How to look better by doing less

Dr. Janet Zand

January 15, 2021

Lately, there’s been a big trend toward minimalism and doing less.

And it’s happening with our beauty routines, too. More and more women are simplifying their routines and going for a faster, more effortless look.

But besides saving us time (and money), this trend can also make you healthier ... and make you look better, too.

For instance, hair and scalp specialists are seeing clients’ hair get healthier and shinier. Dermatologists are reporting fewer cases of skin irritation in the patients they’re seeing. And many women are noticing stronger, healthier nails, too.

So what exactly are these women doing differently?

The beauty in less

Beauty minimalists are simply being more selective about the products they use and the beauty treatments they invest in ... so that they can do less overall.

This trend really spread in 2020 when the pandemic hit.

As you know, hair salons, nail salons and medispas were shut down for weeks. Many people started working from home, too. 

And during that time, hair color grew out, artificial nails came off, and many women started wearing less makeup.

It made a lot of women re-evaluate their beauty routines. How much of it were they doing for themselves ... and how much of it were they doing because society expects them to?

Many decided they’d adopt a more minimalist approach to their routine.

And here’s why that’s been such a good thing for their skin, hair, and nails...

Clearer skin

With the new phenomenon of “maskne” — acne anywhere a mask touches — many women started wearing less makeup.

After all, why bother with a full face of makeup if half your face is covered by a mask?

But less makeup has another benefit: more radiant skin overall. Why? Because anytime you use makeup, you’re covering your skin in nonessential chemicals and ingredients. And that only increases your risk of contact dermatitis, allergies, or even just irritant reactions.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop using makeup. But consider prioritizing skincare over makeup, and using fewer makeup products overall.

Another option is to swap out your cosmetics with those from clean makeup brands like Ilia Beauty, Kosas, and Vapour.

Healthier hair

Low-maintenance hair routines have been trending, along with a return to natural hair texture. (The movement even has its own hashtags, like #QuarantineCurls.)

Part of this is due to limited access to stylists and concerns about going back to salons. But women are even forgoing home blow-outs and at-home hair color, favoring an easier and more natural routine.

And many have been pleased with the results. Without chemical and heat treatments, their hair is stronger, healthier, and shinier. The texture is better, too, making it easier to style and less likely to suffer breakage.

If you don’t want to give up chemical or heat treatments, consider choosing just one. For example, maybe you dye your hair because that’s most important to you, but you skip blowouts and flatirons and go with your natural texture.

And if you’re thinking about growing out the grey, one tip is to get a fashionable and fun haircut. A haircut can make you feel confident about your new look.

Stronger nails

Manicures do more damage than most people realize.

Acrylic nails are obviously bad for your natural nails, thinning them and causing them to split or break more easily. But gel nails can do the same thing during the removal process.

Plus, lots of manicurists still cut cuticles. Trimming or cutting cuticles during a manicure is purely cosmetic and doesn't benefit the nail in any way. But it can cause a lot of harm. When the cuticle skin is removed, your nail is left unprotected from invading microorganisms. And that’s when you’re vulnerable to an infection.

While these infections are usually easy to treat, in severe cases, they can lead to amputation or even death.

But there’s good news: you don’t have to give up manicures!

Instead, just tell the tech you don’t want to have your cuticles cut or trimmed. Ask them to use cuticle cream and a cuticle stick.

And if you want stronger nails, opt for a simple manicure over gel or acrylic nails.

Finally, whether you are doing your own nails or going to a salon, keep your nails trimmed shorter. They’re less likely to split or break.

So try these tips out, and let me know how it goes!

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