In the glamorous world of beauty, it’s hard to imagine anything more sinister than a strange rash on our face from an unexpectedly potent skin potion.
It’s all paint and dust, right? As for treatments and gadgets, as long as they’re labeled ‘beauty’, you can indulge with impunity. After all, they are not medical procedures, how harmful can they be?
More damaging than you imagine is the response. We’ve all seen what can happen if we let an unqualified therapist loose with acids, lasers, or injectables.
But regular cosmetics can also be problematic if you use them too enthusiastically or incorrectly. So here are some last-minute New Year’s resolutions for you in the form of beauty habits you’d do well to give up.
The rollers, when held incorrectly, will tear through the meat instead of creating clean puncture points. Stock image used
Overdose of hair strengtheners
The success of Olaplex, the original “bond building” serum capable of repairing hair damage and breakage due to overprocessing of strands with bleaches and dyes, has inspired a wave of hair repairing and restorative products like K18 Repair. Mask, Living Proof Triple Bond Complex and the new L’Oreal Elvive Bond Repair.
Colorist Jodie Shirley, of London’s Nicola Clarke at John Frieda salon, says she’s seen remarkable results with the £65 Virtue Restorative Treatment Masque. But there’s a catch, she says. ‘If you use products that replace lost keratin [hair’s building blocks] more often than advised can tip the scales and make it brittle.
“With so many hair strengthening products on the market now, it’s easy to get too much of a good thing.” So, she advises that if she already uses a weekly serum or keratin mask, make sure all of her other products are “regular.”
microneedling at home
Going through the skin with a microneedle roller similar to the ones used by the professionals seems like a smart, low-cost alternative to get the same results.
But good sir, please don’t. “A professional microneedling course is great if you need it, but needling shouldn’t be part of your weekly or even monthly regimen,” says skin doctor Sophie Shotter, in unison with nearly every skin specialist I know.
Do it regularly and your skin will only suffer damage. Other than that, the rollers, when clamped incorrectly, will tear through the meat instead of creating clean puncture points. Also, we rarely sterilize these rollers, with the risk of infection.
Conversion to facial soap
The good old soap has made a comeback in recent years, thanks to increased hand washing and the fact that it is environmentally friendly in terms of packaging.
Many specialty ‘face washes’ are making the rounds as well, all claiming to be less harsh than regular soaps because they are ‘all natural’.
But be careful. Regular soaps are made from oils and fats and lye (sodium hydroxide), which is a skin-stripping ingredient.
There is very little lye left in the final product, but it is enough to alkalize the soap, which means it is very drying. Any bar with the words sodium or potassium ***-ate in its ingredients, such as “sodium olivate,” is not great as a face wash.
The ‘face washes’ you want are often called ‘face bars’ or ‘syndets’, and they’re made from mild synthetic detergents like disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate or coconut glucoside, just like liquid face washes. The £8 Cerave Hydrating Cleansing Bar is a case in point.
Use lash-enhancing serums year-round
It’s hard to resist the dramatic lengthening effects of lash-enhancing serums that contain prostaglandin analogues, hormone-like substances that have been shown to stimulate eyelash growth.
They work, but you should never wear them all the time and only as directed, says ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dr. Rachna Murthy. If you go overboard, you risk “hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and redness of the eye line and lid,” she says.
‘Additional eyelash growth can also harbor more bacteria. This can [lead] to dry eye disease.
Anything else? ‘With continued use, we also see . . . decreased fat pads in the lower eye socket and sunken eye appearance.’ Charming. Just stick to a short course once a year.
RUN TO IT
I am usually not a fan of makeup brands that branch out into other types of cosmetics. But MAC has done a smart job with its Hyper Real Serumizer (from £28, maccosmetics.co.uk). Presented as the perfect makeup canvas, it offers hydration, hold and silky smoothness, and gets the thumbs up from slap addicts around the world.
With a blemish destroyer complex and antibacterial Neem extract, it quenches and controls oiliness.
A serum with hibiscus vinegar and a ferment that kills acne bacteria.
This serum is high in azelaic acid to combat blackheads and acne marks.
An instant complex of purifying and healing botanicals including zinc, oats and sulfur.
Clear Place-In-Place Stickers with Salicylic Acid, Healing Scar, and Green Tea.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
The Woman King actress and positive news Instagrammer (her account is definitely worth following if you need a boost) rocked the Golden Globes this month dressed in royal blue and the coolest makeup.
The Woman King actress and positive news Instagrammer (her account is definitely worth following if you need a boost) rocked the Golden Globes this month dressed in royal blue and the coolest makeup. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Grip 24hr liner in Intense Black and Turquoise, £5.99 each, framed her eyes, enhanced by L’Oreal Color Riche Intense Volume Matte lipstick in soft peach in Wood Nonchalant, £9.99.
It’s a shame to name wake (speak your truth, bleurgh), because Ilapothecary’s Speak Your Truth Scent Roller (£29, ilapothecary.com) has everything else going for it. A blend of rose, sandalwood, and vanilla, it’s one of those earthy scents that can’t help but calm you down when you inhale it. The idea is to apply it to the pulse points on your body whenever your mind is racing, which, if you’re me, is 24 hours a day. But its nutrient- and vitamin-rich moringa oil base means you can use it as a skin booster, too. This is one to keep on hold while trading the life-sapping end of January.