I have been writing about beauty for about a decade and have tons of intel on the best ways to keep my skin in its best shape. For the most part, I pay attention to said intel.
But it doesn’t mean I don’t have a bunch of REALLY bad habits that aren’t doing me any favors as evidenced below.
I spend about half the night (that I’m not sleeping) squinting at my phone in the dark. Squinting, beauty editor wisdom tells us, leads to wrinkles and crow's feet. It's the equivalent of that story my grandma told me as a kid about my face freezing that way. But what am I supposed to do -- live my life like a blank, expressionless robot in order to avoid any eye and forehead furrowing?
No, but wearing sunglasses is a great idea -- at least you can avoid squinting in the sun.
Rubbing eyes, touching my face or biting my lips:
I do this all the time while sitting at my desk without thinking about it, which probably explains the raccoon-like eyes that appear about midway through my afternoon brain crash. Our eye skin is super sensitive and is pretty vulnerable to infections, irritations and wrinkles -– same goes for the delicate skin around our lips we keep biting.
Washing and styling my hair too often:
This can be bad for my hair (and yours) -– and give it that terrible dry, tired look. Before you touch your hair with a heat tool, use a thermal protectant and make sure to deep condition about once a week. There’s never a need to wash your hair every day -– train it to skip a few days and your hair will be happier for it.
I am a slave to blowouts and haven’t washed my own hair in months -– this has forced me to develop an appreciation for dry shampoo and stretching time between salon visits as much as possible. And I’ve discovered my hair has absolutely learned to make my system work. Hair will find a new balance of oil production if you train it to do so, and you’ll be able to last longer and longer between shampoos -– my mom can go a week!
Using old makeup or dirty makeup brushes:
This is perhaps even worse than going to sleep with my makeup on, although that faux pas gets a lot more press. Go through your makeup bag and I guarantee you have products that are long-past their use-by date. (I know I do.) Would you do that with medicine? Or food in your fridge? HAHA YES PROBABLY, but don't do it with your makeup, k?
Let's ignore the fact that expired makeup can’t do its job as well -- there’s also a fair chance they contain bacteria, which can cause breakouts, irritations and infections. (Especially in your eyes!) Mascara should be replaced every three to six months and everything else, at least once a year. And clean your brushes and pillow cases often. Use a mild shampoo on your brushes and let them air dry (as you should your brush, by the way.)
Life is hard. We’re all overworked and have a million things on our mind all the time and sometimes we have to wait in line at like, the post office or the DMV, which UGH. While I’d love to tell you that I get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night and then eat a healthy breakfast, that’s as BS as my attempt at a workout routine. On the average night, between events, a 10 pm attempt at dinner, catching up on email, and late-night texting, I get to bed ridiculously late –- and I’m often not sleeping through the night, either. Not sleeping enough makes me look like crap.
Oh and here's another kind of sort of ridiculously high-maintenance beauty princess tip: Sleeping on our faces can definitely contribute to wrinkles. I'm just going to remain very still and expressionless and stay flat on my back for awhile each day?
Not always washing makeup off at night:
Yes, duh, obviously. Not removing your makeup before bed lets products build up on your skin and cause clogged pores and breakouts, we've all read a magazine before.
But on those late nights that involve a few drinks, cleansing my face sometimes feels secondary to falling into bed. I always, however, remember to braid my hair –- there’s no amount of exhaustion or drunkenness that will make me forsake my hair extensions.
Getting A Sunburn:
Obviously, sitting out in the sun feels good but not only does it increase your risk of skin cancer, it also ages you fast. Always use SPF – year-round.
A few years ago, I covered the Emmy Awards and spent an entire afternoon standing out in the hot LA sun. By the evening, I was so burnt it hurt to sit and I was running a fever. My skin still has damage and it’s really scary. So don’t let yourself burn. And if you do get too much sun and get a burn? Don’t be peeling that gross dead skin. You’re taking healthy skin along with it and leaving behind skin that’s way more likely to get sun burns, infections, and skin damage.
This is actually one I see EVERYONE around me do so I'm adding it to the list. Every time I go for a manicure, I get asked if I want to cut my cuticles. No. Just don’t. Ever. Your cuticles are like a condom for your nail bed. They are there to protect the nail and the more you leave them alone and let them do their job, the less you will NEED to do anything about them. Instead, massage them with cuticle oil. (But, um, don’t do that to your condoms.)
What's your worst beauty habit?