If your Granny was anything like mine, she was full of it.
Sorry Granny, but your strange mythical beliefs are a breeding ground for poor advice. Any grandchild unfortunate enough to toddle past her would have their hair grabbed and inspected. It would be declared thick and healthy, or insufficiently so. The cure? Anything from bacon grease to going out in the sun.
But this was a woman who genuinely thought that wearing damp clothing would give you rickets, leaving you bow-legged for life. She would chase her grandchildren about the house clutching at them and shouting shrilly 'Is that aired!? For JESUS' sake, ye'll be riddled with rickets!'
We fondly discuss the mystical origins of Granny's hilarious and groundless beliefs in my family, but not too smugly. Everyone falls prey to an old wives' tale now and then. The world of beauty is riddled with myths (and maybe rickets; is that aired?).
Are you doing crazy things in the belief that they benefit your beauty regimen? Did your Granny put bacon in YOUR hair? This article might simply be a platform on which I can air (not that word again) my deep-seated and crippling childhood trauma, but here are a few beauty myths that need to be debunked!
- You Can Get Rid of Cellulite
Sadly, this just isn't the case. The bumpy, 'orange-peel' effect under the skin created by cellulite occurs when fat deposits sit between the fibrous bands that connect the tissues of the skin.
It has nothing to do with weight - slender people are as likely to have it as bigger people. Whether or not you have cellulite is mostly down to genetics. If you feel uncomfortable or conscious of it, don't fear - all it not lost. There are some things that you can do to drastically improve its appearance.
The key is in blood flow. Exfoliating the area daily with a cactus brush and then moisturising increases blood supply and will hugely improve the appearance of cellulite by smoothing the skin. You can also apply a cellulite-specific cream or gel. These generally contain caffeine to increase blood flow to the affected area, but a cactus brush will do the same job. Maintaining the skin on top of the cellulite will greatly improve its appearance.
- Shaving Makes Your Body Hair Thicker
Granny's lies come back to haunt us yet again. This simply isn't true. Shaving makes your regrowth look thicker (which is itself a complete pain in the bum), but does not thicken the hairs. It's simply the case that shaving cuts straight across the hair at its widest diameter, so it appears to grow back really thickly. In reality, you're just getting normal regrowth with a wide, blunt tip that makes your ankles look bristly as King Kong's.
On the other hand, over an extended period of time, waxing or epilating can result in thinner hairs by compromising the follicle. You can also opt for laser hair removal, but this review shows that it requires more maintenance than most of us realise.
- You Can Get Rid of Stretch Marks
This one is both true and false. Stretch marks can be a very emotive issue for women since they're classically associated with bodily changes that we can sometimes find traumatic. Stretch marks can appear during puberty, pregnancy or due to normal weight gain.
The best way of dealing with stretch marks is to try to prevent them. They occur when the skin stretches due to growth or weight gain that occurs too quickly for skin to adjust. Keeping skin moisturised with a rich, oily moisturiser or body oil can really help.
Products marketed at existing stretch marks can help to some extent while the marks are still fresh - i.e. red, meaning that they have a blood supply. Once they have gone white, they no longer have an active blood supply and are scars that you're stuck with. However, keeping skin exfoliated and moisturised keeps it looking at its best. Stretch marks and scars appear more obvious on dry, taut skin.
- Putting Vaseline on Your Eyelashes Makes Them Thicker
Nonsense. Vaseline is simply petroleum jelly (mineral oil), which is a barrier ingredient. I describe this further in a recent product review if you'd like to learn more about mineral oil. Long, lustrous lashes are mostly a matter of genetics, and generally, the hairier you are everywhere else, the thicker your lashes will be.
Applying vaseline to your lashes can block the Meibomian glands (located in your eyelids behind the lashes). These tiny glands produce an oil that lubricates the eye. When blocked, they can become very swollen, painful and infected.
Putting Vaseline around your eye area will do absolutely nothing for your eyelashes, but might cause blockages. So tell Granny to feck off with her Vaseline tub that's been in the bathroom cabinet since 1983. 'Sure this stuff never goes off!'
So there you have my selection of beauty myths! But there are countless old wives' tales in Granny's beauty arsenal. Share yours with us in the comments!