Pretty up your daily routine with smart products and techniques for curing bad grooming habits:
Apply top coat to nails
You’ve managed to make it past the smudge zone (phew), but that doesn’t mean you can give yourself a well-manicured high-five. “Bad habits are a result of not enough time,” says Marla Beck, co-founder of the Washington cosmetics emporium Blue Mercury (Bluemercury.com). Rushing your paint job and failing to apply a top coat leaves your digits susceptible to chips and dings. Take an additional five minutes to seal your polish with a long-lasting top coat that will save you time in the long run.
Don’t wash hair daily
Your scalp constantly produces oils that nourish, moisturize and protect hair. Unless your lifestyle requires you to sweat a lot (marathon runner, hot-sauce tester), there’s no need to strip your tresses of a healthy amount of grease daily. “The less product you use, the longer you can go without washing your hair,” Beck says.
The Fix: Ojon’s Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Spray ($24, Sephora.com) keeps hair fresh between showers. Made of oil from a nut found only in Central American rainforests, the stuff is safe for colored locks.
Wash makeup brushes
Using a dirty brush is like applying makeup with the bottom of a shoe. “When you’re putting something on your face, you want to make sure it’s clean,” says D.C. beauty blogger Lara Ramos of Theglossarie.com. “Brushes carry a lot of gross bacteria because they’re sitting in your bathroom or floating around your makeup bag collecting germs.” Maintaining brush cleanliness extends their life and keeps evil, acne-causing organisms away from skin.
The Fix: Beck recommends disinfecting brushes at least every three months. Swirl damp buffers in Sephora’s Purifying Brush Shampoo ($6, Sephora) before letting them dry. You’ll return to clean bristles minus the buildup.
Don’t wash face in morning
Like your hair, your face benefits from a healthy amount of naturally secreted oils. Cleansing skin at the end of the day strips it of environmental factors such as pollution and dirt buildup as well as makeup. But washing it again in the morning is overkill. “So many women start their day with a cleanser, and they don’t need to,” Ramos says. “There’s nothing touching your face at night, so washing it in the morning just dries you out.”
The Fix: Trade harsh cleansers for a warm washcloth or gentle wipes such as Korres’ Milk Proteins Cleansing & Make-up Removing Wipes, which nourish and refresh a sleepy dermis ($12, Sephora).