You’ve got your daily beauty regimen down to a science—wash, rinse, repeat. Your attention to every pore is immaculate, yet why oh why does it seem that, despite all that pampering, your looks are lacking luster? Unbeknownst to you, a few faux pas may be foiling your grooming routine. Here, eight bad beauty habits and how to break them.
Falling Asleep with Your Makeup On
When you forget to wash your face, your skin has the chance to marinate in a day’s worth of debris and oil overnight. “The skin is unable to breathe, regenerate tissue, exfoliate dead surface cells and heal itself,” says skincare expert Pratima Raichur, owner of Pratima Ayurvedic Skin Care Spa in New York City. This can lead to breakouts, excessive oiliness, a dull complexion or even dry skin. “Nighttime is when the skin rejuvenates itself, so it’s very important to purify and cleanse before sleeping,” she says.
Always Sleeping on the Same Side of Your Face
We can’t always control where our head hits the pillow, but repeatedly snoozing in the same spot can cause fine lines to become permanently etched, says New York dermatologist Jeanette Graf, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. This is because skin is scrunched up against the pillow over and over again. To ward off wrinkles, make sure your pillow is fluffy; one that’s too firm can cause more squishing. Try placing a moon-shaped cushion on top of your regular pillow; this way, only the perimeter of your face rests against the fabric, says Dr. Graf.
Cleansing with Water That’s Too Hot
Washing away residue is always a good thing, but when you rinse with hot water, you can do more harm than good. “A temperature that’s scorching causes broken capillaries on the face,” says Raichur. The capillary walls are very thin and elastic, so they are reactive to temperature, she says. To keep skin balanced, always cleanse with lukewarm or tepid water.
Rubbing Your Eyes
“The area around your eyes is the thinnest, most sensitive area of the face,” says Dr. Graf. “It needs to be handled with kid gloves.” The more you rub it, the more it will stretch, she says. Since there are no oil glands there, the skin has very little give. Repeated rubbing or pulling on the lids, especially when putting in contact lenses, can cause skin to slacken and fine lines to form, says Dr. Graf. To keep skin firm, hydrate it with eye cream—the drier the skin around the eyes, the more wrinkles will be visible. When you put in contact lenses, use your fourth and fifth fingers to hold open your lids. Since these are weaker digits, skin won’t be stretched as aggressively. And most important, stop rubbing your eyes!
Washing Your Face Before Your Hair
If you have sensitive skin, this can be a real no-no, says Dr. Graf. This is especially true if you use a conditioning hair mask. These treatments tend to be loaded with oils, which can seep into your face. Pores get clogged, leading to breakouts, especially along the hairline. Make sure you thoroughly cleanse away any residue from your face after rinsing your hair, says Dr. Graf.
Wearing Too Much Facial Moisturizer
You may be extra-vigilant about keeping skin supple, but too much of a good thing can have a reverse effect. Excess cream won’t absorb deeply enough into cellular tissue, so skin won’t be able to breathe and pores will clog, says Raichur. Sometimes this can even manifest in dryness. Use a lighter hand when applying moisturizer; a dime-size amount is plenty to protect skin from environmental stressors.
Drinking Through a Straw
Sipping through a straw may look ladylike, but constant puckering can bring on premature wrinkles. Repeated facial expressions, such as pursing your lips, cause fine lines around your mouth to form over time, says Dr. Graf. The solution: Lose the straw and drink directly from the glass, bottle or can. Save that pucker for the one you love!
Wearing a Tight Ponytail
The tighter the ponytail, the more prone the hair will be to falling out, says Dr. Graf. Pulling every last hair into a taut tuft causes traction alopecia, a form of hair loss that leads to a receding hairline, she says. The good news is, the recession isn’t likely to be permanent if caught early. Once you stop wearing tight ponytails, the hair loss will halt. An alternative: Instead of puling hair back near the top of the head, where there is more tension, tie it in a looser spot, at the nape of the neck.