Beauty myths uncovered
In today’s fast-paced beauty industry it can be hard to keep up with all the latest trends. From vampire facials to fish pedicures and well-to-do WAGs turning their placentas into pills – yes REALLY! – who knows what's next!
Over the years women have endured some bizarre procedures all in the name of beauty. Remember the bird poop facial favoured by many an A-lister? Then there was the bull semen hair conditioner, not to mention snail serum face creams and leech therapy. Even Cleopatra is said to have bathed in asses’ milk in the pursuit of eternal youth.
But as these modern day trends come and go there are many less unusual beauty myths which stand the test of time; here we try and uncover the truth behind our top ten.
MYTH 1: Products which use ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ ingredients are better for your skin
TRUTH: These days we are all about ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ ingredients. We associate them with health and wellbeing, whether in our diets or our skincare products, we want to know. However, the term ‘natural’ has become so widely used that its meaning has become loosely regulated. Just because a product boasts to contain ‘natural’ ingredients they may simply be extracts or purified, and therefore not totally organic.
MORAL: Beware over-use of these terms and remember, just because a product contains synthetic ingredients doesn’t mean that it’s bad for your skin.
MYTH 2: Makeup is bad for your skin and causes spots.
TRUTH: We all know that the golden rule after a night out, however late, is to remove your makeup and cleanse thoroughly before collapsing into bed. Providing that you follow this rule there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that your makeup will give you spots.
MORAL: Enjoy your makeup and remember to cleanse thoroughly and consistently, and especially at night to avoid breakouts.
MYTH 3: If you pluck a grey hair, seven more will appear
TRUTH: Hair starts to turn white or grey when the pigmentation cells responsible for colour (melanin) stop being produced. This myth probably originated because when you pluck a grey hair from one follicle the follicle next to it has already begun to produce a grey hair and so on. Greying hair comes to most of us and there is little we can do to slow it down. Nutritional and hormonal factors can affect hair colour, but by and large the predisposition to turn grey is simply a genetic one.
MORAL: Embrace your inner silver fox - but if it’s not your time to shine just yet book an appointment with a great colourist!
MYTH 4: If you leave it long enough your hair will clean itself
TRUTH: It may sound disgusting but there are those who believe that if you don’t wash your hair for long enough it will start to clean itself. We have probably all known someone with that theory of personal hygiene, perhaps the ‘alternative’ student at uni, all tie dye and tofu. Unfortunately for those believers this myth is completely unfounded as neglecting to wash your hair will only result in lack lustre locks and an itchy flaky scalp.
MORAL: Ignore this mantra and cleanse hair regularly to maintain shiny hair and a healthy scalp.
MYTH 5: Steaming your face will open your pores
TRUTH: It’s true that steaming your face is a great way to achieve a clear complexion. However, whilst pores do indeed open and close they don’t have muscles of their own and as such cannot be controlled. The steam acts to loosen dirt inside the pores to give you clearer skin with that enviable healthy glow.
MORAL: Incorporate regular steaming into your skin care routine and try adding a few drops of rosewater, too, it’s gentle and softening to the skin and smells divine!
MYTH 6: Toothpaste is an effective spot treatment
TRUTH: We have probably all tried this one at some time and yes, there is some truth in it. Toothpaste contains ingredients such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, menthol oils and triclosan which can dry out spots and pimples and help to reduce redness and inflammation. However regular use will result in patches of dry skin and irritation.
MORAL: Toothpaste should only ever be used occasionally in an emergency! Avoid the area around the spot and NEVER use toothpaste as a whole face treatment!
MYTH 7: Frowning causes wrinkles
TRUTH: OK, it’s no surprise that yes, frowning does cause wrinkles. However, you might not realise that smiling is actually a greater cause because it uses more muscles, especially around the eyes and mouth.
MORAL: Life’s too short – your wrinkles make you unique, they make you who you are, so surely it’s better to go through life with a smile!
MYTH 8: Shaving makes hair grow back thicker
TRUTH: Razors often get a bad press but the myth that shaving makes hair grow back thicker is totally unfounded. Regrowth only feels thicker because the razor cuts the hair straight across the shaft.
MORAL: Continue shaving – that familiar prickle as the hairs grow back is simply the thickest part of the hair shaft resurfacing.
MYTH 9: Drinking more water can cure dry skin
TRUTH: Low humidity levels draw moisture from your skin, leaving it dry, flaky and vulnerable. Cold weather is one cause but central heating also causes dry air and subsequently dry skin during the winter. However, just because your skin is dry doesn’t necessarily mean that it is crying out for more water. When dryness occurs skin cells become damaged or depleted resulting in an uncomfortable flaky complexion. The best treatment for this is regular use of a suitable moisturiser. Moisturisers work by attracting water to the skin and keeping it there, also providing an effective barrier between our skin and the harsh external environment.
MORAL: Invest in a great moisturiser and use regularly. Don’t stop drinking the water though – 2-3 litres a day will keep you healthy and hydrated all the way.
MYTH 10: Chocolate gives you spots
TRUTH: For many this will be the most disturbing of our myths. Unfortunately, whilst extensive research has been inconclusive in establishing a direct link between spots and the yummy brown stuff, it is thought that rapid fluctuations in our blood sugar levels may affect the function of the body’s sebaceous glands and potentially aggravate acne. So it may be advisable to reduce our intake of refined sugars in favour of low GI index carbs which are absorbed more slowly, thus avoiding inflammatory blood sugar surges.
MORAL: From one chocaholic to an audience of others – take heed of the advice but hey, everything in moderation. Err, pass the Maltesers!