Have your hair, skin and make-up routines become a little too regimented? Time to experiment.
Have your hair, skin and make-up routines become a little too regimented?
Answer me this: do you reach into your beauty bag each morning and mechanically apply the same product? Do you check the expiry date of a beauty product anxiously, with one eye closed? Do you know the ingredients in the skincare you religiously apply morning and night? A woman’s beauty cabinet can be a confusing site to navigate. But what we should be asking ourselves is whether these products are really working hard for you. Are they putting the spring in your step, the glow in your cheeks and the good hair days in your week?
A beauty rut creeps up slowly. One friend in her late forties has been applying the same liquid eyeliner to her upper lash lines since she graduated university. “It’s become so mechanical that I don’t even think about it anymore,” she claims. “And anyway, if I was to change it, I would have no idea where to begin.”
Occasionally, what we all need is a beauty shake-up, the mechanics of which are simple. Channelling your inner Marie Kondo, discard any product you haven’t opened in six months of more (it’s very likely been superseded for a smarter formulation anyway), analyse everything you do use, question whether you’re still happy with what it brings to the beauty table and, finally, experiment. Here, your head-to-toe guide to a brighter and shinier you.
The directive for a results-driven routine? Dial down ingredients and listen up. EXPERT ANALYSIS According to cosmetic and laser dermatologist Michelle Hunt, the way to a better complexion is as simple as incorporating ingredients that actually work. Here are her top five. 1. Retinoids, or vitamin A derivatives (not to be confused with naturally occurring vitamin A, otherwise known as retinol), are widely hailed as the jack of all skin ingredients for their acnebanishing properties and ability to boost collagen production. 2. Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, are nifty chemical exfoliants that slough away dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover (read: glowing skin). 3. Sunscreen. If you’re Australian, this already has a special place in your beauty cabinet. The best ones protect against not only UV-A and UV-B rays, but infrared and visible light as well. 4. Antioxidants. When we talk antioxidants – vitamin C, E, B3 – we talk nixing free radicals, which, left to their own devices, fast-track the ageing process. 5. Lipids like ceramides and fatty acids are integral to a healthy skin barrier function, to keep external aggressors at bay and promote an even complexion.
UNDER THE WEATHER
“Although changing products with changing seasons is usually beneficial, you don’t necessarily need to switch up products unless your skin has changed, or a product doesn’t seem to be working like it used to,” says Hunt. Skin changes, she says, are down to a number of factors, including travel, hormonal changes and ageing. “Listen to your skin, and adjust your products accordingly.”
CHOP TO IT
When a hair change beckons, so does the inevitable question: “What if I loathe it?” Successful switch-ups start with a few key learnings. TO FRINGE OR NOT TO FRINGE If it’s minimum time and maximum impact you’re after, a fringe chop is foolproof, but, says Sydney-based hairstylist Anthony Nader, consider taking it slowly. “It’s baby steps first when I cut a fringe,” he says. “Especially if it’s the first time I’m cutting a client’s hair, as we don’t have a ‘ hair history’, so to speak.” Ask your stylist for an “intro” fringe, that is, a soft, textured crop that signals a refreshing update with little risk of regretting it later.
CONSIDER A “FASHION” CUT
If it’s drama you’re after, look to the backstage set for inspiration. Each season, a handful of fashionably risky haircuts start to emerge (see “the pageboy”, “the pixie” or generally any haircut Edie Campbell is sporting). This season, the fabulous 90s-inspired bowl cut – cropped at the ears, and the same length all over à la Cat McNeil – emerged as the cut to covet. Take references to your stylist and tweak the cut to take into account your hair type – fine, curly, thick – as this will impact the overall result.
While we’re not making any revelations when we say that a change of hair colour is the most foolproof way to a beauty update, that’s not to say it isn’t still just as relevant. Thanks to clever binding formulas such as Olaplex, which strengthens the bonds that colouring weakens, a drastic colour update no longer needs to compromise the health of your hair and scalp. While balayage and foiling might give the overall effect of a freshenup, consult a friend or stylist you can trust to serve up honest opinions when you’re considering a colour intervention.
Throw open your beauty bag and open up a whole new world of possibilities. ONE-USE WONDER “Restricting yourself to using make-up products only for their prescribed function takes away the fun and creativity of it all,” says Victoria Baron, make-up artist for Chanel. “Use your makeup bag as an assortment of colours and textures.” Ignore the product’s one-trick-pony purpose and take golden bronzers to eyelids or clear lip balm to the tops of cheekbones. “Lipsticks can often achieve the best flushed cheek,” says Baron.
GO ALL OR NOTHING
Stripping back your regimen can be empowering. While a dramatic eyeliner, for example, can instantly add a dose of confidence, if it’s been your go-to for years, farewelling it might have a similar impact. Amp up brows, play with clever contouring or sport Twiggyinspired lashes: the change-up could be your new go-to.
Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in Catherine, $53. Tiffany & Co. rings.
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer, $55. The Row dress.