Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Refresh: Your Beauty Routine!

Spring is the time to renew and reestablish beauty routines and regimens that may have been forgotten during the bleak "winter blahs."

Just like a spring cleaning routine refreshes your home, warmer weather is a sign that it might be time to refresh your physical appearance, as well. The upcoming promise of warm weather fashion, bikinis, family vacations, and travel destinations are all added incentives to glamorize yourself, but the best reason for kick-starting your beauty regimen is because of how awesome it will make you feel. Below is a list of beauty ideas and habits to dust off to get you and your body out of a winter funk, and on your way to your most chic, warm-weather self.
  1. Get (or give yourself) a pedicure. I never considered a pedicure, but after months of really depressing weather, I finally decided to treat myself by getting a professional pedicure. Normally, I do my nails myself, but after neglecting my feet for so long, I thought it best to call in an expert. It was infinitely more relaxing to have someone else doing the uncomfortable work for me. For days afterwards, every time I saw my feet, I smiled. Even though I was still wearing closed-toe shoes, getting out of bed and putting on socks would give me a glimpse of my own cute toes, and it just made me feel so happy knowing my feet looked so refreshed. Although I normally keep up with my own nails, in this case, spending the money to have someone do it for me was so worth it.
  2. Have your hair styled. A great haircut is an instant way to refresh your look. Establishing a good relationship with a stylist (or two) is a definite perk because you then have a trusted adviser for how to update your look in a way that is comfortable for your style preference and budget. My dark blonde hair color tends to get rather mousy when I'm not spending much time in the sun, but I hate the cost and maintenance of regular highlights. My stylist was able to recommend a great alternative for coloring my hair that was low-maintenance and affordable. I feel infinitely much more confident about my hair after this visit, and it takes far less work to style it in the morning now, because my hair now looks fabulous, even without much work! I owe this all to my stylist. (More on this topic in a future post, I think!)
  3. Get (or give yourself) a manicure. Just like getting a pedicure refreshes your feet, keeping your nails clean and trimmed (color is optional!) is important to having nice hands-- and just think how often people look at those! Cold, dry winter weather can be rough on your hands, so warm weather is a good reminder to give your hands and nails a little extra TLC to revitalize.
  4. Get glowing skin, safely! Although we all (should) know by now that tanning is damaging to skin and promotes early aging, warm, glowing skin does look lovely on most complexions! I'm certainly not going to risk a tanning bed or sun, though, to get a tan-- being fair skinned, I tend to burn to a crisp before the red fades to a rusty looking tan. Nor am  I impressed with spray tans; I haven't tried them, but I simply wouldn't justify the expense or risk a streaky orange color. Instead, I do love those gradual self-tanning body lotions, like Jergen's Natural Glow. I never endorse products, but I have had great success with these. At a Halloween party this past year, my husband and I wore togas. When I saw photos of myself after the party, I was in love with how warm and glowy my skin looked! It's because I had been using a tanning moisturizer. The tan was so natural and gradual that I hadn't realized I had one until after I saw photos following about a week of use. Spring fashions generally show more skin, so this might be something to consider as you climb out of your winter sweaters.
  5. Take care of your body hair! Oh, yes. Every woman knows that cold weather, leggings, and long pants means that regular shaving becomes of a thing of the past in the winter months. Well, it's time to dust of your razor or other depilatory methods and take care of business. (Everywhere!) Although this is probably the most annoying and frequently needed beauty habit, it does feel great to have smooth skin again. Trust me, you'll feel better afterward! 
  6. Start watching what you eat. Comfort foods, holiday desserts, and crock-pot dishes are certainly delicious, but they're not always friendly to your waistline. While it's still a few months before it may be time to debut your swimwear, it doesn't hurt to start opting for the lighter choices at this time of the year. I don't truly diet, but I am "back on the wagon," so to speak, in keeping an eye on my portions and having a drink of water after dinner, instead of a second helping. To help break this habit that I have of returning to the kitchen after dinner, I am trying to savor my meals more slowly. I don't cut anything out; I just try to consume a little less. I'm hoping that when summer arrives, I'll have a little less work to do to feel my best in my bathing suit.
  7. Build up your cardiovascular health. Cold, dreary weather keeps most of us indoors, and away from exercise. Warm weather and spring and summer activities tend to be more active, so it helps to start shaking off the hibernation sludge now by building your way up to some light-to-moderate exercise. Exercise has so many wonderful mental and physical health benefits, and what better way to take advantage of the extra hour(s) of daylight? Consider meeting up with a friend or two for regular walks or jogs. It's a great opportunity to be social, and you can encourage and motivate others on your way to rejuvenating your own physique and fitness levels. 
  8. Work on your brightest smile. Maybe you can afford the luxury of a professional whitening treatment! Or at the very least, perhaps it's time for your routine dental cleaning. Taking great care of your teeth is important in refreshing your best asset: your smile! If winter lattes and nights by the fire with red wine have left your smile a little dingier than usual, consider splurging on an at-home whitening treatment or fancy whitening toothpaste. Like my recommendation for getting glowing skin in tip 4, these kind of treatments generally happen gradually, so you might not fully appreciate the results that you get until you see photos of yourself afterward. That's OK-- when you do appreciate the full effect, you'll look and feel marvelous! 
  9. Make your brows fabulous. Eyebrow trends now are rather... questionable... so I recommend consulting a professional if it's been a while since you've done anything to your brows. A professional or stylist can help give you a natural looking yet defined shape, and following this visit, it's only a matter of upkeep and routine maintenance. My sister-in-law sees her own "brow consultant," who said that eyebrows are more like sisters, not twins. Meaning, avoid the fruitless quest of tweaking each brow to perfection, and settle for a natural look. Meeting with a professional can help you determine what's the best strategy for you: plucking, waxing, threading... With all of these options, and confusing modern advice, a reputable professional is a worthwhile expense when framing your eyes.
  10. Take a beauty supplement. I take a hair, skin, and nail supplement (not three supplements; there are capsules or gummies that supports all together) to boost my body's collagen, which I'm told is important in healthy skin and nails! Last month, I saw comedian Dave Attell perform in Baltimore, and he joked about daily vitamins being a lot like prayers: who knows if they work or not? I'll still take my chances-- at the very least, they don't hurt!
Everyone has their own favorite beauty routines, as well as other areas that get neglected. That's OK-- everyone has their own favorites and areas to improve. Personally, having cute, polished toes just makes my day and infinitely makes me feel more chic and put together, even if no one else knows! My biggest challenge is to get my hair trimmed regularly-- with long hair, I sometimes go months between cuts, but after I do finally visit the salon, I always feel more confident and chic. Trying out a new routine or beauty trick is one way to jump-start your confidence and put yourself in a warm-weather state of mind.

What's your go-to beauty tip for feeling refreshed and fabulous?

The above photo is from a visit to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland in 2013.

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