We can all say with certainty that we are glad 2020 is behind us, but after the stressful year many of us have had, you might feel like you need a vacation. Also, your body and skin might reflect some of the extra added stress you’ve had, and now that the new year begins, you might look in the mirror and think: “I need a vacation.”

Your skin and hair might be looking tired and dull, and this is the perfect time to give them the vacation they need. The most important thing is to start with simple steps that can create good lasting habits.

But before sharing my favorite tips to get your skin healthy and your hair glowing in 2021, I’d like to share why keeping a self-care routine is necessary.

Why Keep a Self-Care Routine?

We’ve all been a little more stressed lately, and stress can really take a toll on our health and wellness. Stress triggers inflammation in the body, which slows down your digestive system. This affects the bacteria in the gut, which can cause flares of acne, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. Stress also dries the skin because of the rush of adrenaline and cortisol.

Keeping a daily routine can help you manage stress and its effect on your overall wellbeing. A self-care routine will help you keep your skin and hair flexible, hydrated, and healthy.

How to Take Good Care of Your Skin

The skin is the largest organ in our body, and it’s important to keep it hydrated and nourished. Having a consistent skincare routine will not only help your skin look great, but it will also help you feel great.

1. Wash your hands before you wash your face.

According to the dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban, bacteria, viruses and allergens transfer from fingertips onto the skin. So before you touch your face, make sure you wash your hands.

2. Don’t wash your face with hot water.

Hot water can irritate the skin and take off the natural oils from your skin, essential for it to remain healthy. Use lukewarm water to remove scrubs and cleansers.

3. Start with the basics.

At the very least, you should have three basic products as part of your skincare routine:

  1. A cleanser geared for your particular type of skin.
  2. A moisturizer with sunscreen (SFP) to protect against harmful UV rays.
  3. A scrub for exfoliating your skin.

4. Use a Cleanser Designed for Your Skin Type

Using a cleanser appropriate for your skin type can make a big difference in the way your skin feels and looks. Make it a routine to cleanse in the morning and at night before going to bed, just like brushing your teeth.

Avoid harsh, ordinary soaps that can strip your skin of its natural oils. Instead, choose gentle cleansers: dermatologist-tested and sulfate-free. For dryer skin, select products with ingredients that help soften and moisturize the skin, like Aloe vera and chamomile. If your skin is oilier, pick ingredients that leave the skin feeling refreshed like juicy orange and grapefruit.

5. Hydrate Your Skin Daily

A daytime moisturizer with a broad-spectrum sunscreen is perfect for daily use. If you feel that you need extra moisture, include a daily serum underneath your daytime moisturizer.

When shopping for a serum, look for products with hemp seed oil that are known for their conditioning properties. Hemp is known as the wonder plant because of the phytonutrients, hydrating, and moisturizing properties it contains.

6. Exfoliate Weekly

Exfoliating your face can reveal healthier, brighter-looking skin in minutes. It is vital to scrub at least once a week because it helps remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface.

When we are young, the body automatically sheds skin even in the shower, but as we age, that process is altered and slows down. Also, it helps to remove the barrier that prevents your skincare products from penetrating and giving you the benefits they offer. Manual exfoliation leaves the skin feeling smoother and looking healthier.

Look for products that are gentle but have powerful exfoliating ingredients like blueberry, pomegranate, and bamboo seeds. These types of ingredients can help achieve soft, smooth skin without harming it.

7. Give Yourself a Clay Mask

Masking can be greatly beneficial when it comes to combating oily skin. It’s not something that you need to do every day, but once a week or so can provide wonderful benefits to your skin.

Bentonite clay is my favorite type of clay because it is known for its absorbing and toning properties. It will remove oil, dirt, and dead skin. This helps to prevent pore-clogging, which ultimately can prevent breakouts. A good clay mask should help diminish the appearance of pore size as well.

8. Drink enough water.

We all know the importance of drinking water for the healthy maintenance of the body, but it’s also vital for the skin’s health. When the skin is adequately hydrated, it looks smooth and has a radiant glow. Get in a routine where you set up your water station in your workplace, so you won’t forget to drink water.

How to Properly Wear a Face Covering Before Heading Outdoors

I get this question a lot given the current times. Here are my top tips on wearing face masks or coverings.

9. Choose the right mask.

Make sure you choose one that fits comfortably and is made of breathable material. Not all fabrics are created equal, and polyester can sometimes trap sweat, cause irritation, and trigger acne. Look for masks made of cotton because they can help absorb sweat and allow the skin to breathe.

Do not reuse your mask; that will help stop the spread of germs and bacteria. Alternate and wash your mask regularly as this will alleviate acne breakouts and skin flare-ups throughout the day.

10. Prepare your skin before putting on your mask.

Just like you prepare your body before putting on your clothes by moisturizing it, before putting your mask on, you should also use a face moisturizer with hydrating properties.

Look for ingredients like chamomile and Aloe vera, which are known for their soothing hydrating properties. Hydration can help prevent irritation. Try and avoid thick and greasy makeup as it can clog pores.

11. Treat your skin after wearing a mask.

After a long day of wearing a mask, be sure to pamper your skin with sulfate-free and hydrating products. Sulfates are strong detergents that alter the lipid structure of the upper epidermis and are irritating.

After removing your mask, make sure to wash your face with a mild cleanser with moisturizing cleansing ingredients, which will help remove dirt and oil from your skin. Avoid using hot water because it can irritate and dehydrate your skin. Use lukewarm water as the skin is already sensitive, and this will help prevent further irritation. Finish the process by applying a moisturizer with antioxidants and essential oils, which can restore and soothe your skin.

Hair Care Tips

Regardless of weather conditions, let’s not forget our hair and scalp! Here are my top tips for taking good care of your hair:

12. Sleep well.

When you are at rest, your body renews itself. A good and restorative night’s sleep is required for the protein synthesis of the hair and the release of enzymes and growth hormones that are necessary for overall hair health. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each day.

13. Keep a balanced, healthy diet.

A healthy diet is the key to the health of your hair. Protein is essential, as your hair is made up of a tough protein called keratin, which helps form the strength of your hair, skin, and nails. You also need to focus on trace minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, and selenium, as well as Vitamins E, D, and C.

These nutrients are important in the production of keratin. Antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies are a great vitamin source, as are healthy fats. Fish is also a great choice because omega-3 fatty acids encourage hair growth.

14. Choose the right shampoo.

Choose a shampoo specifically for your hair type to help strengthen your hair. Select a gentle shampoo and conditioner to help repair hair and bring it back to a strong and healthy state.

Choose products that are sulfate-free and clinically tested to improve hair strength. Try to avoid chemical-based products, as they can be damaging. Look for more gentle ingredients like Aloe vera, shea butter, and plant-derived micro proteins to help soften and strengthen hair.

15. Condition more often.

Even on the days when you might not be shampooing, if your hair is wet, apply some conditioner. This will help lock in much-needed moisture. When water evaporates, unfortunately, it draws moisture out from the inside of the hair shaft, ultimately causing it to dry out and weaken.

Consider a weekly deep conditioning treatment, including DIY ones like this: 4 tbsp. of coconut oil, 2 tbsp. of pure honey warmed, and one small ripe avocado mixed, (if your hair is longer you can add extra coconut oil), and applied to your freshly washed, towel-dried hair. Put on a shower cap and leave for approximately 20 minutes before rinsing. It’s a great alternative to a store-bought conditioning treatment.

2021 is the perfect time to jump into a healthy self-care routine. It only takes minutes, and the more you do it, the easier it will become. You will see that after doing this routine for a couple of weeks, your skin and hair will thank you by revealing a healthy glow.

Laura Chacon-Garbato

Laura Chacon-GarbatoLME — Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Laura Chacon-Garbato is the director of Worldwide Nutrition Product Training and Education at Herbalife and the Outer Nutrition Advisory Board chairwoman. Laura is a licensed esthetician and has received postgraduate education from the International Dermal Institute in the U.S. Her background extends to working with well-known global personal care companies, where she was responsible for the education strategy and execution of business goals. Her go-to Herbalife Nutrition products include French Vanilla Formula 1, Herbal Tea Concentrate Original, Herbalife SKIN® Collagen Beauty Booster, and Herbalife Skin Protective Broad-Spectrum SPF 30.