Break Up With Your Bad Beauty Habits

Your skincare routine may be saintly, your hair regime heroic, but we all tend to have (at least one) bad beauty habit. Here's how to undo it...

Bad beauty habits

by Sarah Ford |
Published on

We know beauty isn’t meant to be about rules and we should feel empowered to dip in and out whenever we please. But the thing is, ditching the rule book and falling into regular bad beauty habits can undo all the benefits of the rituals we actually enjoy doing. Put it this way, there’s little point applying multiple serums in the morning if you then sleep in a full face of make-up that night, right?

But old habits die hard and breaking them can feel like a chore in itself. That’s why we’ve enlisted a panel of experts to not only explain what’s at stake for each of your bad habits, but also to give realistic advice about how you can kick these once and for all...

Picking Off Gel Polish

Once the first chip appears, it takes unwavering determination to resist peeling away an entire gel manicure, but there’s a reason salons offer a removal service. ‘You wouldn’t rip hair extensions out of your head and expect your hair to be OK after,’ explains session manicurist and founder of AMA salon, Ama Quashie. ‘Peeling or ripping your gels off takes layers of your nail bed with it.’ Do this regularly and you’ll be left with paper-thin nails.

Break the habit: At the first sign of peeling, ‘Buff down the chip with a block buffer to stop it catching, before covering the entire nail and free-edge with a clear top coat to reseal it until you’re able to get to the salon.’ Seche Vite Top Coat (£9) is one of the most durable we’ve tried and dries in a matter of minutes.

Sleeping In Make-Up

After a long day, it’s difficult to resist the call of the duvet, but according to dermatologist Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, sleeping in make-up is a sure-fire way to harm skin, even if it’s only a one-off. ‘Make-up can be comedogenic [spot-causing ], which is further exacerbated by the sweat, sebum and dirt that builds up on the skin throughout the day,’ she says. ‘That dirt transfers on to your pillow, which you toss and turn around on all night, irritating the skin and causing breakouts.’

Break the habit: A splash of Garnier Micellar Oil-Infused Cleansing Water (£6.99) melts waterproof make-up. ‘Ideally, take off your make-up the moment you get home.’

Blunt Shaving

Become a little lax on refreshing your razor? ‘When a razor is blunt, you’re more likely to cause irritation of the skin or hair follicles,’ explains cosmetic physician Dr Sabika Karim. That’s not the only issue: ‘Every time a razor blade touches the skin, it scoops up a few hundred thousand bacteria, and left in a damp bathroom, these multiply and grow.’ As blunt blades are more likely to cut or scratch the skin, bacteria can find its way into the body and, potentially, the blood stream, which can lead to infection.

Break the habit: Firstly, Dr Karim recommends storing your razor outside of the bathroom between uses, and that you should change its blades every week. If that seems like a lot, look to Friction Free Shaving (£9 per month). This genius subscription service sends new blades straight to your door every month.

Ignoring Make-Up Brushes

Washing make-up brushes tends to fall off the bottom of our to-do lists, but make-up artist Harriet Hadfield makes a case for re-prioritising this job ASAP. ‘As brushes absorb more and more product, it increases the chance of uneven, streaky make-up, not to mention the risk of breeding bacteria, which increases the likelihood of blocked pores and breakouts.’ Grim.

Break the habit: Hadfield finds Beautyblender Liquid Blendercleanser (£16) the quickest at rinsing away even stubborn oil-based formulas, but cites shampoo or antibacterial washing-up liquid as alternatives. As for drying brushes, use the cold setting on your hairdryer.

Squeezing Spots

As any Dr Pimple Popper fan can attest, there’s something so satisfying about squeezing spots, but according to Dr Ukeleghe, this is one fetish to shake off immediately. ‘Most people don’t do extractions properly, which causes injury to the skin and can lead to post-in ammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring.’

Break the habit: Don’t reach for a spot-removing tool. ‘They require a significant amount of pressure which can cause further trauma to the skin,’ Dr Ukeleghe reckons, so see a professional to purge your blackheads. Otherwise, a dab of Mario Badescu’s cult classic Drying Lotion (£16) left on a spot overnight will suck the life out of it, so you don’t have to.

Skipping Your Hair Wash

Is your hair currently 75% dry shampoo? We feel you. ‘I wish the term hair washing was changed to scalp cleansing,’ says trichologist Anabel Kingsley. ‘Like the skin on the face, the scalp contains thousands of sweat and oil glands, sheds dead skin cells and is exposed to environmental pollution.’ Since healthy hair starts with a healthy (read: clean) scalp, skipping shampoo could prohibit the growth of strong strands.

Break the habit: The only way around this one is to wash hair regularly: at least every other day for fine or medium textured hair and every three days if it’s coarse, curly or afro-textured. Dry shampoo totally unavoidable? Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo (£17) contains zinc and allantoin to soothe, rather than clog, the scalp.

Over-Plucking Eyebrows

'At least 80% of my clients ask me how to help regrowth after years of over-plucking,’ reveals Chanice Sienna, founder of BAM Brows. ‘Thankfully, there is always hope, you just need to put down the tweezers and allow hairs to redevelop.’ Sienna’s clients have seen incredible regrowth results from daily application of organic and cold pressed castor oil. Try Briogeo B. Well Castor Oil (£24).

Break the habit: In the meantime, a powder brow shadow (we love Benefit Foolproof Brow Powder, £22) on an angled brush will draw on the most realistic hairs, according to Sienna. en, double coat hairs in Glossier’s clear Boy Brow (£14) by backcombing them towards the middle of the face first, before brushing back into place.

Not Wearing SPF Every Day

‘Alongside vitamin C and retinol, SPF is part of the holy trifecta of anti-ageing, as it limits UV radiation damage, which can cause collagen breakdown, poor skin texture, pigmentation changes and skin cancer,’ explains Dr Ukeleghe. We know it’s a non-negotiable, so why is it that suncream feels too much of a chore?'

Break the habit: Our guess is that the chalky formulas of yesteryear have given SPF a bad rep. Instead, try REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 (£30) – it feels like a silky moisturiser, sits well under make-up and wards o shine. Equally, Dermalogica’s new Prism Protect SPF 30, (£58) hydrates like a moisturiser, with reflective particles to boot.

Brushing Wet Hair

It’s not just an old wives’ tale; hair is more prone to snapping when wet. ‘Each hair is protected by a thin layer of overlapping cells called the cuticle, which keep hair strong and resilient,’ explains Kingsley. When hair is wet, the cuticle is weaker, so forceful brushing can damage the cuticle, which (unlike other cells) lacks the ability to regenerate, causing breakage.

Break the habit: Wet brushing isn’t completely out of the question – just avoid aggressive boar bristle brushes, advises Kingsley. Instead, the flexible prongs of Wet Brush Original Detangler (£12), carefully ease out knots without pulling, tugging or injuring the hair shaft.

Some of the products you need to break your bad beauty habits:


Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

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Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

Seche Vite Top Coat, £9,

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Garnier Micellar Oil-Infused Cleansing Water, £6.99

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Beautyblender Liquid Blendercleanser, £16

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Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

Mario Badescu's cult classic Drying Lotion, £16

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Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo, £17

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Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

Benefit Foolproof Brow Powder, £22

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Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

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Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

Wet Brush Original Detangler, £12

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Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30, £30

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Break Up With Bad Beauty Habits - Grazia

Dermalogica's new Prism Protect SPF 30

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