3 New Year’s Skin Resolutions That’ll Really, Truly Give You Better Skin
The best part? These skin resolutions don’t require new products and will help you keep some coin in your wallet.
Twenty-nineteen has already drawn to a close, and it’s the time of year when lots of us start considering changes we’d like to make during our planet’s next revolution around the sun. After a season where you were inundated with “gift guides” and “buying guides” from every corner, I want to take a different approach to winter skincare content. Let’s talk about some easy ways you can improve your skin in 2020, skin resolutions that (mostly) don’t involve shelling out for any new products.
1. Be consistent with the basics
The new year is a great time to shift from a product-oriented to a practice-focused approach to your skincare. What I mean by that is that for many of us, it’s helpful to spend less time and money trying to find that one exact right product that will fix our skin’s issues, and spend more time developing a consistent basic routine to improve our skin condition.
There’s a whole world of fun toners, essences, serums, and masks out there to play with. That’s great. But none of those toners, essences, serums, and masks will make much of a difference unless they’re used in conjunction with a good cleansing, moisturizing, and damage-preventing regimen. So if you frequently find your skincare progress derailed by regularly neglecting the basics, it’s time to get back to it.
Some people find that adding skincare to their daily to-do lists or rewarding themselves for consistency can be helpful. Look for ways to be more consistent with your everyday skincare!
2. Stop chasing the dragon
Going back to the quest to find that one exact right product — the search for the magical unicorn holy grail product can set you farther and farther back from your ultimate skin goals.
A lot of the “please help me with my skin” messages that I receive on my Instagram follow the same narrative. In an effort to solve a particular problem, someone purchases the latest highly hyped product (or set of products) marketed for that problem. They slap it on with abandon. Something goes wrong. In order to now resolve the new problem while still wanting to address the original issue, they add another product to their routine, or swap the first one out for the new one. Another problem crops up. In comes a third panic-purchased solution. Chaos ensues.
In an alternative version of this narrative, the first product purchased doesn’t deliver results as quickly as the person would like. So even though no new problems have arisen, they either ditch the first product for a second one, or add a second one to the first one. Again, chaos ensues.
Many types of skincare products take a while to show real results. This is especially true of products meant to improve skin at a deeper level than mere moisturization. Acne care, hyperpigmentation lightening, and collagen-building active ingredients all need time to show their effects. Once you’ve found a product that contains ingredients known to produce the results you want and that doesn’t make your face mad, stick with it for at least a month. Don’t give it up and move on to the next after a week, and don’t start adding in other products, either.
Meanwhile, if a product does make your face mad, remove it from your routine right away. Go back to products that you know and trust, and let your skin recover on its own. Throwing yet another new thing at it when it’s already throwing a tantrum is a good way to make your skin even angrier.
In 2020, save yourself money and stress by giving products a chance to work and by giving your skin a chance to recover in between any new product mishaps!
3. Remember that price is not proportional to quality
Sometimes products cost more because their ingredients truly are higher quality or more difficult to source, or because their R&D and/or manufacturing process really are much more rigorous and costly.
Other times, products cost more because brands want you to look at the price and think that because it costs more, that must mean that the ingredients, R&D, and/or manufacturing are truly special enough to justify it.
I’ve tried a lot of skincare in my time, ranging from student budget $7 snail gel to $450 face cream, with lots and lots in between. There are a handful of luxury products that I love and cannot find more budget-friendly alternatives to. (Hi, Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX and Sulwhasoo sheet masks!) There are far more luxury products I’ve tried whose effects and ingredients lists had me side-eyeing so hard I accidentally made eye contact with the shadow being lurking behind my shoulder.
(The shadow being says hello, by the way.)
In my opinion, the vast majority of high-priced items do not owe their prices to a higher caliber of product. Instead, those costs often add up due to fancier packaging, more aggressive marketing, and, often, the overhead costs of maintaining beautifully designed retail stores staffed with well-trained sales representatives. And I’ve seen my share of high-priced items that don’t even offer beautiful packaging, professional advertising, or an artful shopping experience. Let’s face it: Beauty capitalism is home to many, many cash grabs.
Don’t let price serve as your indicator of quality. Save your money in 2020 and beyond by remembering that there’s very little reason to pay $160 for a vitamin C serum when a $25 alternative can deliver an effective formulation, too. Look for the ingredients your skin wants, and check for reviews before dropping a bundle of cash on a pretty bottle.
Skincare doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, and improving your skin doesn’t have to involve a hoarder pile of product packages and unfinished bottles. In 2020, take a more patient and mindful approach to cosmetics. Your skin (and wallet) will thank you!
What are your skin resolutions for the new year?