Refresh and Renew

At last, the sun is beckoning! (Actually, as I type this, it's snowing. But I'm thinking positive - a matter of survival at this point. I just took my 1-year-old to the zoo on a 33-degree day, simply because one more game of chase around our seemingly shrinking house wasn't going to cut it for any of us. But I digress)

The impending warmth offers a good excuse to review our skin routines, right? The earth is renewing itself, and so should we. (Read: I'll use any excuse possible to play makeover.)

First, we all know the secrets to good skin, whether or not we want to accept them: Ample sleep, lots of water and no sun.

Ample sleep may be an impossibility for anyone reading this publication (and for the record, if anyone is getting it, the rest of us don't want to hear about it, thank you).

But the other two are doable.

My favorite skin trick (and healthful living trick, for that matter) is to chug a giant bottle of water first thing every morning. Simple concept, astounding results. And once you get the hang of hydration, keep refilling the bottle all day.

As for the sun, spending time in it is actually OK, but SPF is a must. My family ribs me endlessly for my devotion to sunscreen. But it's so important (particularly since I spent far too much time in my teen years basking in the sun, covered in baby oil).

Beyond those basics, removing makeup and washing nightly should be a priority. If I skip a night - even just one - I pay a price. My favorite cleanser is the simple-and-crisp Thymes Essentials Face Wash ($20); I also like the dermatologist favorite Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($9).

While I typically moisturize twice a day during the winter months (morning and night), I scale it back to mornings only as the weather warms. I worship the light-but-effective Thymes Essentials Face Lotion with SPF 20 ($24).

Next up - exfoliate. You don't need to do it often, but you should do it occasionally, maybe once a week. You can spend a few bucks or a few hundred bucks on facial scrubs; or, you can make your own with brown sugar and olive oil. Just get the bad stuff off (and do it before bed, giving your skin all night to breathe).

Once your skin is in tip-top shape (or getting there), think about your brows. Even if you don't pay to have them professionally tamed every other week, it's worth visiting a pro to have them properly shaped; then, you can pluck accordingly. I recommend Sunny Desai, who performs threading at the Charles Penzone Grand Salon in Dublin. She's a goddess.

Finally, few of us - no matter how pretty our skin - go without makeup. Even if you think you're in a good routine, you may want to consider enlisting help from a pro. (It's kind of like a bra fitting - can't hurt.) Mukha (in the Short North) and Skin Perfect (in Worthington) both have stellar professionals who can sit down with you, apply your makeup, and tell you what colors and looks work best on you.

Last but not least, smile.

And get some sleep (or at least close your eyes and daydream of sunshine).

Kristy Eckert is the editor of Capital Style, a bimonthly women's magazine published by The Dispatch Printing Company. To sign up for her weekly e-newsletter, visit Capital-Style.com