Brittany Allen
October 05, 2014 6:29 am

Beauty standards and practices forever alter to adapt to the times. In the 1930s, some women believed that a raw beef facial could create healthy skin. In the 1970s, everyone went tanning and left the sunscreen at home. Nowadays, of course, we know that a) slapping meat on one’s face has no scientific relationship to tiny pores and b) sun – sunscreen = melanoma. This of course prompts the question: what are we doing these days that might look ridiculous in another twenty years? How many beauty practices do we all subscribe to that are either nutty, excessive or harmful?

We’re all savvy people, so let’s take a gander at some of today’s beauty myths. Here are ten popular non-truths we can all stop believing in . . . right now. 

1) Permanent hair removal lasts forever!

Alas, laser-lovers: not so. Although allegedly “permanent” hair removal destroys a follicle at its root, the body’s pesky hormones can affect new growth at any given time. It’s best to go into these expensive treatments with the right idea of “permanent” — so look to veterans of the procedure for advice on what you can expect.

2) Tanning beds are way, way safer than the sun’s rays!

According to our beloved WebMD: err, nope. Tanning beds are still chock full of harmful UVA rays, which can cause skin cancers and burns just as well as the better-known UVB rays. Those who burn easily are safest far away from a sun salon, and devotees should ALWAYS use protective goggles and be super-mindful of burning.

3) This exact skin care regimen will work forever, muahahaha!

Sometimes it can seem like our products stop working, when in fact it’s our skin that’s changed. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new moisturizers if you find an old stalwart flagging. As the epidermis is an organ, it’s going to fluctuate as time goes by.

4) Make-up is totally safe because it’s approved by the FDA!

Not to freak you out — but the FDA does not technically need to approve most cosmetic products before they’re sold in stores. There are statutes in place holding make-up companies to a basic standard of safety, but it behooves one to be mindful of harmful ingredients. Tip? The FDA plays host to a Voluntary Cosmetics Registration Program, which cosmetics companies are encouraged to use as a means of declare the ingredients in their products — but still, nobody HAS to do this. If you’re ever worried about a product’s harmfulness, be sure to read the fine print.

5) DIY-wise, lemon juice on your hair in the sun is a fast way to look like Taylor Swift!

Maybe we all figured out how false this tactic was during the doing-the-beauty-experiments-from-Girls’-Life-magazine part of puberty (or, was I the only one?). But to reiterate in case you didn’t know, lemon juice is no sub for dye. Although citrus can lend highlights to fair hair, it doesn’t significantly brighten a brunette. What’s more, the acidity in lemon can strip your hair of oils if the juice is used too frequently or for too long a time, so frequent buyers, beware. However, if we’re talking sleepover games (and modified expectations), follow these steps.

6) It’s totally gross not to wash your hair every day!

First off: we’re all a part of a beautiful rainbow of hair types and attendant textures, and this means some of us have hair that’s oily, and others of us have hair that’s consistently dry. Washing hair too frequently will raft most of us over to the too-dry side. Plenty of dermatologists claim that most of us can go two or three days between washes, using talcum powder or low-grade shampoos for interim touch-ups. And many women of African descent can go longer between washes without adverse affects due to the texture and moisture levels of their curls. On the flip side, some people use conditioner every day and wash once a week. It all boils down to a matter of personal preference. A good rule of thumb is, if your hair feels and smells good, you’re probably A-OK!

7) Shaving makes the hair grow back thicker!

Pure illusion, friends. A hair follicle is always thicker at its base, as opposed to the tip — so when a hacked-off strand just begins to grow back, it will feel more abrasive. But keep calm and carry on; you’re not becoming a werewolf. And while we’re on the subject, that whole “pull one grey out and see six more come to its funeral” thing is also total hair-related BUNK.

8) Cuticle cutting is important for a healthy set of nails!

You don’t have to cut the cute! “Cuticle” just refers to the dead skin on the surface of a nail, while what most salons call a cuticle is the “eponychium” — a.k.a., a part of your finger that’s very much alive. Excessive eponychium cutting, especially at a salon, can lead to serious infection and the build up of scar-like tissue at the base of your nail base. So be careful when you cut!

9) Blackheads are the build-up of dirt!

Even though they can make a buddy feel like an oily teenager, blackheads (which EVERYONE gets!) are not, in fact, due to dirt build-up in your pores. Like most other things on your face, they’re there because of hormones. As a result, you can’t scrub a blackhead away . . . despite what so many lovely commercials suggest. The next time you’re in the straits, try an exfoliating salicyclic acid – and don’t freak out, because you’re not “unclean.”

10) “Natural” ingredients always trump synthetic!

See: number four. Again, not to burst anyone’s beauty bubble, but make-up companies are not legally obliged to hold their products to an ingredient standard — and on this note, many cosmetic groups bandy around the buzzword “natural,” just because it’s a helpful marketing tool. But even if you’ve managed to verify that all those mad-expensive ingredients in your new shampoo are totally, one-hundred-percent organic, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better for your skin. Naturally-sourced products are just as likely to provoke allergic reactions (or, NOT WORK) as lots of synthetic brands. Products are a matter of taste, of course, but be sure to do your homework before you fork out big dough for an inferior product.

(Images via, via, viavia)

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