If you are new to the world of makeup, hairstyling and overall beauty, you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of girls out there feeling just as unsure and confused as you are (some of them are just a little better at hiding that confusion than others). As you begin to make the transition from childhood to adulthood, it is totally normal to want to take better care of yourself, and to look your best. Still, it’s easy to feel intimidated by all those beauty ads. It seems like everywhere you go, suddenly everyone is trying to sell you makeup and hair products. Is this all really necessary? How do you use it anyway? What if it doesn’t end up looking like the commercial said it would?
I am here to tell you to take a deep breath, and try to relax. If you are feeling blindsided by the avalanche of beauty advertisements, rest assured that everyone is, no matter how old they are. Let’s try to take the difficulty out of this equation, and just look at the easy, natural and fun basics of feminine beauty. There is no need to buy expensive products, when a few essentials can work wonders.
If you are in your teens or tweens, you may have gotten a rude awakening in the form of breakouts. Welcome to the world of teenaged skin care! While these are a normal part of adolescence, sometimes they can be painful and recurrent. If you feel like you are having an unusually large number of breakouts, you should ask to see your doctor. They can help!
Now, I know it’s tempting to rush out the door to the local drug store, and spend $40 on some harsh, chemical product you saw on TV that promised to clear up your breakouts. Take it from me – someone who dealt with frequent breakouts well into my early 20s – the stuff in stores is not nearly as good as the stuff your doctor can prescribe. In fact, a lot of those over the counter products can actually make matters worse!
Sometimes, there is an underlying cause to breakouts other than simply “you’re a teenager”. The only one who will be able to determine that is a doctor, so it is at least worth checking in. They may give you a topical wash to use, or even prescribe you a medication. Either way, you are going to get more help there than in the store.
Are you suddenly feeling incredibly sleepy in class? Do you dread the thought of running laps in gym class, because you are just so tired? This is normal too. Believe it or not, your sleep patterns are undergoing a huge change right now. While you don’t need as much sleep as you did when you were a young child, you still need more than you will as an adult. Understanding your sleep cycle, and making sure you get enough rest is actually a huge part of any beauty routine.
You have heard the term “beauty sleep”, and until now, you may not have had any idea what that meant. Basically, the more you sleep, the more rested and refreshed you are. No dark circles under the eyes, no sagging posture, and more energy to engage in healthy activities like sports.
Also, the more sleep you get, the less you will crave sugary junk food. It’s true! When you are not well rested, your brain is searching around for an energy source, and quick. The fastest way to get a much needed shot of energy to the brain is sugar. Next thing you know, you’ve eaten two bags of candy. Now, if you have weight concerns, or even just concerns about cavities, you can help improve both situations by making sure you get enough sleep. It may not be much fin at first, but set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Don’t being your phone into the bedroom, and leave all other distractions out too. Let yourself fall asleep naturally, and your appearance will improve.
Did you ever see one of those experiments where they check for bacteria on surfaces, and you find out that some of the things you use everyday are actually totally gross? Count your makeup gear among those things. That little powder puff that came with your compact? It needs to be washed regularly with soap and water. Otherwise the oils from your skin, along with the nice dark environment in your purse can lead to a veritable jungle of bacteria growing in there.
Same goes for some other everyday gear. That backpack you wear every day could probably use a trip through the wash – especially if you have been walking to school in June, and getting sweaty on the way. Your phone needs to be wiped down with an antibacterial cloth every few days, and you should do everything you can to avoid ever putting your purse or backpack down on the floor of a public bathroom.
When bacteria is allowed to grow on these things that come in contact with your skin every day, it can lead to breakouts, rashes or other issues. You can avoid these just by keeping your gear clean, and knowing when to toss old stuff.
Sunlight is incredibly good for you. It gives you that much needed vitamin D, which is important for everything from proper growth to a happy mood. Still, going overboard in the sun is dangerous, so it is important to be smart about it. Wear sunscreen every time you go out, and yes, that means in the winter too.
Here is the good news: There are plenty of moisturizers, foundations and lip balms which already have sunscreen in them, allowing you to protect your skin, without having to deal with greasy sunblock all over your face. Protecting your skin now is going to pay off over and over again as you get older. I know you are probably not thinking in terms of premature wrinkles and aging now, but it is possible to begin seeing those things as early as your 20s.
Looking for a healthy glow? There are dozens of sunless tanning products available over the counter which give you that summery look without the skin damage. Avoid tanning beds, or “laying out” without any protection. The light is good, the burn is not.
Last, but not least, we need to talk about inner beauty. You are going through an exciting and scary time in your life right now. You have more responsibility than ever, while at the same time, you have more of a need to express yourself individually than ever. This is a good thing! One thing to always remember however, is that everyone around you is going through these feelings too.
People you once considered best friends might have changed, the things you used to love might not be so exciting anymore. With all these differences, it is so easy to sometimes judge others, or to let meanness or spite take over. Rising above that makes you a rare and beautiful person. Practice kindness and understanding towards others, and be an example of how you want them to treat you. 20 years from now, nobody will remember the shade of lipstick you wore, but they will always remember that you were a good and honest friend.