Beauty advice is like getting a massage or eating sushi: When it’s good, it’s life-changing, but when it’s bad, your body suffers the consequences. We’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of beauty wisdom ourselves, warranted or not—in fact, it’s one of team Byrdie’s favorite methods of learning about new techniques and products. (Case in point: Thanks to our associate editor Victoria, everyone on our team now owns a dermaroller.) But you know that saying, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet”? Well, it’s true—and it also applies IRL. Whether it’s unsolicited hair “advice” from friends (boy, bye) or a derm’s misguided freckle insight, we’ve suffered our fair share of terrible beauty tips—and we’re sharing them with you ahead. Keep scrolling to see the best and worst beauty advice we’ve ever gotten!
Who: Lindsey Metrus, associate editor
The worst: "My friend told me I needed a 'base tan' in order to get good color, which I soon learned was totally false, and in reality, I was just frying my skin. She also insisted that I use tanning oils with little to no SPF to get color, instead of the SPF 50 I had been using. I still get plenty of color using a high SPF, and I know that I'm not baking my skin and doing serious damage in the process."
The best: "The best advice I ever got was at a recent dermatologist visit. She told me that I needed to simplify my routine and switch to much gentler products that would cover all of my bases: hydration, acne treatment, and anti-aging. No oils, no fancy tools, and no 'Oh, I should try this because it looks cool' products. My skin has never looked better."
Who: Faith Xue, editorial director
The worst: "Shampooing every day—it just doesn't work for me. In fact, I prefer to avoid traditional shampoo altogether and use ones that use oil to attract the oil in your scalp, not harsh detergents. Reverie's Nude Shampoo ($38) is a game changer."
The best: "I can't remember who exactly taught me this—assuming it was one of the many dermatologists I've interviewed for skincare stories—but the best advice I've gotten that's changed my skin is to avoid using cleansers with sulfates in them. They make my oily skin feel squeaky-clean after washing, but they actually dry it out and cause it to produce more oil. I've switched to much gentler cleansers (Beautycounter’s Cream Cleanser, $26, is good, as is Consonant Skincare's Natural Foaming Face Wash, $22), and my skin has never looked better."
Who: Victoria Hoff, associate editor
The worst: "As for the worst advice, it's being told that my hair had to look a certain way to be on-trend or attractive. Embracing my natural texture is one of the best things I've ever done, and honestly, I think it's never looked better. (Plus, my routine is gloriously low-maintenance. Air-drying FTW!)”
The best: "The best beauty advice I've ever received is to force myself to wash my face properly, day and night. I think it must have been an esthetician who told me, but I'm not positive who it was! Only a few years ago, it was lucky if I even used a makeup wipe on occasion. Establishing that habit had such an impact on my complexion; it was the catalyst for making a proper routine. In turn, I approach my beauty routine completely differently now, from the way I do my makeup to ensuring that I eat properly for a good complexion. And I know that this care will bode well for me, in terms of aging!"
Who: Hallie Gould, senior editor
The worst: "The worst advice, I think, was that I needed to use a really thick, heavy conditioner on my fine hair. Curly hair does many times call for that type of product—but only if it's coarse. My hair looked like a greased up mop for too many years of my life. Now I use a much lighter offering with similar moisturizing benefits."
The best: "The best advice I ever received was to throw out my bathroom scale. Honestly, it's a life-changing move. If I see the scale, I obsessively weigh myself and ultimately feel bad. If it's not around, I barely ever think of it. Leave the weigh-ins for the doctor, and go about your happy life. Oh, and to use glycolic acid in my skincare routine. That was a huge turning point in the brightness and evenness of my complexion."
Who: Amanda Montell, associate editor
The worst: "To get rid of my freckles! I've had freckles ever since I was a little kid, and I love them. They're one of the most defining features on my face. But not long ago, a faculty member at a dermatological skincare company took one look at my skin and, without solicitation, advised that I go get rid of my freckles ASAP. She told me that in 10 years, they'd look weathered and ancient, and that I needed to go on a strong prescription Retin-A. I can appreciate the idea that you're never too young to start an anti-aging routine, but there's a difference between caring for your skin and turning it into something you don't even recognize. I'll be keeping these leopard spots, thank you very much!"
The best: "To slather your skin in sunscreen every single day. I don't know what it is about young people and sunscreen, but throughout my teens and early 20s, I was convinced that I was somehow exempt from this thing called sun damage. The number of burns and unprotected sun exposure I endured over the years makes me cringe! Now I realize it's actually kind of a miracle that a little tube of liquid can shield us from the wrath of that massive star up there. I never skimp on SPF anymore, and I wish I never had."
Who: Kimmie Perl, graphic designer
The worst: "I was always told to use Q-tips to clean out my ears when I was younger. Now I have all sorts of problems, and it actually made everything worse. Using them can easily damage your eardrums and push the wax further into your ear. Instead, it's best to use a drop of baby oil and then rinse out in the shower."
The best: "Don't forget to put lotion on your neck and not just on your face! This is the one area where people forget to moisturize. And always take your makeup off before working out."
What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received? What about worst? Tell us below!