Sali’s New Year Beauty Resolutions

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8 real and achievable commandments for looking your best in 2014


1. Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse

I know I am officially the world’s most relentless person on this subject but people, nothing will make a bigger difference to your skin that removing your make-up properly before bed. And by properly, I mean by massaging a thick balm or cream cleanser into dry skin to loosen the crap, then buffing it off with a hot, wet, wrung-out flannel.  Rinse the flannel a couple of times during the cleanse and repeat the cleanser application if it’s not completely clean. Your skin will look immediately brighter, your skincare will work better, you’ll see a dramatic reduction in spots, dullness, dryness. I repeat in the morning with a lighter, milkier type cleanser and a new flannel (I re-use this for evening, then toss it in the laundry basket). Just do it. You will never regret it.


2. Cut down on sugar

This, I’m afraid, is a case of Physician, Heal Thyself, as I am sitting here typing this with the worst skin I’ve had in months and months. Why? Ferrero Rocher for breakfast, Lindt Lindors mainlined at midnight, Quality Street, mince pies, Cadbury selection packs, Buttons and what appears to be a chronic addiction to Crunchies during all the hours between. My skin is itchy, a little blotchy, dull and dry. I’m of the unwavering opinion that it’s not Christmas booze that screws up your skin – it’s sweets and chocolate. This stops NOW, Hughes.


3. Use your chosen serums, oils and creams every day

One of the most common conversations I have about skincare goes like this: Someone on Twitter: “I bought that serum you recommended and it didn’t work”. Me: “How long did you use it?” Them: “A week”. Skincare is not an overnight fix, nor a miracle worker. It is a lifetime commitment that with care and diligence, yields visible results. There are heaps of quick-fix products out there – flash balms, masks, brighteners, primers and so on, with often great results that wash off before bed. But good skincare is a drip-drip approach with longer lasting benefits. You must use serums or oils (or both) every single day for them to work properly. Aside from allergic reactions and preference of texture, smell, usability (all of which are fairly immediately identified), you probably won’t know how you truly feel about a product for around eight weeks. Treat it as you would a healthy eating plan – eating salad for a week will not make you a healthier person longterm.


4. Get some decent brushes, or at least wash yours

That spongey thing in your eyeshadow compact is a piece of crap. Bin it. That splayed blusher brush in your make-up bag, caked with old colour that makes everything appear the same shade as a child’s water beaker at painting time, needs chucking too – or at the very least, washing. Good brushes can make cheap make-up look a million dollars, while bad brushes make expensive make-up look like it came from a car boot. Your brushes need to be clean and the right size for the job (blusher brushes are domed and flat, bronzer brushes are fat and round, powder brushes are obese). They need to not shed hair onto your face and have handles that are properly weighted. I use Space NK, MAC, Japonesque, Laura Mercier, Charlotte Tilbury and Bobbi Brown, but also really like the great affordable brushes from Topshop, Real Techniques, Crown and Models Own. Whichever you use, wash them once a fortnight (weekly for foundation and concealer brushes) in non-moisturising shampoo under running water. Dry flat on a towel – never in a cup – to avoid damaging the handles.


5. Throw three items of make-up in the bin

There are at least three items in your make-up bag that don’t suit you, or are too manky to use properly, or were last fashionable during Blair and Britpop. And since then, your face has changed, your style has evolved. Stop keeping your face in the past and make it represent who you are now, flattering your more mature skin and attitude. Frosty lipsticks are low hanging fruit – start with those. Black pencils that are infinitely less flattering than navy, sage, bronze and chocolate, can go next. That dry mascara is offering nothing but the threat of infection, and the smashed up eyeshadow attractively dusting all the good products with grubby shimmer, is cramping your style. Your foundation needs to match your skin as it is today, not five years ago. And while you’re there, either wash the dirty make-up bag or treat yourself to a new wipe-clean one.


6. Go outside often

I am one of life’s homebodies and it can often show on my face. I work from my kitchen table, love to hunker down of a weekend (especially in bad weather) and would always, always choose sofa and Kindle over gym and kettlebells. This isn’t really the best thing for my skin, which prefers Vitamin D to gas central heating. However office-confined your job, get out in the fresh air for two ten minute breaks either side of your lunch hour. However foul the weekend weather, shove some Uggs over your onesie and go for the paper. Being outside makes skin look brighter, healthier, better.


7. Drink more water

Those tedious model interviews in magazines sadly speak the truth: lots of water helps skin look great. While dull and dehydrated skins benefit enormously from hyaluronic acid, glycerin and other humectants in products, nothing will help them more noticeably than a regular intake of fresh water. Ditto blemished and acne-prone skin. Get a one litre water bottle (Sigg make really nice ones), fill it each morning and set yourself a target to empty it by lunch. It’s an easier and more measurable way of ensuring a good intake. And despite what the magazines tell you, it is perfectly fine to add a little sugar free Ribena or Barley. Whatever makes you more likely to drink it is a Very Good Thing.


8. Wear something out of your comfort zone every week

Think hot pink lipstick looks amazing on others, but feel you couldn’t possibly wear it yourself? Want to try tinted moisturiser but worry about feeling too exposed without the shield of your full coverage foundation? Have a craving to go blonde? Just do it. This is your face, your hair, your playground. If you fancy trying something, get on and enjoy it before you die. And remember this: no one, literally no-one, will judge you as harshly as you judge yourself. No one scrutinises your face for lines, blemishes, lipstick that seems ‘too fancy’. They glance in your direction, possibly appreciate your appearance for a second, then get on with their own lives. You look at you more carefully than anyone, so wear the hair and make-up you want, for yourself.




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