1. Stop falling asleep with your makeup on.

If you're a bit of a procrastinator and you still haven't really decided what your new year resolution should be, taking off your makeup before bed is a great resolution for every girl to make! It seems super simple, but believe me, it's easier said than done. When you're dragging yourself through your door at 3 a.m .from work or a night on the town, shlepping to the bathroom and washing  your face is the very last thing you want to do. But when you're waking up with last night's eyeliner all over your face looking like you decided to revisit your seventh grade "scene" phase, you'll wish you had heeded my advice. Not only will you wake up feeling fresh and new, your skin will thank you for it (goodbye, breakouts).

2. Get the proper tools.

Do you use your fingers to apply 90% of your makeup? Are the little sponges that come with your eyeshadow palettes the only tools you own? If you answered yes to either of these questions, it might be time to get yourself to the nearest store and invest in some brushes. Makeup is a lot like construction work. You can't expect to get the job done right if you don't have the necessary tools of the trade. Expecting your foundation to look flawless just by using your fingers is like expecting your ... wall to be built without, uh, a hammer, or something? Okay, I don't actually know anything about construction. The point is, without tools, you'll get nowhere in your project. Your face is a beautiful canvas; don't expect to make a Monet by finger painting. 

3. Wash your brushes

Now that you have your tools, don't forget to wash them. If your makeup seems cakey, or if your eyeshadow seems off-color, you probably just need to give your brushes a good scrubbing. You can buy brush cleaner at any store, but if you're ballin' on a budget, you can mix dish soap with extra virgin olive oil as a cleanser, and use warm water to rinse your brushes off. The dish soap cleans and disinfects your brushes while the olive oil conditions and softens them. When rinsing off your homemade brush cleaner, be super gentle to prevent any bristle fallout. With clean brushes, your skin will breakout less and your makeup will look ten times smoother. It's a win-win.

4. Primer is your friend.

If primer isn't something you're using now, invest in it ASAP. I am not even exaggerating when I say it will change your life. Or, at least, change your makeup game. Eyeshadow primer increases the longevity of your eyeshadow, eliminates creasing, and also boosts the color so even your most muted colors really pack a punch. Facial primer keeps your foundation in place and looking top notch all day. Different facial primers can even do different things. Pore-filling primer gives your face an airbrushed, perfect skin finish. Green-tinted primer neutralizes even the rosiest of cheeks. Some primers have SPF, which is a must have in the Sunshine State. The list goes on and on. Back to that construction worker metaphor: Everything just looks wonky without a strong foundation. Primer keeps your foundation flawless, so the rest of your look can be as fierce as possible!

5. Try new things.

It is now 2015. If you're still using the same makeup you've been using since 2006, maybe it's time to branch out and try new things. I promise, your ol' trusty mascara won't get its feelings hurt if you decide to give some other mascara a try. If going to a beauty store and browsing for new products seems too overwhelming, or if you just don't know where to start when it comes to trying new products, consider signing up for monthly beauty box subscriptions. These boxes (such as Ipsy or BirchBox) make sampling new products every month literally as easy as walking to your mailbox. Ask your friends what makeup they can't live without, and then try it for yourself. Browse magazines for products that catch your eye. Look up what products your favorite celebrities use and give them a shot. (I'd be lying if I said I didn't purchase every single lip product Kylie Jenner uses to get her signature pout.) You're not married to the makeup you have; don't commit yourself to outdated products. Try new looks, too. If Taylor Swift's cat-eye is something you've always wanted to try, do it! If you think a classic red lip is right up your alley, then by golly, give it a try! Nothing is stopping you from shaking things up. Let 2015 be all about beauty experimentation. 

6. Invest in high-quality makeup.

Unless you're like, Bill Gates or a part of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, you probably can't afford to spend money on expensive things all the time. I know I can't. But if you get the chance to spend some cash on makeup (leftover holiday money, anyone?), try to invest in a higher quality of makeup. Yeah, spending $50 on an eyeshadow palette seems a little extreme compared to the cheap $10 ones at drugstores, but when you have to use five times as much of the cheaper eyeshadow to get anywhere near the vibrancy of one coat of the expensive one, you'll be forced to buy the cheaper product more often and will spend more money in the long run. Treat yo' self to a better product once in a while. Once you've had a great quality product, going back to a cheap imitation will seem like torture. I promise that you're worth the bit of extra money.

7. Throw away expired products.

Makeup, much like food products, can expire. Unlike food products, makeup is a little tricker in that it's often really hard to tell when it's gone bad. It's not like eggs or milk where, if it's past its expiration date, you'll be able to tell just by looking at it or smelling it. It's like when you haven't seen someone for a long time, you can easily tell if they look different from how you remember. But when you see someone every single day, you don't even realize how different they used to look, because the changes have been so subtle and stretched over a period of time. Your makeup is the friend you see every day. Often times, you get so used to the makeup you've had that you don't even remember how well it worked in the beginning when it was brand new. As a general rule of thumb, if your mascara is hard and clumpy, it's probably dried out and needs to be replaced. If your foundation has gotten dry or changed color, it's probably gone bad. Every product is different and the expiration date should be somewhere on the packaging, but in general:

  • Mascara: Should be replaced every 2-3 months
  • Foundation/Concealer: Should be replaced every 6-12 months
  • Lipstick: Should be replaced every 2 years (1 year for lipgloss)
  • Nail Polish: Should be replaced every 1-2 years
  • Eyeshadow: Should be replaced every 2 years

If you've had an eye infection, replace any and all eye makeup, no matter how long you've had it.

8. Don't be afraid to go bare.

This seems like the easiest change to make, but for a lot of girls, it's the hardest. Many of my friends have commented that when they have to go out without makeup, they feel ashamed or embarrassed of their natural face. They will wear large sunglasses to cover up or keep their eyes downcast to avoid making eye contact with strangers. This year, embrace your natural face. I promise you, you aren't inconveniencing anyone by not wearing makeup. If you wake up and decide that it's just not something you feel like doing, then don't do it! Simple as that. If anyone has a problem with your face when it's not all "fixed" up, they are seriously out of touch with reality. If you're reading this, you're beautiful no matter what you do or do not put on your face. But you're also so much more than just what you look like. Makeup is something to be enjoyed. It's a way to bring out the beauty that you already have, but it's not a requirement for existing. Your skin could use a breather every once in a while, too. Your natural face is never something you should apologize or feel bad for, and anyone who makes you feel bad about not wearing makeup should be left in 2014.