All without having to spend thousands of dollars at your next-door salon? Yes, absolutely!
We tend to forget that the solutions to most of our skin and beauty concerns are right around the corner, but we are often too busy looking for quick fixes, whether it’s using chemical products or high-end brands. It’s time to stop wasting time and money on fast and ineffective solutions in hope for results that could be achieved more naturally.
We’ll take you through the top 10 habits that will lead to healthier skin and hair. They may not be as quick, but slow and steady wins the race!
1. Use a safe, mineral-based sunscreen daily.
Did you know the ultraviolet rays from sunlight can actually damage the DNA of our skin cells, leading to skin conditions like sunburns, premature aging, dark spots, and even cancer? That is why sunscreen should be incorporated into your daily routine, regardless of your age, gender, or where you live.
The sun’s power should never be underestimated, even on a cloudy day. But why use mineral-based sunscreen? Well, there are actually two kinds of sunscreen—chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreens work by allowing UV light into the skin, but the chemicals will create a chemical reaction, converting the UV light into heat, which dissipates from the skin. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, use small particles in their formula that physically prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin.
So, why are mineral sunscreens better? Mineral sunscreens don’t create as much heat, which is better for those with sensitive skin or even melasma, a condition where brown patches appear on the face. Mineral sunscreens also begin working immediately, so there’s no 30-minute wait like there is for chemical sunscreens. It’s a win-win!
2. Try supplementing with collagen.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, and is the main component of ligaments, tendons, skin, and muscles. Because it plays such a huge role in strengthening your skin, as well as in maintaining its elasticity and hydration, taking collagen supplements is a great way to give your complexion a nice boost.
As you age, your body will actually begin to produce less collagen which leads to wrinkles and dry skin. While there are foods that already contain collagen, adding a supplement is a great way to fight the signs of aging and has even been shown to improve your hair and nails by preventing brittleness.
3. Incorporate healthy fats into your diet.
Not all fats are bad! The low-fat diet craze started in the 1960s and for decades, it has been considered the gold standard. But the reality is far more nuanced than just eating low-fat foods. We don’t have time to unpack the diet industry and the hold it has on the world, but we will explain why fats are important and what foods you can incorporate into your diet to improve your skin and hair!
Fats help us more than we realize—they provide energy, help us absorb certain vitamins, slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, and help us feel full. We wouldn’t be able to function without fats, but not all of them are made equal. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that can actually improve your skin, hair, and overall health.
Here are a few fat-full foods to incorporate into your diet for beautiful skin and hair:
- Olive oil (especially extra virgin olive oil)
- Sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Coconut and walnut oil
4. Practice a facial massage routine.
When you massage the skin, you’re actually improving circulation, bringing more blood cells and oxygen to the skin, and creating better absorption of products. When paired with your skincare routine, facial massages can help you fight signs of aging, prevent wrinkles, and give your skin a youthful glow.
There are many types of facial massages out there and tons of videos that take you through how to do them, so find one that targets your specific concern. Incorporating a jade roller or a gua sha can also help, as both of these ancient Chinese tools have been shown to reduce redness, scarring, and aging by stimulating and draining the lymphatic system, which is an organ system that is part of your immune and circulatory systems.
Consistency is key, however! Make sure you stay on top of your daily facial massages to see results.
5. Eat antioxidant-rich foods.
Antioxidants are already part of your life, whether you realize it or not. But what do they do? Well, they’re compounds produced by your body and found in foods that help defend your cells against damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are, to keep it simple, unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause illness and aging. When these things accumulate, they can cause a state known as oxidative stress, which can damage your DNA and other important parts of your cells.
But never fear—antioxidants are here! By incorporating foods rich in these little defenders, you can resist oxidative stress and can help fight signs of aging, make your skin glow, reduce acne, and prevent sunburn. There are a few we recommend that are especially effective at giving you flawless, youthful skin:
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
6. Stay active
First, it improves blood flow, which will nourish your skin cells. This enhanced blood flow also helps remove damaging waste by-products and toxins from your skin. Stress can have a seriously damaging effect on your skin and any existing skin conditions. Exercise is a great way to de-stress. By lowering your stress through exercise, you will keep your skin and hair safe from those harmful effects. Best of all, staying active can prevent and even reverse the signs of aging!
7. Strengthen your skin barrier.
Our skin is our largest organ, and it can do some pretty incredible things. Just like we live in shelters that protect us, our skin also has a line of defense—it’s called the skin barrier. This barrier keeps you alive by preventing harmful environmental toxins and pathogens from getting through your skin and wreaking havoc inside your body. It also keeps water from escaping your body so you may stay hydrated. But this barrier isn’t impervious to damage, so it’s important we take care of it.
We recommend using moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, honey, and urea, as well as looking for products that contain ceramides. Try to avoid super harsh physical exfoliants and products that over-dry your skin, and make sure you never leave the house without sunscreen on your face! All of these products and tips will ensure your skin barrier stays strong and you look flawless!
8. Get your beauty sleep.
Sleep is how our body heals from a day of putting it through all sorts of stress. This repair time is essential to every process in your body, but it’s just as essential for your skin and hair, too. With our busy lives, sometimes sleep is the first thing to fall off the wagon—we know, we’ve been there. It’s recommended that we get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night, but what is all that sleep really doing for our skin?
Well, sleeping allows your body to produce more collagen, that handy protein we discussed earlier. This will prevent sagging and make skin plumper, allowing you to look younger and wrinkle-free. Sleep deprivation can decrease blood flow to your facial skin, making your skin look less rosy and dull. Sleeping enough can even improve your hair growth and strength by decreasing your cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can lead to hair loss and breakage!
9. Keep your makeup—and makeup tools—clean.
Makeup brushes and tools can hoard all sorts of nasties, from harmful bacteria and mold to oil and dead skin cells that will clog your pores. Think of your makeup brushes and sponges like your towels—it’s time to clean them every 7 to 10 days, at a minimum.
There are plenty of brush cleaning fluids out there, but just some simple warm water and unscented soap or baby shampoo will do the trick. By cleaning your brushes once a week, you can have peace of mind that none of the gunk and harmful bacteria can breed in between the bristles and ruin your complexion.
10. Switch from cotton to Silk!
It’s time to ditch those cotton pillowcases, eye masks, and scrunchies. Why? Because cotton and similar materials are super absorbent and harsh on your skin and hair. This means all the moisture you worked so hard to give your skin and hair is robbed throughout the night or day by these materials, not to mention they apply more friction and irritation.
Silk, on the other hand, is less absorbent and far more gentle on your skin and hair. Silk pillowcases and eye masks will make sure your moisturizers are left untouched and unabsorbed so they can do their good work throughout the night. And silk scrunchies are the perfect way to get your hair out of your face without dealing with the dreaded crease from traditional hair ties. Silk products will ensure you wake up, feeling and looking refreshed with moisturized skin and hair!