Beauty advice can be tricky. Your best friend swears by a dab of toothpaste to fix her zits, while your mom says that's bad for your skin. With so many magazines and beauty blogs, it's easy to get lost in competing opinions there, too. Her Campus turned to three beauty experts to get to the bottom of nine weird beauty tips. Read on for expert tips from:
- Katherine Goldman, a licensed aesthetician and the founder of Stript Wax Bar.
- Dr. Jessica J. Krant, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, founder of Art of Dermatology in New York City, and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
- Annie Mayo, a makeup artist for film and TV and the founder of vegan makeup line Advanced Mineral Makeup.
TIP: Toothpaste helps reduce pimples.
VERDICT: Sometimes FACT.
This beauty tip is a classic for a good reason. On smaller zits, it works like a charm. “Toothpaste contains alcohol, which has the ability to dry up pimples and reduce redness and swelling,” Goldman explains.
Wash your hands and face to give yourself a clean surface to work with. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto your ring finger – the finger you have the most control over, and therefore, the lightest touch – and dab a very thin layer over the blemish. Let the toothpaste dry for several hours. Peel off the dried layer carefully, without irritating the pimple, and continue with your regular skincare routine.
But be careful – this beauty fix can sometimes cause more harm than good. Dr. Krant says, “Larger pimples that are painful, red, and deep won't be budged. In fact, trying too hard to dry up a serious pimple can lead to burning the surface skin, causing a long-lasting scar or mark.” In cases like these, the pimple is likely to stick around even longer than it would if left untouched, so use caution.
As a rule of thumb, the toothpaste trick is safe as long as the pimple is “brand new and tiny,” according to Dr. Krant. If a pimple has lingered for more than a day or begun to worsen, don't touch it! A regular skincare routine should help keep zits at bay and help them heal if they've already arrived. Try Neutrogena's Deep Clean Facial Cleanser or Clearasil's StayClear Daily Face Wash. For more on acne treatment, check out these tips.
TIP: Spraying your makeup with hairspray locks it in place.
VERDICT: FACT, but proceed with caution.
If you're a dancer, you may have picked up this trick backstage. Hairspray keeps your makeup in place, especially while working up a sweat on stage. But as Mayo points out, “The cons of putting hairspray on your face far surpass the benefits. It contains harsh chemicals that can cause skin irritation and redness, and worse, burn your eyes. To really make your makeup stay put, apply a non-comodegenic primer and set your makeup with a finishing powder.” Try Sephora's Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer and bareMinerals Mineral Veil Broad Spectrum SPF 25.
TIP: Cucumber slices fix puffy eyes.
You've seen cucumber slices as beauty products in movies... but you've also probably seen vampire movies and flicks with flying cars. But we're happy to report this tip actually works! “Anything cool or cold laid on the eyelids will shrink the blood vessels beneath the skin and reduce the amount of fluid collecting there,” says Dr. Krant.
While cucumber slices are a quick and natural way to relieve puffy eyes, the effect might not be strong enough to totally fix the problem. Dr. Krant adds, “Whether it's enough of a change to really be visible to someone else is questionable.”
TIP: Caffeine fixes puffy eyes.
Just like cucumbers, caffeine is another natural method of reducing puffy eyes. “Caffeine signals the blood vessels under the skin to shrink, which ultimately means less fluid under the thin eyelid skin and less puffiness,” Dr. Krant explains. Although, as with cucumbers, she maintains the effect might not be 100% obvious.
Goldman suggests applying caffeine topically by placing cooled tea bags under your eyes or by using an eye cream that includes caffeine as an ingredient. Check out Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller.
TIP: Lemon juice lightens hair.
VERDICT: FACT, but proceed with caution.
According to Mayo, the citric acid in lemon juice opens the hair cuticle so that, when exposed to the sun's rays, the sun deeply penetrates each strand. “This won't happen overnight, but doing this for several weeks may spark a change,” she says.
Unfortunately, lemon juice doesn't give you the same degree of control that you would have with a professional colorist or even color from a box. “The citric acid often turns your hair a shade of orange instead of the honey blonde you were imagining,” Dr. Krant warns.
Unwanted color isn't the only risk with lemon juice. “The oils in the lemon rind can get onto your skin and cause a rash from interacting with the sun called phytophotodermatitis,” she explains. Protect your hands with gloves and avoid squeezing the juice directly into your scalp.
Since lightening your hair with lemon juice requires sitting in the sun for a long period time, it's important to wear sunscreen. Don't skimp on it! There's nothing cute about a girl with great hair and burned, blistering skin.
Here's how to DIY your own version of Sun-In:
- Put on gloves to protect your hands from the lemon rind oils.
- Combine ¼ cup of warm water with 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Apply sunscreen to your face and any other exposed skin.
- For full coverage, pour the lemon juice and water mixture into a spray bottle and spray your entire head.
- For highlights, dip a cotton ball or pastry brush into the mixture and slide it down the strands you'd like to lighten.
- Sit in the direct sunlight for 60 to 90 minutes.
- Repeat the lightening process and sit in direct sunlight for an additional half hour.
- Wash and deep condition your hair.
TIP: Olive oil stimulates hair growth.
The quest for long, luscious mermaid hair has driven women to try a lot of crazy treatments, including moisturizing their locks with olive oil. While it does have some benefits for your hair, growth isn't one of them, according to Mayo.
Dr. Krant explains, “Olive oil, or any oil, rubbed onto hair shafts will make the outer layer of the shaft lie flatter and give hair some shine. The oil moisturizes the hair, making it less dry and prone to split ends. This may be the reason hair seems to grow longer with oil rubbed on it – not because the speed of the growth changes, but because the rate of breakage decreases.”
Note that oil isn't without its drawbacks. In addition to greasier hair, the smell of olive oil may linger after use. A shine serum, such as Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Straightening Mist, is a more foolproof option for a glossy mane.
TIP: Cold showers make your hair shinier.
Who said beauty came pain-free? Cold showers might be a shock, but this trick can really make your dreams of Kate Middleton hair come true. “Cold water closes the hair cuticle, which strengthens the hair and makes it less subjected to environmental conditions that could harm it, such as dirt build-up,” says Mayo.
At the end of your shower, when your hair has had time to soften, rinse your hair with cold water for ten seconds – or longer, if you can stand it! After your shower, avoid styling your hair with heat, which only dries and damages your newly-shiny strands.
TIP: Egg whites fight against cellulite.
You might have heard that egg whites fight the appearance of cellulite. We wish there was some magic trick to get rid of it once and for all, but this rumor isn't quite true. Egg whites do, however, reduce the appearance of cellulite in the short-term.
“Egg whites rubbed on the skin do dry and temporarily form a tight film over the skin, which could potentially make cellulite appear smoother, though not actually be smoother in the long run,” Dr. Krant advises.
To fake perfect skin for a night out, rub egg whites onto the desired areas with your hand or a pastry brush and finish with a quick wash of water.
If digging into the fridge for your beauty supplies isn't your style, self-tanner and moisturizer both lessen the appearance of cellulite.
TIP: Sleeping on your back helps avoid wrinkles.
“This is probably true on a temporary basis for looking less misshapen first thing in the morning, but there is no evidence that sleeping on your back long-term decreases fine lines and fine wrinkles,” says Dr. Krant.
Just like with the egg white fix, this tip may work on a temporary basis, but has no evidence for working in the long run. Your skin isn't likely to change overnight, so focus on maintaining healthy habits. If you're worried about wrinkles, add moisturizer and sunscreen into your skincare routine.