You May Be Completely Misusing These 15 Beauty Products

Put down the hair straightener and educate yourself before you do any more damage. You'll thank us later.

November 13, 2017
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I want you to take a moment to think about how long you’ve been wearing makeup. How many years have you been committing a small part of your day to using products? How much have you changed your routine? And more importantly, how much have you not changed your routine?

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No matter how many videos you’ve watched from beauty vloggers, there’s bound to be a few gaps in your hair and makeup knowledge. Even those with perfect eyebrows are probably doing something that’s not quite right.

Are you one of those people? Take a look at these common beauty blunders and see if you’ve been misusing any of your products.

1. Beauty Sponges

If you’re struggling to achieve smooth foundation application and basically wasting a whole lot of product thanks to your makeup sponge, then chances are you’re not using it correctly. Before you throw that beauty blender in the trash, ask yourself one question: Are you using it dry or damp?

Instead of applying your foundation with a dry sponge, make sure it’s damp, and gently dab the product on your face. Amazing, right?

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Don’t forget: There are completely different rules for using silicone sponges. You don’t need to use nearly as much product, thanks to the non-absorbent material. You should also use a circular motion first before dabbing.

Speaking of flawless complexions, beauty blogger and YouTuber Lucy Kyselica—known as Loepsie to her readers and subscribers—thinks ideal coverage comes down to two things: the right color applied sparingly.

“I like to say there are no rules to makeup, but it always makes me a bit sad to see girls applying thick layers of foundation all over their faces like a mask, often covering up perfectly beautiful skin,” she says. “I’m a big fan of just using a light foundation to cover ‘problem areas,’ like parts of the skin that show redness or are discolored.”

This technique is used by makeup artist Lisa Eldridge and is even known as “the Eldridge technique.” It’s perfect for problem skin and, as Kyselica says, allows you to “wear your natural skin wherever possible.”

“Applying foundation this way looks really natural and fresh and is better for the skin,” she says.

2. Brushes

If you’ve spent a ton of money on a skincare regimen just to still experience pesky breakouts, then you might want to focus on your tools rather than your products.

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Makeup brushes and even those sonic cleansing brushes aren’t going to do squat to help you achieve that flawless complexion unless you’re regularly cleaning them. Product and bacteria will build up over time, causing breakouts and even posing a health risk.

Sephora has got a video full of handy tips for choosing—and cleaning—brushes.

3. Hair Oil

If hair oil is leaving your hair more, well, oily than moisturized, you’re probably not applying it correctly. Pumping oil into your palm and raking it through your hair will only leave you with greasy streaks while the rest of your hair is still crying out for attention.

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Instead, dispense a few drops into your hand and rub it between your palms to warm it up. Ensure your entire palm and fingers are evenly coated in oil. Next, lightly apply it to your mid-lengths and ends using a twisting motion.

Try not to apply the oil directly to your roots, as your scalp already produces its own oils.

4. Mascara

Even the most expensive mascara isn’t going to grant you voluminous lashes if used incorrectly.

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Rather than raking the brush directly up, hold the brush against the lash roots and gently wiggle it upward. This helps to really coat your lashes in product and achieve maximum volume.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is often touted as the miracle solution to all your problems. It can help you achieve silky-smooth shaved legs, moisturize your body, and remove even the thickest layer of eye makeup.

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But before you go lathering it all over your face, you might want to do a patch test first. Why? Because coconut oil is super comedogenic. This means that if you use it as an oil cleanser or moisturizer, you might end up with major breakouts rather than the complexion of your dreams.

Coconut oil can also produce undesirable results as a hair mask, since it’s loaded with protein. If your hair is just dry rather than damaged, you should probably steer clear.

Everyone’s skin and hair is different. You might be better off using something like jojoba oil on your face and moisturizing olive oil as a hair mask.

6. Baking Soda

If you’ve ever used baking soda to clean your home, then you’ll know that it’s great at scrubbing away and lifting grease. As tempted as you might be to apply the same method to your face, just…don’t.

Baking soda is simply too harsh for your skin. It can really irritate it and strip away much-needed oils, throwing everything out of balance. No one needs an exfoliant that strong!

The No ‘Poo Method has no doubt helped baking soda sales skyrocket worldwide, but there are concerns that it may be too drying to be used as a shampoo.

So does baking soda have any place in your beauty routine? Surprisingly, yes—it can actually be used to clean your makeup brushes!

7. Pore Strips

There’s nothing more disgustingly satisfying than using pore strips. Unfortunately, they’re not going to help your pores get any cleaner.

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Those little bumps left on the strip aren’t dirt, but sebum, which your pores need. Sure, you may remove a few blackheads. But after you remove the sebum, your pores are waiting to be filled by whatever dirt happens to come in contact with them. This may lead to even more blackheads.

A better solution is to treat blackheads with these dermatologist-recommended methods. They will be much gentler on your skin and actually get results.

Using pore strips is kind of like squeezing a pimple. You really want to do it but you know it’s not good for you. Just be aware of the consequences!

8. Dry shampoo

Dry shampoo is basically a miracle product, helping to seriously freshen up your hair between washes. It works by soaking up the grease in your hair, mimicking the appearance of clean locks.

Many people apply dry shampoo in the morning before they leave the house. But the best time to apply it is actually before your hair looks like it needs it.

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Applying dry shampoo before you go to bed on a between-washes day means you’ll wake up with much cleaner-looking hair. Similarly, apply it before a sweaty gym session rather than after.

It’s also important not to apply it too close to your roots. Hold the can a good few inches away from your scalp and spray sparingly. Otherwise, you might end up with obvious splotches on your hairline.

9. Brow Products

Whether you use a gel, a pencil, or a powder, technique is crucial to achieving a killer brow. If you literally try to fill them in like you’re attacking a coloring book, you’re bound to end up more Groucho Marx than Cara Delevingne.

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Instead, use small, light strokes to draw on natural-looking hairs, focusing on the most sparse areas first.

10. Hairbrush

Brushing your hair shouldn’t be a painful experience. If it is, odds are you’re doing it wrong—and it might just be the cause of all those flyaway hairs.

First of all, never start brushing your hair from your roots. This can cause the bristles to snag on knots and cause breakage. Instead, hold your hair and gently brush from the ends, working your up to the top of your head as you untangle.

If you have curly hair, then your head might resemble more of a frizzy lion’s mane than Marcia Brady’s silky locks. Try brushing your hair only before you get in the shower to avoid breaking your curl pattern.

11. Bobby Pins

Here’s a surprising fact: Almost every single one of us is using bobby pins upside down.

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Ever noticed how bobby pins have a bumpy side to them? That’s the side that’s supposed to face down in order to grip your hair. No wonder they always fall out!

12. Eyelash Curler

If you’re not using an eyelash curler, then you should seriously consider it. This nifty little tool can make you look more awake and wide-eyed and can perfectly complement the right mascara.

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However, make sure you’re not curling your eyelashes at the wrong step of your beauty routine. Curl those lashes before mascara, not after. Otherwise, your lashes can get stuck to the clamps, pulling them right off your eyelid and leaving mascara all over your curler.

Oh, and since it comes in such close contact with your eyes, make sure to clean it regularly. Eye infections are not a great look.

13. Perfume

Many people believe that applying perfume to “pulse points,” such as the wrists or neck, can unlock the subtle notes in a perfume’s scent. Unfortunately, this is garbage science with no real merit.

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As for rubbing your wrists together? It doesn’t exactly “bruise” those scent molecules, but it does produce heat, which can cause the perfume to evaporate faster. You’re probably not going to enjoy the smell quite as long as if you left it alone.

There are some lesser known but super effective places you can apply perfume instead—like your hair.

14. Heat Tools

Even if you apply a heat protectant beforehand, you may still be committing some major sins when it comes to using heat tools.

When it comes to blow drying or straightening you hair, maximum heat does not equal maximum style. Dial down that temperature and save your hair the damage.

According to Kyselica, women have been curling their hair for eons. But they didn’t always use heat.

“Curly hair has been popular all throughout history,” she says. “And since curling irons weren’t that easy to use for a long time—they were literally irons, which you’d heat in the fire or over a stove, eek!—ladies resorted to overnight curling methods.”

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Whether you’re looking to achieve vintage pin curls or the more frizz-tastic 18th-century paper curls, you’d be surprised at what you can achieve without the use of heat tools.

“The key is to start with damp hair and a setting product,” says Kyselica. “Separate the hair into even sections, twist each section into a curl and secure it according to the method you’re using. Then allow your hair to dry and set overnight.”

The result? Beautiful curls with no damage whatsoever. Trust me: your ends will thank you.

“Overnight curling is much better for the hair than heat styling, and often tends to last longer as well,” she says. “Definitely a lost treasure, if you ask me!”

15. Conditioner

Unless you’re following the Curly Girl Method and co-washing, you should never apply conditioner to your roots. Your scalp probably produces enough oil, and adding more may leave you with greasy hair.

Focus on the mid-lengths and ends when applying conditioner. Make sure to leave it in for a couple of minutes before rinsing it out so it can really work its magic on your hair.

The best part about washing your hair this way? Your hair stays much cleaner for longer. You’re welcome.

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