7 rules for a beautiful 2012

Emphasize 3 P’s: prime, protect, primp

Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for kerastase/file
To keep your tresses smooth and healthy buy a good hairbrush, and limit the use of curling and flat irons.

The three P’s of beauty are prime, protect, and primp, but more than a few of us get caught up in the primping and forget the other two. The end result? Not so pretty. So kick off the year with a beauty routine that maintains all three by following these simple rules.

Invest in a quality hairbrush or comb

A good brush can stimulate the scalp while being gentle enough not to tug and break the hair. Nicholas Penna Jr., owner and lead stylist at SalonCapri in Newton and Dedham, advises against using any brushes or combs with metal bristles and opting for a natural bristle brush instead. His recommendation: a legendary Mason Pearson brush. Yes, they cost upward of $100 (and can be found at luxe retailers like Barneys New York at Copley Place), but experts swear by them. Too pricey? Try a boar hair and nylon bristle brush by Sonia Kashuk, just $14.99 at Target. Affordable and lauded by Allure magazine two years in a row.

Continue a strict SPF regimen in the chillier months

“Even though the sun is shining the strongest in the summertime, it doesn’t mean the sun isn’t out for 365 days a year,’’ said Margot Grant Witz, beauty director for Elizabeth Grant, who advises the likes of Kate Hudson and Natalie Portman on their skincare regimens. Witz said skin-damaging UVA rays can shine through even the “thickest of clouds,’’ so wear sunscreen every day - even on the gray and dreary ones.

Don’t clip your cuticles


You know not to bite your nails, but you shouldn’t clip your cuticles, either. Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann warns that snipping skin around the nails can cause more harm than good. “Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and your cuticles are the end of the skin,’’ she said. “They are meant to be there to act as barrier for bacteria.’’ Just be sure to keep them moisturized.

Replace old makeup

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Believe it or not, makeup has an expiration date - even if it doesn’t come printed on the packaging. The ticking clock for most cosmetics starts as soon as they’re opened. says cream shadows should last for a little over a year while mascara and eyeliners have a lifespan of less than three months. And anything that you put on with your hands, like foundation, needs to be tossed on a regular basis. Keep those for six months, tops.

Use eye makeup remover to remove - yep - eye makeup

Tugging on delicate lids and lashes with soap and water can do damage to your skin. Formulas aimed at removing eye makeup (which can contain more concentrated pigments and waterproofing agents than other cosmetics) are more gentle and effective. Use them.

Lessen the effects of irons and styling tools

Penna suggests using your curling or flat iron just once a week. (Eeek!) “Extreme heat on your hair from tools like these causes damage over time and the result is hair that over time becomes weaker, drier, and frizzier,’’ he said. If you swear you can’t tame your tresses without a poker-hot styling tool, prep your hair with a protective product like Pronto Heat Protect spray by Oscar Blandi. It claims to protect hair in temperatures up to 450 degrees. It’s $22 at Sephora.

Clean your makeup brushes

Buildup from products and natural oils from your skin may not only damage makeup brushes, they can lead to bacteria-induced breakouts. Your most-used brushes will greatly benefit from a deep clean once a week. In between cleaning can be as easy as swiping a brush across a makeup remover cloth until bristles sweep clean.

Rachel Raczka can be reached at