It seems some of grandma’s handy beauty tips and old wives’ tales may not be so handy after all. So, in order to separate a little fact from fiction, here are eleven beauty tips that are actually urban legends.
Beauty Myth: If you pluck rogue hairs, three more will grow back in its place
According to trichologists Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips and Sandra Gilman: “No, we cannot add to the number of follicles we have. The only time more than one hair grows from one spot is when, for some undetermined reason, there is a merging of two hair follicles.”
Beauty Myth: Oily skin doesn’t need moisturizing
Oily skin seems hydrated, but that’s actually not the case. You do need to moisturize in order to maintain a healthy complexion. So if you have oily skin, don’t use oil-based moisturizers — just go for water-based or oil-free ones instead.
Beauty Myth: Wash your hair every day
Your hair relies on the natural oils it produces to keep it shiny, healthy, and strong. If you wash your hair excessively you can strip your scalp of these important nutrients and cause dry, brittle, damaged hair.
Beauty Myth: You can skip sunscreen lotion on a cloudy day
It turns out that almost 80 percent of the sun’s rays still reach your skin, even if the it’s hidden behind some clouds. With sunscreen, you can prevent facial discolorations and premature wrinkles that can occur as a result of the sun’s exposure.
Beauty Myth: Olive oil or cocoa butter will stop stretch marks
This is sadly not so. Stretch marks occur when the skin expands quickly (as in pregnancy), breaking the collagen and elastin fibers that normally support it. And according to Elizabeth McBurney, a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine, “Stretch marks are formed below the top layer of skin, where the cocoa butter and olive oil can’t reach.”
Beauty Myth: Brushing hair 100 times a day makes it glossy
This old wives tale is a bit overzealous because brushing your hair too much will essentially weaken the follicles and cause breakage. However, a few strokes will help to distribute the natural oil on your scalp and give off a nice gleam and even promote growth.
Beauty Myth: Drinking water prevents skin dehydration
It’s actually oil that keeps the skin moisturized, not water. In fact, too much water on your skin will dry it out. Drinking water does help your organs to function better and if you drink too little you can look washed-out, but drinking water does not hydrate your skin.
Beauty Myth: Shaving makes your hair grow back coarser, thicker and darker
Uncut hair is widest at the base and then narrows to a point. When you shave, you chop the hair off at the widest part. That’s what you see when it grows in, so it looks and feels coarse and thick. But shaving doesn’t change the texture or thickness of individual hairs.
Beauty Myth: You can shrink your pores
It’s not possible to shrink your pores, but there are ways for you to reduce their appearance. One way to do this is by using egg whites. They temporarily tighten the skin and give the illusion of smaller pores.
Beauty Myth: Crossing your legs gives you varicose veins or spider veins
Sitting down and crossing your legs will not cause varicose veins, but standing up too much may. If you have a job or do an activity that requires you to stand all day, your veins work overtime to pump blood from legs to your heart, which results in pooling of blood and puffy, dark blue veins. Pregnancy is also a factor (carrying a baby adds pressure to your circulatory system).
Beauty Myth: Use Preparation H to fight against puffiness
Some people swear by this, and a lot of anecdotal evidence does suggest that Preparation H hemorrhoid cream can reduce under eye baggage. However, one of the product’s ingredients, a yeast derivative that is said to reduce puffiness, is no longer found in the version that’s available in the States. The other ingredient that is credited with reducing inflammation is phenylephrine, which temporarily constricts blood vessels — and it’s been purported that using this hemorrhoid cream around the eyes can cause dry and inflamed skin.