It’s a new year, which means it is time to take a good long look at our unhealthy habits and aim to do things better this time round. There were a lot of things I wanted to jot down here, but eventually I settled on these ten rules, which are the ones I swear and live by.

PLUS WIN a hamper worth R1 270, including the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range and a Country Road tote bag. 

1. Remove your makeup properly

I hammer on this a lot because it is one of the most important steps in a healthy beauty routine. Your skin is more active during the night and it is essential that you properly remove any makeup and grime from the day that might clog pores and cause irritation. Take special care to remove mascara properly, gently massaging your makeup remover against the lash line to loosen any build-up. Then follow with a cleanser.

2. Cleanse twice a day

You would think this is an obvious one but in truth I know a lot of people who skip either their morning or evening cleanse. Don’t. Cleansing at night is important to remove all the grime from your day including makeup, sweat, sebum and pollutants that will otherwise sit on your skin all night. The morning cleanse is equally important to remove sweat, sebum and dead skin cells, and to prep it for your skincare products.

Personally I like to wash my face in the evenings with a gentle foaming cleanser like the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Cleanser (R99,95 for 200ml). This cleanser is lightweight and refreshing and at the same time cares for your skin barrier and hydrates your skin. I think it is a stunning product for summer. Then in the mornings I’ll often use a micellar water or face wipes for a quick cleanse. I shower in the evenings but after a sweltering summer night I often wake up feeling sticky. I like the fact that I can soak the cotton pads and wipe it over my face, chest and upper back to freshen up.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser 9Lives 2

 3. Use an SPF

Last year we sat in a session with a group of top South African dermatologists and if there was one beauty rule they all kept hammering on, it was the importance of SPF. You should be applying between SPF 30 and 50 every day, and ideally you should reapply every two hours.

I like to layer my sunscreens. I’ll choose a moisturiser with an SPF, then use an SPF50 over that, and also opt for foundation with sun protection. And I use a daytime serum with Vitamin C, E and Ferulic Acid for added free-radical protection.

Unfortunately it is not enough to only use a foundation with an SPF. Most people only apply about a pea-size amount of foundation, which is not enough. You should use about a teaspoon amount of SPF on your face, neck, chest and back.

4. Exfoliate

Exfoliating your skin regularly gets rid of dead skin cells and helps prep your skin to better absorb active ingredients in your serum and moisturiser. I prefer using enzymatic or chemical exfoliants which break down the bonds between dead cells so that they shed quicker. It is best to consult with a skin therapist or dermatologist before purchasing an exfoliant to make sure it’s right for your skin, and that it will complement the other products you are using.

5. Dry brush

There are many of expensive ways to take a whack at cellulite, but dry brushing remains a super cheap and effective way of improving circulation and helping your body to get rid of toxins. Buy a soft but firm body brush at any supermarket and use it on dry skin before you shower. Start at your feet and move up in short sweeps, directing the strokes towards your lymph notes behind your knees, inner thighs, spine and underarms.

Dry brushing remains a super cheap and effective way of improving circulation and helping your body to get rid of toxins.

6. Sleep enough

When I’ve been sleeping poorly I can instantly see the effects on my skin. My face feels dry, looks dull and lifeless, and has a puffy appearance. Upon that it seems to repel makeup. Your skin works hard while you sleep to create new cells and support structures, and your skin gets a boost of blood flow that sends nutrients and oxygen. Make sure you get enough shut-eye every night so that your skin has enough time for R&R.

7. Throw old products away

I get it, cosmetics are expensive and it feels like torture to throw away a cream that’s still half-full. However, if a product is past it’s expiration date it needs to go in the bin. You wouldn’t eat chicken pasts its sell-by date, so follow the same rule here. Preservatives become ineffective which means bacteria start to flourish, and active ingredients that have begun to oxidate can actually damage your skin.

Check the back of your bottle for a 6M, 12M or 24M sign, meaning 6, 12 or 24 months. This indicates how long the product can last after it has been opened, assuming you’ve stored it properly of course (in a cool dark place). Also look for an expiration date on the cap or bottom of the bottle or box. In general products with water in them tend to have a shorter lifespan than products containing only waxes, and as a rule of thumb if it’s started to split, discolour or developed a strange smell, chuck it.

8. Follow a healthy diet

Sugar causes inflammation in your body, damages your collagen structures and can exacerbate conditions like rosacea and acne. Hands up if you’ve ever sported a breakout after a particularly unhealthy week. Avoid foods that are high in simple, empty carbs like sweets, white bread, and processed foods, and opt for complex carbs found in high-fiber foods, nuts and whole grains.

At the same time it is important to fill your diet with healthy fats that provide your body with Omega-3 which helps to reduce inflammation in your body. Fatty fish and nuts are excellent sources of Omega 3.

And finally, stay hydrated. Drinking water is not going to hydrate your skin per se, but if you ares dehydrated you are going to see the effects on your entire body. Drinking plenty of water also helps your body to flush out toxins that might cause inflammation and breakouts.

9. Exercise

Exercise is great for your overall health, but it will also help your skin. It increases blood flow, which means oxygen and nutrients get pumped through your body and cellular waste gets carried away. It also relieves stress. The stress hormone cortisol increases oil production, for instance, making you more prone to pimples, and stressful periods often lead to eczema flair-ups. People also tend to touch their skin more when they’re stressed. I tend to rub my face and scratch my neck. Excising regularly, whether through cardio or stretching, will help to alleviate tension.

Make sure you take care of your skin when you exercise. Take off your makeup beforehand and shower as soon afterwards as possible to wash off sweat, which can cause irritation. Also make sure to wear a water-resistant sunscreen if you’re exercising outdoors.

Daniel Malherbe 9Lives 1

10. Learn to listen

Your skin is your body’s largest organ and reflects your general health. Learn to listen to your skin. If it is looking dull and dehydrated, maybe you need to get more sleep and rehydrate. If you are experiencing breakouts, think about what you’ve been eating. If you’re getting an eczema flair-up, ask yourself whether you’ve been stressed out. Adapting your lifestyle will make a difference.

The same goes for your skincare routine. If your skin is feeling dry it might be necessary to add a skin oil to help your skin barrier. If you’re seeing blackheads and congestion you might need to exfoliate more regularly, or you might be touching that spot of skin too often. If you’re seeing irritation and flaking you might need to cut down on your new serum and give your skin time to adapt to the active ingredients.

During your evening cleanse, take a good long look at your face and learn to speak its language.

WIN

One lucky 9Lives reader will win a hamper worth R1 270 with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line AND a Country Road Tote Bag (this one). To enter, share your top healthy beauty habit in the comments below or pop me a mail at sayhello@9lives.co.za. Entries close 24 January. 

*This post has been sponsored by Neutrogena

Author

I am a lifestyle blogger from Cape Town trying to find the best ways to spend my time, take care of my body and express myself. I am slightly obsessed with fragrances, sneakers, Jamie Oliver and Masterchef Australia. Oh, and I probably drink way too much wine.

57 Comments

  1. My top beauty habit is striving for balance everyday:

    8 hours of sleep
    8 hours of work
    8 hours of creativity, movement, and play.

    When my life is balanced, my skin and body is in healthy and in harmony.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      This is a lovely concept! I totally agree, achieving balance is the most important thing to strive for. Inner happiness is after the source of true beauty. Thanks for sharing!

  2. abigail Moodley Reply

    Lots of water

    Drink water , its good for more then one thing. And get a good moisturizer ?

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I totally agree! Properly hydrating your body is so important. And yes yes yes on a good moisturiser. I ran out of space for the list but really it is one of the most important beauty rules.

  3. I always remove makeup before going to bed and I clean my makeup brushes regularly. Would love to win?

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Oooh another important one! Clean makeup brushes are essential. Thanks for entering, good luck!

  4. I must have Sunscreen of at least SPF15 . I never go out without it.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I agree Pravina! I can’t believe how many people skip sunscreen. It is my No1 beauty buy before everything else (except perhaps my moisturiser).

  5. Jane McNamara Reply

    As I am now in my 40’s I realise how important my neck is. I now include my neck when exfoliating, toning and moisturising. I believe your neck is one of the first areas to visibly show ageing so look after it to keep looking young!

  6. Drink at least 8 glasses of water EVERY DAY.
    Get enough sleep
    Move move move – even if it just a 30 minute brisk walk every day.
    #9Lives #healthybeautyhabits

  7. One of my beauty tips is to always stick to a proper routine that your skin can adapt to, cleanse, moisturise and exfoliate when the need arises, drink lots of water including green tea and warm lemon water that helps one to detox from within 🙂 The hardest and best trick is to not pick at your pimples as this can lead to an infection and worsen the problem 🙂

  8. Staying hydrated, drinking plenty of water and using the sauna at the gym

  9. My top tip would be changing your pillowcase a few times a week. Most people tend to sweat a lot at night, so your pillowcase harbours more bacteria than you may think. A dirty pillowcase will just add to your facial skin problems.

  10. I religiously cleanse my face twice a day by removing my makeup with coconut oil and a piece of cotton wool, washing my face and neck with a cleanser, moisturize my face with a spf day sunscreen and use a night cream. I drink enough water to hydrate my skin and body. I have started exercising and eating healthy to become more healthy and lose weight.

  11. soraya asmal Reply

    My healthy beauty habit is to exfoliate, moisturize and oil your body, hair and face for a nourishing, healthy glow. It’s my magical potion that leaves me silky soft.

  12. I sooo wanna win this one! My top greatest tip is non other than drinking at least six glasses of water. This helps you to flush the system and cleanse you hence making your skin glow. In addition to this go to NEUTROGENA to get that Nomzamo typa skin. This should sure help somebody struggling with skin issues for perfect skin. Fingers crossed!!!

  13. Melissa Haygarth Reply

    Keeping hydrated is by far my favourite habit, being an overall benefit to the whole body 🙂 But thank you for point number 7, I never knew that that’s what the 6M, 12M etc meant 🙂 xx

  14. I make sure I sleep without make-up Always, and I Wash my face very gentle for 30 to 45 seconds with a dime-size amount of Neutrogena Visibly Clear range daily scrub for black head eliminator Using lukewarm water when washing face. Hot water dries out your skin, and cold water won’t open up your pores and then I apply Neutrogena visibly clear range cleansing lotion (toner) pre-sleeping. It does wonders on my skin.

  15. My top healthy lifestyle must-dos include:
    Drink 500 ml water as soon as I get up
    Drink a further 1 litre of unsweetened herbal tea or water throughout the day
    Sleep on a clean satin pillow case
    Do hot yoga
    Get 7+ hours of sleep a night
    Eat plenty fresh fruit and veg
    Wear sunblock
    and always have fun!
    x

  16. My top tip is definitely to drink enough water, I use the water drink reminder that takes your weight to calculate how much water you need per day and reminds you during the day to drink.

  17. Yolandi North Reply

    Love this post & I totally agree with all your tips – the most crucial for me being a daily SPF. So, to add something, I would say: SMILE because you just look younger, more toned, more approachable & sexy when you do.

    Oh yes, & thank you for the reminder to dry brush. 🙂

    x

  18. My beauty tip is to always steam or rejuvenate the skin by sitting in a sauna, steam room or even standing in a room with steam. This will unclog and open pores and gets rid of excess dirt and toxins that lies under the skin.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Definitely Rashmita! I didn’t even think of this tip but it is such a goodie. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Drink plenty of water and stay away from sugar – best advice my mom ever gave me! My skin is at its best this way. Also, double cleansing in the evenings has worked wonders for me. If you’re not already doing it, start!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Definitely Robyn! Sugar is so destructive! And I completely agree about double cleansing, it makes all the difference! Thanks for entering 🙂

  20. jade abbott Reply

    I learned my lesson the hard way when not using sunblock, ALL over your body not just the areas where you do not want to tan and not just when you’re at the beach. Get a sunblock or a moisturizer with SPF in it for everyday use and vary the spf between occassions, e.g. a higher spf for when you’re actually at the beach like a 50, and maybe an spf 15-20 for everyday like if you’ve got to walk outside to get to work or to get lunch. this is my biggest beauty tip to everyone!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I completely agree Jade! Sunscreen is so essential, every single day. You definitely see a difference if you skimp on this step. Thanks for entering!

  21. To always cleanse my skin before going to bed
    To drink an adequate amount of water
    To sleep for atleast 7 hours daily
    To have a balanced eating plan
    To exercise daily

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Brilliant Hameeda, I think these are all essential for your overall health and that shows on your skin! Thanks so much for entering 🙂

  22. Laura Martin Reply

    Water water all day everyday. I’ve recently started to push myself to drink at least 2 litres everyday and my skin (very oily and acne prone) has never looked better.
    Investing in a very very good makeup brush cleanser has also really made a difference for my skin, after every use, I dab a little on a paper towel and wipe. Once a week / every two weeks I give them a deep cleaning using olive oil.
    And then, something I’ve learnt recently would be to not touch your face with your hands unless completely necessary. it was quite difficult in the beginning, especially since I’m so used to touching my face without realizing it but now that I haven’t for a while, my face is much much less oily.
    Last but not least, change your pillowcases every 3 weeks- regardless of whether they’re really dirty or not. As 9livesza mentioned, your skin is most active at night so imagine all the build up of grime and other particles on our pillows that we keep exposing or skin to every night.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Great advice Laura! Cleaning makeup brushes once a week is so important, and yes to keeping your hands away from your face! I also agree on changing your pillow case. I try to change mine weekly. Thank you for entering!

  23. Carmen Powell Reply

    Thank you for the amazing tips!

    My top beauty tips are:
    – lots and lots of water!
    – 6 small meals per day, including fruits and vegetables
    – 1 hour and 30 minutes of exercise per day
    – try not to wear makeup often (only for special occasions)
    – exfoliating
    – moisturizer

    Those are my top beauty tips

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Great tips Carmen! Jeez, well done for exercising 1 and a half hours a day! #fitnessgoals! Thanks so much for sharing, and good luck with the competition!

  24. Lalenthra Naidoo Reply

    I’ve slept with makeup on, I’ve gone without sleep and I barely exercise but! The one thing I will do is drink lots of water! I see the difference in my skin when I don’t drink my 1ltr for the day

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Staying hydrated is so important for overall health Lalenthra! It’s a good habit to keep 🙂 Thanks for entering!

  25. Jyothi Laldas Reply

    Drink lots of water and always use a good sunscreen all the time!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Definitely two of the most important tips for overall health! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Zoleka Ngqebe Reply

    I know this will make me controversial but 3 years ago I stopped drinking coffee.
    *COMPLETELY*

    Instead, I start my day with lemon water, this has been helpful to all round health and good skin. (if Naomi Campbell does it – so should you people)

    I also use a face oil in my evening beauty routine.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Well done Zoleka! I’m a big fan of lemon water, it really improves my overall health. Thanks for entering!

  27. Cornell Botha Reply

    Keep your hands away from your face – As soon as you place your hands on your face, you transfer some of that dirt onto your face and that can cause infections and breakouts.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Definitely, Cornell! If I’m touching a spot on my face it’s only a matter of time before I see congestion and breakouts. Thanks for entering!

  28. Megan Hartwig Reply

    You already know that you need some form of sun protection daily (yes, even when it’s cloudy, or even snowing). I double up on protection by using an SPF moisturiser under my foundation or powder—Don’t forget your lips, your neck, the backs of your hands, and your eye area, too, as all of those spots are exposed to aging UV rays.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I agree Megan, UV Protection is soooooo important! Thanks for entering!

  29. Jasmine Ho Reply

    Wear sunscreen everyday, regardless if you are out in the sun or not
    Drink sufficient water everyday
    Remove your makeup always (don’t be lazy)
    Wear a sleeping mask before sleep

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Great advice Jasmine! And yes, a sleeping mask is a brilliant goodie to give your skin that extra boost. Thanks for entering!

  30. Bianca Balutto Reply

    My top beauty habits would be drinking alot of water iv cut out sugar and cold rinks from my diet, exercising atleast three times a week, always using sunscreen and exfoliating atleast three times a week to get rid of all the dry and dead skin. I always remove my makeup before going to sleep to prevent my pores from clogging up and I also wash my make-up brushes every week.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Your beauty habits are spot on Bianca! Well done! Thanks so much for sharing your advice, and good luck!

  31. Top healthy beauty habit is you should really try to maintain balance in your life because with balance ecmxternly come balance internally. If you are maintain a good balance between work and play your body reaponds in equal ways and you will. Feel the difference on all parts of your body

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Again, such good advice Sashlyn! Thanks so much for sharing!

  32. A top healthy beauty habit that is really good is to keep things simple . With regards to what you put on your face ( be it make up or face wash) you don’t want to clog your skin up and you don’t want to confuse it by using lots of different products with lots of different ingredients .
    With your diet as well keep it imple and try to stay away from processed foods.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Definitely Sashlyn! I think it is important to start with a nice basic skincare routine, and to keep all the nasties out of your diet. Thanks for the entry 🙂

  33. Ursula Kronenberg Reply

    Love this article! I must say one of my top beauty trends are an old school method I got from my Grandmother. I make my own toner from rooibos tea. Once it has been made I place it in my fridge and apply it each morning to my face – it always makes me feel refreshed and is very hydrating especially for summer where our skin tends to dry out. Definitely one of my top healthy beauty habits.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      That is such a clever tip Ursula, I am definitely trying it out! Thanks for your entry!

  34. Riétte van Tonder Reply

    Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Also strive for contentment and be grateful for the abundance in your life. A miserable person with a great skin is still a miserable person and no fun to be around.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I agree Riette! If you are happy in yourself it shines through! Thanks so much for entering!

  35. Always wear sunblock even if it’s cloudy. OMEGA 3 is good for the heart the brain and the dkin

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Sunscreen is essential! And I totally agree about the Omega 3! Thanks for entering!

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