reasonable hour, and I hope to continue that trend into 2011. The Centers for Disease Control puts it beautifully:

“Sufficient sleep is not a luxury — it is a necessity —and should be thought of as a ‘vital sign’ of good health.”

I couldn’t agree more. When you have a good night of sleep — 7 to 9 hours for adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation — your skin is brighter, the bags under your eyes are gone and you just feel better. I’d rather function on sleep than coffee during a demanding day at the office (though I won’t turn down a second trip to the coffee bar even if I did get a full 8 hours!).

What are your 2011 beauty resolutions? Do we have some of the same ones? Share yours in the comments section.

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