We bandy old wives tales about like nobody's business: if the wind changes you'll stay like that (unlikely unless the wind is all of a sudden made from Botox); cucumbers can fix dark circles (they can't; they're cooling and watery and that's all); haemmhoroid cream is good for puffy eyes (Nu-uh to that one too) and you should definitely slap toothpaste on zits. Yes, you should certainly do that if you want a flouride burn, but possibly avoid if you're trying to clear up acne.
All of the above are some of the most frequently-parroted beauty myths we hear. None of them are true. But, does that mean that every single weird piece of hokey-sounding beauty advice is false? Not necessarily, and I reckoned this Serious Issue merited a bit of Intense Research.
So for last week's Evening Herald column, I decided to tackle the thorny issue of beauty myths for myself, with the help of a few experts, of course. Here are the first lot; we'll wrap up tomorrow with a few more. Enjoy!
CAN YOU USE LANCANE AS FACIAL PRIMER?
This is a newbie that's doing the internet rounds: Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel is being touted as the next big thing in facial primers. Sounds utterly gross, until you take a look at the ingredient listing. High up there is dimethicone, a silky, refined silicone that's also found in Smashbox's cult Photo Finish Primer. The ingredient is used to provide 'slip' in the Lancane product and it helps to minimise painful skin friction. In Photo Finish, it provides a smooth, silky canvas for foundation application. This is a very well tolerated ingredient and you'll often find it, or a variant of it, in facial moisturisers, too.
FACT OR FICTION: Fact. There's no harm in giving this a try, especially if you're on a budget. But be wary of using something like this every day as it's a good idea to give skin a break from heavy layers of product.
OILY SKIN DOESN'T NEED MOISTURISER
“This is such a lie!,” exclaims Marissa Carter, of Carter Beauty and Acne Clinic, who explains that there are two types of dry skin: lipid dry, which is typically dry skin, and dehydrated, which is water dry. Oily skin is usually dehydrated despite the excess sebum, she says, and what often happens is that people use alcohol-based cleansers which exacerbate the problem. That makes skin even more water-starved, so you need to use a product to put that all-important hydration back.
FACT OR FICTION: Fiction. Just because your skin is oily, it can still crave moisture. The trick, says Carter, is to look for a good water-based moisturiser. She recommends Moisture Balancer from salon brand Danne as a great buy for the sebum-prone. Head to Clerys for H2O+'s Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment, either.
DOES SKINCARE JUST STOP WORKING?
A lot of people claim that their skincare suddenly doesn't work for them any more. The know-it-all boffins at thebeautybrains.com say that unless the product has been reformulated with new ingredients, then it's far likelier to be a mix of different factors. “There is no direct mechanism that we’re aware of for your skin to become 'immune' to the effects of cosmetic skin care products,” they say, but they do point out that environmental factors like the weather, your stress levels and the ageing process can all fool us into thinking our face cream isn't doing the business any more, when in fact it's our skin that's changed.
FACT OR FICTION? Fiction. What we need in winter may be different than what our skin requires in summer, and in particular, 30 is a biological marker for women. Our skin needs different things once we've passed the dreaded three-oh, and we should adapt our routines to suit.