Not all beauty rules are created equal. And I’ve always thought that the majority of beauty MUST DO’S are either seriously outdated and exclusionary or just not relevant to enough people. But here are the ones you really should follow, regardless of age, gender, financial circumstances or skin type.
If you ever talk to a dermatologist, without fail, the number one piece of advice they give is to wear sunscreen. Everybody needs protecting from UV rays – even when it’s cloudy, even if you’re spending most of the day indoors. Not only can exposure to the sun cause skin cancer, it’s also a major cause of premature skin aging. You can find so many products that have sunscreen in so there’s really no excuse not to slather yourself in the stuff. And please, please, please use an SPF of 30 or above. You’ll still get a tan, just without destroying your skin and potentially your health.
For my face I tend to use this from Dermalogica, which also works magic at mattifying the skin and preventing oily breakouts throughout the day – a little goes a long way so a bottle of this lasts absolutely ages. For my body I prefer the spray options like the Ambre Solaire Dry Mist as a quick and easy way of applying sunscreen without getting my hands sticky and greasy, I can’t recommend it enough.
I mean… this just works. From helping with weight loss to the benefits for your skin and hair. Drinking water can even helps to eliminate hair problems like dandruff and dermatitis. Not to mentioned just the overall health benefits of keeping yourself properly hydrated – less headaches, preventing muscle cramps, helping our digestive system to stay on track. I aim to drink 6-8 pints of water a day. Water works. Drink it!
Leave your hair alone.
Everyone has different hair with different issues but if you want healthy hair, this one is a must. Try to avoid major things that will stop your hair from being healthy, like bleach or excessive heat styling, will benefit you so much in the long term.
I’ve never dyed my hair, with one notable BAD exception when I was a teenager, I don’t over-wash my hair (I usually wash my hair twice a week, max) or load it up with products and for years I very rarely used heat on it apart from a quick blast with a hairdryer to finish drying it and I’ve always credited this as the reason I have had very healthy hair.
Over the past few years I’ve got into the habit of lots of heat styling on my hair and the noticable deterioration in it’s condition has been pretty horrifying so I’m taking it back to basics again and minimising the amount of heat I use on my hair. Even in only a couple of months I can see an improvement.
Take care of your eyebrows.
They define your face. So leave your brows alone as much as you can. Go to town with brow products if you want, but when it comes to waxing, threading, plucking… step away from the brows! A little grooming, absolutely. Radically changing the shape of your brows, probably not that advisable. Anyone who has friends who fell victim to the skinny brow trend of the 1990’s (or even shaved their eyebrows – THE HORROR!!) will know that growing out over-plucked eyebrows is a nightmare and often something you can never properly fix once done.
Learn to dress for yourself.
I don’t just mean, wear what makes you happy and damn the haters (but absolutely do that too!) but more to learn what looks good for you, your shape and your personal preferences, regardless of trends. If you’re never going to feel comfortable showing off your legs then skip that – if you feel uncomfortable, no matter how gorgeous you might look, that uncomfortable-ness is going to be what ends up shining through. So stick to styles that you feel happy, confident and comfortable in.
Take a look back through pictures of yourself and see if you can spot any common elements in the pictures you like the most of yourself. For me, I’ve never seen a picture of myself in a high necked top that I’ve really liked. I’ve got what can only be described as pretty huge boobs and in outfits like that I just look like I’ve got a really bad case of sagging shelf boob. They don’t suit me and it doesn’t flatter so I tend to only opt for things which have a scoop or v-neck because that’s way more flattering for me. Wearing clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in is automatically going to make you look and feel better than forcing yourself into an outfit that isn’t really ‘you’.
Super cheesy, but super true. If you don’t like yourself as you are – with the hair you’ve got, at the weight you are, with all of the flaws and strengths that make you YOU, then you’re never going to be happy with your look.
Makeup is great and I wouldn’t be without it, not least because I have waaaaaaay less than perfect skin, but it’s not a cover-up for unhappiness. A great foundation can’t fix that. Wanting to wear makeup or an outfit that makes you feel fantastic is great, but it should be the icing on the cake. You’re the cake. Make sure you’re a cake you like!
You don’t owe the world a need to ensure you conform to any idealised standard of beauty. Be yourself, LIKE yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. If you can do that then whatever beauty choices you make will be the right ones for you.
What are your beauty commandments?