15 top beauty myths

We took the biggest beauty misconceptions to the pros, who put our minds at ease. Don’t believe the hype? Read on


Soap is bad for your skin.
It all depends on your skin type, says Karen O’Neill, a dermatologist in Ontario. “For dry skin, regular soap may be too harsh or drying, but for someone with oily skin, it’s definitely appropriate,” she says. Either way, soap won’t harm your skin, but when choosing any cleansing product it’s important to go for one that is gentle.

Every time you sleep with your makeup on, it ages your face by seven days.
Leaving your foundation on at night could lead to clogged pores and acne, says O’Neill, but it won’t cause more wrinkles. Her bigger concern is leaving on a product such as mascara. Sleeping wearing eye makeup could lead to irritation or an infection, she says. Use a cleanser and eye-makeup remover to get rid of all traces before hitting the sack. And if you’re too tired to wash up at the end of the day, keep a set of makeup wipes at your bedside for a quick fix.

If you pluck grey hair, more will grow back.
“If you are going to go grey, you are going to go grey,” says David Evangelista. Grey hairs are formed when a follicle loses pigment. The hair grows in dry and wiry because the oil around the follicle is depleted. It may seem more noticeable because it feels and looks different from the surrounding hairs. If you have stubborn greys, head to the salon for a professional evaluation or opt for an easy-to-use drugstore dye. When attempting an at-home dye, start at the roots and leave the colour on the crown slightly longer than on the other areas, to help it penetrate the grey hairs, says Evangelista. Then maintain the colour by doing touch-ups. You can’t prevent the spread of greys, but it’s easier to maintain your natural colour if you adjust it gradually.

Always apply makeup in natural light.
You need to think about the setting you’ll be in when applying your makeup, says Greg Wencel. If you’re going to be in natural light for most of the day, you want to play with natural colours and textures, like a tinted moisturizer and highlighting powder. If you’re going out for a candlelit dinner, apply darker shades and play with the reflection of light using glosses on your lips and metallic shades on your eyes. “Makeup is like an outfit. It really depends on what kind of look you’re trying to create. And it also depends on what suits you,” he says.

You shouldn’t wash your hair after dying it.
“Don’t shampoo for at least two days after dying your hair,” says New York–based hairstylist David Evangelista. The colour needs to penetrate and attach itself, so if you shampoo too soon, you’ll disrupt the process and lose some colour. Always use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for coloured hair and a rich mask.

Shimmer can make you look older.
Depending on your age, you do have to be careful how you use sparkle and shimmer, says celebrity makeup artist and CoverGirl makeup pro Greg Wencel. A subtle sheen in your blush or eyeshadow can help create a youthful healthy glow, because it reflects the light, he says. But avoid a full face of frosty colours or a lot of metallics around the eyes, because heavy shimmer can sit in the folds of wrinkles and accentuate them.

Toothpaste banishes blemishes.
“Toothpaste may have a drying effect, but it’s not a product I recommend, especially since there are many superior products to treat acne and skin conditions,” says O’Neill. The ingredients in toothpaste like mint or fluoride can be major irritants to the skin. Instead, use a product with antibacterial properties like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

Dark circles and puffiness are caused by a lack of sleep.
Dark shadows result from a variety of factors. “The first is genetics,” says O’Neill. “Another is the type of skin underneath your eyes — it’s often very thin and there is an abundance of blood vessels.” The light reflects off the bluish pigments in the blood vessels under the eyes, and added to that is the fact that the area below the eyes is concave, which also contributes to the shadow effect. “But if you are sick or tired, the blood vessels are likely engorged and will accentuate any already present darkness,” says O’Neill. She recommends speaking with your doctor and trying products with topical vitamin K to treat dark circles. As for puffiness, your best bet is to apply chilled cucumber slices or another cooling product to reduce swelling temporarily.

You shouldn’t brush your hair when it’s wet.
If you use a paddle brush or a wide-toothed comb, you can brush conditioner through your hair while you are in the shower, to eliminate tangles, says Masciangelo. The heat from the shower will open the cuticle so more of the conditioner will actually get into the hair, he says. Comb it out in small sections, working from the ends up. Just remember that wet hair is fragile, so go easy.

It’s bad to wash your hair every day.
This is especially true for women who have chemically processed hair, says Masciangelo. If hair is dyed or treated, it may already be dried out, so washing it too often can worsen the condition. If you feel the need to refresh your style, try a dry shampoo for straight hair or a leave-in conditioner for curly or wavy hair. Spritz on the appropriate product and then blow-dry hair again to add some volume.

Dry skin causes wrinkles.
“Having a dry surface texture of the skin can accen­tuate the presence of wrinkles, but having dehydrated skin won’t cause more,” says O’Neill. Wrinkles are formed by a combination of daily muscular action, natural skin ageing and sun damage, which can lead to a breakdown of collagen. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, can help increase collagen production as it works by thinning the outer layer of dead skin, thus diminishing the appearance of fine lines and giving the skin a nice lustre. Using retinol for six months or longer will help smooth fine lines and wrinkles, O’Neill says, but in the long term it won’t fill in a deep crease or fold that’s already formed.

You shouldn’t wear an eyeshadow that is the same as your eye colour.
Sometimes wearing a similar shade can actually enhance the colour of the eye, says Wencel. If you have blue eyes and you wear a slightly darker or lighter shade of blue shadow, it can make the overall eye colour look more vivid. If you’re wary of trying new shade combinations or aren’t sure where to start, try an eyeshadow palette specially selected to bring out your eye colour.

Brushing your hair 100 times makes it shiny.
If your hair is curly, dyed or damaged, brushing repeatedly may do more harm than good, says Masciangelo. A natural-bristle brush works best to smooth out frizzy locks and minimize split ends. Healthy hair starts with a good shampoo and conditioner. To add polish, he recommends a shine spray.

Hair needs a detox.
“If you’re swimming regularly in a chlorinated pool or using a lot of hair products, you’ll need to cleanse with a detoxifier to remove chemicals and product buildup,” says Masciangelo. Use a clarifying shampoo right after swimming, or once a week if you use heavy styling products. Look for ingredients like apple-cider vinegar, tea-tree oil, eucalyptus or rosemary, and follow up with a rich conditioner.

Black liner will make your eyes look bigger.
Lighter shades of makeup will make your eyes stand out, while dark shades will diminish them. If you have small eyes the last thing you want to do is make them look closed or sleepy, says Wencel. If your eyes are small but you love the idea of a smoky eye, gradually apply a range of light to medium shadows using an eyeliner brush. Try shades such as metallic brown that have a bit of shimmer to reflect the light. To make your eyes look bigger, curl your lashes and line the inside rim of the eye with a white eyeliner. Finish off with a layer of lengthening mascara. Avoid mascara on the bottom lashes if they are very sparse or you have dark pigmentation underneath your eyes.