'Tis the season for unrealistic resolutions that get broken within a couple weeks. Why not switch things up this year and adopt a resolution that's both easy to keep and has a high-impact outcome that will make your effort worthwhile? I've collected here my favorite past beauty resolutions, along with my tips for how to easily incorporate that resolution into your regular set of beauty habits.
1. Resolve to take off your makeup every night.
Your complexion will clear, your eyelashes will get healthier, and, in the long run, you'll ward off icky crow's feet. I suggest getting in the habit of taking off your makeup as soon as you get home. Not only does it create a habit that is easy to remember, it also allows your night creams and potions to have a longer time to work.
Personally, I hate the makeup remover/ cleanser/ toner dance. Such a time sink. Instead, I opt for an all-in-one makeup remover and cleanser. I've been stuck on Fresh Soy Face Cleanser for a couple years. It removes all of my makeup -- including mascara -- and feels like a spa treatment. For similar all-in-one cleaning, you can also try Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser and Philosophy Purity Made Simple. Even an all-in-one too much of a commitment? Try keeping makeup remover wipes in a caddy next to your bed, along with your night cream. Then, even if you make it into bed with makeup on, you can still do the right thing without getting up again.
→ Buy the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, $38.00, at sephora.com.
2. Resolve to wear sunscreen every day.
You won't see immediate benefits, so you've got to stick with it. But, one day it will dawn on you that your effort has paid off. I've been diligently wearing sunscreen daily since my early twenties, and I have significantly less wrinkling, discoloration, freckling, and pores than the average woman my age. I totally credit the sunscreen.
I've found the easiest way to stick to this resolution is to switch your normal daily moisturizer to a moisturizer with sunscreen. It isn't like you're going to skip moisturizer, right? My current pick is Origins Brighter by Nature SPF 35. I'm also a huge fan of Clinique Superdefense SPF 25. You can find similar formulations from Olay and Neutrogena.
→ Buy the Origins Brighter By Nature SPF 35 Moisturizer, $43.50, at origins.com.
3. Resolve to wear eye cream.
Reasonable experts and beauty junkies disagree about whether a designated eye cream is really all that much better for keeping your eye area in shape than a regular treatment cream. That being said, I've found that a luxe, extra rich eye cream reminds me to treat my eye area just as I treat the rest of my face. Over the years, this practice has resulted in a well-moisturized eye area free of wrinkles and not particularly prone to bags. I'm a believer.
My current eye regimen is Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Eye Cream at night and Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream during the day. The Plantscription line has been proven to be about 80% as effective as prescription retinoids in repairing wrinkles and other visible signs of aging, but without the irritation. I love it. The GinZing has illuminating particles that work in conjunction with your undereye concealer to make you look awake, on top of its normal moisturizing and de-puffing properties. Other favorites over the years have included Benefit and Kinerase.
→ Buy the Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $42.50, at origins.com.
4. Resolve to exfoliate twice a week.
Every year that passes your skin takes just a little bit longer to get rid of that top layer of dead skin. That means that your skin becomes progressively more dull. By getting rid of that dull outer layer, your skin will instantly (seriously!) look brighter and clearer, and your pores will look smaller.
The gold standard of exfoliating is to use a manual exfoliant once a week and an enzyme-based exfoliant once a week, with 3-4 days between them. I use Bliss Pore Perfecting Facial Polish as my manual exfoliant on Wednesday, and Bliss Steep Clean as my enzyme exfoliant on Sunday. I'm also fond of Kate Somerville ExfoliKate (manual + enzyme), Origins Modern Friction (manual) and Origins Never a Dull Moment (manual + enzyme).
→ Buy the Bliss Pore Perfecting Facial Polish, $30.00, at blissworld.com.
5. Resolve to get regular facials.
Ok, this one requires a significant budget commitment, which isn't for everyone. But, if you have the means and are interested in a beauty resolution with real impact, regular facials are the way to go. It's amazing how your skin will respond. You can basically ditch the foundation and blemish concealer after a few months, and after a year you'll notice that discoloration and pores are pretty much non-existent.
I've been going to Gailee at Bliss San Francisco every 6 weeks for about a year and a half. I make sure to make new appointments before I leave the spa, which also results in a 10% discount at Bliss spas, and I always ask for the email reminder. By pre-booking appointments as soon as you done with your current visit you'll be sure to keep up the habit.
Have a good idea for a high-impact, easy-to-keep beauty resolution we've forgotten? Let us know in the comments! We also love product recommendations...
This post originally appeared on January 5, 2012. It has since been updated.