12 Beauty Myths Debunked

Cassie Steer
by Cassie Steer

Can your hair really clean itself? Marie Claire digs deep to separate the wives tales from the wikipedia including whether self-cleaning follicles really do exist.

1. Lip-balm makes your lips drier

FACT (in some cases)
Hardened lip-balm addicts will attest their habit is bourne from the fact that the more they use them, the more their lips need them. But before you go chucking out your Chapstick, it’s worth noting that although certain ingredients such as camphor, menthol and alcohol can lead to irritation and dryness, most “addictions” are due to the wearer becoming accustomed to that glossy feeling on their lips. Cosmetic derm extraordinaire Dr Sam Bunting explains: “Lips contain no sebaceous glands so are more prone to drying out. The key is to look at the ingredients.” Dr Bunting suggests opting for an all-lanolin balm such as Lanolip’s 101 Ointment, £11.22, cult beauty hero Dr Lipp’s Nipple Balm, £11 or even good old Vaseline. Oh, and “remember not to lick your lips,” she warns, as saliva can also be an irritant.

2. Your hair gets used to your shampoo
FICTION
“There is no scientific evidence or reason to change shampoos if what you are using is working.” Says trichologist to the stars Philip Kingsley. So there. Despite this, the old yarn must still resonate with some of us as the hair-care industry is still known for having the most disloyal customers. What we are more likely to be experiencing is what Dr Kingsley describes as psychological dissatisfaction as a result of factors that have nothing to do with the results of shampooing. “Without a doubt, the same shampoo, used in the same way, under the same circumstances, has the same effect - always.” What’s more likely to be going on is product build-up over time from hairspray and waxes so mix it up with a purifying shampoo such as Pureology’s Purify Shampoo, £12.05.

3. You can’t smell your own perfume
FACT
Weirdly, this appears to be true which anyone who's ever stepped into an elevator with an Angel aficionado will resonate with. But this also begs the question, why wear it in the first place?
"Scenting with the same fragrance everyday can cause the wearer to become immune to the perfume, and can leave them feeling that the magic is gone," says fragrance buff Roja Dove. "This often leads to over-application, resulting in a unintentional potent sillage which is often overpowering to those around. One spray of perfume on your wrists, elbows and collarbones will be enough for both you and those around you to appreciate it’s majesty."
Marie Claire’s current scent crush? Marni’s first ever fragrance, £48 for 30ml EDP. Shame we can’t smell it on ourselves!

4. Curling your lashes with mascara on breaks them
FALSE (Kind of)
The original girl's best friend has come on in leaps and bounds since the Egyptians used to slap on the kohl, so whilst formulas of yesteryear may well have led to brittle lashes, these days technology has meant that your lashes are more likely to benefit from a cocoon of mascara than not. So when it comes to curling, traditional advice to curl pre any wand action to avoid snapping off your lashes doesn't necessarily ring true thanks to the high tech flexible polymers and nourishing oils and waxes in modern mascaras. However, if you want to avoid a rather painful strip wax as a result of your lashes sticking to your curler, this is still one best left to the pros.
Keep your lashes soft and supple by using L’Oreal Paris’ Double Extension Renewal Serum Inside Mascara, £11.29.


5. You must use anti-aging creams over the age of 30
FALSE
Skin is as different as a fingerprint so whilst one person may notice fine lines beginning to appear in their twenties, another lucky so and so may not notice the first signs of aging until well into their thirties. Aside from a secret Botox habit, these variations can be explained in part due to genetics and lifestyle but the main culprit is Mr sunshine with 80% ageing down to uv exposure (read it and weep sun worshippers). The point being here that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to what age you should start thinking about zapping aging where it hurts - it’s a case of assessing your skin-type and lifestyle and upping your anti-aging ammo accordingly, whatever age that might be. And remember, you’re never too young (or old) to start slapping on the SPF every day.
Start pre-empting future damage with a cocktail of anti-aging ingredients from Skin Ceutical’s Phloretin CF Gel.

6. Chocolate gives you spots
TRUE AND FALSE
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but whilst countless studies have found no direct link between chocolate and pimples, chocoholics might want to go easy on that bumper bar of Dairy Milk nonetheless advises Derm extraordinaire Dr Sam Bunting. “We now believe that rapid fluctuations in our blood sugar levels may affect the function of sebaceous glands in the body, potentially aggravating acne. Therefore it makes sense to cut down on all sources of refined sugars in the diet (for example, chocolate and high-energy drinks) and stick to what are known as low-GI index carbs, which are absorbed more slowly to avoid those pro-inflammatory blood sugar spikes.” Say it ain’t so!
Smell good enough to eat without the guilt coutesy of The Body Shop’s Chocomania Body Butter, £5.00.

7. Pluck a grey hair and seven more will appear
FALSE
It’s physically impossible to increase the number of follicles you have on your head as a result of plucking out a hair, period. (If this were the case Wayne Rooney might have had more success with his follically-challenged barnet). “The myth probably originated because when hair starts greying, each follicle containing the hair gradually ceases to form colour granules so when one grey hair is plucked, the follicle next to it is already beginning to produce a grey hair,” explains Trichologist to the stars Philip Kingsley.
Instead of plucking, hide any pesky greys with Garnier’s innovative Olia Permanent Hair Colour, £5.99.

8. Use steam to open pores
FALSE
Pores are enigmatic things and many of us are rather confused as to their exact purpose apart from a hazy recollection that they can be mysteriously opened and closed and a vague fear that they might be getting bigger. So let’s be clear on one thing, whatever beauty therapists might have us believe, as they do not have muscles or hinges no amount of steam or cold water will open and close them - steam simply helps to loosen the dirt inside, although the good news is that advances in skin measuring devices have enabled us to prove that there are ingredients around that will stop them from getting any bigger. Get porefect skin with Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Stay Matte Hydrator, 332.


9. Shaving makes hair grow back thicker
FALSE
Razor’s may get a bad rep but it turns out it’s totally unfounded. Shaving has absolutely no effect on hair growth or thickness. What you are more likely to be experiencing when you feel that familiar prickle as the hair begins to grow back, is the thicker part of the hair shaft. This is because the razor cuts the hair straight across the shaft which is why stubble feels stiffer.
Get on board operation smooth with Wilkinson Sword’s Hydro Silk razor, £9.99 which moisturizes your skin for up to two hours after shaving, and remember to always go against the hair growth for the closet shave possible.

10. Wrinkle creams don’t work
FALSE
We're a cynical old lot according to recent studies that found that over 71% of women don’t believe in anti-wrinkle creams. Whilst this may have been true of the cold creams and basic moisturizers our grannies used to slather on, fast-forward a few decades and add in a couple of technology breakthroughs, and the holy grail of beauty really is within reach. The key is knowing what ingredients to look for. “There are many variables such as what active ingredients a product contains, how stable those ingredients are (to ensure they last long enough on the shelf to do what they're supposed to) and whether they are able to penetrate into the skin to impact on the dermis which is the hardest bit,” says Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting. Bunting advises that consumers should get tough and demand more from the cosmetic companies by asking them to substantiate their claims with proper clinical data which stands up to scrutiny from independent sources.
Turn back time with Marie Claire Prix D’Excellence winner and pioneering super serum, Lancome’s Visionnaire (LR2412) Advanced Skin Corrector, £57.

11. You know your skin is clean when it squeaks
FALSE
This beauty myth probably originated back in the day when cigarettes were considered good for your health and the reality is about as far from the truth as it’s beauty equivalent. The truth of the matter is, if your face feels tight or uncomfortable in any way you’re either using the wrong cleanser for your skin type, or you’re over-doing it, so leave the squeaking to breaking in those new Jimmy Choos.
Go easy on your complexion with Avene’s Eay Thermale Extremely Gentle Cleanser, £8.00.

12. If you leave your hair for long enough it will begin to clean itself
FALSE (and eww!)
“Utter nonsense” says Trichologist extraordinaire Philip Kingsley. And whilst we all knew someone at uni who swore by this method of personal hygene (the same person who would religiously wear tie-dye and douse themselves patchouli oil), we‘re rather glad this myth has been put to bed once and for all. “You should wash and condition your hair daily” says Kingsley who says that a clean scalp and hair equals a healthier scalp and hair. “When left for 3-4 days the scalp can become flaky, itchy and uncomfortable with a mild tenderness whilst the hair itself will become dull and lank.” We don’t need telling twice.
Clean up your act with Philip Kingsley’s Moisture balancing shampoo, £14.75.

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