11 Bad Beauty Habits to Break ASAP

Expert tips to help you quit.

Everyone has a bad habit. Whether it’s leaving wet towels on the bed or sleeping with a full face of makeup, we’re all guilty of something because…life. That said, some quirks are worse than others, particularly when it comes to your beauty routine. Your hair, makeup, and nail missteps may seem harmless now, but eventually they could require even more effort to repair.

1. Ditch the drinking straw.


Years from now, you’ll be grateful you stopped. “The continued pursing of the lips leads to the formation of lip lines, sometimes referred to as smoker’s lines,” says David E. Bank, M.D., FAAD,  Director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. The only way to prevent the lines is to stop the repetitive action that causes them. Otherwise, you might have to consider hyaluronic acid fillers to remedy lines around the lips. Not the end of the world, but why take a needle to the mouth if you don’t have to?

2. Don’t use dull razor blades.

We’re all guilty of hanging onto that blade too long, but Dr. Whitney Bowe, board-certified dermatologist, says this habit could cause serious issues. “Keep your razor blade sharp by storing it in a dry place after use, which can prevent rusty blades and decrease your chance of a bacterial or fungal infection,” she says. “It’s also important to rinse your razor out thoroughly. If you don’t, soap and shaving cream will dry in between the blades, making them dull.”

3. Throw out old hair products after a year.

Stockpiling hair products in your shower? It’s time to purge that stash. “Don’t keep any shampoos and conditioners more than a year,” recommends Kattia Solano, owner of Butterfly Studio Salon. “The formula can break down, rendering the product less effective.” Solano suggests pairing cleansers down to two. “I like to keep two shampoos in the shower: a cleansing version like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo ($57, Birchbox.com,) and another for specific needs, like color preservation, moisture, or volumizing.”

4. Change your pillowcase often.


Even if you can’t see or smell the nastiness that’s gathering on your pillowcase, just trust us: it’s affecting your skin. “Excess dirt, oil, and makeup accumulate on your pillowcase, particularly if you sleep with a dirty face. This accumulation can not only cause skin irritation the next day, but also blocked pores and breakouts,” explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at The Mount Sinai Hospital. 

You want to change your pillowcase often, and make sure to wash your face before bed. If you’re just too tired to cleanse at night, cheat. “Keep a container of cleansing towelettes by your bedside.  While they may not be quite as effective as traditional cleansers, they will do the job if you are too lazy to walk back to the bathroom.” Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Daily Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths ($8.94, Walmart.com) are cost-effective and will take care of it.

5. Quit picking your cuticles.

This is a particular sore spot for Jin Soon Choi, celebrity manicurist and creator of JINsoon Nail Products. “A surprising number of people bite their nails and pick at their cuticles,” she says. “Moisturizing your nails and cuticles prevents hangnails and the temptation to bite them.” If regular manicures or applying vinegar around the nail bed isn’t enough to prevent chewing, Choi suggests applying Tiger Balm Ultra Sports Rub ($11.95, Drugstore.com) to nails and cuticles. “It has a very strong smell, yet it moisturizes thoroughly.”

6. Stop wearing tons of makeup.

We have to agree with Sonia Kashuk, makeup artist and founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty on this one. “I’m hoping overdone makeup stays in 2015. The concept of an overly contoured face, intensely highlighted skin, and perfectly drawn-on eyebrows has put the focus on completely changing your face, essentially putting on a mask of makeup to feel beautiful.” she says. “It directly contradicts empowering women. As a beauty brand and a makeup artist, I always encourage women to love themselves, embrace their natural beauty, and feel comfortable in their own skin.” Kashuk feels 2016 will still have a strong focus on makeup, but with a lighter touch. “(It’s about) what you can achieve with a few powerful products to accentuate your own natural beauty, rather than mask it.”

7. Remove all your makeup before you work out.

Sweaty makeup is never as cute as you want it to be. “From an aesthetic standpoint—unless you’re wearing waterproof—it might be dripping down your face. From a dermatological standpoint, makeup and sweat are never a good combination,” explains Dendy Engelman, M.D., Director of Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Medicine at Metropolitan Hospital, and dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery. “When you’re hot, the body naturally cools by sweating and sweat escapes through your pores. If you have a layer of makeup over those pores, it’s causing a blockage. So now there’s sweat, bacteria, and makeup trapped in a pore with nowhere to go, which can lead to pimples. Dr. Engleman recommends an antioxidant serum like Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum ($62, Sephora.com) applied to a clean face prior to sweating for maximum benefit.

8. Stop playing with your hair.

PERMISSION TO PLUG INA blast of blow-dryer heat opens hair cuticles, helping treatments below to penetrate.

Although cute in the first grade, according to Janelle Chaplin, Global Creative Director, Original & Mineral, you’re wrecking things as an adult. “It creates stress on your locks and adds to oil build up.” Chaplin recommends keeping a small smoothing brush along with a detangler like O&M Mini Know Knott ($11, Originalmineral.com) in your purse. “No twisting, touching, playing, or using your dirty mitts on your locks!”

9. Give up tanning.

Tanning is never OK. “Stop thinking that a tan is ‘healthy’ as long as you don’t burn,” warns Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Founder & Director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at The George Washington Medical Center. A tan is a sign the skin has already been damaged. Protect your skin from premature aging and skin cancer by regularly using sunscreen and more importantly cover with a hat and clothing. It makes a big difference!” Try gentle sunscreens like Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 ($38, Sephora.com).

10. Don’t skip the serums.

What’s the most common skincare mistake? Forgetting to bolster your sunscreen with antioxidants. “The most preventable cause of aging is sun damage from daily outdoor exposure, but common SPF creams prevent only about 50-60% of environmental damage,” explains Dr. Jennifer Myers, board-certified dermatologist of Myers Dermatology. “Environmental exposure to UV rays and pollutants lead to wrinkles, dull texture, brown spots, and even skin cancer.  The most effective anti-aging secret is the use of an antioxidant paired with sunscreen every single day. These serums reverse free radical damage and give an added layer of protection.”  Dr. Meyers recommends SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic ($162, Skinceuticals.com) used in combination with a zinc and titanium-based sunscreen with SPF 50 for maximum benefit.

11. Stop over-processing your hair.

Bleach paired with heat styling equals the mother of all recipes for bad hair. So beautiful, but so bad for you. “Dry, damaged, and brittle hair is typically the result of too many chemical services (color, perms, relaxers, straighteners, extensions); repeated or inappropriate use of heated styling tools; and environmental stressors like the sun, hot water, and chlorine,” says David Adams hair colorist for Aveda. “Over-processing breaks down the protein (keratin) in the hair, which causes breakage, split ends, and dull look.” Plus it destroys the cuticle, causing dryness and frizz. If this describes your hair, Adams suggests a combination of regular salon treatments and proper home care like Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment ($36, Aveda.com) paired with proper lessons for blow drying and heat styling.


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