One thing the internet has allowed is for good ideas to be shared more readily. So-called “life hacks” have been a staple of the online world for years now, so it’s no surprise that the skin care and beauty world has its own share of hacks. There’s a good chance you have even tried some of these tips; who doesn’t want their beauty regime to be that little bit easier to do?
However, there’s a potential problem to all of these wonderful “hacks” that claim to make life easier– they’re unreliable. Some hacks might outright not work; others might work too well and potentially cause damage; while others will have unexpected consequences.
Some of the most often-mentioned “hacks” are actually problematic, for a variety of reasons. Below, let’s investigate the tricks that are meant to save your time, money and effort while still delivering big results for your beauty and skin care– and, as you’ll soon learn, aren’t quite all that they’re cracked up to be.
“Use a hairdryer to heat your eyelash curler prior to use!”
You’ve almost certainly heard of this one; you might have even tried it. It works; the curl that heated eyelash curlers produce is more defined, and it will last longer. Is this the secret to wonderful, fluttering eyelashes without having to resort to falsies?
Not quite. You’re probably familiar with the need to use a heat protecting spray when you’re using heat on your hair; the necessity of these sprays is covered in pretty much every single hair tutorial and guide online. These sprays genuinely do make a difference, helping to protect your hair from heat damage.
… So why exactly would you use heat directly onto your eyelashes? Eyelashes are just hair that’s on a different part of your face; they’re just as vulnerable to drying and crumbling due to excessive heat styling. While this hack might make your eyelashes look great for awhile, eventually, you will begin to see signs of wear and tear on the lashes.
Oh, and if you’re thinking you can use this hack but just apply a heat protection spray beforehand: don’t. There’s two reasons for this:
- Heat protection sprays will almost invariably come with a warning to keep away from your eyes.
- Heat protection sprays are too thick for delicate eyelashes.
If you apply a thin layer of mascara prior to using an eyelash curler, you will get much the same effect as you would with a heated curler– and your lashes won’t be paying the price for it.
“Use glue as a base coat so you can remove glitter nail polish easily!”
This “hack” is so commonly stated that it’s largely been accepted into beauty law; if you’re going to wear glitter nail varnish (which is infamously difficult to remove), then you should use a light layer of glue under the polish. You can then peel the glue free, taking the polish with it, and save your nails the harshness of acetone treatments and repeated rubbing.
Here’s the thing: this works. It really does; big name brands like OPI have even released their own form of “glue” base coats for this exact purpose. There is absolutely no denying that a glue base coat will allow you to peel your glitter polish off at the drop of a hat.
So where’s the downside?
It’s simple, really: that glue that so readily comes free when you want to remove your polish is going to come free within a few hours. So you might have wonderful glittery nails, but they won’t last, especially if you place your hands in water and weaken the bond between the glue and your nail. The entire idea behind this hack is that it helps you to remove nail polish quickly and effectively, so it’s not really a surprise that the treatment will come loose far sooner than you might expected– that’s the entire point of the “hack”. If you have issues with nail polish chipping or wearing away too quickly, then this “hack” is going to make the problem much, much worse.
So if you only need to wear your glitter polish for a few hours, and can avoid water in that time, then go ahead and try this hack– otherwise, there’s no easy option for removing glitter polish. To speed things up, you could try the foil trick; just remember to moisturize your nails and cuticles when complete.
“Use white eyeliner over your eyelid, then apply eyeshadow– it makes your eyeshadow color pop more!”
This is a trick often suggested for eyeshadows that aren’t particularly pigmented; it’s said to help the color appear stronger.
Firstly: it might not work. If the pigmentation with your eyeshadow is a problem, then applying it over a bright surface isn’t going to help matters.
Secondly: eyeliner isn’t meant to be used like this. It’s too thick; it will cake, and emphasize any wrinkles you have on your eyelids. There’s also a risk of it flaking. That’s not a good look.
Instead, invest in a proper eyeshadow primer– they’re not expensive, and will help your eyeshadow stand out without the risk associated with the white eyeliner trick.
“Reuse mascara brushes; it’s often the brush, not the formula, that does all the work!”
There’s some truth to this; the brush is often the most innovative part of your mascara.
However, think this one through. It’s recommended that you throw a mascara away after three months of use. This is because the constant exposure to air can cause bacteria to grow inside the tube– and, by extension, on the brush. If you don’t do this, then you risk eye conditions and infections such as conjunctivitis.
You may think that cleaning the brush means you will get rid of any bacteria build up, but the simple fact is: you can’t be sure. Bacteria are, annoyingly, microscopic; there might be a few lingering, and you’ll transfer them to your eye on your first use. Dispose of brushes after three months if you believe your eye health to be a priority.
“A good moisturizer is all you need for anti-aging!”
Moisturizer is often treated as the great bastion of anti-aging treatments. It’s the product that many brands primarily advertize as their great anti-aging solution; many people repeat the idea that the drier your face, the more pronounced your fine lines and wrinkles will be.
Okay, so the good part: there is some truth to that. Moisturizing does matter, and if you’re dehydrated, then your fine lines and expression lines will look more pronounced.
The bad news: first and foremost, your primary source of moisture isn’t what you slather onto your face– the best moisturizer in the world is the water that you get from the tap. Yes, you’re probably bored to tears of being told that you need to drink more water, but it really will help any facial aging issues.
When it comes to anti-aging, your entire skin care regime is impossible. Beauty guru Caroline Hirons has stated that far too many of us focusing on moisturizing, when we should be examining our entire skin care regime. You have to cleanse, exfoliate, tone, and yes, moisturize, if you want to hold back the hands of time– and sometimes, even that isn’t going to be enough. You’ll need to do your research throughout your life, with input from pros and specialists to help you; visit westdermatology.com for a comprehensive overview of the help available for aging issues, and solicit opinions from skincare gurus. Just applying a moisturizer and thinking that will solve the problem isn’t going to cut it.
The next time you stumble across a hack, there’s a step-by-step thought process you need to consider before you try it:
- Can you find feedback from others as to whether this hack is effective? Check Facebook, beauty or skincare forums such as the great offerings at reddit.com, and ask for opinions. While beauty and skin care tends to be subjective, if you see more negative feedback than positive, it’s best to avoid.
- Is this hack potentially damaging? If hacks involve excessive use of heat or products being used in ways they were not designed for, it’s probably safer to steer well clear of them. This is especially true if harsh chemicals, such as facial acids or acetone for nail polish, are involved.
- Do I really need this hack? Unless you stumble across a hack that is a direct solution to a problem you have long struggled with, give it a miss. It’s tempting to try something because a website suggests it’s a good idea, but you don’t want to get into the realm of causing problems because you tried to fix a problem you didn’t even have.
- Do I have to buy something new for this hack? If to complete a hack you have to buy something new, then it’s probably best left alone. Good hacks make use of products that you already have; they don’t require a shopping spree just to complete them.
If the hack you want to try gets through the above questioning, then you’re probably good to give it a whirl– just keep your expectations in check, and all should be well!