8 best and 8 worst beauty hacks

woman applying homemade facial scrub

Beauty hacks are all over
Instagram. From DIY makeup applicators made out of diapers — albeit clean
ones — to milk cream and yogurt exfoliating creams, there’s certainly a variety
of weird, wonderful, and wild suggestions making their rounds on social media.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save a few bucks on beauty products
or turning to natural alternatives, you can’t always tell how well a beauty
hack will work just by a picture or video on social media. Worse yet, you can’t
always tell just how safe these hacks are. Some are actually pretty dangerous.
Thankfully, experts have
weighed in on some of the most popular trends and revealed which ones are worth
giving a try and which ones have no place in your beauty routine. We’ve rounded
up eight of the very best — and eight of the very worst — beauty hacks on the
internet. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Peroxide pore reducer
hydrogen peroxide and cotton swabs
While hydrogen peroxide should
not be used indiscriminately, it can definitely become a part of your beauty
routine. Not only is it extremely inexpensive, it’s also equally effective.
Manish Shah, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Denver, Colo., told American
Spa that using peroxide on your T-Zone — the central part of your face, which
includes part of your forehead, nose, and chin — can work wonders.
If you’ve noticed enlarged
pores in this area of your face, this is likely because of inflammation caused
by bacteria. Bacteria is also responsible for those pesky blackheads that crop
up on the tip of your nose. The good news? “These bacteria can’t survive
in high oxygen environments,” Shah explained. That means peroxide will
take care of them, no problem. “Treating just the T-Zone at night kills
the bacteria, reduces pore size, and blemishes,” the doctor added,
suggesting people use a “3 percent hydrogen peroxide.” However,
peroxide can dry out your skin if overused, so it’s still important to be
mindful when using.
“Melting” blackheads
Melting blackheads hack
If you find hydrogen peroxide
too drying to use on a regular basis, you might want to try something else to
conquer blackhead breakouts. But if you’re thinking of extracting your own
blackheads, you should know it’s not recommended. One beauty hack that
promises to “melt blackheads” suggests coating your face in Vaseline
and then covering the skin with plastic wrap. Similar hacks also call for
placing a hot towel against the covered skin. While this trick may very well
open up your pores and make your blackheads easy to squeeze and pop, it’s
really terrible for your skin.
First, extracting your own
blackheads can cause irritation and induce redness, and there’s a potential for
scarring. Also, the last thing you want to do if you have acne-prone skin is
slather petroleum jelly all over it. “It may be a great option if you
are struggling with dry skin,”
dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Sejal
Shah told Self. “However, applying Vaseline to the skin may
actually promote the development of clogged pores and acne.” In other
words: more blackheads.
Tea bags for under-eye bags
woman holding teabag over eye
While you may have thought
your grandmother was crazy for placing teabags over her eyes, she was actually
on to something. This beauty hack may predate the internet, but that
doesn’t mean it hasn’t found its way online. And, in this case, there’s a good
reason: It actually works.
Dermatologist Sandra Lee — you
may know her as Dr. Pimple Popper — told The Pretty Pimple why the antiquated
teabag hack is still one worth giving a go. “This trick works because the
astringent nature of the tannins and caffeine in tea can help constrict blood
vessels and capillaries under the eyes. It helps to minimize fluid retention
and puffiness in the area,” the dermatologist revealed.
For puffiness below your eyes,
black tea works best. Just make sure the teabags you use are still warm, though
not hot, when placing over such a sensitive area. After just a few minutes, the
reduction in inflammation should be noticeable.
Egg white masks
woman applying egg whites to face
You might also remember your
Granny using eggs in her beauty routine. While she may have slathered it in her
hair and on her face without thinking twice about it, we don’t exactly have
that, um, luxury today. Salmonella in eggs wasn’t an issue to be concerned
about until the late ’70s and early ’80s (via The New York Times). Today,
however, the bacterium is one of the most common causes of food poisoning
in the United States. Nevertheless, you’ll see plenty of beauty vloggers
touting the benefits of egg white masks.
While these masks do as many
people claim, including shrinking your pores, the health risks outweigh the
benefits. Salmonella can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. Instead,
why not try an egg extract mask? Mona Gohara, a dermatologist in
Danbury, Conn. and a clinical faculty member at Yale New Haven Hospital, told
Women’s Health that these masks are not made using raw eggs, so there’s no
risk of contracting salmonella.
Snoozing on silk pillowcases
Woman resting on pillow
When you first heard about the
silk pillowcase beauty hack, we wouldn’t blame you if you were skeptical.
Yet they seem to be the real deal. “Cotton pillowcases can
potentially absorb moisture and hydration from skin and hair leaving the
skin dehydrated and increasing the appearance of fine lines,” Marnie
Nussbaum, a dermatologist in New York City, told MSN. Silk, on the other
hand “helps the skin stay hydrated,” according to the expert. In
turn, this can help protect against acne.
Celebrity hairstylist Jen
Atkin also recommends silk pillowcases. “With regular use, I’ve slept
better, my hair is shinier, and it’s less prone to breakage,” she told the
publication. Silk pillowcases can even help keep your blowout looking nicer
longer. “Silk allows the hair to move easily over the pillowcase without
friction, thereby keeping its style,” Nussbaum noted. “It also allows
the hair to keep its natural oils and prevents frizz and
dehydration.” Silk pillowcases may just be the perfect way
to get some beauty sleep.
Kitty litter face masks
kitty litter
There are some things in life
you never think you’ll have to say, like, “Don’t put kitty litter on your
face.” But here we are. Thanks to the internet, these unusual face masks
managed to become popular. Believe it or not, though, there is actually some
science behind slathering your face in kitty litter. Dermatologist Jason
Emer told Allure that kitty litters that are clay-based often contain a couple
of ingredients that are also used in common skin-care products: silica and
bentonite. Both ingredients absorb oils and hold in moisture, which is what
many people are looking for in their facial products and, yes, in their kitty
litter too.
While silica and
bentonite are safe to use on your skin, dermatologist Joshua Zeichner told
Allure that it’s all of the other stuff in kitty litter that makes it a bad
idea to — you guessed it — rub it on your face. According to both
dermatologists, using a clay-based face mask is a much better alternative
because, you know, it’s meant for your face.
Argan oil masks
Argan oil and seeds

Argan oil is an ingredient
you’ll find in many beauty products, including body lotions, shampoo, and even
makeup. The oil, which is made from the seeds of the fruit from argan
trees, is especially beneficial to the skin because of its anti-inflammatory
properties. Of course, how much argan oil is in these different beauty products
varies. But you can skip the middleman and just use argan oil on its own, as
many beauty vloggers have learned. This hack is indeed a good one.
When speaking
to Skincare.com, dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali recommended using
argan oil for dry skin. “Use argan oil as a mask one to two times per week
at night and go to sleep,” Bhanusali advised. “It helps hydrate,
leaving skin feeling soft and supple.” Argan oil can even be used on
acne-prone skin, according to dermatologist Samer Jaber in New York City
(via HuffPost). While coconut oil can prove to be too much for this skin type,
argan oil is much lighter, so it shouldn’t cause breakouts.
Adding Mr. Clean to your beauty routine
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
If you’ve ever used Mr. Clean
Magic Eraser to remove scuffs from your walls, you know that it’s basically,
well, magic. However, that doesn’t mean it’s wise to start using the product on
yourself. People have discovered that it works to remove unwanted spray tan
lines, but this hack is a dangerous one. “As a general rule, it’s
never a good idea to use a household product on your skin,” Randy
Schueller, a cosmetic chemist and the cofounder
of Thebeautybrains.com told Allure. “They’re not subject to
the same safety testing requirements as personal-care products.” Although
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers don’t contain “harsh” chemicals, the product is
made out of melamine foam, which is very abrasive. It could also trigger an
allergic reaction.
Others have found that the
foam produced by the Magic Erasers can also whiten teeth — not that it
should. “It might remove stains, but the idea of putting a cleaning
product in your mouth that isn’t designed for oral use is total insanity,”
Marc Lowenberg, a dentist in New York City, told the publication.
Chafing gel primer
Woman applying makeup primer
Chafing gel is great for chub
rub, sure, but have you ever tried using it as a makeup primer? It may sound a
little out there, but it’s a legit beauty hack. Both chafing gels and makeup
primers share the same primary ingredient: dimethicone. Whitney Bowe, a
dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School
of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, explained the hype when speaking to
Shape. “Dimethicone doesn’t clog pores but gives you a nice, smooth finish
and temporarily fills in lines and wrinkles,” she revealed.
This “smooth finish”
is one of the reasons so many people like traditional makeup primers to begin
with. And, while it does definitely sound like a strange choice to use chafing
gel on your face, the product can work just as well as some of the more
expensive makeup primers — and at only a fraction of the cost.
Spot-treating with diaper cream
diaper rash cream and cotton swab
We know we just told you its
okay to put chafing gel on your face, but that hack does not apply to diaper
cream. In a video she shared to Instagram, beauty blogger Farah Dhukai revealed
a new way to treat acne. “Apply as a spot treatment to all your acne
spots, let it dry and go to bed. Wash off in morning,” she wrote in the
caption of her Instagram video. “Or you can apply this all over your
face as a night time sleeping mask and wash off in the morning.” While
Dhukai promised that “your face will be as smooth as a [baby’s]
butt,” there’s a little more to it than that.
New York City-based
dermatologist Leslie Gerstman told InStyle that most diaper creams contain two
main ingredients: zinc and petroleum. “Zinc is typically a good
ingredient, it’s anti-inflammatory and it’s good for wound healing and that’s
essentially what a pimple is,” she explained. “However, the
petroleum is a protective agent, which is why it’s good for babies — it
protects the skin.” It’s not good for acne, however, because “you’re
completely closing the pores” with the petroleum, according to the doctor.
Icing razor burn
Woman icing cheek
You’ve probably heard that
using ice to treat a burn can make matters worse. That’s true, though razor
burn is an exception. And, to be fair, razor burn isn’t actually a burn at all.
Instead, razor burn is a form of skin irritation that some people experience
after shaving. You might experience redness or even bumps after shaving if you
are prone to razor burn. Oh, and it’s hella painful. Even if you don’t get
razor burn routinely, anyone who shaves can experience it.
Thankfully, there’s a way to
get some quick relief. Dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali told Skincare.com
that icing razor burn is a worthwhile hack. Over the course of a few minutes,
alternate between putting ice on and off the inflamed area. The dermatologist
said this will help reduce the burn’s appearance — at least until you can get
to the store to find a product to heal the irritated skin.
Pimple-popping with pins
Safety pin
If you’ve ever had one of
those pimples that more closely resembles Mount Vesuvius than your
run-of-the-mill zit, we understand why you’d want to make it erupt. But,
whatever you do, don’t stick a pin in it. It may sound like it’d bring instant
relief to just shove a safety pin in that sucker, but it’s only going to make
everything worse. And that’s true even if you thought to sanitize the pin
“When you break the skin,
the bacteria that’s on your face can penetrate it, and the contents of the
pimple get pushed deeper,” dermatologist Heidi Waldorf confirmed to
Allure. “All that irritation is going to take much longer to heal and can
lead to scarring.” Although popping pimples is almost never a good plan,
dermatologist Jason Emer offered up a safer alternative. “Using
two Q-tips against either side of the pimple will help limit any trauma to the
surrounding skin,” he explained. Be sure to disinfect and use antibiotic
ointment afterward as well.
Easy cleaning of makeup applicators
cleaning makeup brush
Cleaning makeup sponges and
brushes may be one of those tasks you never feel like doing, but it is
necessary. “People almost never clean them, and they can transfer
dangerous bacteria from your bathroom right to your face,” New York
City-based dermatologist Susan Bard told Shape. According to the expert,
dirty makeup brushes are responsible for causing both illnesses and infections.
Although there’s no hack that
can get you out of cleaning your makeup tools completely (boo!), there are a
couple hacks that make the process easier. For one, you can microwave your
makeup sponges in a cup full of water and brush cleanser, though microwaving
may reduce their lifespan. As for your makeup brushes, well, you can’t put them
in the microwave, but you can skip the expensive cleansers and just rub the
bristles into some bar soap, which is one type of cleaning agent Susan Bard
recommends, for easy cleaning (via Into the Gloss).
Lemon juice lightener
woman holding lemon halves in front of eyes
Lemon juice has made its way
into all kinds of beauty hacks. From fading acne scars to lightening dark spots
to you name it, it’s all been done. Lemon juice may indeed work, in a sense,
but that doesn’t make it safe. “This is not okay to use!” Mona
Gohara, a Connecticut-based dermatologist and clinical faculty member at
Yale New Haven Hospital, warned when speaking to Women’s Health.
What’s the big deal?
“Lemon is acidic and can alter the pH of your skin, destroying the
barrier, making it easily inflamed, irritated, and even scarred,” she
elaborated. Combine lemon juice with natural sunlight and you’re in for an even
worse situation. “When citrus juice interacts with ultraviolet light, it
can cause a chemical reaction on your skin,” Gohara explained, describing
a condition dubbed “lime disease” — not to be confused with Lyme
Disease — to Good Housekeeping. “The result is usually a pink, red, or
purple patch on your skin.” It can also result in hyper-pigmentation. For
those trying to get rid of dark spots, you’ll only be going to the other
extreme by using lemon juice.
Treating skin from within
balanced diet
Good news! Rubbing lemons on
your skin may be a bad idea, but consuming lemons is just fine — it’s even
preferred. In fact, what you eat is probably the best beauty “hack”
you could ever try. “Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which
give glow to the skin,” Manish Shah, a board-certified plastic surgeon,
told American Spa.
Kathleen Suozzi, assistant
professor of dermatology and director of aesthetic dermatology at Yale School
of Medicine, dermatologist Sandra Lee, and registered dietitian Lisa Moskovitz
confirmed to Insider that a healthy diet of water, fruits, vegetables, protein,
and healthy fats will encourage healthy skin. In particular, foods like
blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, avocados, and salmon can do a world of
good for your skin.
Instead of slathering
zinc-based diaper cream on your face, why not just eat zinc-rich spinach?
“Zinc has a lot of wound healing properties,” Moskovitz explained.
“There’s also some evidence showing that it can help with breakouts.”
Additionally, bone broth is “a good source of natural collagen,”
according to the dietitian. 
Lip plumping with spices
cinnamon lip plumping
Herbs and spices can, of
course, be eaten, and some types can even safely be rubbed into the skin.
Cinnamon, however, is not one of them. Still, “DIY natural lip
plumping” is a popular beauty hack that promises plump lips with the
use of ground cinnamon. Now, this hack will work, but you still shouldn’t
try it! “Cinnamon actually plumps by being inflammatory. You’re putting it
on the lips to get inflammatory swelling,” New York-based dermatologist
Patricia Wexler revealed to Self. “The best way to get lip plumping would
be to use a hyaluronic acid or silicones.”
Even if you plan to use
cinnamon more for its holistic properties than its cosmetic abilities, it’s
still not advised. “You wouldn’t get enough of a concentration of cinnamon
and you can probably even get blisters,” dermatologist Doris Day told CNN.
“It’s a spice,” she put it bluntly. “If you put pepper on your
skin, you can burn your skin.” Noted.
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.