January is all about resolutions. Forget buying a gym membership you won’t use, we recommend taking five minutes to read this – and make some very simple changes to transform skin, hair, nails – and add a dose of extra confidence for the year ahead…. The must-haves for a glowy radiant complexion, the insider advice from one of the best hairdressers in the business, plus the only way to get smoother, softer, healthier skin from top to toe.
SPF SPF SPF
You can drink gallons of, get a regular eight hours a night and use all the serums. But it will all be a complete waste of time if you don’t use an SPF. Why? Quite apart from skin cancer, repeated exposure to the sun’s harmful rays (UVA and UVB) breaks down the elastin in your skin leading to premature ageing.
“But it’s not even sunny outside”? you say. Well around 80% of UV rays still penetrate through clouds so yep – it’s something you need to use year round. As a guide, go for at least SPF 30, but SPF 50 is really best. We’d recommend trying a few to see what suits your skin best – the three pictured are all reasonably-priced, non-greasy and won’t leave a white cast on darker skins.
KEEP IT CLEAN
No, face wipes DO NOT count. Totally fine if you’ve just arrived home, should have definitely stayed for absolutely no more than the ONE glass of wine you said you’d have, and need to collapse into bed. Otherwise? Not worth your time or money. And no, a splash of water in the AM is NOT going to clean your skin. We really like something light, gentle and refreshing like Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser first thing, and then a balm or oil in the evening to get rid of every trace of makeup, dirt and SPF.
Emma Hardie’s Amazing Face Moringa Balm Cleanser is fantastic and actually pretty good value as a little goes a long way. Otherwise, the Extraordinary Oil Cleanser from L’Oreal Paris is very keenly priced and almost always on offer somewhere. Massage in, and always use hot water and a facecloth to remove. There really is nothing better than a really clean face – and your skin will be brighter, healthier and more glowy, guaranteed.
HAVE A CLEAR OUT
January is the perfect time to have a bit of a clear out. Those bright purple eyeshadows you bought for a Halloween Party five years ago? Chuck ’em. Any mascara more than three months old? In the bin. Everything else? “Give and Makeup is a non-profit initiative whose sole purpose is to get everyday essentials into the hands of women and children who need them the most”. The nonprofit supports Refuge and Women’s Aid in the London and Cardiff areas, delivering the essential they really need – from clothing and toys to skincare and toiletries. New or nearly new products only please – but these women do really need your help.
Once you’ve packaged up your parcel for Give and Makeup, let’s tackle that makeup bag, shall we? Would you consider it a health and safety hazard? Time for a new makeup bag, and let’s root out all those broken bits and bobs lurking… Half-opened plasters, the hairtie dating back to 2007 and the pack of aspirins that definitely needs to go in the bin? GOODBYE! Only products that you love, you use and bring you joy – it’s what Marie Kondo would want…
TALK TO YOUR HAIRDRESSER…
And yes, we mean about something apart from your holidays… A few hints from Sassoon Salon’s Senior Creative Director Lothar Wiessmann to get you started: “Hair is like skin, so what worked last year might not work this year. And seasons really have an impact on what your hair needs – the current winter climate combined with central heating means you’ll probably need a bit of extra moisture through the ends.”
“Most shampoos are too rich and will eventually make your hair look dull. Ever tried cleaning your skin with a moisturising mask? Exactly! It’s best using a regular or slightly moisturing shampoo. AND THEN use a goood treatment where the hair needs it- most likely ends and mid length (never the root area, unless it’s a scalp treatment). On the subject of which… Nobody’s got time to stand under the shower for ten minutes and wait for the treatment to sink in, right? Just apply it in the evening and let it dry while you’re reading a book or watching TV (ED: READING A BOOK!) and simply rinse off the next morning. Done!”
And finally: “Hair is the most vulnerable when it’s wet. So take extra care when combing it through after shampooing. It hurts every hairdresser’s eyes when they walk through the gym and see how women ATTACK their hair with a brush or comb. I am usually APPALLED!!!”
THE MAGIC MULTITASKER
Improving skin texture, targeting fine lines and wrinkles, banishing pigmentation, refining pores – retinol is a multi-tasking skincare miracle and if you’re not using one, start now! For the uninitiated, just what is retinol? It’s actually a derivative of Vitamin A, which speeds up cell turnover and increases collagen production, repairing damaged skin and helping to prevent signs of ageing such as lines and dark spots.
The powerful ingredient speeds up cell turnover for existing skin damage, and cleverly interrupts the free-radical damage process – from the environment, and general ageing – to prevent wrinkles and spots from forming. If it’s your first time using retinol, start out GENTLY with a low concentration – we like the Overnight Skin Perfector from Beauty Pie or The Ordinary’s 0.5% Retinol in Squalane. Ready for the big guns? Try The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, Luna Night Sleeping Oil from Sunday Riley or Beauty Pie’s Super Retinol. And always, always use an SPF as retinol will increase the skin’s sensitivity to sun.
GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP
Beauty sleep? Oh yes, quite apart from ensuring we get our eight hours, we’re big fans of using the time you’re asleep to transform your skin. First? Start with one of Slip’s amazing silk pillowcases. Get ready for softer, smoother skin – and silky-soft hair. And even better? Your pillowcase won’t absorb your skincare products. The same principle applies for silk sleep masks too – plus blocking out light is sure to improve sleep. Even better, choose a treatment designed to work overnight – we love Eve Lom’s Time Retreat Intensive Night Cream or the No Wrinkles Night Repair from This Works.
DRY BODY BRUSHING
DO NOT spend a penny of your cash on body treatments, they just DO NOT WORK. Whether you love or hate your cellulite/stretch marks, or couldn’t care less either way, dry body brushing will not only improve your skin, it’s also fantastic for your whole body, health, everything. Smoother skin, no more ingrown hairs, improved circulation and a better immune system – you get the picture. Before you hop into the bath or shower, take two minutes and use a brush from top to toe. Actually toe to top – starting with your feet and brushing upwards, before using circular strokes on your stomach. We like to use a body oil on skin post-shower – Omorovicza’s Firming Body Oil is a favourite because it smells deeevine, but you could use baby oil, coconut oil etc. Try it 2-4 times a week for a month and you’ll see a difference.
ALL ABOUT EYEBROWS
AND NO, we don’t mean crazy Instagram-style eyebrows. Please, make it STOP! But if you’re not already using a brow product – give one a go. Defining your eyebrows is the simplest way to create structure in your face – even if you don’t usually wear any makeup at all. It’s the easiest no-makeup-makeup, and there are lots of non-spendy products we’d recommend, starting with Glossier’s Boy Brow and L’Oreal’s Brow Artist Eyebrow Pencil. Brush on, look gorgeous, done.
Snigger. No no, not like THAT! But if you don’t already use an acid-based product, we’d really recommend trying one. Forget old-fashioned exfoliation, this is the easiest, most effective way to smooth and brighten skin, refine pores and balance your complexion. Your gateway drug? Pixi’s Glow Tonic. But we LOVE the AHA Treatment Solution from Malin + Goetz which combines a variety of acids and is beautifully lightweight. Already use an acid? Try the PHA Solution from Garden of Wisdom, which uses next generation polyhydroxy acids to brighten and exfoliate while enhancing the effectiveness of anti-ageing serums.
AND DON’T FORGET YOUR VITAMINS…
Skin looking a little dull? You need some Vitamin C! A potent natural antioxidant, Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties, can boost collagen production, fade dark spots and, of course, brighten the complexion. Who doesn’t want some of that? As always, the most economical option is The Ordinary – and the Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone is a potent formula too. We love Lixir’s Vitamin C Paste, which acts as a quick fix mask, and Beauty Pie’s Superactive Capsules are a smart option if you travel a lot.