It's the time of year where the ultimate favourites posts are flooding your blog roll. And while I've discovered some new holy grail products and given up on some that definitely weren't right for me, I thought I would instead share what beauty bits I've learnt this year that I'll carry through life.
These have come from magazines, blogs, websites, books and largely through research for my final year project! Some you may know, but I'm hoping a few will be news to you as they were for me and hopefully I'll help your beauty regime run a little smoother through 2013 and beyond.
#1 Apply foundation downwards
It might sound a little strange, but trust me on this one. Although buffing in circular motions may give a far off flawless finish, up close it might be a different story. Everybody has tiny hairs on their face, which you probably notice a lot more than anyone else. Brushing downwards with your products means that they effectively become gelled down. Buff in circular motions and it will mess them up, likely to make them more apparent.
#2 Acknowledge your eyebrows
Eyebrows frame your face, yet a lot of us ignore them. You might not be recreating Cara's beautiful look any time soon but you can pave the way. It wasn't until I was graced with the Benefit Brow Zings at an event earlier this year that I paid any attention to mine during my make up application. You don't need to go all scouse brow to acknowledge them. Instead just add a little colour, or even tinted gel to keep them in place. You'll thank me once you see the difference. My favourites are the Brow Zings and the Instant Brow by Benefit.
#3 Don't over exfoliate
The feeling of super smooth skin is hard to beat, but especially for oily skin, over exfoliating your face can just make the problem worse. I used to exfoliate daily with a pretty harsh face scrub making my skin baby soft, but in hindsight producing a lot more oil - and I don't even have oily skin! I got told off by the lady at Clarins before a facial, before guiding me out of an exfoliation pit. I now use a really mild scrub daily, and go a little more extreme maybe once a week. My current must have is the Neutrogena Blackhead Clearing Scrub.
#4 Beachy waves for naturally poker straight hair
All the tutorials and tips on how to get natural looking waves generally assume that you have some form of wave or texture already in your hair. I do not. My super thin, super straight hair means that pretty much every style takes some serious prep and product to get it to stay in. And even then, it's fallen considerably within a couple of hours. Shaping your hair when wet is the only way for a style to stay. Where I've previously slept on plaited wet hair, I've woken up to some serious crimped locks.
The tip here is to undo the plaits a little. Add mousse to the lengths of wet hair, wait until your hair is around 60% dry, then loosely plait your hair with a loose grip at the bottom. Then, pull each braid out, as much as you can without undoing your work. You should wake up with natural waves where the braid was and then you can add a few more around the top with a curling tong if it's too half and half. It's a quick fix just to add some kind of definition to your hair.
#5 How to pop a spot
I know that life long advice has probably taught you never to pop, but honestly who doesn't pop spots? The extreme guilty pleasure.But, popping often leads to hard to get rid of redness, dry areas and sometimes scarring. I have taken to the much lengthier and less satisfying, but more healthy way of getting rid of the dreaded white head.
Soak a flannel under hot water until just before it's too hot to touch. Hold this on the spot, until it's cooled considerably. Wipe away and it has hopefully wiped the head away with it, then cleanse. This works best for those that are right on the surface of your skin. For those that have a head but aren't quite poppable, you can repeat the above to bring it to the surface but you're best just leaving it alone, as irresistible as it seems to be.
If you absolutely must pop, then use a clean tissue to cover your fingers. It helps stop the bacteria from spreading around your face, especially if you have a few to tackle.
#6 Replace your face wipe routine with a face wash
I was the queen of face wipes at the start of this year. I would use a baby wipe for make up remover and a cleansing wipe for the rest. While this wasn't bad for my skin, it definitely wasn't the best. Especially for make up removing you are more than likely wiping more of the makeup around your face than you are removing it. Instead, use a make up removing wash or change your wipe or cotton pad a few times so everything actually sticks to it. Then, follow with a deep cleaning face wash instead of a cleansing wipe. If I've had a particularly heavily made up face then I'll wash it twice. It makes sure that all of the make up and impurities are gone and washed off your face, instead of being wiped around and clinging to the missed spots. It might seem like a chore at first, but your skin will thank you and once you've got into the routine it's quick and easy.
#7 Don't over cover your blemishes
Maybe it's just me, but I would rather see someone with a red spot then a caked, flaky, covered spot. Flawless skin is pretty hard to fake unless you're a Victoria's Secret model - perfection all round right? - but concealer can help - sometimes. For dry spots, only cover if you have to - they're likely to look a lot worse and much drier with layers of product over them. Stick to gel or liquid concealers and dab it on, don't brush or smear it. If you can help it, skip the finishing powder as well.
For the smoother blemishes, these are usually a lot friendlier to hide. Make sure the area is clean and apply your usual primer, foundation. Then, dab on concealer (gel and liquid ones are best) with your finger, don't try and blend it too much, just dab at the product until it's not obvious. Then add a layer of powder over the top with a brush and a light hand. If it's still peeking through then repeat the above until you're happy with it.
I'm not claiming to be any kind of skincare expert here, but these wordy tips have been added to my routine and shown results.They work for me, but if you have any other tips that might help others then leave them in the comments! Or, if you think I'm doing something seriously wrong then please let me know, that can be my skin saver of 2013.
Some other sources of beauty inspiration and make up lessons online lie with these favourites of mine -
The Beauty Department
The absolute ultimate in beauty tips. Some of mine have been taken from there and they have something for every skin type and every make up style. It's written by Amy Nadine & Kristen Ess who are the glam team behind Lauren Conrad.
Vivianna Does Makeup, Liana Beauty & Lipglossiping
My all time favourite beauty blogs. Sharing everything from tips, hauls, must have products and consistently adding to my lust lists. If you're a beauty obsessee or on the look out for must reads, then these are my recommendations.