While taking care of ourselves is essential, it can feel like yet another item on an endless to-do list. Have no fear though, here are five beauty do’s and don’ts that won’t cost you any money or time. With a sprinkle of mindfulness and a smidge of effort, these tips will help keep you looking your best, so you can keep on keeping on.
Don’t wear your hair up in a tight bun or ponytail every day
It’s tempting to whip your hair up into a bun or ponytail on a busy day. Hair can get in the way and, some days, you can’t be bothered to wash and style it. However, elastic hair bands put stress and tension on your strands. This constant friction can lead to fraying, breakage, and hair loss.
Consider reducing the amount of time you pull your hair up, and when you do, opt for looser hairstyles and “no damage” ponytail holders. Use a deep conditioning mask on the weekend, and let your hair air dry whenever possible.
Don’t pick at your pimples
Unless you use the proper technique and tools, it’s better to tap out on this and let your body heal itself. You’ve heard this countless times, but it merits repeating. While it does feel oddly satisfying to pop a pimple, the aftermath can last for weeks, if not months later.
Reasons to avoid popping pimples include scarring, tearing the skin, exacerbating the pimple, and introducing new bacteria to the area. When you pop a pimple, its contents (bacteria, oil, and dead skin) can spread to other pores and create more pimples.
Popping a pimple can damage the skin, leaving a wound that may take weeks to heal. As we get older, cell turnover slows down. A popped pimple can lead to post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation—you know that red or brown mark that seems to last for decades? Ride out the pimple train, add a little salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to help dry it out, and let your body handle the rest.
If you really can’t resist touching your acne, try some pimple patches like the CosRX Acne Pimple Patch ($4.69, shop here).
Do wear sunscreen on your neck, chest, and arms
Kudos to you for wearing sunscreen on your face. The sun and its damaging rays are the number one cause of aging. Wrinkles, brown spots, sagging, texture issues, and uneven skin tone are directly related to cumulative UVB/UVA exposure.
However, your face is not the only part of your body affected by the sun. Your neck, chest, and arms are often overlooked and are just as delicate and susceptible to damage. When applying sunscreen to your face, keep it moving down to the neck, chest, and arms. Any skincare products you use on your face can be used in these areas, too, with positive anti-aging effects. Your skin will thank you.
Don’t use makeup wipes
Just don’t, period. Makeup wipes are terrible for your skin and terrible for the environment. They’re handy for removing stubborn makeup like mascara and eyeliner, but for facial cleaning purposes? They smear makeup, dirt, and oil around your face, causing irritation, inflammation, and damage. These wipes may end up causing breakouts and redness.
Wash your face. No matter the time or circumstance, take sixty seconds to wash your face with a good cleanser and water. It’s much more effective (and gentle) for your skin than any makeup wipe.
Do watch your alcohol and sugar intake
Boo! This “do” is not much fun. We’re not saying you need to cut out sugar and alcohol entirely, though. Making these inflammatory substances an occasional treat is the best route for healthy skin.
Refined sugar is a simple carbohydrate that causes insulin levels to spike in your body, leading to inflammation. Inflammation creates enzymes that break down all the juicy collagen and elastin that make your skin firm and glowy. Losing collagen and elastin means wrinkles, sagging, a sallow appearance, redness, acne, dark circles under the eyes, and irritation.
The good news? Most skin issues that we try to fix with expensive skincare can be prevented by watching what we eat and wearing sunscreen!