Dismantling old beliefs.
Over my many years working in the beauty industry, I have heard my fair share of beauty myths and misconceptions or just plain old media hype. Strangely, it takes a long time for a myth to be busted (if ever). Sometimes we want to believe they’re true, and even when all the evidence is presented, we continue to hold tightly to our beliefs.
This funny little thing we do is not exclusive to the beauty industry. It’s a subject I’ll continue to come back to time and time again, as we have beliefs associated with so many aspects of our lives, but especially around the subject of ageing.
You might believe you’ll age just like your mum did, or as we age, certain diseases are inevitable. Then there are ideas about the foods we eat. Now there’s an area with a ton of myths and misinformation. But let’s get back to beauty myths. Today I am going to tackle five that have been around for so long it’s just crazy.
Myth #1 You need a toner.
If you think about the name, it is to tone the skin. A nice idea, but what’s it even mean?
It’s vague at best, and every brand will put their unique spin on it, with many products falling under the category of toner. But before you decide to buy, it’s worth asking a few simple questions.
Ask yourself, what do I need it for? How will it help my skin?
So, before you jump on this pony, here are a few things to look for or avoid?
Astringent Toners. Often recommended for oily or clogged skin and usually contain alcohol and other irritating ingredients.
If you have oily or clogged skin, an astringent will only aggravate the problem.
If an astringent toner continually dries out the surface of your skin, two things will happen.
#1 – your skin will send a signal to your sebaceous glands to pump out more oil to resolve the situation, and #2 – the surface of your skin will become dehydrated.
Dehydrated oily skin will become clogged. How? As the follicles’ opening (the pores) dehydrate, the increase of oil becomes trapped within the follicle. Bam!! More blackheads. Exactly what you were trying to solve!!
Balancing Toners: Usually recommended to balance the pH of your skin after cleansing. A well-formulated water-soluble and non-foaming cleanser will clean your skin while leaving the delicate pH intact. Get your cleansing right, and you will not need this product.
Refreshing Toners: This kind of toner can invariably contain fragrances or essential oils and, although a nice idea, doesn’t do anything worthwhile for your skin, and the addition of fragrance is likely to irritate. So you could save your money and skip it altogether.
Toners to hydrate: Okay, I like hydrating toners. Especially if you’re troubled with dehydration, look for hydrating toners that are free of alcohol and contain glycerin and antioxidants like green tea or other skin-loving ingredients like niacinamide.
Myth#2 Eye Creams
Most skincare companies will have an eye cream in their range to combat the troubling signs of lines and wrinkles appearing in this area. It is also an area where dark circles and puffiness can be a concern.
It’s because of these reasons we seek out eye creams. Do you really need it? Probably not, but if you love the idea of eye creams or gels, and you’re happy to spend the money, then go ahead, but for me, it’s a product I know I can skip.
Most quality serums and moisturisers have all the necessary ingredients to deal with the skin around your eyes. In fact, there is not too much difference between your eye cream and your face cream, perhaps just lower concentrations of active ingredients.
Most skincare companies, once again, are riding the mythical magic carpet here and giving you what you think and believe you need. You keep asking for it. Who are they to argue with you?
Of course, the skin around the eyes is delicate and different from the rest of your face. Sure, but my advice? Glad you asked. Keep using the same serums and creams as you do for your face; apply a little less around your eyes.
So, regardless of what you decide, always apply your creams and serums well away from your eye, especially the tear duct, as this will cause puffiness.
Myth #3 Natural products are best for your skin.
This one really gets under my skin, and I know it may alarm some of you. Feel free to ignore what I have to say and hang on to your tightly held beliefs.
The use of the word ‘natural’ is a bit fuzzy and largely unregulated (as is most of the cosmetic industry), so it can mean whatever the cosmetic manufacturer wants it to mean.
Ask yourself what does natural mean to you? Does it mean organic? Does it imply the so-called natural product is free from animal testing? Or, is it free from preservatives or derived from plant extracts?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that a product labelled as natural is better than something produced synthetically. Nor is there any guarantee it is better for the environment.
Some of the most natural ingredients in the world can be quite irritating and harmful to the skin. My suggestion is, be clear on what you’re really looking for and then go one step further and ask the skincare company making the claims to back them up with what they truly mean by the word ‘natural.’ It could be very revealing, and you’ll be glad you asked.
Myth #4 Creams with Collagen and Elastin get rid of wrinkles.
Now this one’s a real doozy! Any product claiming to make your wrinkles magically disappear with the application of collagen and elastin creams is, sadly and without shame, telling you lies. Not little white lies, nope, big fat whopping ones!!
The fibres that give your skin strength can not be put back into your skin via a cream or serum containing collagen or elastin. Never has it been possible, and doubtful it ever will be possible. Collagen and elastin fibres are large molecules, too large to penetrate the epidermis.
Most of these creams will also include hyaluronic acid, an essential substance found in your dermis and an excellent ingredient for instantly plumping up your tired and dehydrated skin. So it may appear as if your skin has improved in the short-term (for a few hours at best), but you will not diminish your wrinkles in this way. You will need the help of a cosmetic physician for that. Don’t waste your money on any cream that makes this kind of unsupported claim.
Myth #5 Hypo-allergenic.
Hypoallergenic is one of those words that gets a bit of traction, and next thing you know, it’s what we all want. A marketers dream, and again like so much of the cosmetic industry, the claim to be hypoallergenic is mostly unsubstantiated. Please don’t fall for it.
Often hypoallergenic claims are backed up by studies or tests on 100 people, and of those 100 peeps, there were no reactions to the product. For me, that’s not very convincing. It doesn’t mean much. You are unique, and so is your skin.
The same goes for products for sensitive skins. This one is right up there with ‘natural’, in my opinion!
Many people with sensitive skin are so desperate to find products to suit their skin and natural and delicate skin ranges. The marketing department knows this and will label the product to appeal to these vulnerable individuals.
If you have sensitive, allergic skin, then the advice of a dermatologist is what you may need or, if you suspect your problem is an allergic reaction finding out what you’re allergic to will save you a lot of money and heartache. Your doctor can help you with this.
Or, maybe you’ve acquired sensitive skin due to years of using the wrong type of cleanser, harsh scrubs, astringent toners and perhaps too much sun.
You can correct these problems with a well-formulated skincare regimen. If you want to know more about sensitive and irritated skin, you might like this article.
So, where do we go from here?
You may feel you’ll never find a skincare range perfect for you or the right advice, or you never believe anything you’ve been told. My intention is not to confuse you further but to provide you with enough information to ask better questions. Just ask why? It’s one of my favourite questions and never gets asked often enough. Please don’t be shy about it. It’s your skin and your money.
Just ask why? Take heart; there are some brilliant, sophisticated and well-formulated products to be found, but if there are too much hype and hoopla, then maybe the product is not as good as they’re saying.
So there you have it, 5 Beauty Myths tackled and many more to go. I hope this helps, or perhaps I have challenged a few long-held beliefs, or maybe I have provoked you to ask more questions next time you go shopping, in which case that’s an excellent thing. If you have any myths, you’d like me to tackle, or maybe you’ve found a product that proves me wrong? I’d love to know; leave a comment below or shoot me an email here. I read and respond to all questions.
See you next time,