There’s a reason that buying a new eye shadow or getting a facial makes you feel so good. “Having beauty rituals and taking care of your appearance makes you feel more confident,” says Lidia Tivichi, a clinical esthetician and founder of Maris Dusan Spa in New York City. “However, there are some common mistakes many women make that cause treatments to be less effective or that actually do more damage than good.” Read on to discover what the pros say are the top beauty blunders. Their advice is guaranteed to help you look and feel gorgeous!
1. Using these products before waxing
“Skip glycolics or retinoids — ingredients found in many acne treatments and anti-aging products — at least three days beforehand if you’re getting a facial area waxed. These ingredients cause cells to turnover faster, making skin more sensitive and wax more apt to pull off a layer,” says Tivichi
2. Applying lotion after an airbrush tan
Lotion and airbrush tanning don’t mix. “Many women arrive for an airbrush tan wearing lotion, which only creates a barrier and hinders the color from fully absorbing into your skin,” says Erica Abdo, a professional makeup artist who works at Fashion Week in New York City, as well as for celebrities such as Samantha Harris. “You should also skip moisturizer afterward because it interferes with the DHAs, or tanning agents, that take six to eight hours to develop.”
3. Forgoing a topcoat
It’s frustrating to take the time to paint your nails, only to have it chip a day later. “You need to do some maintenance by investing in a really strong top coat, and apply it daily to seal in color and add shine,” says Abdo. One to try: Seche Vite dry fast top coat ($10; at drugstores). Also try wearing rubber gloves when doing housework to keep polish from chipping or chemicals in detergents from breaking down color.
4. Not shaving before laser hair removal
Laser hair removal is now a normal part of many women’s beauty regimens. However, one of the biggest mistakes laser technicians see clients making is arriving for treatments with some stubble. “Unlike with waxing, it’s best to shave before a laser treatment to reduce pain and increase effectiveness, says Erin Lindemann, a certified national LaserFast Hair Removal trainer at Syracuse Laser Spa in Syracuse, New York. However, nix waxing and depilatories before and in between laser sessions. “Lasers work by detecting a contrast in pigment between darker follicles and lighter skin, but these methods destroy hairs’ roots,” says Lindermann.
5. Over-washing your face
“I find that most women wash their faces at least twice a day, but doing so actually strips your skin of moisture,” says Abdo. “You need only wash your face at night and remove eye makeup by gently swiping a circular cotton pad downward over your eye area.” Since you’re not wearing makeup while you sleep (we hope!) you can skip sudsing up in the morning.
6. Wearing shimmer on your eyes
“Shimmery eye shadows can enhance wrinkles, so it’s best to stick to matte products as you get older,” says Abdo. Use a base color that goes over your entire lid, such as in a shade like sandstone. “It’ll brighten your eyes and even out redness for a flawless look.” Also opt for a colored shadow to apply to the crease of your lids to give the illusion that your lids are receding for a more wide-awake look.
7. Slathering chemicals on your skin
Putting harmful chemicals on your body can be just as dangerous as putting them into your mouth. “We absorb chemicals through our skin, so your makeup and skincare products should be clean,” says Tivichi. “Today we have a choice about buying products that are full of chemicals or that are organic and made with natural ingredients.” Apart from checking labels to ensure your products are phthalate and paraben-free, you can find out if your favorite products contain harmful ingredients by checking out the Environmental Working Group’s database.
8. Plucking your own eyebrows
“Your brows shape your face and set the canvas for your makeup,” says Tivichi. She sees many women who pluck their brows too thin for their features, and so recommends that every woman see an eyebrow specialist who can create the most flattering shape for her face. “And don’t touch your eyebrows in between appointments — you must let them grow in,” she says. If you’re letting your brows grow out, try using a brow pencil to create a higher arch or filling in bald areas for the illusion of thicker brows.
9. Forgetting to clean your makeup brushes
Grime and oil can build up on your makeup brushes and result in clogged pores. “It’s important to clean your brushes once a week,” says Abdo. Use a few drops of shampoo, rinse thoroughly, and then lay flat on a paper towel to dry
10. Stressing about adult acne
Zits aren’t only for teenagers. In fact, acne may affect more than half of adult women at some point in their lives, according to a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. “Stress triggers your adrenal glands to release extra cortisol, which in turn stimulates sweat and oil production to aggravate breakouts,” says Jeffrey R. LaDuca, Ph.D., M.D, president of Reflections Dermatology & Psoriasis Center in Auburn and Skaneateles, NY. You can lower the levels of stress hormones in your body by getting at least seven hours of sleep and cutting back on simple carbohydrates and sugar that boost inflammation.