In a perfect world, we’d live like celebrities and have a glam squad on call 24/7. But for many of us, the reality is that getting ready each morning is a bleary-eyed, caffeine-filled undertaking. Sure, we have our go-to hairstylist and maybe even an esthetician or makeup artist we regularly visit, but as far as everyday beauty and wellness go, we’re on our own. In our never-ending pursuit of a more flawless life, we tapped beauty and health experts for advice on how to look and feel our best at all hours of the day. And as we discovered, not one of their tips require a whole squad of people—just an open mind and a willingness to try something different. From meditating and using essential oils to incorporating the right serum-and-moisturizer combo from Clinique, keep reading for seven out-of-the-box tips that will make all the difference in your daily routine.
“Drinking lemon water right when you wake up is a great way to rehydrate,” explains health coach Kelly LeVeque. “But the benefits of drinking lemon water go beyond just rehydration after sleep: Lemon water delivers 25% of your daily need for vitamin C, and citrus flavonoids are known for increasing insulin sensitivity and circulation while decreasing oxidative stress.” If you need a refresher, insulin sensitivity is key for maintaining a healthy weight, and decreased oxidative stress means improving the appearance of your health and skin.
When a product is designed to work in conjunction with another, you should take advantage and get all the added benefits. And the most powerful support group of all? Serum and moisturizer. You probably don't leave the house without applying moisturizer, but did you know you can boost its benefits by applying a powerful serum like Clinique's Smart Custom Repair Serum ($60) under it? The serum contains skin-resurfacing technology that encourages gentle yet effective exfoliation to reveal smoother, more radiant-looking skin. Clinique's Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Custom-Repair Moisturizer ($54) visibly lifts, evens skin tone, and reduces wrinkles in four weeks. “While you can use these products separately, the serum has a higher level of treatment ingredients, so you would see greater improvement if you added the serum to your regimen,"explains Scott Miselnicky, VP of Makeup Global Product Development for Clinique Laboratories. Bottom line: You'll reach your skin goals faster if you use products that work together.
You’ve probably heard of the bulletproof coffee craze, but have you ever considered adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your cup of joe instead? “It’s a simple way to add flavor to your coffee without adding a flavored creamer or sweetener that’s often full of unrecognizable ingredients and chemicals,” says Amie Valpone, nutritionist and founder and editor in chief of The Healthy Apple. “Coconut oil is made up of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat, but what makes it unique is that half of the saturated fat is a rare type called lauric acid, which is a medium-chain triglyceride. In our bodies, this lauric acid is a superfood for our metabolism, bones, brain, and cells. I have many clients who add coconut oil to their coffee for the boost of energy they get from it, and many of them have found that it has helped their gut health as well, probably because of its antibacterial benefits.”
You might not believe it, but meditation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your body and mind. “Meditation physically changes our brain for the better,” explains Lynne Goldberg, certified meditation coach and co-founder of the OMG. I Can Meditate! app. “The amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for our fight-or-flight reaction) shrinks, and our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for our executive functioning, actually grows. This causes a difference in the way we handle stress," says Lynne Goldberg. "Meditation allows you to be present in the moment, so you can react calmly and think through a situation more rationally. For people on the go, a meditation app can help calm you in moments of stress and anxiety. Even the busiest among us can benefit from a two- or five-minute meditation session each day.”
“There are many times throughout the day where one’s brain is overstimulated,” explains Sue Phillips, fragrance expert and president and CEO of Scenterprises. “With its calming benefits, lavender oil has the ability to eliminate nervous tension throughout the day. In stressful situations, add a few drops to your wrists to help calm and relax you.” Pro tip: Dab lavender oil on your temples, wrists, and feet to induce a deeper, sounder sleep.
The jet-black ingredient is having a major moment in skincare, and the hair industry is following suit. “Regular shampoos remove surface dirt, but activated charcoal will pull out even more dirt, oil, and toxins without stripping away the scalp’s natural oils,” says Scott King, hairstylist and colorist at Martinez-Samuel Salon in Los Angeles. Just as skin can benefit from the impurity magnet that is activated charcoal, your scalp can too. “It can help with dandruff and oily, itchy scalps,” explains King. Pro tip: For a DIY option, open up a capsule of activated charcoal and mix it with a dollop of your regular shampoo.
You’ve heard it time and time again, but late-night exposure to blue light—you know, the glow from your favorite tech devices—can have a negative impact on your sleep. It suppresses the secretion of melatonin (the hormone that naturally makes you feel drowsy), which can lead to a sleepless night. Thankfully Dr. Michael Breus, sleep specialist and author of The Power of When, says you don’t have to settle for tossing and turning: “It’s possible that if you had a red light in the evening, it would increase more melatonin production because you’re typically exposed to blue light at night.” Intrigued? You can buy bulbs that aren’t physically red but can block the blue light out.
What are some of your daily habits for looking and feeling your best? Tell us in the comments below.