My beautiful resolutions
From stumpy lashes to lazy hair, beauty editor Tracey Strange resolves to make a few New Year's changes.
I will love my feet. I once worked with a beauty editor who maintained that the sun wasn't the biggest contributor to wrinkles. Nope. It was uncomfortable heels. She swore that tight, monster heels caused women to grimace and look perpetually pinched, which led to wrinkles being etched on the face. The theory has some merit, especially when the feet wearing the shoes aren't in great shape. Cracked feet are ugly, painful and, surprisingly for such a common beauty crime, sometimes alarmingly bad for your health. The reason is that cracks expose you to occasionally serious bacterial conditions, such as cellulitis or ulcers (diabetics are especially vulnerable). Keeping them in good nick isn't difficult. I resolve to become better acquainted with a foot rasp and nail file this year.
I will use my Latisse. Lash extensions are "over and out", thundered beauty bible Allure magazine in its roundup of the trends to retire in 2014. (Right up there with grills, apparently.) They are preaching to the converted. Lash extensions - as much as I loved them - ruined my natural lashes years ago. I'm now left with stumpy feathery bits that would look much, much better if I remembered to use my Latisse, the prescription-only drug that really does make lashes longer, darker and thicker.
I resolve to break out of my hair rut. I have a theory about hair colourists. Since they spend about 80 per cent of their time making people blonde (it's the most popular colour by far), they'll try any trick in the book to convince you to go red or brunette in an effort to reduce the boredom. This makes me blurt: "Now, I really want to keep it blonde," every time I slide into a stylist's chair. So, due to no fault of any hairdresser I have ever known, I sometimes end up looking like a canary, the combined result of too much lightener and too much sun. It happens with such regularity that I'm planning this year to button up. I also resolve to change my lazy-girl ways and quit letting my hair air-dry. I may pull out the hair-dryer once in a while; even bust out the curling tongs.
I will listen to myself. As a beauty editor, I spend a lot of time encouraging women to wear sunblock but in the spirit of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, I don't always wear it myself. Sunscreens not only prevent us from UVB damage - the rays that cause the skin to burn - but also from UVA. UVAs (the "ageing" rays) are far more insidious, sneaking up without warning (no tell-tale burning) and wreaking havoc, breaking down collagen and causing wrinkles and pigmentation. For the best protection, particularly for the face, look out for products containing zinc oxide.
I will experiment less. Trialling products is part of my job. But it can also wreak havoc on the skin. Too many different products cause it to become overloaded; the result is often tiny pimples or bumps on the cheeks, forehead and chin, sometimes called "congestion". There are so many products on offer, it is almost a full-time job keeping up with the latest - and greatest - advances. And the temptation to experiment is almost overwhelming. If you have found a range of products that suits your skin - for example, you are noticing an improvement in texture, tone, clarity and softness - stick with it. The grass is not always greener.
I won't use makeup as a mask. Gisele Bundchen without makeup may be a beautiful sight, as the famous pics she tweeted after the birth of her second child prove. I have neither Bundchen's youth nor her bone structure but that still doesn't stop me from believing that - when it comes to makeup - less is very definitely more. Makeup shouldn't be a veneer. A face without much makeup somehow looks more honest. It certainly looks more confident. I could try to hide my imperfections but those freckles and dark spots are actually as much part of me as my wrinkles. So, instead of constantly trying to camouflage what I don't like, I'm going to spend more time nourishing what I have, taking better care of my skin by feeding it a diet of topical antioxidants, exfoliating regularly and always remembering to wear sunscreen.
Which brings me to resolution No7: I will take more notice of Dr Libby. The nutrition specialist, who this year launched a book called Beauty from the Inside Out, believes that if we don't get enough vitamin C, zinc and essential fatty acids, it's impossible for skin, hair and nails to get the substances they need to look and feel their best. As a consequence, I shall be powering through the salmon, spinach and oranges this year. You should be able to spot me: I'll be the one glowing from within.
What are your resolutions? Let us know in the comments box below
Sunday Star Times