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10 Make-Up Myths: True or False?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

As women, a lot of us feel naturally obliged to share advice on beauty and make-up – especially when we hear about a tip that promises to “really work”. We all do it, let’s be honest. During my girly gossip sessions with friends, someone often comes up with the latest secret to getting flawless skin, or making your lips look as sexy as Angelina Jolie’s, but we never think to question the truth behind these myths. I’ve decided that enough is enough, and have looked into the science behind some of the most common rumours we hear about make-up to settle this once and for all.

Myth #1:

“Old make-up must be thrown away as it harbours bacteria”

Now, this statement does have some truth in it. The warnings about old mascara causing conjunctivitis might be slight exaggerations, but it can happen. Make-up may not have expiration dates, but it is easy for you to check yourself whether something needs to be thrown out. If you do own mascara that is still in perfect condition after three months, then don’t waste your money in buying a new one when nothing is wrong. However, do take time to check through your cosmetics every few months and look for changes in smell, consistency and appearance. If it doesn’t look right, chuck it out!

(these are just guidelines)

Myth #2:

“Leaving mascara on makes your eyelashes fall out”

This is also true. Now I’m not saying you can never wear mascara again, but beware of the length of time that you keep it on for. Mascara can clog the follicles on your eyelids, preventing them from being able to release the nutrients that keep your lashes healthy. So try not to keep your mascara on for extremely long periods of time, and by this I also mean overnight. If your eyelashes do start falling out, don’t ignore the problem as there could be another more serious reason.

Myth #3:

“If you have dry skin, drink plenty of water”

Unfortunately, the cure for dry skin is not as simple as this. Drinking water is extremely good for your skin because it keeps it hydrated and eliminates dirt, but studies that have compared the water content of dry skin to that of oily/normal skin have found no significant difference. So do drink more water to help keep your skin healthy, but for those suffering from dry skin, this is not the magic trick for you.

Myth #4:

“You can only use night creams at night”

We have all heard cosmetic salespeople try to convince us that we need two types of moisturisers: one for the day and one for the night. This is simply a commercial stunt to get you to spend more money. The only difference between most night and day creams is that the day ones will often offer some sort of sun protection factor. The skin does not carry out more repair work at night but instead repairs itself and produces new cells every second of the day and night.

Myth #5:

“Foundation clogs your pores”

This statement does have some truth behind it, especially when it comes to liquid foundations. These foundations are known to have clogging properties as they are intended to lock in moisture, but if you have oily, combination or sensitive skin, clogging might be worse or potentially problematic. Instead, powder and mineral foundations will be lighter on your skin and have oil-absorbing properties to prevent the dreaded clogging.

Myth #6:

“Do not sleep with your make-up on”

Ladies, listen in to this one. We have all been there and done that. Coming home from a night out and either being too lazy or simply too tired to wash of a full face of make-up is a common sin. As a one-off, this will do no harm, but don’t let it become a habit. As silly as it may sound, leaving your make-up on overnight stops your skin from being able to “breathe”. It stops pores from being able to sweat or release skin-rejuvenating oils which then become trapped underneath your make-up.

Myth #7:

“Eyeliner can alter the shape of your eyes”

So you don’t have to be a make-up expert to know a few tricks of the trade on how to alter the way your eyes look by using eyeliner. Depending on your eye shape, applying top or bottom liner in different ways can help you achieve different looks. That might be making your eyes look bigger, smaller, rounder or cat-like. I suggest looking into different methods to see what you prefer.

Myth #8:

“To find your perfect foundation match, test on your hands/cheek/forehead/wrist”

No, no, no. This advice is completely wrong! In order to match yourself with the right colour foundation for your face, the best place to test is your chin and jawline. The colour you are aiming to match is that of your neck because, due to more exposure, your face is actually a different colour to the rest of your body. Your neck provides the right colour because when blending, you are trying to blend into the colour of your neck.

Myth #9:

“Bright coloured lipsticks make your lips look smaller”

It is true that pale, glossy lip colours are supposed to make lips look fuller, but the colour of lipstick you choose will have no affect on how big or small your lips appear. Bright colours will simply draw more attention to your lips, whereas paler colours have a more subtle effect.

Myth #10:

“Toothpaste is good for getting rid of your spots”

Many people who use toothpaste to get rid of spots will find that it does actually work, because some of its ingredients work to dry out the spot and clear it away. However, excessive use of this method will eventually cause your skin to dry out completely and can leave it looking patchy. This can then lead to irritation, so despite the successful short-term results, in the long run you are harming your skin.