Beauty: 10 New Year resolutions recommended by experts that you can actually stick to
The tweaks, tips and fixes you need to rejuvenate your skin and hair
COMMITTING to a ton of gym classes, a month without alcohol or a diet overhaul is a recipe for disaster in January, when dreary weather and post-Christmas malaise mean our usually iron-clad willpower is pushed to breaking point.
Resolutions that revolve around our beauty routine, however, are a much more appealing prospect, because who doesn't want to stay in and pamper themselves a little during the most depressing month of the year? And they don't require massive changes, just the odd tweak or extra bit of TLC.
We asked a host of experts for their top tips on how to rescue your skin and hair from the ravages of party season and put in place the habits that will make 2018 your most beautiful year yet...
1. Pay attention to your hands: "They get exposed to the elements, they are in and out of water and as a consequence can age more rapidly than any other site on the body," says Dr Sam Bunting, a Harley Street cosmetic dermatologist. "Get into the habit of wearing sunscreen on them daily (a moisturiser can double as hand cream) and rub any residual anti-ageing products onto the backs of your hands, rather than the palms."
2. Don't neglect your neck: "Or your decolletage, for that matter," Dr Bunting warns. "Everything should match from the face down to the chest so the same rules apply here, in terms of sunscreen use and topical antioxidants."
3. Give your hair a break: "Make this year's New Year resolution to turn down the heat on your hair - put the straighteners away in the cupboard and see how long you can last," advises trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver from The Cotswold Trichology Centre and Theradome GB. "This will not only save your hair from repeated heat destruction and improve your hair condition but you may find that being more inventive with your hair will open up a world of new styles to try."
4. Become a retinol regular: Sworn off retinol in the past because you had a bad reaction? It doesn't have to be that way.
"If you aren't used to it, retinol can cause tingling, dryness, peeling in the initial stages and redness. Starting on a lower strength and using it every second or third night until your skin can tolerate it are ways you can reduce these effects," recommends Dr Ruhul Amin, co-founder and medical director of Rejuvence Clinic.
The vitamin A derivative "helps stimulate the skin into producing collagen and speed cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin", Dr Amin explains, so it's worth starting slowly to reap the long-term rewards, but you should always use sunscreen the following morning.
Try this: Beauty Pie Super Retinol Ceramide-Boost Anti-Aging Face Serum, £9.73 for members (£80 for non members)
5. Don't scrimp on the SPF: Speaking of sunscreen, aesthetic doctor Dr Christine Or, founder of Dr Christine Medical Aesthetics, says you shouldn't leave home without it: "Wear at least SPF 30 every day throughout the year, even on cloudy and rainy days as damaging UV rays can penetrate through cloud. They can also penetrate glass, so even if you work in an office or drive a car, you still need to protect your skin daily."
6. Give your scalp some TLC: "Swap your comb for a large paddle brush," GHD UK ambassador Zoe Irwin advises. "Sweeping your paddle brush along the scalp lightly can help stimulate hair growth by improving blood circulation to the scalp."
Try this: GHD Paddle Brush, £20
"Healthy hair starts at the scalp," agrees Paul Windle, hairdresser and co-founder of Windle & Moodie. "Go that one step further and massage in your shampoo and let it work its magic for up to two minutes. Rinse thoroughly to unclog pores and get rid of excess build up to promote hair growth."
Try this: Windle and Moodie Healthy Head and Hair Treatment Shampoo, £22
7. Go with your gut: "If you have developed skin issues such as rosacea or a worsening of acne, consider gut symptoms," recommends Justine Hextall, consultant dermatologist and medical director of the Tarrant Street Clinic. "Quite often, when I see an individual with worsening skin, I notice in the history it has followed a period of illness where high-dose antibiotics have been used. I always address this and talk about probiotic supplements and prebiotic foods that can encourage the natural gut flora such as garlic, leeks, onions etc. I like the probiotic Symprove that has trials to support it."
8. Repair your hair: "The importance of detoxing in the New Year also extends to the hair – it goes through a lot with styling, pollution and environmental damage taking a major toll on your tresses," says Louise Jenkins, Great Lengths education and creative manager. "Invest in a treatment programme, such as BIO A+O.E.'s 02 Restructuring Programme. Using active plant ingredients, the three-step system works to detoxify hair from chemicals and return it to its natural condition, regaining shine, silkiness and strength in 21 washes."
Try this: BIO A+O.E. 02 Restructuring Shampoo, £15.79, available in selected Great Lengths salons nationwide or by calling 0113 278 1292.
9. Fill up on fats (the good kind): "My top tip for achieving healthy skin this New Year is to avoid low fat diets," says celebrity skin expert Abigail James. "Your body needs healthy fats for healthy cell function. This can be added into your diet through foods such as avocados, fish, nuts and seeds and plant oils such as flax and hemp. In addition, choose products that are kinder to skin and have fewer chemical ingredients such as the Sanex Zero% range."
Try this: Sanex Zero% Sensitive Skin Shower Gel, £2.29, Boots
10. Mask your hair damage: "Hair habits during party season can be especially gruelling – daily styling, washing and drying, tonging and straightening for a night out will cause extra damage in a shorter space of time," warns celebrity colourist Daniel Galvin.
"Using a nourishing hair mask regularly will help keep hair in optimum health. A great tip is after you go for a gym session, smooth my Organic Head Argan Oil Detox Hair Masque through the mid lengths to the ends of the hair, and relax in the steam room for at least five minutes. The steam will help open the hair shaft and allow the nourishing ingredients such as Argan Oil and aloe vera to penetrate deeply into the hair. It will be just like having a salon treatment."
Try this: Daniel Galvin Jr Organic Head Argan Oil Detox Hair Masque, £7