Most beauty tips strike me as vain and financially foolish. They focus on certain methods for applying makeup, styling hair, or other superficial aspects of beauty. But physical bodies are more than just window dressing. It takes more than some superficial quick fixes to have a body that is beautiful both inside and out.
True beauty tips work like investing money in the stock market. It takes a bit of time and energy upfront to build good beauty habits — but once they are built, they pay dividends that last.
I would be denying reality if I told you beauty was something over which you have complete control. We are all subject to the quirks of our genetics and environment. But as individuals, we have a surprising amount of control over how beautiful we are. Beauty isn’t what you have, it’s how you use it.
#1: Ditch Foundation and Start Using Proper Face Wash
Like anyone else, when I was in high school, I had a ridiculous amount of acne. Giant whiteheads populated my cheeks, which I would then unceremoniously pop, turning them into blood blisters and scabs I picked at for weeks on end. Yuck.
I experimented with makeup, but concealer and foundation just switched me from looking pimply and gross to looking totally caked with makeup. Plus, every time I itched my face, wiped my eyes, or did any other normal human thing, my makeup smeared and the whole facade fell away. No doubt the makeup also made my acne worse.
But unlike anyone else, when puberty was over, the acne didn’t go away. Scabby acne followed me through high school, college, and the beginning of my career. Turns out I have a harmless but unappealing skin condition called Rosacea which will cover my face with pus-filled bumps my whole life.
Finally, one day in my early twenties, I did something smart. I walked into Ulta beauty — the kind of expensive makeup place I usually avoid like the plague — and asked the on-staff makeup consultant what I could do about this. She recommended CeraVe Salicylic Cleanser and its matching AM and PM facial lotion. She told me the salicylic acid in the cleanser is critical for cleaning the clogged skin, and the hyaluronic acid and non-comedogenic nature of the facial lotion is critical for ensuring my skin stays hydrated and doesn’t develop post-facial-washing acne.
These products changed my heckin’ life.
I don’t have any acne anymore. Quite the opposite. My skin is so clear and glowy that strangers compliment me on the regular. People assume my clear skin comes from natural mid-twenties beauty, but it doesn’t. It comes out of a bottle I buy at Walgreens.
If you want your skin to look clear and glowy like a model, ditch concealer & foundation and start washing your face with a facial wash formulated for your skin type. If you don’t know what facial wash and lotions are formulated for your skin type, visit a nearby beauty store and ask the makeup consultant on staff. She’ll tell you what to do.
#2: Exercise Regularly
Being raised a businessman, I’m used to thinking about life decisions in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). If I have $50 to spend this month on beauty, will I get more beauty-per-dollar by buying new makeup, new clothes, a hair appointment, or a gym membership? Gym membership every time, hands down.
The beauty industry loves to talk about beauty in terms of fashion, makeup, tans & tanning cream, jewelry, and other expensive superficial products. But far more impressive and beautiful than any external adornment is a muscular and capable body that can perform any task you require.
Think about it. When you go to the gym, you’re usually surrounded by attractive people. But are these people wearing high heels, suits, jewelry, or makeup? Hell no. They are sweating their ass off in polyester shorts. And they look great.
If you have a three-hour morning beauty routine, ditch the routine. Go to the gym instead. Your hair won’t look nearly as coiffed and your makeup will be on the lighter side, but what you will gain — in physical beauty and in your quality of life — will be more than worth it.
#3: Only Buy Clothes You’ll Actually Wear
How many of us have bought cute tops thinking they’ll look great at parties, only for us to never wear the thing, even to parties?
At the end of the day, we all default to wearing the clothes we feel most comfortable in, even the most fashionable of us. We say we want to wear that cute-but-slightly-uncomfortable top, but when date night actually comes and we’re getting ready, we put on the flattering top we’ve worn a thousand times because it’s also easy to wear.
I used to do this all the time. I bought fancy loafers and skinny jeans that look fashionable as heck, but when it was time to go out with friends, I put on my cotton hippie pants and an oversized flannel instead. The skinny jeans looked good, but I didn’t want to wear skinny jeans for six hours, so I never wore them.
There are many clothes in the world that look great on you. But if you never wear them, it doesn’t matter how great they look on you because they’ll never be on you.
Don’t spend big money on formal clothes you barely ever wear. Spend big money on clothes you’ll wear all the time. Make sure these clothes are the clothes that fit well. If you like to wear cotton pants, buy well-fitted and flattering cotton pants. If you like graphic tee shirts, buy fitted high-quality graphic tees. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that when the time comes you will suddenly want to wear something different.
My closet now is full of cotton pants, flannels, and sweatshirts. But instead of oversize cotton pants and men’s flannels that don’t fit, I’ve filled my closet with flannels that fit, pants that are flattering, and sweatshirts with style. Now I look good when I leave the house even if I’m rocking a casual style.
#4: Get a Low Maintenance Haircut
Some haircuts require more maintenance than others. Certain styles need to be washed, blow-dried, and flat-ironed to look good, while others require hours with curling rolls and special toweling techniques. Some hairstyles require special hair products to be applied during or after the shower. Other styles, though, require nearly no maintenance at all.
If you select a hairstyle that requires little maintenance, your hair is more likely to look good on a day-to-day basis because it’s easier to do what it takes for your hair to look good.
I’ve kept my hair in a crew cut for years. I like having short hair for a lot of reasons, but the biggest reason is definitely that it’s super low maintenance. It takes five minutes to wash my hair in the shower and another five minutes to towel it dry. As long as I don’t sleep on my wet hair, it always dries into a respectable style.
I think I look good on a day-to-day basis, but I don’t look fabulous. Would I look fabulous with a more complicated hairstyle? Perhaps on a good day. But I most certainly wouldn’t look fabulous every day. With a complicated hairstyle, my bad days would most certainly be worse. I’d rather effortlessly look OK every day.
#5: Don’t Pick Clothes Because They’re in Style, Pick Clothes Because You like Them
The beauty industry is always trying to set trends. Off-the-shoulder tops are in this year, skinny jeans are on the way out, have you tried the latest nude lipstick? Keeping up with the trends can easily bankrupt someone.
Actually, that’s the goal! The fashion industry has manufactured a 52-week fashion season simply so they can keep pumping new clothes into department stores to siphon money from your wallet.
Attempting to follow all these trends will not only bankrupt you, but they will also make you a copycat. If you manage to successfully replicate what’s in fashion, you’ll just look like every other influencer-wannabe who also replicates the fashions successfully. The only thing you’ll have accomplished is looking like a Kardashian.
Think of the people you know whose looks always catch your eye. Do they copy the latest fashions? Most certainly not. They’re just wearing stuff they like. They’re probably not even paying too much attention to how things “match,” instead just wearing pieces they like together and not worrying so much about what the result looks like.
Adopt this carefree attitude with your own style. Buy clothes because you think they look awesome, not because they’re in fashion or you think wearing them will make you hot. You’ll become one of the people who get compliments, not one of the people who look on enviously.
These aren’t the kind of beauty tips people usually expect. And I’m not the kind of person people expect to write about beauty. But I’ve always been interested in fashion and beauty, and I have my own quirky opinions about the subject based on my own trial and error. I think these methods work a lot better than the canned advice that comes out of beauty magazines trying to sell you more expensive makeup.
Give them a try. See for yourself.