Women have been beautifying for years and as a result there are plenty of assumptions, tricks and tips that are slightly outdated. These Old Wives Tales have the ability to really stick around though, in part because before our knowledge of products and the skin was supported by science, some of these tales made sense.
You’re in good hands though as we’ve debunked some of the biggest beauty myths around…
Myth one: toothpaste can banish spots
There’s some truth in this, but mainly it’s false. If your breakout is especially oily then a dab of toothpaste can dry-off excess oil pretty quickly, but that’s about all it can do. If you apply it on a broken spot you could actually cause the spot to inflame which could lead to an infection. Instead, look for products containing salicylic acid, which can breakdown a breakout and reduce inflammation. ELF Studio Blemish Control Primer, £7.50, contains salicylic acid, tea tree and a mix of vitamins that works on your breakout while you wear makeup. No need for old wives tales and a face-full of toothpaste here…
Myth two: your hair gets used to your shampoo
Another beauty myth that’s perpetuated because there’s evidence to support it. After all, who hasn’t used a shampoo for the first time and felt they’ve had their best hair yet, only to struggle to replicate the results a few weeks later. This isn’t because your hair is used to the shampoo but because there’s product build up. Reset your hair with a clarifying shampoo, to rid your hair and scalp or any build up, and your shampoo will begin to deliver those first-use results again. If in doubt, use a clarifying shampoo every six weeks.
Myth three: shaving makes hair grow back thicker
It might feel as though your hair is coarser after you shave, but it isn’t. When hair grows out naturally from the follicle it has a tapered tip that feels fine, but when you shave the blunt ‘cut’ at the thickest part of the hair makes it feel stubbly and thick. On a more scientific note, it’s also impossible to change the thickness of your hair – if this actually worked, men with thinning hair would start shaving their heads to boost their barnets – so shave without worry.
Myth four: you can open and close your pores
It’s common parlance in beauty that you can close pores. For years it was meant to be a toner’s role in your regime, but the truth is that there are no muscles around pores so they can’t retract and protect with heat or cold. What heat can do is dislodge any dirt and impurities that might be stuck inside your pores – hello pesky blackheads! Instead try an acid toner containing salicylic acid, as this will help to clean out and empty your pores which will help to prevent them getting any larger.
Myth five: squeaky clean skin
Is squeaky skin a sign it’s clean, or is it a cry for help? This myth goes back years and when we say ‘years’, we mean decades. It’s an outdated notion that originates from a time when our knowledge of the dermis and skin health was nowhere near as advanced as it is now. Tight, taut skin that squeaks is a sign of it having been stripped and needing hydration – stat! If your skin feels ‘squeaky’ after cleansing then change texture – cream over foaming – or treat yourself to a skin spritz that’ll make your skin feel supple, which is exactly how you want it to feel. Elemis Skincare Rehydrating Ginseng Toner, £22.50, is infused with extracts of Korean ginseng, quillaja wood and sweet betty flower to give skin a refreshing boost.
Myth six: plucking a grey hair makes seven grow in its place
A little like shaving your legs, it’s an impossibility to increase hair density and/or volume by shaving or plucking, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t one of the most frequently perpetuated beauty myths. It’s designed, we suspect, to simply stop people from plucking out grey hairs. The grey hair itself is caused when a follicle stops producing pigment, which happens over time and with age. Therefore the simple act of plucking can’t affect it. Pluck if you have to, but Clairol Root Touch-Up, £3.99, is a less painful option.