I have come to the realization that looking good is the answer to everything. You’ve got the flu? Don’t walk around with dishevelled hair and your rattiest sweatshirt, you’ll feel even worse. Take your medicine, sip your tea and make an effort not to look like an incubus of viral plague. Having issues with boyfriend? Look extra pretty and get an extra boost of confidence when people do a double take. Bad day at work? Take that blazer off, put on red lipstick and go out for a cocktail after office hours. There is no sense in ‘letting yourself go’ no matter what the circumstance—life gets better when you keep trying and keep hoping for better things to come, so you should present yourself as though you are ready for something amazing and nothing can get you down.
Now when it comes to looking good, we can talk about outfits and trends, but the truth is, no can really look good without the basics: healthy skin, teeth and hair. Make that your top priority over everything else and you should be fine. Here are some beauty rules to live by:
- Get enough rest, exercise, water and a healthy diet. You can’t fake perfect skin if the undertones are sallow, and you don’t want to have undereye circles and split ends to deal with. That will take double the work to correct, so might as well get healthy within first. Try to catch at least 7 hours of sleep, and call in bedtime at 10 pm so that your organs can recuperate in peace. Exercise will give you that extra glow and a nice, natural flush so try to do at least 30 minutes of cardio per day to keep your heart pumping. And of course, a balanced diet of fruits and veggies will give you the vitamins and minerals required to keep looking young and supple.
- Cleanse, Tone and Moisturize. Keep a routine morning and night. No skipping, no crashing into bed without washing your face first or you’ll pay for it via clogged pores later. Use a mild cleanser like Cetaphil or Celeteque that won’t be so harsh on your skin. Follow up with toner to close the pores, and finish with a matte SPF moisturizer to wear under your foundation and prevent any sunspots from developing on your face. At night, switch the SPF moisturizer to a serum and cream, whichever works best for you. Or try Argan oil, it really does make a difference in the morning! On Sundays, switch the cleanser with a mild exfoliator to take away dull skin and make you look extra radiant.
- Cleanse, Cut and Condition. For the hair, these three C’s are required for maintenance. You can add a fourth for Color, only if necessary. Pick a shampoo that doesn’t make your hair too dry or greasy, like Phyto. Actually right now I’m loving the shampoo and conditioner of Dove, I’ve never quite seen my hair so smooth and silky with any other brand. Once a week, devote time to slather on hair treatment and keep it under a shower cap for a while. Your mane deserves it after the daily abuse you put it through—blow drying and ironing or curling plus product buildup. Air dry it whenever possible. Every three months visit your favourite salon for a trim. Pick a stylist who listens to what you want and understands the kind of hairstyle you need for your lifestyle.
- Visit the Professionals. Once you’ve passed the age of 20 you really need to have a trusted dermatologist, hairstylist/colorist and dentist. They know what’s best and can ensure you don’t go…er, astray in terms of maintenance. Get a regular facial and iontophoresis (check out CRB at the SM Northwing, I really enjoy their procedures). Keep your haircolor more or less the same as what it was when you were 18, with a little more panache like subtle highlights here and there. And as for your teeth, see your dentist at least twice a year and brush only with a whitening toothpaste (or a homemade concoction of baking soda and a few drops of hydrogen peroxide). For really stubborn discolorations, go for laser whitening, it’s so worth it. The fastest way to look old is via yellow, stained teeth!
- Learn to do the Basics. It saves you so much time and money if you know how to do your hair yourself. Invest in a good hairdryer, brushes and ceramic hair styler and you should be good for any occasion. Spray on heat protector over your strands and practice till you get the look you like from salons. As for makeup, at least learn how to apply concealer on any dark spots and blemishes, then use a stipple brush to apply BB cream or liquid foundation (must try: Smashbox Studio Skin 15 hour foundation), then finish with loose powder or mineral veil. Follow up by doing your eyebrows, curl your lashes, swipe on some cheek tint and colored lipgloss and you’re good to conquer the day to day world!
- Groom stray hairs. Part of looking good, even au naturel, is keeping those stray hairs at bay. Book an appointment for eyebrow threading and make sure your upper lip is totally fuzz free as well. For other areas with auxiliary hair like underarms, legs and the bikini area, laser hair removal is really your best bet. Or waxing once a month at the very least.
So those are your no-nonsense basics for looking good. Keep doing these religiously and even your suckiest day will be that bit better and more manageable—nothing a put-together, beautiful inside-and-out Kikay girl can’t handle. Here’s looking at you, kid.