For women, beauty isn’t just an expectation, it is a way of life. Women are expected to be beautiful. We put our knees and balance at risk with high heels. We spend hours in front of the mirror nabbing stray eyebrow hairs, and we spread hot wax on our legs and shed tears as we uproot thousands of tiny hairs. And that’s just a start. Any way you go about it, our quest for beauty can be painful, brutally painful.
While some beauty habits may require a high pain tolerance, some seemingly innocuous beauty habits may actually lead you to more pain over time. Maybe you don’t think twice about leaving your mascara on. You use a loofah in the shower to exfoliate. You pick at your leftover fingernail polish when you are stuck in traffic. You try out a few new products when you stop by the cosmetic counter at your local department store. It may not seem like much, but you might want to think twice. Some habits lead to scarring, others lead to infection, wrinkles or are just plain gross. Either way, these are some disgusting beauty habits that we are all guilty of and need to stop as soon as possible.
16 Over-plucking your eyebrows
Nobody likes a unibrow or a bushy set of brows, but be careful where you pluck. Eyebrow plucking may be a necessary evil, in order to get that nice fine line over your eyes. Plucking in and of itself is not bad, but be selective. If you thin out the brow too much, you might never get it back. Plucking weakens the hair follicle. Pluck too much or in the wrong places, and you risk losing the brow hairs forever, as sometimes they won’t grow back later. Think before you pluck to avoid this beauty blunder.
15 Popping pimples
Did your mother scold you every time you tried to pop a pimple? This is one time that momma knows best, even if it seems hard to resist bursting those unsightly bubbles. Your mother may not be around you every minute to nag you now, but practice a bit of self-control. As cathartic as it may seem to squeeze your zits, the end product is a bigger pore opening. This translates into easy access for germs to enter and the possibility of lifetime scarring. When you start to pop, do yourself a favor and stop ASAP.
14 Using expired cosmetics
It was an impulse purchase. You just had to have that product, but it was a bit out of your budget. You tried to make things right by rationing the expensive product that you splurged on and understandably so. However, the product – no matter how high-quality – isn’t made to last. Lip products dry out and get gummy. Foundations turn into a crumbly, cake-like mess. Mascara gets gooey and lumpy, leaving your eyelashes in clumps. Trust us on this – these expired products are not worth salvaging. By parting with your old products, you prevent unnecessary bacteria from growing on your face and save yourself a makeup disaster. Treat yourself and get some new products that are in your price range.
13 Plucking out your nose hairs
Most of us have probably been with a man who had nostril hairs that needed trimming, and we sure don’t want to end up in the same boat. Sure, protruding nose hairs can be disgusting, but they do serve a purpose. They are a part of your body’s natural defense system against germs. When you pluck a nose hair, you don’t just lose one a bacteria blocker, you can also put a host of bad bacteria and viruses in direct contact with your mucous membrane, which is a fast track to your blood stream and becoming ill. Go ahead and do a bit of trimming. Just make sure you leave the hair in place.
12 Trying to remove split ends
Split ends are not a pretty sight, but they aren’t something that you should put into your own hands. Just like other pesky pests, they should only be removed by a trained professional. If those split ends are making your hair stand on end, it’s time to make a trip to your stylist. You’ll not only get rid of your split ends; you will end up with sleeker, healthier looking hair. If that isn’t in the cards, do yourself a favor and resist the urge to groom yourself; you’ll just end up damaging your hair further.
11 Using a loofah
Unless you want to give yourself a staph infection or an itchy, bumpy rash called folliculitis, this is one habit that you will want to break immediately. While they may look soft and feminine, loofahs really are sponges for bad bacteria and microbes. Many of you may be using them to smooth away dead skin cells – this is not your best exfoliating solution. While it may take off dead skin cells, it is providing infection-causing agents with an easy pathway through cuts and scratches that your loofah passes over. Try an exfoliating scrub without the loofah. Your health will thank you.
10 Sleeping with makeup on
We’ve all done it, but that doesn’t make it right. Sleep on it does not apply when it comes to makeup. When you sleep in your makeup, you don’t transform into a sleeping beauty. Rather, you let dirt, grime, oil and whatever your face has collected, brew on your face, making it a living, breeding laboratory for bacteria and viruses. Moreover, the chemicals in your makeup can cause inflammation and collagen breakdown. When you lose collagen, wrinkles step in to take their place. So lose a few minutes of beauty sleep and put a clean face to your pillow.
9 Not disinfecting your makeup brushes
Anything that touches your face should be treated with great care. You wouldn’t go for weeks without rinsing your toothbrush, and you shouldn’t go for weeks without cleaning your makeup brushes. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you put on your makeup, your brushes collect specimen from your face. Every time you reuse the brush, you spread everything around. Do your face a favor and buy an antibacterial spray. Then whenever you go to clean the bathroom, you should clean your brushes as well. Think of it as just another task after toilet, shower and sink.
8 Using tester products
Maybe you’ve heard about all of the bacteria found on doorknobs and dollar bills. Well, there are a lot of other places that are havens for illness-causing microbes, and your cosmetic counter is one of them. Just think about how many people might be walking through the store in a day and where their hands might have been, and you have an idea of the unsightly micro-organisms living on tester bottles and jars. Even if stores offer cotton pads, swabs and sponges, you still can’t be sure if everyone’s been following the same sanitary rules. Studies have shown that E.coli, staph and strep have all been found on makeup test products.
7 Plucking out ingrown hairs
Yes, it is gross to have a hairy mole or pimple. It may be on your arm or leg or even on your face. They embarrass us, and we would like to do away with them at any cost rather than let them grow. We couldn’t disagree. But beware of the risks. Whenever and wherever you tweeze, you leave a large crater and open yourself up to infection and scarring. Try exfoliating more often to help reduce ingrowns.
6 Borrowing a razor
It may seem like common sense, but this should be at the top of your list of things you should never borrow. It doesn’t matter if you forgot yours and only you’re partner's razor is in sight. No shaving is that desperate – you won’t turn into a walking hairball. Even if you think you know where the razor has been, the risk of contracting a blood-transmitted disease through a cut, means it is better to play it safe than sorry. Plus, mixing body hair is just plain gross.
5 Using too many pore cleansing strips
None of us wants to have a bright and shiny nose like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. However, as good as it feels to pull up the blackheads from our nose and get rid of the sebum and grease, you may inadvertently be starting a vicious cycle. Every time you use a pore strip, you dry out your skin. When your skin becomes too dry from too many strips, your skin actually produces more sebum to compensate, leaving you with skin that is shinier and greasier than when you started.
4 Double dipping in your face cream
It may be double the pleasure and double the fun, but in this case, it is also double or triple the bacteria. When you double dip in your face cream, you give whatever is on your hands a new breeding ground in your lotion container. Even putting your finger in with clean hands can be a potential health hazard, unless you have some way to know that your hands are 100 percent germ free. Save yourself some trouble (and future infection) and use a cotton ball or small spatula.
3 Not emptying out your hairbrush
Your hairbrush should never resemble a Chia pet. This is not so much a health hazard, but it’s still pretty gross. First off, nobody wants to look at your furry hairbrush. Sure, you might prevent lice since nobody wants to borrow your brush, but you are also running yesterday’s grime back through your hair with each brushing. This doesn’t just sound gross, it will leave your locks looking greasy and dirty, even if they were perfectly clean from the shower. A bare hairbrush works best.
2 Chipping off leftover nail polish
It’s a nervous habit, and it’s easy to fall into. When you are in a boring meeting or caught in traffic, it’s easy to make your nails your chopping block. Plus, nobody likes the look of half-chipped off nail polish, so you decide to finish the job yourself rather than finding the nail polish remover. But while you are busy chipping away, layers of your nail plate are being damaged, leaving your nails weakened. Wait until you get home and remove your polish properly with nail polish remover. Nobody likes specks of nail polish all over their clothes anyways.
1 Peeling off layers of sunburnt skin
Spending too long in the tanning bed is a dangerous habit in the first place, especially when it comes to the risks of skin cancer. It may seem good to shed the layers that come off after a session at the tanning bed gone wrong, but two wrongs don’t make a right. You will actually do more harm than good. Every time you take off a piece of dead skin, you take healthy skin cells with it and leave your more vulnerable skin layers exposed. Moisturize and save your exfoliation for the shower.