Thanks to social media sites like Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest, influencers, DIY enthusiasts, and beauty gurus everywhere have taken to their channels and pages to inform their devoted fans about the best beauty hack. Whether it be applying foundation with everything BUT a sponge or brush, as was the trend a couple years ago to creating recipes that promise to deliver the results of their more expensive, manufactured, and chemically-laden counterparts, it seems that viewers and followers are always hungry for shortcuts and “hacks” that’ll make their beauty routine better, easier, or cheaper.
But, with so much noise, how do you determine what works, what doesn’t, and what could actually be harmful?
Thanks to rigorous testing, we’ve compiled 15 so-called beauty hacks that don’t just fail to deliver – they can be seriously dangerous if you even attempt them! Sure, peeling something off your face might look cool for the ‘Gram, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you!
However, since we’re optimists at heart, we’ve also given you 10 beauty hacks that actually DO work! They might not completely replace their store-bought counterparts, but in a pinch, they’ll get the job done – and they’ll do it well. Did we miss any hacks that you’ve had success with?
25 Doesn't Work: Suction-Cupping Shot Glasses For Fuller Lips
Back in 2015, before Kylie Jenner copped to lip injections as the secret behind her increasingly inflated pout, she said it was artistically applied lip liner.
And then the Internet, doing what it does best, decided to create the “Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge”.
It involved sticking your lips into a shot glass or small cylindrical object and sucking for an extended period of time to create a vacuum, like a suction cup with your lips. People ended up with puffier puckers – as well as bruises, blisters, and infections!
24 Doesn't Work: Dental Floss To Remove Blackheads
Advertised on Instagram (like a lot of beauty hacks), the idea behind this one was to use dental floss or floss picks to extract blackheads from the face, particularly the nose. However, not only will this not be effective (it may work to take off some face oils and dead skin cells, the way a cleanser would), but can be harmful, too!
According to dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara, this hack can leave “small, bleeding blood vessels” (called purpura) down your nose. Better to leave extractions to the pros!
23 Doesn't Work: School Glue For A Face Mask
A good rule of thumb for skin care is if it’s not formulated for your face, you’re better off not risking it. Case in point: Glue.
Remember as a kid, before cell phones, when you would use that white school glue all over your hands and peel it off?
Now imagine doing that to your face! Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman says that something occlusive (pore-clogging) like glue can have the exact opposite effect on skin, leading to inflammation, hyper-pigmentation, and infection. Not worth it for a quick video of a face peel, is it?
22 Doesn't Work: Taping Your Eyeliner
This hack was everywhere for a while and was tried by multiple people who sought to perfect their cat eye look with liquid liner.
The thing is, not only is it a talent in and of itself to expertly and evenly apply a piece of tape to both eyes, but that tape can be extremely irritating to the delicate skin around your eyes when you rip it off! Also, if you’ve done the rest of your face before your eye makeup, you’re just wasting all your hard work for a nonsense hack!
21 Doesn't Work: Blending With Tape
Speaking of tape, people tried to take things one step further by fashioning a wad of tape into a "Beautyblender" to apply their foundation. This was at a point when it was becoming a viral phenomenon for YouTube personalities to apply their makeup with anything but the tools that were designed to work with them (think fruits, vegetables, clothing, and more).
Not only would the tape hurt to remove and reapply to the skin repeatedly, but you’re hardly blending any foundation with something so adhesive.
Blotchy foundation? We’ll pass.
20 Doesn't Work: Lemon Juice To Brighten Skin
Touted as a miracle cure for women looking to lighten their skin or at least reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin, lemon juice has long been billed as a skin brightener. While citric acid definitely is a component in products that do this, applying lemon juice directly onto the skin isn’t such a great idea.
Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Edelman says that going the DIY route, in this case, can risk “acid burns, hyperpigmentation, and hypersensitivity to the sun”.
19 Doesn't Work: The Sock Beautyblender
Tape may have looked like a bad idea from the get-go to work as a foundation blender, but a sock? While YouTuber mayratouchofglam tried out this “hack” – and managed to look pretty good afterward – we’re calling BS on this.
Socks are meant for our feet, not our faces!
First off, if you’re supposedly saving money by avoiding an expensive Beautyblender in favor of a cheap sock, it doesn’t make sense when you’re using twice the amount of product to make it work, as the beauty guru was! Plus, cleaning a nasty sock rather than scrubbing a sponge on the reg? Sound like a time- and money-waster to us!
18 Doesn't Work: Egg On Your Face
We’re all for going the au naturel route, but only when it makes sense. Raw egg whites have been popping up more and more often as an ingredient in DIY face masks that promise to tighten pores and give an overall more lifted look to the skin.
Leaving aside the risk of actually eating some of the egg that’s on your face (which puts you in danger of consuming salmonella), it just seems like a lot of work for something that hasn’t proven much in the way of results.
17 Doesn't Work: Eyeliner And Mascara In One
The ultimate lazy girl beauty hack: applying eyeliner and mascara in one fell swoop, and go about your day. Simply line the inside of your eyelash curler with your eyeliner, crimp your lashes, and voila – instant makeup look!
Right? As it turns out, not so much.
Instead, you get the bare minimum of eyeliner on your eyelid, waste makeup, and now have added gunk to clean out of your curler. For promoting itself as a time-saver, this so-called hack sure is wasteful!
16 Doesn't Work: Cucumbers For Puffy Eyes
It’s a pretty classic image of a beauty treatment: Women, wrapped in white towels, a face mask on, and two cucumbers over their eyes, like some spa version of mummification. The veggies are supposed to relieve baggy eyes, but the only reason they have any effect at all is that they’re cold. In theory, you could put anything that size in the fridge and it would work!
Instead, try green tea bags that have been wet and cooled in the fridge, since the green tea actually has nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties to benefit the delicate skin around your eyes.
15 Doesn't Work: Vinegar And Lemon Juice To Remove Nail Polish
Nail polish remover stinks to high heaven, so we get the appeal of trying the natural approach with vinegar and lemon juice to remove nail polish. As the instructions go, mix the two together, soak it up with a cotton ball, and apply the cotton ball to the nail.
Well, while the acidity of the lemon juice and vinegar might seem promising, this hack is a total flop!
It doesn’t take off any nail polish, and, frankly, we don’t know how it got to the status of being a hack when it’s been such a failure!
14 Doesn't Work: Credit Card Eyeliner
Another so-called beauty hack designed to help us apply eyeliner properly in the desired cat eye shape. Like the tape hack mentioned above, the issue with this one, which uses a credit card as the guide, is that you have to be an expert at holding the card while simultaneously applying your eyeliner – and get it to match on both sides!
For those of us who have figured out how to apply eyeliner (even if our cat eye isn’t always perfect), there’s no point in attempting this, and for those who aren’t so talented – we promise, this hack won’t help!
13 Doesn't Work: Cinnamon Face Mask
With ingredients like chocolate, banana, and cinnamon, this face mask recipe popularized by French YouTuber EnjoyPhoenix sounds more like a dessert than a beauty treatment!
However, even if it sounds like it might be good to eat, it might not be good for your skin.
Fans of the beauty guru who tried the hack at home complained that their faces began burning immediately – because cinnamon is dermocaustic! Known to irritate the skin and even cause burns, cinnamon should be left in your desserts and off your face.
12 Doesn't Work: Cocoa Powder Self-Tanner
Made from either lotion or coconut oil mixed with cocoa powder, this self-tanner recipe got a lot of buzz in the DIY and beauty communities a few years ago. Like any self-tanner, people were advised to exfoliate their skin first to ensure a smooth and even appearance, then apply the brownie-looking mixture with a mitt or your bare hands.
While a couple outlets (like this one) said that it worked, many more claimed that the hack was a beauty fail, leaving them with muddy, streaky skin that looked less like they’d come back from a tropical vacation and more like they’d run through an obstacle course!
11 Doesn't Work: Nail Polish To Cover A Cold Sore
Cold sores are embarrassing and painful. And as anyone who has ever had one knows, they can be a pain to cover up convincingly.
All of this explains why this beauty hack received such traction online.
However, using clear nail polish isn’t a good idea because, according to Dr. Mona Gohara, nail polish is one of the most common allergens we come in contact with – and having a massive allergic reaction in addition to a cold sore on your lip is not a cute look.
10 Actually Works: Kool-Aid Lip Stain
There are a few version of this hack: One recommends mixing the Kool-Aid powder of your choice with a little petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, and rubbing it onto your lips. However, people who tried this said that it was clumpy and rubbed off on their teeth – definitely not ideal.
But, if you look to the OG hack, which advises just wetting your lips with water and gently pressing a finger dipped in the powder to your lips, you’ll end up with a gorgeous (and delicious) hue!
9 Actually Works: Eye Pencil To Gel Liner
Depending on the eyeliner pencil you’re using, it can feel a little too harsh on your skin, especially around your sensitive eye area.
Rather than throw it in the trash, use a lighter to (carefully!) warm up the pencil for a few seconds.
This will turn it into something with a creamier and smoother texture, similar to a gel liner – perfect when you’re looking to create a sultry smoky eye! Just be sure to test the pencil on the back of your hand to be sure it’s not too hot!
8 Actually Works: Budget Oil Blotters
Spending money on something to blot oil off your face – only to throw it away moments later – seems pretty wasteful, which is why this hack is ideal!
Instead of shelling out your hard-earned cash for some blotting papers, pick up some toilet paper covers (for free in a public restroom!), and use that instead! You can even cut them up and keep them in a cute case for emergencies. Another great option? Starbucks napkin. Unfold one completely and use that – the material does wonders for mattifying a shiny forehead!
7 Actually Works: Orange Lipstick Covers Undereye Circles
This lipstick hack has been used many times before with varying results. But those who have tried it time and time again swear by its effectiveness – it’s just all about the application!
Simply a rule of the color wheel, orange will cancel out blue undertones in undereye circles.
Red works better with greener tones, which is helpful if you have more olive skin. Use a matte formula and a light hand to try this one out, then cover the rest up with concealer and foundation for an instantly awake look!
6 Actually Works: Listerine Eliminates Dandruff
You may not have known this, but back in the 1930s, Listerine actually advertised their products as effective at getting rid of dandruff – and it’s true!
According to dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss, the essential oils in Listerine that make up the active ingredients are menthol, thymol, methyl salicylate, and eucalyptol – all of which inhibit the spread and growth of bacteria. Plus, menthol is what’s found in many anti-dandruff shampoos, so a spritz of the mouthwash here and there certainly can’t hurt to keep those flakes at bay!
5 Actually Works: Baby Powder Amps Up Lashes
A tried-and-true beauty hack designed to give you major volume when it comes to your eyelashes, all you need is some baby powder or cornstarch and two kinds of mascara! According to lash expert Courtney Buhler, this hack is easy enough.
Apply one coat of mascara, sprinkle your lashes (using a separate spoolie) with powder, and then use a different mascara to go over those lashes!
Since many of us bemoan our lack of fluttery eye fringe and might even turn to false lashes to get that dramatic effect, this hack is certainly worth a test!
4 Actually Works: Dryer Sheets Fight Frizz
When the air is dry or pretty much any time it’s summer, hair frizz can be the bane of anyone’s existence, especially those of us with curly hair, where frizz clings like nobody’s business!
Well, just as dryer sheets can fight static cling in your laundry, they do the exact same to your hair! Lightly running a sheet over your head can tame those annoying flyaway strands that keep you from looking sleek. Plus, since you likely have these kicking around your home, it’s a real money-saver!
3 Actually Works: Use Heat For Maximum Lashes
Now, you could go out and buy a heated eyelash curling wand (which retail anywhere from $20 to $54), or you could use this quick and totally free beauty hack!
Heat your regular eyelash curler with a hairdryer before using it on your lashes.
Then get your mascara warmed up too, in order for smoother application and fluttery, flirty lashes! While you’re doing the rest of your makeup, simply hold your tube of mascara in your bra to warm up and then, after curling your lashes, apply your mascara! Foolproof for even the beauty novice, and totally free? We’re in!
2 Actually Works: Tinted Lip Balm As Beauty Multi-Tool
If you’re going to have only one beauty tool on your person at all times, make sure it’s a tinted lip balm. Not only will it keep your lips moisturized, but tinted lip balm is the perfect beauty multi-tool!
Since the shade you’ve chosen is already flattering – and goes on semi-sheer – it can double as a last-minute blush addition. The pinch of color will have you looking more awake and refreshed without going overboard, and the added sheen will give you a dewy glow – sans highlighter! It’s a great trick to have when you’re in a rush!
1 Actually Works: Wasabi Lip Plumping
While it’s difficult to find real wasabi without spending some cash (most “wasabi” you find in sushi restaurants is actually just colored horseradish), when you do spot some, pick it up!
Not just for its flavor and heat, but as a natural lip plumper!
Instagram beauty guru Farah Dhukai tried this hack out, using just a small amount of wasabi rubbed all over the lips, left on for no longer than a minute, and wiped off with a damp cloth. Apparently, the science checks out, too! Dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner says that this hack is safe to try in moderation, but be careful if you have sensitive skin.