As beauty editors, learning new tips and approaches to our routines is probably the best part of our daily gig. But some revelations are definitely more mind-blowing than others, and sometimes we find ourselves questioning everything we thought we knew about anything, from drying our hair to washing our faces. It's a constant reminder that misconceptions and myths pervade every corner of the beauty sphere. We know because we believe them!
With this in mind, we thought we'd clear up some of the most common misguiding advice that just doesn't seem to go away—along with the real truths you should know.
Shaving Hair Makes It Grow Back Thicker
Think about it: When you trim the hair on your head, does it immediately take on a new texture and hue? Yeah… no. Shaving doesn't alter the hair at all, aside from cutting it—it just might appear dark as it grows in, since the ends are blunt from the razor rather than naturally tapered. (It's yet another reason why you shouldn't be afraid of dermaplaning.)
White Marks on Nails Is Due to Lack of Calcium
We only just learned that those white marks we sometimes find on our nails have nothing to do with our calcium intake—go figure. (The culprit is usually just mild trauma to the nail, or nail polish overuse.)
Regular Trims Will Make Your Hair Grow Faster
Not so, but getting rid of damaged ends does give your hair a healthier, thicker appearance.
All-Natural Ingredients Are Good For Your Skin
Going all-natural can be wonderful for your skin, but that doesn't mean that all-natural ingredients inherently benefit your complexion—especially if you have any allergies or sensitivities. If you're taking a DIY approach, do your research before putting any ingredients on your face.
Toothpaste Is a Great Pimple Remedy
Rule of thumb: Don't put any products on your face that aren't specifically formulated to be there. Toothpaste contains harsh, abrasive additives like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, which are very effective for cleaning your teeth but have no business being on your skin. Still hankering for a home remedy? We swear by pure clay powder, like Aztec's Indian Healing Clay ($8), to dry up zits in mere hours.
Drying Your Hair With a T-Shirt Is Good For Your Hair
It's no better than your terry towel, because either way, cotton roughs up your cuticle and doesn't dry your strands effectively, leaving you prone to frizz and damage. A microfiber towel is the real game changer.
Plucking Gray Hair Will Make More Grow
Ah, the old wives' tale that just won't die. When you tweeze a hair, you're only affecting the follicle that contained it—not the ones surrounding it. Sure, a gray hair might grow back to replace the one you just removed, but that's it.
You Can Repair Split Ends
It's a lie so believable that there's a whole market of products that claim to do just that. You might be able to nourish and improve the appearance of damaged ends with a hair mask or serum, but reconstructing them? Nope.
Don't Rinse and Repeat
Stretching out days between shampoos might be better for your hair, but when you are washing your hair, it's good to be thorough. Byrdie editor Faith saw her strands completely transform after heeding advice from Ramirez Tran's Sal Salcedo.
Eating Carbs (or Fats) Will Make You Gain Weight
Eating the right carbs and fats can help with just the opposite, as a matter of fact. Stock up on MCT oil ($20), an easily digestible, energy-boosting fat that fitness experts can't stop raving about.
You Should Be Exfoliating Daily
Try once (maybe twice) a week. Scrubbing more frequently can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to that too-tight feeling, dryness, oil overload, and even lasting skin damage. If your face wash is a scrub, swap it out for a cream or foam cleanser, and consider chemical exfoliation instead of an abrasive formula.
Foundation Makes It Hard for Your Skin to Breathe
Skin guru Renée Rouleau actually advises wearing foundation daily. Yes, you read that right: Skin doesn't actually "breathe," and foundation provides a barrier against environmental pollutants, dirt, and more. The trick is just choosing a formula that nourishes your skin—or better yet, mixing your foundation with a moisturizer or oil.
You Can Get Rid of Cellulite
Cellulite is just a fact of life for 98% of the female population—and it's there to stay. That being said, you can diminish its appearance with proper diet, exercise, and topical formulas. Or, try this DIY trick we swear by: Mix coffee grounds with coconut oil to form a scrub, and massage it onto the area in question. Caffeine temporarily tones up the skin, so this seriously works in a pinch.
Preparation H Can De-Puff Eyes
While it seems effective in the short-run, the intense ingredients in this hemorrhoid formula can actually cause the skin to thin out—leading to saggier skin, and, in turn, worse under-eye bags. Stick with other methods instead.
Always Aim for Squeaky-Clean Skin
One of the most common skincare mistakes dermatologists and estheticians always name is going overboard with cleansing, which can dry out the skin, send oil production into overdrive to compensate, lead to more breakouts, and just generally give your skin a dull appearance. Also make sure you're picking the right cleanser.
You Can Remove All Your Blackheads
Chances are you might not be able to get rid of every last one, and please don't try by scrubbing your skin raw. Just try to get rid of what you can with this five-step removal process.
Face Scrubs Help Acne
Trying to scrub away your zits can irritate and worsen existing blemishes, and it's also a really easy way to spread bacteria around your face. Stick with gentle exfoliation one to two times a week.
Your Pores Expand and Shrink
We've been told time and again that steam helps "open" our pores and cold water "seals" them. Not quite—in this case, temperature makes the skin swell and contract, possibly causing your pores to look different in appearance, but the pores themselves don't change. You can, however, make your pores look smaller.