Just because something has a bunch of shares/re-posts on social media doesn’t mean it actually works. In fact, some of the so-called “beauty hacks” out there are sensitizing, irritating, and acne-inducing.
Read through the list below to find out which beauty “hacks” you should avoid.
1. Baking Soda
Almost every beauty blogger on the face of the planet has made a post or two about the magical wonders of baking soda.
And, if you’ve ever tried it out yourself, you might have found that it actually did make your face a little smoother
With frequent use, however, you’re in for trouble.
The biggest issue with baking soda is that it’s a highly alkaline substance. While this makes it great for degreasing pots and pans, your skin’s acidic outer shell (aka your protective barrier) isn’t going to appreciate it.
You see, your skin’s outer layer acts like a stabilizer. Not only does it protect you from harmful elements in the environment (like bacteria and pollution), but it also prevents moisture loss. By applying something that doesn’t jive with your skin’s pH (i.e. baking soda), your skin’s outer layer won’t be able to protect itself anymore. Which will ultimately lead to dehydrated and acne-prone skin.
You might like: What Causes Dehydrated Skin [And How to Fix It]
2. Lemons + Limes + Grapefruits
Vitamin C serums are all the rage. So in an effort to save some dough, you might think you can use citrus fruits in lieu of expensive store-bought serums.
Well, not so fast.
Let’s say you apply lemon juice to your face in the morning. Then, you go on a morning run. Since lemons have phototoxic properties (like furocoumarins and psoralens), you might develop something akin to a sunburn. And when the “sunburn” subsides, you’ll be left with a butt ton of hyperpigmentation. Eek.
Even if you’re not planning to use lemons in your beauty routine, you should still spike your concerns about hyperpigmentation in the summertime. Some studies have found a link between drinking mojitos and phytophotodermatitis.
Sticking to serums are the best way to reap the benefits of Vitamin C. I use Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C serum because it’s gentle, it’s affordable, and it makes my skin glow. Read my review here.
In the past few years, apple cider vinegar has gained a cult following. And its followers use it for absolutely everything. But like every other item on this list, vinegar is not meant to be used on your face. At least not when it’s undiluted.
Unsurprisingly, vinegar is acidic. As such, applying acids to your face in high concentrations can lead to chemical burns.
Terrifyingly, I’ve seen a lot of tutorials about apple cider vinegar and moles. Since moles can be hotspots for far more nefarious health concerns (like skin cancer), you really shouldn’t chance it. If you want to get rid of a mole, go to your dermatologist. NO EXCEPTIONS!
If you really, really, really want to use vinegar on your skin, use it in a diluted mixture.
FYI: S.W. Basics makes a killer toner containing both apple cider vinegar and witch hazel.
4. Essential Oils
True story: My mom read a Pinterest infographic about foot fungus, applied tea tree oil to her big toe, and guess what happened next. Yep, her toenail fell off. Needless to say, the doctor she visited the next day was very concerned–you could tell he’d never seen anything like it.
Much like vinegar, essential oils aren’t meant to be used undiluted. But honestly, even if you dilute this stuff in a carrier oil, you’ll still run the risk of mucking up your skin.
Here’s the thing. Essential oils are irritating. And using them on your skin can cause redness or, as one study found, cedarwood oil left lesions on rat skin.
Animal testing aside, I wouldn’t want to take the chance on something that could decimate my skin.
It’s important to do your research prior to use, especially when your kids and your pets are involved. And, as always, pregnant women should be particularly careful as large doses can become toxic to your little one.
Cinnamon will burn the heck out of your skin. And, no. The burning sensation doesn’t mean that the mask is working. It means that you need to wash off the mask ASAP. In order to save your skin from raw-ness, redness, itchiness, and patchiness, please skip the cinnamon.
6. Elmer’s Glue
You might be wondering why this is on the list. Strangely enough, beauty gurus have been using Elmer’s Glue (yes, the kind you used in elementary school) to get rid of their blackheads.
Now, I’m no chemist, so I can’t be certain. But I bet that it’s comedogenic (aka pore-clogging).
And just like Biore strips, yanking glue off your oh-so-sensitive skin can cause broken capillaries. Which are permanent, unless you go to the dermatologist and zap them away with special lasers.
7. Egg White Masks
Applying egg whites on your skin might make your face feel tighter. But, not all eggs are made equal—there are unpasteurized eggs and pasteurized eggs.
Unpasteurized eggs are chock-full of bacteria. Since bacteria commonly leads to breakouts, you might want to skip out on this remedy.
And, if that isn’t enough to deter you, think about salmonella poisoning. Sure, it’s pretty rare. But using an egg mask carries that risk.
DIY Beauty Hacks: Final Thoughts
Listen, I know that some of you attempt these remedies because you feel desperate. I can definitely sympathize with that—I’ve low-key tried most of them when I was a puberty-stricken teen. But, there are better, more effective treatments out there. Some are even natural/organic if that’s what floats your boat.
For a beauty hack that does work, try bentonite clay. Read my article about its badass benefits here.