?Sick of the same old, same old? Need a bit of beauty evolution? Whether Albert Einstein actually ever said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results" is unclear, but the sentiment remains the same. We cannot change what we don't change. So, with the arrival of a new year comes a great time to put new intentions to work. It needn't be scary, nor time consuming - it's just time for some fresh thinking and bright ideas. Here's how to dust away those beauty cobwebs for a whole new you.
1. SKIN TYPE UPDATE
Just because someone once told you that you had combination skin, doesn't mean that's still the case. The skin's lifecycle is approximately 21 days, which means the cells completely renew in that time. Add seasons, weather, lifestyle, diet and age into the equation, and it's easy to see how an individual's skin type can change. So, straightaway, get an update on what's going on with your dermis. The easiest and most comprehensive first step can thankfully be done from your bed by trying Vichy's online diagnostic tool. Log on to vichy.ie, complete the four steps, and the programme will then give you an updated diagnosis and recommend products ideal for your skin goals.
2. ESTABLISH A ROUTINE AND STICK TO IT
Once you know your current skin type, and its condition, it's time to get the best products for the job and use them. It sounds simple, but how many of us could fill a pharmacy with the hardly- touched serums, lotions and pots of promise we've eagerly bought and since cast aside? Commit to one consistent month of your chosen routine - which should at least include cleanse, tone, serum, moisture, eye cream and sun block (yes, even in winter), and also factor in exfoliation and nourishing masks - and see what happens. You'll be amazed at the results from a little regular face and body TLC.
3. THEN MIX IT UP
Once your new regime has been underway for ten weeks, it's time to re-test. Do so at home, at your pharmacy, or with a dermatologist.Then change products to keep one step ahead of your skin.
4. BAN QUICK FIXES
This applies as much to cheap, harsh cleansing wipes as it does to crash diets and overzealous gym routines. None of these is a good idea, and all can do more damage in the long run. Wipes on the whole are poor, as they cleanse with alcohols, stripping skin of natural oils and exacerbating the ageing process. Invest in a good cleanser and toner, or if you're super-lazy, a micellar water, and you're already spoiling the skin. As for the January fitness warriors: great if you want to start a healthier regime, but remember, most bodies can only lose a maximum of two pounds of fat per week, the rest is water and muscle - one of which returns very easily, the other doesn't, and this leads to saggy, weak physiques. Make this year the one where losses are improvements, not simply short-lived scales victories, and enjoy the journey to new, healthy habits. Also, going too hard at the gym is a surefire way to injury and subsequent time out of training. Lecture over.
5. BEAUTY INSIDE AND OUT
It may be the boring part of beauty, but hydration, sleep and supplements are as important to glowing skin as the products, treatments and procedures we put on top of it. In addition to drinking water, and getting to bed by 11pm (for ultimate skin renewal, liver detoxification, and hormone balance), spend January investing in supplements that will feed your skin and hair from the inside out. Imedeen, from €39.99 (anti-ageing stalwarts to boost collagen growth in skin), and Nourkrin, €99.50 (to improve hair quality), are long- time heroes that need to be taken for three to six months (no quick fixes here), but the results are consistently reliable. These supplements are often on three-for-two deals in January, so stock up early in the year.
6. BOOK IN BLOCK
For truly effective face and body therapies, the professionals may recommend a course. It's usually more cost-effective too. Follow up the investment by booking in the sessions at the same time, at the most ideal intervals, for optimal results. This also has the bonus benefit of ensuring you follow through on all that early enthusiasm. The same can be done with tan, wax, nail and brow appointments. Buy in bulk, get organised in 2016, and reap the beauty and budget benefits.
7. BACK TO BASE
Wearing the wrong shade of foundation is one of - if not the - worst beauty crimes committed by Irish women. There is a way to a warm complexion without buying a base that's a completely different shade to the skin beneath. The trick is to bring colour with a matte, instant tan (like Cocoa Brown Matte Instant Tan Bronzing Gel, €6.99), either applied straight to the face, or mixed with foundation. Alternatively, apply foundation, and warm up the look with bronzer (again, matte is best, not one with sparkle), applied at the forehead, temples and cheeks, with a quick brush down the centre of the face to hit where the sun would naturally do so. Contour fans can then go in again below the cheekbones and on the jawline.
If you've worn the same make-up look forever (or for what feels like it, anyhow), it's time to get an update. It's not only trends that change, but also our faces, and thus what flatters changes too. Be daring and give something new a go, just don't do so for the first time before heading out the door. Experiment with shadow textures (matte versus shimmer), groom those brows, add an eye-popping nude pencil to the waterline, try a new lip colour ... If feeling nervous, head to beauty counters that specialise in make-up lessons, such as Bobbi Brown, Benefit, MAC, Charlotte Tilbury or Armani. Go in with your ?normal? make-up to show the artist what you usually select, and then let them get to work. Try a few different counters to see how the various brands make you look and feel, and check out YouTube demos. This could become a new hobby!
9. GIVE IT LIP
Spring 2016 sees the return of the killer, bright lip (it never went very far). To get the right shade for your skin type, have a look at your wrist. If veins appear blue, pink tones and blue reds will work best; if veins are greener in colour, complexion-enhancing lippies will be yellow in tone, and orange-hued reds.
10. COUNTER INTELLIGENCE
Take advice from make-up guru Laura Mercier: ?Come to counter events, meet the teams, and see how they work. Then return for a quality one-on-one experience when it's quieter, and the artist can give you more time.? Invest in the relationship, and this expert can become your personal make-up artist and expert, advising on the right products to keep you abreast of flattering versions of new trends.
11. GET A SIGNATURE SCENT
A positive project for early in the year: Try to find a new perfume to love, one that's unique to you that you've not used before. Explore the variants of Kiehl's Aromatic Blends or Maison Margiela's Replica collection of scents to evoke memories. Or if you're normally an alternative type, try out some of the classics like Chanel Chance, Miss Dior and Jo Malone London's Lime Basil & Mandarin for a scent-sational spring.
12. HEAD FIRST
Dying for a new hairstyle or colour but never got around to it? This is your moment. A year of great hair days awaits, just by taking the plunge. A style makeover is a big move, but one that reaps amazing rewards (and huge admires). Don't make the jump in one salon appointment, but do so over two or three. Talk to your stylist - discuss colour, cut and upkeep. Bring in photographs or pictures of your hair goals or celebrity inspiration, and see if they will work for your hair and lifestyle. Then, when confident, make the changes. By Easter, we could be looking at a whole new you.
This article was originally published in the January issue of IMAGE Publications?