1. Common Mistake: Using Conditioner All Over Your Hair
Most people apply conditioner as they do shampoo: starting
at the top of the head and working it all through the hair. But the hair
closest to the roots is healthy new growth; it’s the ends that are older and
more likely to be damaged. Apart from wasting product, conditioning the roots
can weigh your hair down and make it look greasy, says Gina Lees, a stylist
with the Adolf Biecker Spa, in Philadelphia.
A better way: Starting at your ears, apply conditioner all the way to the ends. You will gain volume and won’t have to wash your hair as often.
2. Common Mistake: Applying Foundation Without Giving Moisturizer Time to Dry
The creaminess of a moisturizer can cause makeup to thin out if the
moisturizer hasn’t had enough time to soak into the skin. “This can result
in blotchiness and ultimately limit the amount of coverage your foundation can
offer throughout the day,” says Laura Geller, a makeup artist in New York
A better way: Wait 60 seconds, until the moisturizer is absorbed. Or, if you’re short on time, blot your face with a tissue after moisturizing, then apply foundation.
3. Common Mistake: Spraying on Perfume After You Are Dressed
Perfume can stain fabric, and fabric fibers can make perfume smell
unpleasant. “Fragrance is formulated to be applied to the skin, where it
interacts with the heat of the body,” says Terry Molnar, executive
director of the Sense of Smell Institute, in New York City.
A better way: Before dressing, lightly dab or spray it onto the skin at one or two of the “pulse points”―knees, wrists, base of the throat, and behind the earlobes. And don’t rub your wrists together. This breaks down a perfume’s molecular structure.
4. Common Mistake: Using Moisturizer to Reduce Puffiness Around the Eyes
A salty diet, among other things, can cause fluid retention around the eyes.
Step away from the eye cream! Hydrating ingredients hold water in the skin, so
moisturizers and eye creams may make your eyes look even puffier, says Heidi
Waldorf, the director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical
Center, in New York City.
A better way: If the skin around your eyes is puffy but not red, irritated, or itchy, apply a cold compress or an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes. You could also follow up with a lightweight eye gel containing caffeine, says Waldorf. If your eye area is puffy, red, irritated, or itchy, see a dermatologist. You may have an allergic rash.
5. Common Mistake: Bathing or Showering Until Your Body and Hair Feel “Squeaky Clean”
The sound may be satisfying, but it also indicates that―either by staying
too long in the shower or bath or by scrubbing too vigorously―you’ve removed
the natural oils and lipids that seal in moisture and protect your skin and
A better way: First, evaluate your tools and products: A loofah sponge or a medicated shampoo may be stripping your skin and hair, says Loretta Ciraldo, a Miami dermatologist and the author of 6 Weeks to Sensational Skin. In general, try to limit your shower or bath time to 10 minutes or less and use warm, not hot, water.
6. Common Mistake: Overmedicating Blemishes
Ack! You have a breakout. So you blast it with a spot cream.
Then, for good measure, you douse it again. “Most of these treatments
contain acids that penetrate the skin for hours after they are applied,” says
Ciraldo. “Overuse can result in a burn that causes redness, peeling, and
A better way: Follow the directions on the medication’s package; most say to use it once or twice a day. Avoid drying out your skin.