Taking care of the self and of one’s appearance is a habit that is practiced long-term. You never really see any improvements until you do it for a certain period of time.
But let’s say you have a wedding to attend or a party planned in a month and you want to enhance the way you present yourself in that amount of time. It is possible! And with a little bit of diligence, the following habits can truly create the change you want to see.
Treat your hair once a week.
If stronger and smoother hair is what you’re looking to achieve by the end of the month, one weekly ritual you can adopt is giving your hair the hot oil treatment it needs.
A hot oil treatment involves applying slightly cooled, pre-heated oil on your hair and letting it stay for a certain amount of time. It works by sealing your hair cuticles, thereby strengthening your strands as well as adding moisture to them. This works mainly for those who have brittle hair and a dry scalp, but it could also have benefits for those who do not have this problem. Hot oil treatment’s other benefits include improving the circulation on your scalp and preventing your hair from frizz and split ends.
But here’s a word of caution: make sure that you are not allergic to the oils you plan to use. Additionally, if you have any skin conditions, check in with your doctor first before pushing through with a hot oil treatment.
Hydrate with the ample amount of water every day.
You’ve heard the old water adage: drink eight cups of water a day. This can be true for some people, depending on their unique health needs and other external factors.
About 60% of a person’s body weight consists of water, according to a Mayo Clinic article. Activities such as exercise, peeing, and even the mere act of our body sweating, can reduce the amount of water in our system, another article by Healthline said.
Clearly, staying hydrated is good for our survival, but the benefits we reap from drinking water do not stop there. It's also good for our skin!
“If the outermost layer of the epidermis doesn't contain enough water, skin will lose elasticity and feel rough.” Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson said in a segment under Mayo Clinic. But he also advised to keep the skin hydrated by using a gentle moisturizer and avoiding facial products that contain “alcohol, fragrance, retinoids or alpha hydroxy acid”, among other things.
Wash your face when needed.
The general twice-daily rule when washing your face is not a hard and fast one because the number of times you wash your face in a day still depends on when you wash it.
Even though it makes sense to wash your face in the morning and in the evening—because those are the times when your skin has been exposed to dirt—many factors come into play within the day: workouts, hot weather, excessive oiliness, among others. But the general rule is to cleanse your face when a great amount of dirt, grime, and oil has been accumulated on its surface.
Excessively washing your face might even lead to skin problems because a lot of facial soaps in the market contain aggressive detergents called sulfates, Dr. Mona Gohara said in an interview with Cosmopolitan.
“These washes destroy your skin barrier by stripping away all its moisture, causing inflammation, redness, and a worsening of breakouts and oiliness,” Dr. Gohara said. So while washing your face is a diligent way of taking care of it, its excessive washing could be doing the exact opposite.
Do yoga every day.
There are over a hundred forms of yoga in existence, and their physical benefits vary from each other. One of the most popular forms that is being practiced today is Hatha yoga, which involves basic movements with focus on breathing, according to a Web MD article.
Its long list of benefits include weight loss and weight management, an improvement in cardiovascular health, and the ability to train the mind toward a healthy self-esteem. By doing this every day for a month, your body will come into a state that feels balanced, capable, and well. Plus, you can do yoga in the comfort of your home by busting out your yoga mat and finding a professional practitioner on YouTube.
Keep in mind, though, that yoga is of Asian origin and that the yoga we're familiar with today has been heavily influenced by Western ideals. It allegedly began rising to popularity in the United States after Swami Vivekananda introduced Hinduism to the West in a conference in 1983, which eventually transformed yoga into a form of working out stripped of its cultural and religious history. Nonetheless, yoga is rife with physical benefits, which can be seen with consistent practice, as with most exercises.
Apply lotion or moisturizer after taking a bath.
Lotions or moisturizers are probably the saving grace of people who have problems with dry skin, which could be the case for anyone living in a place with chilling weather. These products work by giving the skin a small amount of water, which is then trapped in the skin by a greasy substance added to the formula, according to an article by Harvard Health Publishing.
Therefore, the trick to maximizing your lotion or moisturizer’s benefits is to apply it after your bath and while your skin is still damp, according to an article by Mayo Clinic. “After bathing, showering or shaving, pat your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains,” the article says. “Then apply a moisturizer to help trap water in your skin.” This piece of advice is also reaffirmed by Dr. Michael Kaminer of Skincare.com in an article that also says dry skin can make a person earlier exhibit the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines.