Biting nails, not washing make-up brushes often enough, popping pimples… when it comes to bad beauty habits, we all have our vices. But when we read a new study that insists eye make-up should be thrown out every three months (whaaat?), we knew it was time to call in the big guns. We threw a bunch of common make-up malpractices at dermatologist Dr Madhuri Agarwal, and got her to sift the facts from the myths.
Using old make-up
While there are multiple rumours doing the rounds that make-up should be thrown out after 3 – 6 months of use, your favourite M.A.C palette is good for at least 12. Most reputed brands build their products in a way that they can be used for at least one year after they’ve been opened.
How bad though? Not all that serious. Breathe easy.
Okay, so what do I do? Ensure that you're storing your products correctly without exposing them to air and humidity, and you're golden.
Sleeping with your make-up on
The next time you're out of foundation, just head to your pillow because it’s definitely hiding enough make-up residue to fill up a 30ml bottle. Along with the skin cells you’ve shed and some bacteria that would just love to make friends with you.
How bad though? Borderline worrisome. Make a habit to changing your pillowcase every fortnightly (at least) and we won’t snitch.
Okay, so what do I do? Due to the force exerted on your facial tissue when you bury your face in your pillow, contamination is pushed further in. The only way to be sure is to take off every last inch of make-up before hitting the sack.
Using make-up brushes without washing them
Your innocuous brushes are harbouring a colony of bacteria, large enough to start demanding sovereign rights of their own. And they leave behind fun goodies, like skin irritation, fungal infection and breakouts. If you can’t wash your brushes after every use, try sticking to a bi-monthly cleanse. At the very least.
How bad though? Can turn serious; prevention > cure, right?
Okay, so what do I do? The M.A.C Brush Cleanser helps disinfect and cleanse your brushes quickly. In a pinch, you can even clear out the make-up residue from the bristles with baby shampoo followed by a thorough sun-drying.
Sharing any form of make-up isn’t advisable, more so with kajal as it is directly imbibes the fluids in the eye leaving the user prone to eye infection.
How bad though? Not recommended. Don’t smack your sister down if she reaches for your make-up kit though. A couple of times in an emergency never harmed anybody.
Okay, so what do I do? Ensure that you are buying new products regularly, rather than holding on to the three year old eyeliner that you dug out from the bottom of your vanity case.
Blow-drying / ironing hair daily
Subjecting your hair to intense heat dries out the essential oils and leaves it more susceptible to hair damage. While you can’t place the blame for hair loss entirely on your blowdryer’s doorstep, but you are stripping your locks of nourishment, so go easy.
How bad though? Could turn nasty. Don’t make it a permanent fixture in your daily routine.
Okay, so what do I do? If you absolutely must blow-dry / iron your hair daily, trying bringing it down to five times a week and give your locks some downtime for two days. The Bblunt Climate Control Anti Frizz Leave-In Cream should give your hair some armour against potential heat damage.
Stepping out without SPF
Better not let your mother hear you admitting to this. Given the rate at which the ozone layer is depleting, you could be looking at pigmentation, and that’s the very least of your problems. Factor in the toxic pollution levels in urban areas, and you’ll be slathering on sunblock indoors as well.
How bad though? Habitual offenders can get acquainted with early signs of ageing, increased wrinkles and skin tissue damage.
Okay, so what do I do? Keep your sunblock right by your keychain at the door (or your mobile phone charger) to ensure you never leave without it. When shopping for one, don’t pick anything with less than SPF 30.
Peeling off gel nail polish
What do white spots, brittle nails and flaky cuticles have in common? They’ll all appear unnanounced after you’ve peeled off your gel manicure. Limit usage of gel polishes if you absolutely can’t resist the allure of peeling your nail colour off.
How bad though? Nope, you’re not off the hook. Combine this with a habit of picking nails and you could be looking at some serious time in the doghouse.
Okay, so what do I do? Gently buff your nails and take a time-out from nail colours altogether. Set reminders on your phone and slather on the Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream at regular intervals.
Fun fact: biting or picking your cuticles can cause ingrowth, fungal infection and related skin damage.
How bad though? Nuh-uh, no one’s approving of this one.
Okay, so what do I do? The Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream will give your overwrought cuticles some TLC.
“Criminally bad,” declares Dr. Agarwal even before I have completed the sentence. Not only does it push the infection deeper into the skin, but it can also cause permanent scarring. Shudder.
How bad though? Serious. Dead serious.
Okay, so what do I do? Most over-the-counter products are good at dealing with acne and cleansing out bacteria, and they can be found at your local drugstore. So you don’t have any excuse, really. Find one that works for your skin type and get in a committed relationship with it.