Looking good and feeling healthy are top priorities for many women. In addition to spending hours researching the latest beauty regimens and spending thousands on products that promise everything from turning back the hands of time to making hair thicker and more resilient, women could be engaging in a few habits that may be doing more harm than good. As cosmetic procedures and beauty trends are passed down from generation to generation, some women may be unsure what is best for them and which habits need tweaking.
According to a recent survey from YouBeauty.com, a majority of women say they spend anywhere from $5 to $15 per month on beauty products, not including skincare products. But are those efforts fruitful? Here are some common beauty faux pas that women likely want to avoid.
• Scrubbing skin: Dermatologists say the skin naturally sheds dead cells, so for most people it is unnecessary to use harsh exfoliants or scouring pads to rid the skin of dead cells. In fact, exfoliating the skin too much can cause irritation and excess dryness over time. Try to exfoliate your face and body no more than twice a week, advises the American Board of Dermatology. Even those with oily skin should scale back, as exfoliating too frequently can actually cause oil glands to produce more oil. Use an easy hand when exfoliating to avoid redness.
• Popping pimples: Both women and men are guilty of popping pimples. It can be quite difficult to resist popping a pimple that has sprouted in the middle of your face, but doing so can cause irritation and spread bacteria, and you may end up getting more blemishes as a result. If you cannot resist popping the pimple, cleanse the area first, use a warm cloth or steam to help bring the blemish to a head and use tissue-covered fingers to apply gentle pressure. Then use an antibacterial cleanser to clean the area again.
• Wrapping wet hair in a towel turban: Gathering wet locks together and twisting them into a towel is a recipe for damage and breakage. Wet hair is more delicate than dry hair, and it can stretch or break more easily. Gently squeeze hair dry with the towel and then use a detangling spray to make it easier to comb out knots. Putting hair too tightly in elastics and wearing them for long periods of time can result in thinning of the hair or a condition known as traction alopecia over time.
• Failing to clean makeup tools: All of those brushes, wands and applicators need to be routinely washed with a mild cleanser and allowed to air dry. Otherwise, they become harbingers of bacteria and even mold. You can risk infection if you are using a dirty brush near the eyes or nasal passages. Aim to wash cosmetic tools at least once a week if you wear makeup every day.
• Layering products: You may have a relative beauty arsenal tucked into your medicine cabinet, but while these products may work well on their own, there is no way to know how they will interact. Less is more when using different beauty serums. Experiment with each item separately to gauge skin reaction and if an allergy is present.
• Poor washing habits: Some women fall into bed at night without washing makeup from their faces. While this is alright once in a while, it may lead to irritation or blemishes over time. Surprisingly, too much washing of the face can be just as bad, especially if you are soaping up in the morning as well. You could be stripping your face of helpful oils at the start of the day, when skin needs added protection from the elements. Stick to washing your face at night so it can naturally restore itself while you sleep.
Looking good requires effort, but some beauty habits popular among women might be doing more harm than good.