As is sometimes the case with human relationships, an over-dependence on certain beauty rituals and products, out of sheer habit, can be bad for health. When we hoard things and stick to them simply because we have done for a long period of time, we tend to overlook their stagnancy and lack of constructive contribution. The intricate linkages between health, grooming, self-presentation and self-esteem are more relevant than ever, so beauty deadweight simply will not do!
What are some thoughtless beauty habits we can drop, in favour of more wholesome, long-lasting and aesthetically wonderful alternatives?
DISRESPECTING THE UTILITY OF FOUNDATIONS
Including naturally luxuriant, pure, and nutritive oils into daily beauty routines will make it easy for foundation to love the skin it is working on. Consider the amount of research that goes into deciding skin tone pigments for foundations. This is done to make it easier for us to choose a foundation that blends in with our skin, without too much effort. The effortlessness is key here, because it entails refraining from copious application, which is disrespecting the primary objective of the pigment matching. We forget about this more often than we care to admit.
The idea is not to dismiss the utility of foundation as a complexion neutraliser (especially when innovations in beauty have led to the creation of foundation formulae with astringent or sunscreen qualities). It is to embrace the fact that Mother Nature’s repository is bursting with healing oils, capable of nourishing the skin from deep within, neutralising and smoothening its outward appearance. It is then simply delightful, not to mention confidence-boosting, to accentuate the natural evenness and glow of healthy skin with a favourite concealer (for the times when sleep has been elusive), or a lightweight highlighter. After all, make up is best used for enhancement and creative expression/communication, not for camouflage.
QUICK-FIXES FOR TRESS-STRESS
The best quick-fix for a bad hair day does not have to involve a heated instrument or so-called ‘saviour’ products that lead to scalp build-up and dry, lifeless ends. It is relatively easy for long hair to ‘hide’, because it can be scooped up into a creative bun. Even short hair that woke up on the wrong side of the bed, can be slicked back and left to recover. What can we do to help the process?
A lightweight, nourishing oil like Coconut, Sweet Almond, Jojoba or Lavender Oil is a wiser investment, in terms of time and the vitality of your hair in the long run. Hair can be coaxed out of its temper tantrum with a few drops around the hairline to settle frizz and fly-always. Light oils can also be used on the scalp to counter itching, flakes and sebum accumulation, or along the length of for gloss and to prevent mid-length breakage.
SYNTHETIC BODY BRUSHES
Exfoliation through body brushing is a splendidly cathartic beauty habit. Dry brushing removes dead skin cells, including the more visibly obvious flakes of dry skin. It reinforces blood circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for removal of toxins. It also minimises the appearance of enlarged pores and cellulite. While synthetic materials like nylon are popular choices for making the bristles on body, they can make hypersensitive skin more vulnerable and set the stage for allergies. It is safer to opt for brushes with natural fibre bristles, because these are gentler on skin, and do not strip it off its innate reservoir of moisturising oils.
OVER-DEPENDENCE ON SALON FACIALS
We all have those days when we are indescribably fatigued, and crave some pampering. A salon facial is the best friend that emerges on such days, because the convenience of them gives us a break from our hectic schedules. But perhaps, in the process, we underestimate the therapeutic value of equally convenient home-spa rituals, many of which can be achieved at comparatively cheaper costs and at ‘appointment times’ that suit only us.
Diligent bi-weekly exfoliation over a consistent period of time will take care of dryness, flaking and clogged pores - the factors leading to a dull, blemished, unclean appearance. In order to instil a sense of permanence to our skincare routine, we need to focus on what we include or exclude from our night-time regimen. That is when skin has a chance to be at rest and everything we ‘feed’ it, has a chance to work without the interruption of our waking schedules. Whilst the exfoliation allows for regular dredging of dirt and dead skin, a rejuvenating night treatment cream which works on pigmentation, fresh skin cell turnover and lubrication for dehydration induced fine lines and blemishes will be something skin will constantly be grateful for, in the present, and more so in the ‘skin years’ to come.