Spring clean your beauty routine with these head-to-toe tips guaranteed to get you ready for warmer weather.
Winter temperatures invite skin conditions such as rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema. Flare ups caused by extra dryness may be easy to hide with layers of clothes, but these patches of splotchy, red skin can stick around well into spring.
Anti-inflammatory antioxidants like green tea and vitamin C can help calm things down. To maintain your skin's natural barrier, use creamy cleansers that don't dry it out further and simple moisturizers with emollients and humectants such as glycerol.
Since scrubbing whisks dead cells and dirt away, facial scrubs can leave you with a more radiant complexion. "It also improves skin's absorption of other products so that they produce more noticeable results," says Jacknin.
Look for gentle exfoliants like fine sugar, jojoba beads, rice bran, or almond meal. For stressed skin, opt for oats and honey, and for oily, acne-prone skin, look for crushed grape seeds to deliver extra antioxidents.
But use all facial scrubs with caution: If your complexion falls into the uber-delicate or acne-prone categories, or if you have a sunburn, scrubbing can actually spread breakouts or aggravate already sensitive skin.
The unripe papaya in this spring face mask contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids and high levels of papain, an enzyme that helps dissolve dead skin cells left over from dry winter weather. Yogurt adds lactic acid (another alpha-hydroxy) and gives the mask a creamy texture, and honey helps skin retain moisture.
Blend 1/2 cup unripe diced papaya, 1 teaspoon plain yogurt, and 1 teaspoon honey in a food processor until smooth. Apply to clean skin using fingers; leave on for 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse off using cool water and pat dry. Finish by applying a gentle moisturizer.
Grapeseed oil brings remarkable skin-healing properties to moisturizers. What makes it best for springtime? Even though it's packed with antioxidants, it's light as a feather so you'll never leave the house feeling sticky.
Make Your Own Grapeseed Body Oil
Pick an essential oil with a smell you love (try lavender, rose, or orange), and mix a few drops into grapeseed oil. For a more complex formula, add herbs or citrus -- like lavender, rosemary, orange peel, or rose petals -- that you can easily dry out in a warm oven. Let sit for a few days. Shake before each use.
Old products can become ineffective or even unsafe. So if you haven't used that tube of sunscreen or flowery perfume since last year, be sure to check it hasn't gone bad.
If you notice a change in the smell or consistency, get rid of it. Opt for moisturizers with pump dispensers because they minimize bacteria and optimize shelf life. If your favorite comes in a pot, use a spatula instead of your fingers to apply.
Check the expiration date on the tube or package first because sunscreens usually come stamped with a use-by date. But because their active ingredients break down over time, experts suggest always tossing them within a year of opening.
If it doesn't smell the way it used to or is over two years old, it's time for a new bottle. Extend the life of your favorite fragrances by storing them in a cool, dry, dark space to keep air and light from degrading its quality.
Now that you'll be spending more time outside, your complexion is going to be affected by the sun. Good-bye ghostly white skin of winter, hello sun-kissed cheeks!
Since the shade of your skin will be changing come spring, the shade of your foundation should change, too. To make sure you have the correct shade, blend a little bit on the side of your hand to get the closest match. Make sure you're in a well-lit area so you get a true picture, or get a person at a makeup counter to help you out.
Abused brushes can distribute makeup unevenly, shed bristles, and even spread bacteria. Take a good look in your makeup bag and chuck the brushes that have seen better days.
When you're shopping for new brushes, look for synthetic materials because they're softer and don't apply as intense a color. They're also good for layering. A money-saving tip? Rather than buy a set, which is likely to include brushes you won't use, shop a la carte.
Once you get them home, get in the habit of caring for them to extend their life. Rinse with warm water and lightly run over a mild fragrance-free soap going in a downward motion, and lay flat to dry. Standing the brushes upright allows water to accumulate by the glue, loosening the bristles.
For that scaly skin on your arms and legs, invest in a body scrubs with larger exfoliating granules, such as coarse sea salt and raw sugar, crushed nuts, coffee grounds, bamboo powder, and corncob powder.
To get the most out of your scrubbing, scoop up about two tablespoons of scrub and rubbing in circles, working your way up from feet to heart. "Cleanse your body as usual before scrubbing," she says, "but hold off on shaving until another time, as some scrubs aggravate just-shaved skin," says Scottsdale, Arizona-based holistic dermatologist Jeannette Jacknin, M.D., author of the book "Smart Medicine for Your Skin."
Spring is the time to start showing off your skin so think about smoothing out any rough patches on your elbows, knees, and feet that stayed hidden under jeans and sweaters all winter.
For your toughest of areas, avoid very oily or creamy formulations, as they tend to slide off easily and fine grains like sugar or jojoba beads, which aren't coarse enough for the job. Choose rough ingredients, such as ground walnut shells, fruit pits, crushed nuts, or very coarse salt or sugar. Thick, paste-like scrubs, will stick better on elbows, feet, and knees.
Also try lingering in the bath or shower to soften your skin before attacking tough spots with salt or sugar scrubs. Use a loofah or pumice stone to rub the product onto your body.
You're hair is going to be back in the sun -- so make sure it will shine! Keeping your hair moisturized is especially important in warmer weather since harsh rays can actually dry it out faster.
For a simple and natural approach, try rubbing a bit of plant oil -- such as jojoba, coconut, or almond oil -- into your hair right after the shower. Have a bit leftover? Smear it on your skin to maximize your moisturizing routine.
Unless you just painted on a sunny shade for spring, your nails should never look yellow.
Get rid of stains from those dark reds, purples, and grays of winter, and shine up your natural nails for spring. At the start of a manicure, soak fingertips in fresh lemon juice for a few minutes. Then buff tops of nails. And always use a base coat to prevent dark polishes from staining.
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