We have 20 myths for you, and bring you simple solutions that help you look and feel your best.
* Shampoo hair, all over
Healthy hair is as important as healthy skin. Experts insist on applying Shampoo at the roots because this is where oil concentrates. To de-stress while taking a shower, press the pads of your fingertips on your scalp and move it in circular up and down motion along the hairline and the ears. This will help remove oil at the roots and will relax you. Apply good conditioner from the midshaft to the ends – near the roots, your hair is young and doesn’t need extra conditioning. An ideal way is to imagine a line from ear to ear and apply conditioner in the lower half. After applying the conditioner let it stay for 3-5 minutes before washing off. Wrap your hair in an absorbent towel, but don’t rub your hair roughly lest you damage it.
* Don't moisturise till your skin fully dry:
If you want your skin to remain hydrated, seal in the moisture by applying lotion to damp skin. Lightly pat dry with a towel, and apply moisturiser. This will help your skin stay smooth and supple. Also, rather than slathering on a cold lotion, warm some on the palm of your hand with your hair-dryer (to avoid causing a mess, set your dryer on low and aim it down toward your palm, at least three inches away) and then apply-ensures soft-as-silk skin!
* Wash away pimples
Washing your face excessively will not help you get rid of acne. Repeated washing just provides a temporary feeling of freshness and only makes the skin alkaline. This may cause your skin to produce more oil in a “panic” reaction to the feeling of dryness – leading to more acne. Most times, acne is a hormone problem and not a hygiene issue. Instead of attempting to scrub your pimpleprone skin into submission, wash it gently with a foaming face wash that is designed to lift off dirt without irritating skin. Wiping and toning with a rosebased skin tonic will complete the cleansing process. And if you do feel compelled to use a scrub, use it no more than once a week, choose a product that has evensized, round beads, not rough particles that irritate the skin making it over produce oil or sebum!
* Applying SPF once
enough for the day This is a common mistake that most people make. Another belief is that you do not need a sunscreen at all in the winter. Regular sunscreen use is even more important if you are treating your face with Retin-A or alpha-or beta-hydroxy acids, and opting for peels or micro dermabrasion – as all these can leave skin more sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Use sunscreen several times a day and through the winter, even if you are indoors – UV rays penetrate walls and windows. Also, apply a sunscreen only after your serums and lotions so that it forms a protective barrier, and lets the serum or the lotion get absorbed by the skin. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen in the winter. The dry winter weather makes the skin more susceptible to damage by UV rays.
* What suits my friend, suits me
You may give in to the temptation of trying out new products but be careful, read the labels, check the ingredients that go into the product. What has worked a miracle for your friend need not have the same effect on you. Check with a dermatologist to figure out what is your skin-type and compositions that are likely to suit you. Give time for your skin to react to the product. That means observe your skin, pay attention to how it feels, how it looks over a period of time – maybe about three weeks or so.
* Be generous with night cream - even on oily skin
Oily skin should not be massaged with normal nourishing creams or night creams – a water or gel-based lotion is enough. If you must, use a mild cream (check options). A rich night cream will only activate the oil glands further and make the routine for oily skin should be cleansing and rinsing with plenty of plain water. For an anti-ageing ritual for oily or combination skin try Clinique Anti-Aging Repairwear Lift Firming Night Cream, Neutrogena Light Night Cream or Avon Ageless Renewal Cream.
* Leaving on eye cream at night
Most women think this will help prevent wrinkles. The area around the eyes is very delicate and thinner than the other parts of the face. So apply a light textured cream, which has been specially formulated for the area around eyes. A Vitamin-E based cream is a good option – try Garnier Light Eye Roll On, Vichy Aqualia Thermal Eye Roll On, or Himalaya Under Eye Cream. Wipe off gently with moist cotton wool after 15 minutes. Cream left on all night around the eyes may also lead to puffy eyes.
* Blackheads are skin impurities
Most people tend to pinch them with skin more oily; it can also clog the pores and lead to pimples. A night the nails, or wash the face several times a day. This is the worst skincare offence of all – pinching can cause skin infections, eruptions and may leave you with scars. Blackheads are caused by the clogging of the pores with hardened oil. The tip, which is exposed, becomes oxidised and turns black. Hence the term, “blackheads”. Experts suggest the use of scrubs to dislodge and discourage blackheads. But be gentle with scrubs so that you don’t injure your skin. Steaming the skin for five minutes every week may also help.Stubborn blackheads may be extracted at a skincare clinic by a salon expert.
* You don’t need gloves for housework
The first signs of ageing are evident on hands. Wear protective gloves when you put them in a cleansing solution. This will also prevent swelling and splitting of nails. Using chemicals may cause dry skin. Wash the hands with antibacterial, mild soap to prevent your hands from becoming dry. Moisturise a couple of times during the day to keep the delicate skin soft.
* File nails well, even the corners
Filing the corners of your nails weakens them and they may break off easily. It would be a good idea to use a cream polish remover and give your nails a breather without applying polish for a while. Never use metal implements for a manicure. Take care of your cuticles. Do not damage them by constantly pushing them back or cutting them. This will lead to scar-like tissues. Use an AHA cuticle remover to exfoliate the dead tissue (try cuticle-care products from Lakmé’s Nail spa range, or Sally Hansen). Regular maintenance of nails and cuticles will prevent dry skin build-up and hydrate skin to keep it taut, clean and healthy.
* A hundred brush strokes a day keep hair healthy!
Brushing hair excessively may damage it. In fact, if your hair is oily, too much brushing can make it more so. And, if it is dry, it can lead to too much static and “flyaways”. It is best to use a wide toothed comb, especially if there is hair loss. A natural bristle brush may also be used.
* Trimming hair speeds up growth
Shorter hair often looks and feels thicker but cutting your hair won’t alter its normal biologically determined growth rate or overall texture. Thin, limp or fine hair will not grow thicker in response to a haircut. Plump up your hair by using volume enhancing hair care products; experiment with a blunt cut for a more voluminous look or get a texturising perm or colour treatment, only at a salon!
* An oil massage
Hair loss is caused either due to hereditary problems or hormonal imbalance. A daily vigorous head massage may aggravate the situation. Your hair should be treated gently. Avoid rubbing and hard massages. If there is hair loss, the roots may be weak and this can cause more hair to fall. Use only the fingertips in a circular motion to stimulate the follicles.
* Shampooing daily can harm hair
We wash our faces several times a day so why can’t we wash our hair daily? The hair also attracts dirt and pollutants along with stale oil and sweat that tends to cling on. Washing every day is hygienic in the urban conditions we live in. Use a mild, preferably herbal shampoo. Apply less shampoo and rinse well with water. Wash the hair more frequently in hot and humid weather and also if the hair and scalp are oily. Most shampoo bottles suggest shampooing again after rinsing. This may not be necessary if you shampoo your hair more frequently.
* No need to change footwear often
Using flip flops or flat-sandals regularly for a long period of time could make your feet dry and rough. Change your footwear often and switch to covered shoes or sandals that will protect your feet from harsh weather. Also apply a cream specially suited for your feet – try products with shea butter (the Body Shop, Lush ranges, for instance). Every night before going to bed, wash your feet in lukewarm water and slather on moisturiser. You can try wearing socks to allow the moisture to soak in better. Dr Scholl’s Odour Control Foot Spray (priced at Rs 200 for 150ml) deodorises and freshens feet after a tiring day.
* Waxing doesn’t make skin sensitive
Be very careful about sun exposure after you shave, wax or undergo a laser hair removal process. Hair is a protective barrier that nature gives the body. The skin being extra-sensitive will develop a rash if it’s exposed to the sun just after hair-removal. So post waxing, remain in the shade for a few hours at least. If you are tweezing out hair, make sure you do it right after a shower, or put a damp cloth where you want the hair to be tweezed, before you tweeze.
* Slather on moisturiser just before your makeup
A common mistake is to apply foundation without giving your moisturiser the time to dry. The creaminess of a moisturiser can cause makeup to thin out if it hasn’t had enough time to soak into the skin. This can result in blotchiness and limit the amount of coverage your foundation. A better way: Wait a minute, until the moisturiser is absorbed. If short on time, blot your face with a tissue after moisturising. Then apply foundation.
* Removing makeup
Never sleep with any kind of makeup on. Cleansing the skin at night, before bedtime, is all-important, not only to remove make-up but also dirt, pollutants, sweat deposits and other impurities. At night, the pores should be left free to breathe. The skin must not be smothered with heavy cream through the night as the body’s repair and restoration work takes place at that time. This includes the renewal of skin cells, a vital process that helps to considerably delay ageing.
* Chemical treatments don’t harm
Last but not the least when it comes to your beauty regime, be very careful with the kind of chemical treatments that you use for your hair or skin. Make sure you do it under expert guidance. A wrong move could leave you with scars, blemishes and long-term damage. So opt for chemical treatments if you must, but take care – they are not natural and do more harm than good.
* Spritz on perfume after dressing
Perfumes can stain fabric, and fabric fibres can make perfume smell unpleasant. Fragrance is formulated to be applied to the skin, where it interacts with the heat of the body. Lightly dab or spray onto skin at one or two of the “pulse points” – knees, wrists, base of the throat, and behind the earlobes. And don’t rub your wrists together. This breaks down a perfume’s molecular structure.