Even the smallest habits can help you maintain a healthy look
Modern beauty products and aesthetic treatments can do a lot of the heavy lifting, but even the most high-end products and services are no substitute for living well and taking care of yourself. Simply incorporate a few easy routines into your daily life and then watch and feel the transformation begin. Not sure where to start? Let’s look at some ways to step up your self-care.
Head-Turning, Glossy Locks
As someone with unruly hair, it’s easy to understand how difficult it is not to pick up heated styling tools in the morning. But the very tools that smooth, straighten, and create perfect curls weaken and destroy vital proteins in your hair, as well as deplete your hair’s natural oils, leading to frizzy, dry, and broken hair.
Instead of putting down the curler for good (let’s be realistic here!) take preventive measures to better care for your hair. Unless you’re using a blow dryer, style hair when it’s completely dry and adjust the temperature to be gentle on your hair texture. Thin or fine hair can be more fragile than thicker hair, and doesn’t need the extra heat.
One important step that’s easy to overlook is the use of heat protectant products. Always apply a heat protectant spray before styling to help beat the heat, but keep in mind that these products only reduce the amount of damage caused by heat styling. The best thing you can do for your hair—bear with me here—is to give it a break. Your hair will thank you in the long run for going a few days a week without styling. These days are the perfect time for that cute up-do you’ve been meaning to try!
Exfoliate and Hydrate to Look Fresh and Dewy
Thankfully we don’t shed dead skin cells like a snake, but they do tend to stick around, which makes our skin feel rough and lack a radiant glow. These skin cells also make it more difficult for the new layer of fresh skin underneath to absorb products. A gentle exfoliation once or twice a week with a textured scrub or loofah rids your skin of both dirt and dead cells, and it’s not just for the face. So go ahead each week and take a much-deserved night to pamper yourself with a soak and a scrub-down. Afterwards, be sure to moisturize all over your body, neck, and face. A few sprays of coconut water facial mist will give you a boost during the day, as it is thought to have hydrating and anti-aging properties.
Brighten Those Pearly Whites
When was the last time you gave your smile some extra TLC—besides right before your dental check-up? Although it can seem tedious, regular flossing helps oral hygiene tremendously. Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. And speaking of brushing your teeth, be sure to get those hard-to-reach places in the back. Using an electric toothbrush will help.
An alcohol-free mouthwash is also an easy and portable way to freshen up and kill bacteria. Additionally, take the time to brighten your teeth with one of the many at-home whitening products available, or get them professionally brightened. Finally, don’t miss those dental checkups! Preventive dental care will stop a problem in its tracks before it starts or gets worse.
Pep Up Your Posture
Slumping and hunching over can have adverse effects on mindfulness, digestion, and mental clarity. The method here is to work toward being mindful of posture in your everyday life. Next time you find yourself slouching while standing in line or at your desk, take a moment to correct it. Plant your feet firmly hip-width apart, pull your shoulders gently back, and align your hips and lower back directly under you. Spending just a few minutes a day making these slight changes will make a big difference.
Catch Better ZZZs
Attention all night owls, your body works hardest to repair itself when resting. While in deep sleep the body has time to focus on tasks such as producing collagen and reducing mental stress. Here are some tips for getting a good night’s rest:
- Turn off the electronics. The combination of blue light and sensory stimulation on devices such as televisions, computers, and phones can make you feel more awake and disrupt your natural sleep cycle. Instead, opt for a book or another quiet activity and try not to use electronics in the bedroom.
- Exercise. A moderate workout during the day is a good way to ensure you hit the sheets ready to sleep at night, however it’s not advisable to do so too close to bedtime as it may pep you up instead. Try to time your workouts at least four hours before tucking in.
- Avoid stressing out about getting enough hours of sleep. Constantly checking the clock and counting the dwindling hours remaining for you to get some decent shut-eye will only exacerbate the problem. Take some deep breaths, clear your mind, and don’t force yourself.
By Audrey Ashe