As beauty lovers, we spend a good amount of time and energy curating the perfect skin, hair, makeup, and body routines. But it’s easy to end up doing them on auto-pilot. Do you mindlessly run through your double cleanse, toner, essence, serum, eye cream, and moisturizer steps every night without stopping to think about what your skin needs? Do you apply your concealer, foundation, blush, mascara, and highlighter the same way every single day? I know I do most of the time.
Anything you repeat every day has the potential to become automatic, but in the spirit of being mindful, it can be a good idea to slow down, be in the moment, take stock of everything, and make a few tweaks to your rituals every now and then. When was the last time you listened to your skin and switched up your skincare routine? Or did something different with your makeup?
Here are five beauty changes that are small but can make a big difference!
1. Curl Your Lashes
For the longest time, eyelash curlers scared me—especially the metal ones, which looked more like a torture contraption that would inevitably yank out my precious lashes than an effective beauty tool. For years, I felt mascara was enough to give my fringe more volume, curl, and definition. And then, one day, I received a small plastic lash curler at a beauty event. It didn’t seem as daunting as the traditional metal curlers, so I gave it a go when I got home. And wowza, what a difference it made! Yes, some mascaras give you more curl than others, but there really is no comparison to a curler when it comes to really making your lashes stand out.
After going through several little plastic curlers (each one only lasted me about a year), I decided to take the plunge and try a traditional metal one, and haven’t turned back since. I will, however, likely purchase one last plastic one for my travel case (here’s to hoping we can all travel freely again soon!).
2. Start With a Hydrating Toner
Most experts agree that at the very minimum, a basic routine for healthy skin involves cleansing, and then applying a moisturizer and sun protection. From there, you might add a treatment serum before your moisturizing step, and an eye cream for good measure. Really want to enhance your results with one small beauty change? Add a hydrating toner right after cleansing your face for a quick hit of hydration that will help any products applied after it penetrate deeper and be more effective.
3. Find Proper Lighting
Many, many years of doing my makeup in my (windowless) bathroom only to step out into broad daylight, check my pocket mirror, and find my concealer unblended and my blush way too intense finally convinced me to a) get a quality mirror that lights up, and b) set it up near a window. One Christmas, I asked Santa for (and received!) a Simplehuman sensor mirror, which lights up when you bring your face closer to it, and shows you every. Single. Detail of your skin, for better or worse. Of course, a regular mirror in a bright room also does the trick. It comes as no surprise that lighting is everything—and getting the light just right wherever you apply your makeup makes a monumental difference.
4. Try Double Shampooing
You’ve heard of double cleansing, and the same logic behind it—that going in for a second cleanse can catch dirt and impurities you may not have removed the first time around—also applies to shampooing twice. Sure, this small beauty change takes a few extra minutes, but as someone who only washes my hair every few days, I can attest to that second cleanse helping my hair feel clean for longer in between washes. The second time around really lathers up much more, too, since a first layer of gunk has already been washed away. And don’t forget to use the pads of your fingers to massage your scalp as you shampoo to get a deeper clean and activate microcirculation, too.
5. Scale Back on Exfoliation
Exfoliation has its perks, but too much of anything is rarely a good thing. It’s easy to get addicted to that smooth skin feeling, but overexfoliation is a thing, and it’s best avoided. Dehydration, irritation, and redness are all signs that you may have overdone the exfoliating acids or used your favorite scrub one too many times. If you think you’ve overexfoliated, stop and stick to gentle products with moisturizing, calming, and skin barrier-replenishing ingredients for as long as it takes for your skin to heal.
I’ve greatly reduced the number of times a week I use exfoliating products over the past years, and find that once a week or even once every two weeks suffices to give me the benefits I’m seeking. As more and more brands launch collections geared toward sensitive and reactive skin, there seems to be a movement toward a gentler skincare approach—which I think can be beneficial for many of us, even those who don’t identify as having sensitive skin. I know my skin has been very happy since I let up on the exfoliating acids and refocused my skincare routine around soothing and hydrating ingredients.
What’s a small beauty change that made a huge difference for you? Let us know in the comments!