Forget about a whole new year — it’s a new decade.
I’m all about shedding old habits and creating new ones. We all might carry some bad habits when it comes to skin care and makeup, and 2020 will be the year to break them.
Here are some beauty resolutions that address some of the basic problems I see with skin care and makeup. I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to make something a habit. Let’s get started now.
Take off your makeup and cleanse every night.
Our bodies use sleep to regenerate, shedding dead skin cells and cycling them out for new ones. That can’t happen properly if you’re not cleansing, which leads to dullness and dryness. It also can lead to breakouts. If you wear makeup, I would start double cleaning in the new year: use an oil-based cleanser or micellar water first to remove that top layer, then use a traditional cleanser to actually cleanse your skin.
Even if you don’t wear makeup, your face experiences enough grime and pollution in your daily life, and it can benefit from a gentle cleanser each evening. And while it’s OK every once in a while, a makeup wipe doesn’t cut it for every night. Think of it like using a paper towel to clean your whole house — you wouldn’t.
Also, change that pillow case!
Wear SPF every day.
You know my thoughts on this. You need an SPF on your face every single day, even in the winter, even if you work a desk job, even if you have a deeper skin tone. It protects you not only you pre-mature wrinkles and lines but also sun damage or worse.
The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and approximately 9,500 people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Also, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
Make SPF the last step of your morning skin care routine, after moisturizer and before makeup, if you’re wearing any.
See a professional.
If over-the-counter products aren’t working for you or you have series skin issues, a dermatologist or licensed esthetician can really assess what’s happening in your skin. Even you have no issues, per se, it never hurts to get your skin checked out. Seeing an esthetician (please, please, please make sure he or she is licensed!) for a facial once a month (or whenever you can afford it) helps to take really good care of your skin in ways you can’t at home. Think of it like seeing the dentist for a cleaning. Dermatologists will look for any sun spots or suspicious moles, too.
I absolutely understand that facials can be expensive and co-pays are high. You also might not have insurance. But try to see a professional at least once this year. It’s worth it to keep yourself healthy, and it could even save your life.
Stop using everything all at once.
I am so guilty of this. When I get a new skin care product, I cannot wait to use it. As soon as I get home from work, I’ll take off my makeup and go wild with my new product — or a few new products. However, I’m the same person who will wake up with a cluster of red dots and get super mad at myself for diving in headfirst.
Introducing too many things at once can cause irritation and make it harder to narrow down what’s causing problems. For the best results, introduce one new product at a time and wait about a week or two before adding something else. Introduce actives, or products with ingredients that change your skin’s structure on a cellular level — alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, retinoids and vitamin C — once or twice a week to start, and stagger their use in between each other.
Don’t buy every single product you come across.
This also is my weakness. Skin care and makeup can be a lot of fun. The bottles and packaging can look pretty, and the formulas sometimes feel luxurious. Skin care and makeup also can be insanely expensive. It seems like every brand is dropping a new product every other week, too, and keeping up with all the newness is exhausting.
We should only buy something new if it falls into certain categories. For example, if it’s a skin care product, it has to fill a need you can’t find a solution to, or contain an ingredient you’ve never used and are curious to try. If it’s makeup, it has to be different or work better than something you already have.
There are plenty of ways to try new products without spending a penny. Sephora, Ulta and most cosmetic counters give samples for free. Take a look at the ingredient lists on your existing skin care products to make sure you don’t already have something that will address your concerns. Dig through your makeup drawer to double-check you don’t already have a lipstick just like that. Also, let’s swap with our friends. We don’t need to bankrupt ourselves with four of the same product.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT