Breaking habits that have become part of your life over the years can be quite hard, in fact so much of our daily routine comes from habit. Whether we have a favourite mug for our morning coffee, or a particular position we angle our cushions on the sofa, these little habits can take over until we know no different. But we are also creatures of bad habit and there are probably hundreds of things we do that actually aren’t doing us any good that we don’t even realise. So, to keep your body and skin healthy, it may be time to cut the bad habits out once and for all and embrace some better ones!
Stop Biting Your Nails!
This one is a real bugbear of mine as it is wrong for so many reasons and on so many levels. I mean first of all, they’re nails! NAILS! What can be fun about biting them? They’re hard and probably covered in dirt that we can’t even see and who knows what they’ve been in contact with all day. Plus, they can look so beautiful if you just left them to grow on their own and invested in a nice cuticle cream and file to keep them in shape. Not to mention all the fun you can have with polish, stencils and nail art if you leave them a bit longer. Biting your nails can leave them so sore and the skin around them looking unsightly and red and if you are a serial biter it could even cause infection over the long term.
As there can be unseen bacteria on your hands, what you may be doing is transferring it to your mouth and even harming your teeth through tough biting. So restrain that arm when it starts to reach for your mouth, and maybe reach for some kind lotions instead and if you are a fan of nail polish, try to give your nails a break from time to time and use a nail strengthening treatment to keep them sturdy and long so they won’t be prone to breaking, the only thing that should be breaking is this terrible habit!
Start Drinking More Water!
Here’s a bad habit you probably don’t even realise is doing as much harm as it does; not drinking enough water each day. Yes, we all know we need water to live and we have to get an intake to make sure we don’t collapse of dehydration. But that feeling of dehydration can hit you in your skin and hair not just your body so by skipping on those few glasses of water, you could be causing some damage that you may not see straight away.
Dehydrated skin can start to look dull, dry and then start to get flaky, and this is not to be confused with dry skin which is a skin type in different people. If you notice a change in your skin condition where you are dealing with darker circles, dry patches and even the odd wrinkle appearing then this could mean your skin is dehydrated and the ageing process has sped up. No one wants this! So, you should always get your daily intake of water up to a good level of around two litres or 8 glasses a day.
As dehydration can lead to the loss of elasticity in the skin, this can be something that is irreparable after time and no amounts of moisturisers or anti-wrinkle creams will be able to give you a quick fix. Caffeinated drinks and sugary drinks can also cause this so as much as you may like your lemon flavoured water or mid-morning coffee, have a think about how much bad stuff is in them that basically cancels out all the goodness that the water provides. Switch up your drinks, get some of the good stuff inside you and watch your skin start to glow without even having to put in hours of moisturising regimes!
Remove Your Makeup!
Oh, here is a bad habit that we’re probably all guilty of from time to time and don’t get me wrong, the odd slip shouldn’t do any long lasting damage, but if you do get into the habit of leaving makeup on overnight you will start to see the effects sooner than you would like.
When you’ve had a heavy day or are feeling overtired at night, it is easy to just slip into bed without going through the rigorous routine of facial cleansing and moisturising as this can actually wake you up instead of getting your body relaxed and ready for a great night sleep. But it doesn’t make it less important, so it may be time to figure out how to give yourself a good facial cleanse that fits into your normal routine and this will guarantee that you have the best skin possible.
There are probably hundreds of ways and even more combinations of product that are available to remove makeup from your face and different people will tell you different things so there is no exact rule. Everybody has different skin and although they fall into a few categories, not two people are the same so what might work for you may not work for someone else. Soap and water is always a favourite as it is easy and it can be done in the bath or the shower and lets face it, soap and water is a failsafe in most cleansing scenarios as it removes almost anything from the face and body. The problem with soap is it can be fragranced which is not ideal for the skin as it can dry it out, and it also does not feel good to get in your eye if you are trying to remove some stubborn mascara!
A gentle eye makeup remover that is not harmful to the skin or eyes will do a good job of getting rid of those stuck on bits of make up but may still leave traces in the pores, so a bit of a rinse with soap and water, ensures you get the last remaining bits of makeup, especially foundation and powders that can be the cause of unsightly blemishes with enough build up. Not got any cleanser left? Well, you can always turn to coconut oil or petroleum jelly to get past the waterproof mascara. As they are oil based, they can get into the makeup to break it down and your mascara will slide off easily. Coconut oil also helps to keep your lashes smooth and healthy, so you are giving them a good conditioning if you choose this method! But remember if you have eyelash extensions, stay away from the oil-based cleansing materials as it can do such a good job that it gets under your new lashes and start to break down the adhesive. The last thing you need is to kiss those beautiful lashes goodbye after forking out for them so grab a water-based cleanser for eye makeup removal and keep those lashes looking long and lustrous!
For those days where make up cleansing seems like too much hard work, keep a handy pack of makeup removal wipes next to your bed so you can at least get rid of the mascara before your head hits the pillow. Sleeping in mascara can be so bad for your eyes and eyelashes, long and short-term! While you sleep you can put pressure on your eyelashes while they are crunched up into your pillow and this stress can cause them to eventually twist them and break them. Mascara cakes your individual lashes and they need to see natural daylight and fresh air just like the rest of our body and sleeping in it can hinder the growth, so if you can spare a thought for them each night by actively getting rid of this bad habit, you will be fresh as a daisy the next day with skin and eyelashes that are ready to face the world!
Ok, ok, this is a not a contradiction I promise, BUT there is such thing as over-cleansing, and it is a bad habit to definitely break away from if you are having skin problems. The skin naturally produces sebum which is like an oily substance that helps keep the skin protected. Sometimes the skin can produce too much sebum which can be due to hormones, changes in contraception or simply your cleansing routine. It can give the skin a greasy feeling and that can make it tempting to keep washing your face and getting rid of it. Don’t do it! Remove the makeup, that’s for sure and give your face a cool water wash in the morning after you’ve woken up to get yourself woken up and ready but leave it at that.
Another mistake is using hot water to wash your face, and again this can be a habit you’ve picked up over time that you don’t realise is causing skin issues. Hot water and facial scrubs especially may not give you the desired look first thing in the morning after taking away all of those healthy oils, you can really wake up those blood vessels too and invite puffiness to spend a morning on your face right before a big day at work. Stick to cooler water and you still get the clean feeling you need without the added redness and dryness later on.
Scrubs and masks are great for the face once in a while, even weekly, but remember not to go too harshly on your skin, especially around your eyes where the skin is very delicate and thin and where you can end up making the area dry. Dry = wrinkles. We don’t want to head in that direction, so by all means, get rid of the dirt from your pores, use a nice light moisturising cream for your face and get yourself to bed for a great night sleep. Don ‘t go slapping on makeup straight after a deep facial cleanse, break the habit!!
Wear Sun Cream!
Ok, so the weather is so up and down at the moment, even I don’t know whether to pack a parker or a pashmina when I leave the house, but whether it’s warm or not, the sun is usually out and about somewhere are your face is the most exposed and therefore should be protected from it. And don’t get me started about sunny holidays by the beach. It is a common misconception (or bad habit) that people think their face is always out in the sun and therefore used to it and doesn’t need protecting as much. As I mentioned earlier, the skin around your eyes is so delicate and so easy to burn that it needs sun cream and moisturisers when exposed to the sun for long days by the pool or long walks in the city.
The top of your head can easily burn as it faces the sun directly when out in the middle of the day and your hairline, nose and lips will be the number one place to burn if left uncovered. Aside from all the dangers associated with sun damage, you can also face premature ageing of the skin, dryness, pigment marks and obviously unsightly red skin! So, do yourself a favour and break this habit. About half an hour before going outside for the day get some sun cream on our face, or at least look into makeup with a high SPF that allows you to look fabulous while staying protected from the sun.
Start Taking Care of your Eyelashes!
Take care of your eyelashes? Is that a thing? Well, yes! If you have so far taken those lashes for granted, you may just get to a point where you wish you hadn’t and may look back at how thick and full they once were and wish you could have that again.
I always say with any self-care, it is best to start early on to keep skin, hair and eyelashes healthy while they are at their best, so you don’t spend years afterward playing catch up to times past. Get a good routine going and it will pay off later on. Your eyelashes may not have given you any warning signs so far or they may be looking quite sparse in places and mascara just isn’t cutting it. Well first thing is first, when looking after your eyelashes you need to make sure you have a good mascara with a wand that works for you and the shape of your lashes, something that doesn’t cause clumps and isn’t too hard to remove. Waterproof mascara can be a nightmare but remember coconut oil is great for removing this stuff. You also need to check that your mascara is in date and isn’t getting old and dry. As a rule of thumb, you should throw out mascara after about three months from opening it and never more than six months. It tends to get old, dry and sticky and will develop a certain smell after a while and if you are at this point, put that mascara in the bin and go buy a new one!
Once you have your mascara sorted, you should look into an eyelash growth serum that conditions and hydrates your lashes without coating them in extra stickiness that can inhibit their growth or even cause them to fall out prematurely through excessive makeup removal. Eyelash growth serums are designed to stay on the lash line and sink into the follicle to promote healthy growth so they don’t need washing off methodically. Xlash Eyelash Growth Serum uses natural ingredients that promote healthy growth so you can see after a few weeks how much fuller and longer your lashes start to look and it is best applied at night so that it has chance to get right into the follicle and surrounding skin while it is makeup free so it works better.
If you are a fan of the good old eyelash extension, then this eyelash growth serum works with it to as it is not oil based and won’t mess around with your eyelash adhesive. When trying to break bad habits, leaving your eyelashes alone once you have had your latest extension appointment is key to keeping your natural lashes healthy and strong. A quick application of the serum should do the trick and anything else can be the cause of those extensions falling out before their time so stop over-cleansing them, fiddling with them, piling too much mascara on them and your lashes could be your saving grace when everything else seems like hard work to keep up with!
Start Paying Attention to your Lips
Lips are just lips, right? They are there for decorating with various shades of lipstick and kissing! Well, this is not entirely the whole truth and there is a lot more going on there than meets the eye so it is good to pay attention to what they look like as a good indicator of your own health and get remedies in place for when they aren’t looking or feeling their best.
One bad habit I used to have was biting my lips, but this was because I let them get dry in winter and didn’t give them the same sun protection in summer. So keeping them protected as well as the rest of your face is imperative if you want to be the proud owner of a full set of lips that you don’t have to cover if you don’t feel like it! Lips should be a nice even colour that compliments the tone of your skin, and not have unhealthy white areas or a dull grey colour, this can just be a sign of illness for example, if you are just getting over a cold, or it can mean that you are dehydrated and need to get some more water into your daily intake. They should feel smooth to the touch and not sore or cracked, so if your bad habit is skipping the sun protection balms then go and invest in something that works well for you and there really are no excuses as they are pocket sized which is perfect for throwing in your bag for when you need it.
To fix your lip problems or to simply keep them healthy to prevent lip problems in the future then an intensive care lip balm will work for you as well as a little scrub from time to time to get rid of the dead skin. Remember, your lips are very delicate and the individual layers are really thin so don’t go giving yourself sore and chapped lips in the process, but after a hot bath or shower, you can take an old toothbrush and gently scrub away the dead skin and then apply an intensive care lip balm to keep them moisturised and hydrated before bed.
When you wake up you should be able to feel the silky smoothness of your lips and then if you do decide to cover them in your favourite shade, you will get even coverage that lasts all day! Break the bad habit of leaving your lips out of your skincare routine and they could end up being your favourite feature!
Ready to Break the Bad Habits Yet?
So, these are just a few of them, but bad habits are everywhere and only you know if you have a little habit that you need to change. But if you keep your skin clear, your body hydrated and your hair, eyelashes and eyebrows in good condition, then you are already on the right path to good habits only! Self-care can take up a lot of time for all of us with hectic schedules and busy lives, but these basic tips are designed to fit in neatly with your existing daily routine, so make a little time to think about yourself and how to feel and look your best each day and you may just discover some even better habits that you can share with your friends. Spread the good word and break the bad habits once and for all!