If there’s one thing 2020 taught me, it’s to never get too comfortable and always be flexible. That goes for skin care too. Often, we get used to our routine and don’t try new products, settling for lackluster results when we could have radiance.
As an esthetician, I’ve seen this again and again. That’s why I’ve curated a list to help your skin detox from the whirlwind of 2020 and become healthier, brighter, and better! These aren’t just trends; they’re highly effective routines and ingredients to beautifully jump-start the new year.
1. Exfoliate everywhere—even your scalp.
As we age, our skin naturally slows down its shedding cycle, leaving dead, dry skin on the surface. That dead skin will still eventually fall off … but you can speed up the process. How? Exfoliation, baby.
Exfoliation helps to slough off old, dead skin on your face, body, and scalp, allowing for healthy hair growth and beautiful, radiant skin. Dead skin cells piling up on your skin’s surface can trigger acne breakouts, block hair growth, and cause irritation.
To achieve healthy-looking skin, exfoliation needs to take place weekly. If your skin is oily, exfoliating one to two times a week is ideal, whereas if you have extremely dry or sensitive skin, it’s best to exfoliate once a week. Natural ingredients to look for in body scrubs include Dead Sea salts and coffee grounds. Exfoliating cleansers for the face typically include gentler ingredients like finely ground oatmeal.
Scalp exfoliation is one thing many people forget about. While washing and conditioning our hair is second nature, scalp health just isn’t on our radar. Exfoliating the scalp is crucial to alleviating dandruff and getting rid of dead, dry skin on the scalp, and it may help stimulate hair growth. Scalp exfoliation can be done with a scalp exfoliating brush, as well as with physical or chemical scrubs. Some popular ingredients to look for in scalp scrubs are sugar, sea salt, and charcoal.
Incorporate natural exfoliating cleansers into your skincare routine, as well as exfoliating gloves and a dry brush for all-over radiant skin.
2. Get an extra boost of hydration with hyaluronic acid.
The buzz was all about hyaluronic acid last year, and 2021 will be no different. Hyaluronic acid is a sugar naturally found in the body. Known as nature’s moisture magnet, hyaluronic acid can hold more than a thousand times its weight in water. When used as a supplement or ingredient in skin care, this super sugar has many benefits.
In several studies conducted by dermatologists, subjects with dry skin saw a noticeable improvement after two to six weeks of ingesting hyaluronic acid.
In serums, moisturizers, and creams, hyaluronic acid acts as a natural humectant, drawing moisture to dry, thirsty skin and keeping skin moisturized for hours.
In the winter months especially, it’s imperative to keep skin well hydrated. Adding hyaluronic acid-infused products to your skincare routine can help give you plumper, more hydrated skin, especially if you have dry skin.
3. Take a cue from K-beauty.
K-beauty encompasses Korean skincare techniques, routines, and products. For centuries, many Korean women have aimed for glass-like, dewy skin, putting maximum effort into their skincare routines to get age-defying skin in return.
So: What are the ingredients they use to get such amazing results? Surprisingly, many aren’t as sci-fi as one might think. A few key ingredients in K-beauty are hyaluronic acid (no surprise there!), noni, mugwort, and green tea.
Noni, a traditional Polynesian medicinal plant, is rich in antioxidant vitamin C and has anti-inflammatory, anti-acne, and antiaging effects.
Mugwort is a healing herb that has been used in Korea for centuries. It’s known for helping to protect and condition skin and for adding moisture to dry skin.
Green tea contains antioxidants that help protect skin from free radicals, and it may help treat skin disorders ranging from acne to rosacea.
If you’re looking for gorgeous, ageless skin, check for these popular K-beauty ingredients in your next skincare purchases at your local natural health retailer.
4. De-stress your skin with adaptogens.
Let’s face it: 2020 was a very stressful year … and stress wreaks havoc on skin. Stress can cause acne breakouts, lead to early signs of aging, and trigger flare-ups in those with eczema or psoriasis.
Luckily, roots and herbs known as adaptogens can help alleviate stress. Adaptogens are believed to fight fatigue and increase physical stamina too. Research has found that the adaptogens ashwagandha, bacopa, and rhodiola, for example, help the body fight damaging effects of stress when taken orally.
In addition, ashwagandha has a long history of topical use in Ayurvedic medicine to soothe swelling. Preliminary research bears this out, showing ashwagandha may protect against skin inflammation—so it’s no surprise ashwagandha is starting to crop up in skincare products.
Whatever way you choose to take them, adaptogens just might be your skin’s MVP this year.
Plastic is not the look
In 2021, even more skincare and personal hygiene companies will be taking a stand for the environment by choosing to use less or no plastic packaging. It’s worth supporting these visionaries!
One creative way companies are sidestepping plastic is by selling liquid soap in easily recyclable glass bottles, milk-style cartons, or even aluminum cans (as opposed to plastic containers). Many companies are also using compostable and paper-based packaging for their products.
But what to do with all the plastic packaging you’ve already got at home? Upcycle it! If you have small leftover product containers, try using them for a DIY lip scrub, as a planter for a tiny succulent, or even to transport your favorite supplements when you’re traveling.