8 Easy, Good Beauty Habits To Start NOW

It’s about that time — the New Year's high has finally evaporated, your “New Year, New Me” mantra is starting to sound a bit stale, the resolve of your resolution to stop considering Chinese takeout an acceptable Friday night companion is fading…we get it. We call this, "the slump period."
Lucky for you, we’re here to give you a refresh, starting with the one thing you can always count on to boost your mood: your beauty routine. With input from leading experts in the skin, hair, and nail industries, we’ve compiled eight simple, totally doable beauty habits you can start today — not tomorrow, not next week, not whenever that professional brush set you accidentally ordered that one night with the sangria arrives. Now.
So, put down the chopsticks and pick up your mascara wand — it’s time to bust out of your slump (and look fabulous while doing it).
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Pat — Don’t Rub — In Your Eye Cream
From college all-nighters to Sappy Saturdays (wait, that wasn’t a thing for everyone…?), our eye cream has seen (har, har) us through some not-so-pretty times. In payment, the least we can do is apply it correctly. According to Mona Gohara, assistant clinical professor at Yale's Department of Dermatology, “Rubbing in your eye cream can break blood vessels in the skin and create more dark circles.” Yikes! Instead of rubbing, gently pat your eye cream and concealer in using your middle or pointer finger; this will distribute the product evenly without tugging at the delicate skin around your eyes.
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Sleep On Your Back
It might be time to rethink your sleep — sleeping on your stomach can lead to those dreaded wrinkle marks and make your face and eyes look swollen in the a.m. Instead, Gohara recommends sleeping on your back: “This will keep fluids from building up around your eyes and make them appear less puffy.” Sleeping Beauty ain’t got nothing on us…

Bathery Luxury Sleep Mask, $5.49, available at Target.
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photo: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.
Stop The 3 S’s
When it comes to avoiding wrinkles, Gohara has one piece of advice: stop squinting, smoking, and sucking (through a straw, that is). “Squinting in the sun, smoking cigarettes, and sucking through a straw (or chewing gum incessantly) can all contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles,” she says. “Get a pair of fabulous sunglasses, choose a fun vice like shopping, and always drink directly from the glass to spare your skin a lot of sag.” (For those of you looking to kick your smoking habit for good, here’s our breakdown of four ways to ease the transition).

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Befriend The Triumphant Trio
Amidst the slew of skin-care ingredients that promise to tighten, brighten, and protect, there emerge three clear victors: SPF, retinol, and antioxidants. “These three super ingredients have been shown to reverse the signs of aging,” says Gohara. “Don’t leave home without them!” For antioxidants, look for skin-care products that contain vitamin C, vitamin E, and various berries. According to Gohara, adding this trio of ingredients to your skin-care routine will help protect your skin, reduce collagen breakdown, and increase its production.
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Shampoo Smartly
Though nothing beats the squeaky clean feeling after a good shampoo session, it’s important to avoid getting too carried away. “Over-sudsing your hair strips away lipids that boost shine and prevent breakage,” warns Alterna Hair Care global creative director, Michael Shaun Corby. If your lather isn’t living up to '90s Herbal Essence commercial status, add more water — not product — to give your bubbles a boost. Corby recommends using a dry shampoo like Alterna Hair Care Bamboo Style Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo to freshen up between washes.
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Give Your Hair A Break
We owe much of our sanity to our heat styling tools, so it was a hard pill to swallow when Matrix celebrity hairstylist George Papanikolas suggested — gasp — giving them a rest. “Instead of constantly blow drying and flat ironing, try to give your hair a break a few days a week and embrace your natural texture,” he says. Before you go into full-on freak out mode, consider this pro: “This ‘break period’ is a great time to experiment with hair products and find which ones are best suited for your natural hair.” Point taken.

Curl addict? Papanikolas suggests employing “no-heat waves” to give your curling iron a break: “After you shower, allow your hair to dry 80% and then wrap it into two loose buns or braids. Wait a few minutes, then remove and tousle — this will give you effortless waves.” Another expert tip: Use a leave-in conditioner beforehand — Papnikolas says it will combat frizz and help your waves feel soft and touchable.
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Condition Your Nails
According to Cathy Richardson, OPI salon ambassador and owner of Sanctuary Salon and Spas, cuticle oil should become an everyday staple just as much as your mascara and lip balm. “Everyone should be obsessive about applying cuticle oil! It’s essential to both cuticle and nail health,” she says. Instead of snipping at them them, apply a moisturizing oil or cream like Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter all over your nail and cuticle area, then gently push them back with a cuticle pusher. No time? A cuticle pen like OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go is perfect for on-the-go conditioning.
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Get Gritty
When was the last time you paid attention to your nail file? Richardson says that most people use nail files with too low of a grit on their natural nails, which can lead to ugly tears. She recommends always using 180 or higher — anything lower is too coarse and should be saved for acrylics. In terms of technique, make sure to avoid sawing back and forth, which can weaken your nails and cause them to break. Instead, file in one direction, from the outside in, for smooth, healthy digits.
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