12 days of Christmas beauty

Lisa O'Neill shows us the best ways to stay healthy and look good in the lead-up to the silly season.

Amid the frantic pace of Christmas parties, buying the perfect present for loved ones and the workload as you inch closer to holidays – the opportunity for some ‘you’ time is sparse. However, as you speed towards the land of resolutions and good intentions of New Year, now is the perfect time to be kind to yourself and be the best you can be so you hit 2014 with a POW!

We’ve devised 12 beauty rituals to establish over the festive season, so as you clink your glass of eggnog and dream of what will be for next year, you’ll be looking fabulous and ready for anything. Say goodbye to lingering bad beauty habits and hello to these new ones; a little Christmas love from you…to you.

First day of Christmas
Hey, you! The lady with her third frosty glass of champagne in her well-manicured hand – you will look and feel a whole lot better tomorrow if you’ve properly hydrated yourself before the corks start popping.

With sun, sand and surf removing moisture from your skin (let alone the alcoholic beverages), now is the time to set yourself up with a good hydration plan. The standard recommendation is to drink either eight glasses or two litres of water daily (more if you exercise). If counting out eight glasses sounds too difficult, get a gorgeous-looking BPA-free bottle for your desk, such as the sleek-looking 500 ml Bamboo Bottle Company’s glass water bottle with travel mug ($33 from shopnaturally.com.au) or the 590 ml Full Circle Wherever Glass Bottle ($29.95 from nourishedlife.com.au), which has a built-in lemon squeezer. Add a squeeze of lemon, a few slices of cucumber or a sprig of mint to your glass for a delicious twist.

Second day of Christmas
Has anyone else laid on the fake tan only to have a patchy mess a day later? Co-founder of Grown Alchemist Keston Muijs, says exfoliation is one of the most under-estimated components of a beauty regime.

“One of the most important reasons for using a polishing facial exfoliant is to prepare your skin correctly to achieve maximum results from the active ingredients in your moisturiser,” Muijs says. “Look for ingredients such as glucomannan, polylactic acid, flavonoids and polyphenols, which dissolve dry and dead skin cells, detoxify and rebalance, leaving your skin looking radiant.”

Step up your cleansing regime with regular exfoliation (every few days), gently sloughing away at the build-up of toxins on your skin before feeding the skin with a good quality moisturiser suited to your skin. And most certainly do exfoliate right before applying your fake tan.

Third day of Christmas
By the time Christmas Day rolls around, many of us are struggling to look perky after a month of indulgence and late nights. One of the easiest ways to brighten tired eyes, according to Inika’s Miranda Bond, is to pay more attention to your eyebrows.

“Define your arch using an Inika eyebrow pencil. Teamed with a good mascara it gives the appearance of open eyes,” says Bond.

Smooth your brows with either a brow gel or brush before filling in thin patches with the eyebrow pencil for a fuller look. Work with the natural shape of your brows when shaping and be sure to avoid over plucking, which can result in ageing the face.

Fourth day of Christmas
While there’s nothing like a golden glow for your skin, if you aren’t already using a daily sun cream, march yourself straight off to get one because reversing the effects of sun damage is much harder than prevention. Find a beautiful daily moisturiser with SPF (try Kosmea Moisturising Lotion SPF 30+, which has a delicious earthy, honeysuckle scent) and apply it every morning beneath your make-up.

Fifth day of Christmas
With the Australian sun blaring down on us, keeping our party face from melting away during Christmas lunch can be a little challenging. To keep your make-up firmly in place, it’s time to introduce your beauty cabinet to a primer. After you’ve cleansed and moisturised in the morning, put on a layer of primer before applying your foundation. Not only does a primer work to hold your make-up, it also fills in your pores to create a smooth canvas for the rest of your make-up. Conventional primers use silicone, which doesn’t get absorbed by the skin but can clog your pores and in the long run, make them larger. There are plenty of options in the natural beauty world that nourish the skin simultaneously, using ingredients like aloe vera, certified organic minerals and natural oils (such as jojoba).

Sixth day of Christmas
Detox your beauty cabinet and throw away anything with any known nasties (parabens, pthalates, and sodium lauryl sulfate to name a few) and put some natural alternatives on your Christmas stocking list. Irene Falcone did just that and the result on her overall health and wellbeing led her to start up Nourished Life, where she blogs about and sells her favourite natural beauty products.

“I have always been a huge beauty product addict, but after years of feeling foggy and tired, I started to question what I was putting on and in my body every day,” Falcone says.
After ridding her beauty cabinet of all the chemical-laden products, an empty cupboard stared back at her. Replacing just the bare necessities with natural products, Falcone found her health transforming.

“Pretty soon I really started to look and feel amazing, alive and sparkly,” she says. “I have come to appreciate nature and all the powerful ingredients our beautiful environment has to offer.”
Thousands of beautiful, natural and organic products are on offer (and many are being made in Australia), so there’s no excuse for layering your skin with make-up with potentially harmful ingredients. And we’ve given you an excuse to go shopping. Merry Christmas!

Seventh day of Christmas
Whether you’re in your 20s or 50s, you should be adopting an anti-ageing plan for your skin. Before you hit 30, prevent any early onslaught of fine lines by choosing a gentle cleanser that is free of harsh foaming agents (such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which strips the skin of natural oils) and apply a natural moisturiser morning and night. Sodashi’s Megan Larsen says as you enter your 30s, start looking after the delicate skin under your eyes, which has “fewer sebaceous glands than the rest of your face”. Once you’re in your 40s and beyond, it’s crucial to have established a good routine, so make sure you’re familiar with a good-quality serum (try Sodashi’s Balancing Serum $106.50, or rosehip oil) for extra nourishment beyond your daily moisturiser.

Eighth day of Christmas
Keeping your insides healthy has a great effect on how you look. Larsen emphasises taking a holistic approach and believes looking after your insides will also take care of the outside. To get maximum bang from your buck, add a daily green smoothie to your diet. There are thousands of recipes online to give you inspiration on how to get an extra dose of green in (try simplegreensmoothies.com; their beautiful photography and creativity will have you bee-lining for your blender). For a gentle introduction, add a handful of spinach to your banana smoothie, where the strong banana flavour overrides the taste of the spinach. Once you’re ready to up the ante, throw in some kale or try Larsen’s favourites – barley grass, chlorella and spirulina.

Ninth day of Christmas
Day in day out, are you looking at the same old make-up look? On day nine, mix it up. It’s so easy to get into a beauty rut once you’ve discovered a look that works for you. But with new products and colours entering the market every day, put a little pep in your step by trying something new. This summer will see tropical pink lips all the rage, so find yourself a beautiful lipstick, gloss or balm.

When looking at updating your eye make-up, try opposing colours to your eye colour. Blue-eyed babes should try brown, orange or gold hues; brown-eyed beauties, look at shades of blue (from cobalt to baby); and green-eyed goddesses should sample the purple tones, which should make your eyes pop.

If changing up your tried-and-true make-up makes you nervous, try a new colour on your nails. Try Butter London’s formaldehyde, toluene and DBP-free opaque icy mint nail lacquer ‘Fiver’, $22, planetbotanic.com.au.

Tenth day of Christmas
Have you ever washed your face only to notice half your make-up on your towel? Kosmea’s Marie Jenkins says a double cleanse is essential to truly clean your face.

“The first cleanse will remove most of the make-up and the second cleanse will purify the deeper layers of the skin,” Jenkins says.

During summer months, it’s particularly important to double cleanse with the extra impurities on our skin.

“Most of us don’t consider that during summer, we not only have make-up, but there is sunscreen as well as sweat and dirt,” Jenkins says.

So give your poor face-towel a break and double-dip into your cleanser each night and not only wipe off your make-up, but give your skin a deeper cleanse.

Eleventh day of Christmas
Once you’re on a roll with the fresh face thing, take it up a notch. Reverse the effects on your skin of too much indulgence throughout the jolly season and give yourself a weekly detoxifying face masque. One of the best natural ingredients to draw out impurities from your pores is mud. People travel from far and wide to visit natural mud baths, such as Romania’s famous Lake

Techirghiol, which is said to have therapeutic qualities. As mud baths in Australia are restricted to spas and the odd footy field after a heavy downpour, the next best thing is a beautiful clay masque. Grown Alchemist’s Deep Purifying Facial Masque ($39.95) with white clay, or Sodashi’s Brightening Marine Mineral Mask ($110) with white and yellow clay are our top picks. If you have the time, make it a real treat and run yourself a bath, light a couple of candles and relax while the clay works its magic.

Twelfth day of Christmas
On the 12th day of Christmas, give yourself the best present of all and commit to exercising every day. Muijs says their research has shown that the skin benefits from regular exercise just as much as your muscles and bones do.

“When an athlete’s skin is examined under a microscope, results show their skin is thicker and has healthier collagen,” Muijs says.
Larsen couldn’t agree more and adds we should be rising at six am to do so.

“Research shows that if you rise around six am, you will be clearer headed and more alert for the rest of the day,” Larsen says. “It’s the perfect time to get the body moving, so I either walk, gym or practise yoga. After exercising, I meditate and do the Tibetan Five Rites, all of which keep me grounded and happy.”

Incorporating 30 minutes of exercise each day is achievable for everyone, no matter how busy you are. Head out for a walk or jog on your lunch break, rise half an hour earlier for some sun salutations or, instead of meeting a friend for a drink, meet at the beach on a warm summer’s night and take a walk in the sand. You’ll feel infinitely better afterwards (the effect of endorphins post-exercise have been proven time and time again), and as fashions come and go, fitness never goes out of style. 

NEXT: Browse more beauty tips or connect with us on Facebook.


Rate This

Average: 5 (1 vote)
The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.