Okay, so I am totally late on this. Forgive me, I was on vacation! However during my week of fun in the lack of sun, I realized I took some beauty and fashion regimens for granted and suffered the penalty. As that most of us do not have time during the week to accomplish tasks, we all (me included!) can begin 2007 with a weekend of cleaning and beautifying!
1. Give Yourself a Facial.
When I was attempting to pop a second blackhead at my jawline, I realized I have been treating my skin terribly. Late nights of work make me too exhausted to wash my face before bed time. The face wash is in the medicine cabinet and I am sopping wet in the shower so I’ll use the bar soap to scrub off my mascara. I ran out of eye cream in October and decided to hold off to see if I got any beauty gift cards for Christmas (and I did not). Add to that a few too many glasses of wine, cups of eggnog and flutes of champagne to wash down fatty finger food, chocolate goodies and ginormous holiday feasts and too much time on my bum….. well my skin has suffered.
One evening, wash your face with a gentle facial cleaner. If it exfoliates, great. If not, follow with a scrub. Since this is not a regular occurrence, your scrub can be a bit more abrasive. Do not use any scrub unless it is made specifically for the skin of the face. I use either Dove’s Gentle Exfoliating Daily Cleanser, or Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash with the (now discontinued but I stocked up) Body Shop Soy and Calendula Face Scrub.
After this, apply a mask appropriate for your skin type. I like either The Body Shop’s Oceanic Clay Mask or Olay Facials Deep Cleansing Clay Mask. After it is complete, remove it completely with cool water.
Now fill your sink with steaming hot water, bend over it and throw a towel over your head, holding in the steam. Do not let the water hit your face – you do not want to scald your skin. Hang out for a few minutes – I bring in a stool to the bathroom, have a seat and close my eyes and meditate. Some like to add a few drops of essential oil. I do not for my skin can be sensitive and many oils can be caustic to the face.
When you have had enough, drain the sink, and dab your skin with an alcohol-free toner to hydrate and soothe the skin. I like the Vitamin E Face Spritz from the Body Shop – I spray it straight on the skin and dab off with a cotton ball. I also use this product on planes – the bottle is small enough to take in your carry-on and it keeps your skin hydrated throughout the flight without mussing your makeup.
Then continue with your regular night creams and supplements. I use the Vitamin C Intensive Night Repair from the Body Shop, and over it use Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Moisturizing Treatment and Kinetin Eye Cream from The Body Shop. The next morning you will be AMAZED at how good your skin looks and feels after a deep cleaning and pampering experience. It will make you want to continue good skin deeds the rest of the year!
2. Organize your Closet
I was packing for my holiday and couldn’t find a blasted thing. Where is my black velvet blazer? How about my blue fleece? My strappy silver heels? These are all things I do not wear on a regular occasion but needed at this very moment. I could find suits in two sizes too small, found my high school prom dress and found a sorority sweatshirt with big “billboard” letters but ended up tearing my entire closet contents out and onto my bed to find what I NEEDED. I realized it was time to do some organizing.
I tossed all the flimsy metal hangers from the cleaners. I tossed any plastic bags still left on cleaned clothes. I made sure everything was on appropriate hangers (suit jackets on sturdy hangers, sleeveless tops on hangers with the nook to hold the top in place, wide-necked tops on hangers with grippers). I then categorized:
- Clothes I rarely wear but need to be hung to not get ruined
- Going-out tops
- Work tops
- Jackets and blazers
- Dresses for special occasions
- Dresses for work and everyday
Everything else was folded and placed on closet shelves or in drawers. The special occasion and rarely worn pieces got the space in the back of the closet, the most worn items given top real estate. To conserve space, I “monkey-hung” similar pieces. This is where you take a hanger with a swiveling neck and hook one hanger into the other hanger so they tier down. I monkey hung suit pants, and then outing pants. Going out tops were tired upon one another, and even blazers and short dresses got the same treatment. Pants were hung upside down by their cuffs, seam-to-seam to keep nice crisp creases in the leg.
When I wear something, I leave the hanger so I know where it goes when it returns to the closet. This means I don’t end up losing hangers and doubling up items or shoving delicate pieces into a drawer. A nice thing was when holiday shopping at R.E.I. I saw they were giving away nice plastic hangers with grips and swiveling metal necks right at the door. I took home a dozen and replaced all the crappy metal and sloping solid plastic ones I have been holding on to for years. Why pay lots of money? Next time you buy clothing, ask for the hanger. And when you go to shops that have designer hangers (Arden B, Ann Taylor, REI, etc.) they may give you a few for free. Doesn’t hurt to ask!
As for bags and accessories, I went through them. The stuff I haven’t touched in years and wasn’t in good condition I donated. I placed bags and boots in old pillowcases to protect them from dust and rearranged my shelves and storage bag (I have one of those canvas bags that hang on the closet bar and has canvas drawers in it. I store scarves, bathing suits, small bags and belts in it) putting the most used pieces in the places most easily reached.
Anything that was in need of repair or cleaning was removed from the closet and tossed immediately into a large bag to take to the cleaner/tailor/shoe repair person near my job. Nothing is worse than pulling out an item to wear to find there is a hole or a missing button.
3. Go Through Your Makeup
When was the last time you bought a new mascara? Why are you holding onto that sparkly purple lipstick? How dusty and dirty is that drawer/bag/box that is holding your cosmetics? I have a makeup case – the professional style bought at a ridiculously low price at a Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale. Though I have little compartments in it for shadows, glosses, pots and potions, somehow weird stuff collects in there. I removed all the hair elastics and bobby pins, the earring backs and the plastic wrapping from new products that were tossed in the bottom in haste. I then removed all the makeup and wiped down all the areas with a damp cloth, getting rid of the shadow and pencil sharpening dust. When I put the makeup back, I kept it organized, with the most used products in front and center. As I replaced pencils, I re-sharpened them. Lipsticks I checked their consistency and tossed those that were old, separating or downright ugly. I usually finish a foundation, concealer or powder before it goes bad, but if you have pots and bottles of this type of stuff that you had at this same time last year, it is time to toss them. Mascaras should only be kept for 3-5 months so maybe this is the time to get a new tube. This gave me a chance to try the Cover Girl Lash Exact mascara that people have been raving about!
And really, why are you holding on to so much random stuff? If you always wear the same colors of eyeshadow, what’s the point of holding on to the crazy colors? For a random Halloween costume or that dress that NEEDS electric green eyeliner? I went through all the weird colors, glitters and spangles and decided that if it hadn’t been worn in the past year, it didn’t deserve real estate. Yes, even I, a fan of crazy shadow colors tossed a sparkly pink and a creamy emerald. I hadn’t worn them since I wore pleather pants and well…. That was a terribly long time ago.
Now on to your brushes. Did you know that you should be washing them every week at a minimum? Take all of them, wash them individually with a bit of baby shampoo, and lay them on their side on a towel to dry (should be ready to use by the next day). You will be amazed at how much better your makeup goes on with fresh brushes! I couldn’t believe how much pigment was stored in my eyebrow brush alone. If you wash and maintain your brushes, they will be a good friend to you for years.
These three January resolutions will get you on track to having an organized and beautiful 2007. The best way to be fabulous while being frugal is to care for what you already own. Treat your face, your skin, your beauty products and clothes with care, and they will care for you for a long time!