If there’s one thing the entire world can agree on, it’s that we can’t wait to bid adieu to 2020.
At this point, most of us are burnt out, and our anxieties and fears for the future have never hit so hard. While world events are out of our hands, there are some things we can regain control of. In 2021, it’s time to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and look after our beloved planet.
From prioritising your gut health to wearing sunscreen whether it’s sunny outside or not, here are few beauty resolutions to make for better skin and health in 2021.
1. Wear and reapply sunscreen daily
Though we have been pretty diligent about applying sunscreen daily, most of us still think that sunscreen is meant only for the outdoors. Plus, we’re probably not applying enough too. We tend to use less to avoid creating a heavy, tacky layer on our skin, or we may not see the need for much of it at all since we’re staying in.
In reality, you should use approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimetre of skin. That’s much larger than a 50-cent dollop to the face. And you should ideally reapply sunscreen every two hours.
When we spoke to Supergoop!’s founder, Holly Thaggard, a few months back, her advice was to “apply it until you can see it on the skin and then apply it again.” It may be a bit of a hassle, but it’s absolutely worth the effort. After all, SPF is your skin’s top anti-ageing bestie.
If you find most sunscreens too heavy or sticky, we recommend the Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++ (left), Pyunkang Yul Ato Mild Sun Cream SPF 45 PA+++ (centre), or Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Sun Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (right). These are all super lightweight and work well for those with sensitive, oily, or acne-prone complexions, with the latter two being more affordable options under S$40.
For more sunscreen recommendations, check out these articles:
- Find the best sunscreen for your skin type that fits your lifestyle with this quiz!
- 22 sunscreens that you can comfortably wear indoors without feeling yucky
- 19 sunscreens for darker skin tones that won’t leave a ghostly white cast on your complexion
2. Listen to your skin
Since we started spending more time indoors, some have been taking their skincare routines to the next level by introducing new products and actives. When you overwork your skin with a multi-step regimen, however, it can be detrimental to your skin’s barrier.
Yes, chemical exfoliation and serums with active ingredients can do wonders for improving skin tone, texture, and overall appearance, but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. With plenty of acids and actives on the shelf to choose from, such as lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and retinol, knowing how to layer and when enough is enough can prove incredibly difficult.
A broken skin barrier can eventually lead to other problems since it means the skin’s defenses are compromised. Besides sensitive skin, barrier dysfunction is also partly responsible for rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and acne, all of which are on the rise. Over-exfoliation can cause chemical burns on your face too, and it could take anywhere from a few days to several months to fully recover.
So if you’re addicted to skincare and you’ve been ignoring the signs of a damaged barrier, heed our advice: stow the actives away and listen to your skin. It’s one of the most important beauty resolutions you ought to make. Instead, slather it in formulas that are brimming with soothing, restorative ingredients, such as centella asiatica, aloe vera, ceramides, and essential fatty acids.
If you’re ready to atone for your skincare sins, check out our guide on how to repair your skin’s moisture barrier.
3. Make way for more self-care sessions
2020 has been a traumatic year for many. We’re worried about jobs, finances, physical and mental health, friends, family and, of course, the planet – all of which can take a toll on us. It’s time to step back and take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically.
From meditation and breathwork, which encourage a sense of mental calm, to physical activity, which causes the body to release stress and tension, there are numerous ways to recharge and reboot both body and mind.
Prefer to sweat it out? You can always check if there is a new yoga studio in Singapore to try or ask your girlfriends if your favourite gym has finally re-opened.
For some of us, self-care means meditating or sinking into a warm bubble bath at night. Others may keep a daily journal or schedule a weekly therapy session. It can also come in the form of self-pleasure – something that makeup artist Nam Vo advocates for glowier skin. The key is to find out what helps you to unwind, and do more of it regularly.
4. Catch up on sleep
Over the course of a lifespan, the average human will have spent about a third of their lives in bed, but the reality for many is that quality sleep is few and far between. We live in a culture of busyness, where working longer and harder than everyone else has become somewhat of a status symbol, and the ability to thrive on as little sleep as possible is revered.
What we need to remember is that sleep is a biological necessity. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body will release the stress hormone, cortisol. High levels of cortisol will lead to inflammation, which can affect your skin’s health and quality. High levels of inflammation will also worsen conditions like eczema, psoriasis, sensitivity, and acne.
But what happens when you run on low fuel for an extended period of time? Turns out, insomnia and a reduced sleep over a longer period can increase your symptoms of anxiety, depression, as well as your risk for cardiac and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.
As you catch up on some Zs, your body will rebalance its hydration levels, preventing skin dryness as well as puffiness under your eyes. That’s not all. Growth hormones are released when you snooze to help repair skin damage, and not getting your seven to eight hours in will accelerate the skin ageing process. Time to put away the devices and turn in a little earlier every night.
5. Show your gut some love
Call it a gut feeling, but in recent years, we’ve started to realise that beauty begins in the belly. In fact, the gut and skin enjoy a constant dialogue, establishing what has become known as the gut-skin axis.
The gut is where 70 percent of our immune system lies. It’s where we make nutrients, metabolise hormones, and neutralise pathogens, so it’s important to get your digestive health in check for better health and clearer, glowing skin.
When it comes to restoring an imbalanced gut microbiome, one of the best ways is to bolster it with probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that we consume, through foods and supplements, to support gut, immune health, and overall wellbeing. But here’s the thing: there’s no one-size-fits-all approach and no ideal probiotic profile guaranteed to work for everyone.
Generally speaking, the best thing you can do is eat a balanced whole-food diet and probiotic-rich fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir, to promote microbial diversity. You can also take a supplement containing a broad-spectrum probiotic.
For those who are just starting out, try the Blackmores Probiotics+ 30 Billion (left), which contains probiotics strains and prebiotic inulin to fuel good bacteria. Or, pick up The Beauty Chef Body Inner Beauty Powder (right), which is packed with bio-available plant proteins, alkalising greens, probiotics and green tea to nourish you from within.
6. Support local beauty businesses
This year has been a long, gruelling one for business owners. Even with the help of government schemes and grants, local businesses have certainly been affected by the pandemic.
As beauty junkies, one way to show your support next year is by shopping for local beauty brands. We’ve got some stellar skincare brands that originated from our little red dot, such as Allies of Skin, PSA, Rooki Beauty, Sigi Skin, Forest Rhapsody – all of which focus on harnessing the best ingredients to nourish your skin with.
Looking for makeup? Try Liht Organics. The brand’s Youth Elixir Liquid Foundation smells just like cupcakes, and contains healing ingredients like aloe vera and rosemary to nourish the skin as it hides imperfections all day.
7. Opt for products with eco-friendly packaging
Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans. What’s more, packaging accounts for over 40% of the total plastic usage worldwide, creating devastating consequences for marine environments.
You can help make a difference in 2021 by choosing brands who use environmentally conscious packaging, whether that’s glass bottles or ocean-made plastic, or recycled metal. Some of these brands include Aveda, ILIA Beauty, and BYBI Beauty.
If you’re the kind to stick to your ride-or-dies, you can opt for refillable products instead, such as the Hera Cell Essence BioMe Plus Refill Set, the new Fenty Skin line, and Tata Harper’s Water-Lock Moisturizer. For refillable makeup, consider products from Kjaer Weis as well as lipsticks from Hourglass.