Get into good habits

The start of the new year is a great time to review your beauty habits and start new routines

Sometimes, although we know we shouldn't, it's tempting to skimp on our beauty routines. But the start of the year is a great time to take stock, so bear with us as we remind you of the benefits of four of the basics. Remember that just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.

Exfoliation: an under-appreciated ally

Probably one of the most beneficial beauty routines, exfoliation is all too often neglected. The same people for whom moisturising is an unmissable daily ritual may never think about cleaning away the dead skin cells, and so allow a build up of grime and impurities. Simply using an exfoliant – whether it's a cream, soap or scrub – will eliminate dead cells from the surface and dirt from pores, as well as helping to improve circulation, leaving your skin brighter and smoother. There are products specifically for the face, but the rest of your body will benefit from exfoliation, too, particularly hard skin areas such as elbows and heels.

Sunscreen: not just for the summer
It's easy enough to remember to apply sunscreen in the summer, but on winter days when the sun breaks through we're all so keen to see it we tend to rush out without thinking about its harmful effects. If there's snow on the ground, the sunlight gets reflected back, and even on cloudy days some 40% of solar radiation can penetrate. If you choose a moisturiser containing sun protection, you won't be caught unaware.

The hairdresser: your barnet's best friend

Sometimes it's hard to find time to spend an afternoon at the salon, but it really is worth making a space in your busy schedule every couple of months if you want your hair to be at its best. A regular trim won't make your hair grow quicker, but it will keep it neat and healthy. And investing in a good cut will mean it takes you less time to style at home.

Cleansing: a daily ritual
Clean skin is the first step to healthy skin, and there's no absolutely excuse for forgetting this basic rule. Don't kid yourself that you don't use make up so you can skip the cleansing: over the course of the day, natural grease and sweat are building up, and the dirt and pollution in the air are creating a thin veneer of impurities. This needs to be removed daily so your skin can breathe again and regenerate its natural protection.

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