Beauty Ideas for 2012

Pick and choose which ones work for you, but here are some suggestions for 2012. Resolutions, by the way, rarely work: They're often too ambitious and too spartan. Take these more as ideas to try incorporating into your routine.

1. I will not buy something because it's trendy: Trends drive many of us to buy things we don't need and won't use over the long run. They're often driven by PR machines or advertising dollars. Wait on the trend for at least a couple weeks and consider if the product really adds something to your beauty arsenal, or if it's just a bandwagon you'll be fine staying off. Most beauty and fashion trends I've jumped on I've later regretted.

2. I'll follow sensible routines: Skincare and haircare routines don't need to be expensive or complicated, despite what we're all told. Think in terms of prevention (sunscreen, not sunbathing), routine care (washing makeup off before bed), and prevention (using a topical cream with scientifically-backed ingredients: Retinol, peptides, alpha hydroxy, stabilized anti-oxidants). My current skincare routine costs less than $20 in product, and it honestly works as well as much more expensive products I've used. We're trained somewhat to think more expensive products are better: Often, these are high-end brands that spend a lot on fancy advertising with a celebrity spokesmodel endorsing their products. They recover their costs by passing them onto the consumer. Watch out for this and for smoke-in-mirrors promises: "A revolutionary product with a patented formula that will magically transform your skin...." This reminds me of the Jerry Seinfeld joke where he theorizes beautiful women are put in ads for men to confuse them into just buying the product.

3. My beauty spending will be cash-only: Why is this so important? Because our beauty spending is often emotional and impulsive. This adds up far more than any of us would think. Using cash-only forces us to think through our purchases and restricts impulse buying. I once talked to a woman who accrued over $30,000 in debt and declared bankruptcy. It wasn't big purchases that did her in; it was small, impulse buys that added up.

4. I'll focus my routine on enhancing what I like about myself and not what I'm trying to hide: We all have features we like and dislike about ourselves. I once saw a photo of Heidi Klum's face in which she marked the flaws she saw. The photo was covered with self-criticism in black ink. I thought, If a woman that beautiful can find that much fault in just her face, imagine what she'd do to a full-body image. A revolutionary approach to makeup came along somewhere in the 1990s, when the focus turned to accentuating what was right about ourselves, and not hiding what we saw as wrong. Whether it's lip service, the idea is absolutely worth embracing.

5. I'll be open to change. We're all changing, growing, and yes, aging. I've watched women break down into tears when someone tried to update a very dated makeup look or hairstyle that once worked for them. The reality is, grasping at once worked only holds us back and out of touch with the reality of what makes us beautiful today. Part of continuing to grow internally includes letting ourselves grow externally. That means change. Change is good.

6. I'll stick to supporting healthy role models: That means following people who encourage self-acceptance, tolerance of others, and sensible beauty advice. With the Internet, magazines, and television, we are inundated with choices, and everyone is calling him- or herself a "guru." Very few of them are actually experts, meaning that they weren't trained to have expertise in a particular area. That said, many of them can be helpful resources for beauty advice: Stick to supporting those who are supportive of others back, who are kind and appreciative, etc. I once liked a very popular "guru" who lashed out at me when I asked her a simple question. Anyone who can't handle feedback - no matter how constructive - needs to find another line of work.


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