For me, the new year typically brings a list of elusive goals that I never end up committing to habit. But this year I’ve managed to stick to my resolutions with the help of a few products and strategies.
1. Switch to Clean Beauty: Start Small!
As the beauty industry is essentially unregulated (cosmetic regulation hasn’t been touched in 80 years), many of the products lining beauty store walls and filling my makeup drawers contain carcinogens and harmful endocrine disruptors. Unfortunately, it’s quite expensive and time-intensive to replace every beauty product in your collection with a clean alternative that works for you. So, I decided to dip my toe into clean beauty one product at a time.
Mascara, as a relatively inexpensive beauty product, is where I started my own makeup-drawer-detox. Conventional mascara is frequently made with coal tar and can even contain microplastics and mercury. Those ingredients shouldn’t be on a face, let alone near the eye area!
The clean Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara delivers magic with a dual-sided brush that builds intensity and separates lashes. The lightweight formula contains bee and carnauba waxes, Shea butter, and keratin. These nourishing agents lift and curl lashes while promoting a healthier and fuller lash line.
Another great (but pricier) option is the Westman Atelier Eye Love You Mascara, which provides a buildable, smooth curl that will stay put all day. It’s even lasted through my late-night study sessions! Natural ingredients such as chicory root extract and sunflower-seed oil add volume and keep each swipe clump-free.
2. Stay Hydrated
Anyone who knows me also knows that I drink less water than a camel. In 2020, I’ve been making a concerted effort to change that habit. Water has so many benefits; not only does water consumption maintain blood pressure, cushion the brain and spinal cord, and prevent kidney damage, but it also boosts skin health and keeps premature wrinkling at bay.
One of the main reasons I used to skip out on hydration was simply because I’d forget to drink in the first place. To mitigate my forgetfulness, I picked up the Ulla Hydration Reminder, a sleek attachment to your water bottle that blinks when you should take a sip. The only hard part is managing not to lose the water bottle itself!
3. Cut Closet Clutter!
Coming back after winter break to my cluttered dorm room was an eyesore. Because I live in a small single with low-ceilings and a lack of closet space, there’s only so much I can do to avoid chaos. The only areas for improvement within my control were shoe and clothing storage.
Before my closet makeover, my shoes were split between the floor of my closet and an accordion shoe rack that sat against a wall. I removed the clutter on my closet floor and maximized vertical space by stacking two shoe cubbies on top of each other.
I also invested in some multi-tiered hangers that allow 10 pairs of pants to hang from one single hanger. There are variations of these hangers for skirts and blouses as well. I transferred a majority of my clothing to these space-saving alternatives and ultimately doubled the amount of free space in my closet and external clothing rack.
4. Play Around with Bold Prints
Although there’s no better time than winter to pull out a black sweater or turtleneck, I’m pushing myself outside my comfort zone by experimenting with funky prints. Lately, I’ve been pairing prints with dark bottoms for an effortlessly elevated outfit. If you’re hesitant to dive into the deep end, a printed belt or pair of shoes can add a subtle touch of spunk to any outfit. Here are some of my favorite print finds:
5. Read More
Here at school, it’s so hard to find time to do small, enriching things for yourself. In the new year, I’m making an effort to read every night before bed. To add a social aspect to my resolution (and keep me accountable), I’ve roped a friend into a “Friday Book Club,” where we convene and discuss what we read that week. We’re currently reading Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women; it’s a 10/10.