It may seem like a simple shortcut or harmless practice, but some beauty habits are doing your hair, skin and nails more harm than good in the long run.
From nail-biting to skipping sunscreen, we spoke to the experts for advice on how to put a stop to the steps sacrificing your beauty routine.
Make this autumn the season you quit bad beauty hang-ups once and for all.
Habit and stress are the biggest triggers for nail biters. “Commonly it’s a comfort thing, a security blanket that has been a habit for a long time,” says Sally Hansen’s Nail Expert, Alison Bowhill-Hayes.
On top of ruining your glossy manicure, regular nail-biting could raise some scary health risks. “Serious [cases] will often see the nail chewed down well into the nail bed. This could lead to permanent damage or result in serious infection or swelling under the cuticle or around the tip of the finger,” Bowhill-Hayes warns.
Nix the nail-nibbling habit by committing to a nourishing nail-care plan. This might include regular filing and application of a nail strengthening product like the new Sally Hansen Color Therapy range. Enriched with argan oil, this unique three-step system of colour, top coat and cuticle & nail oil conditions weak, dry nails with every coat and is available in 14 chip-resistant shades
“This will help improve growth and strength. Additionally, if nails look good, you may be less likely to bite them,” Bowhill-Hayes says.
Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can pack away your SPF.
“Even if you have a short commute to work, your skin is still exposed to harmful UV levels [in autumn],” Emma Hobson, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica says.
Skin is at risk of damage while driving or sitting by the office window too, since powerful UV rays can penetrate through glass. Keep skin protected all season by applying a daily moisturiser with SPF or sunscreen containing SPF 30+ or higher.
“The most important thing is the quantity you apply,” Hobson says. “To get the sufficient SPF protection, you need to use at least one quarter teaspoon [of sunscreen] for the face, neck and ears,” she notes. If you need extra cover, top up with a lightly tinted CC Cream which gives skin a radiant glow while offering added sun protection.
How frequently you wash your strands relates to hair type and texture. Fine or lighter-coloured locks can be more prone to oil and therefore may require lathering up daily, compared to those with thicker strands.
However, Sydney hairstylist Anthony Nader warns you should avoid going overboard on the suds unnecessarily; “Over-washing your hair will do more harm over time as you’re stripping strands of their natural oils. Your scalp can also dry out and become dehydrated as it has no protective layer on the surface”.
Careful cleansing is particularly important in the cooler months when scalps tend to become flaky or irritated by the colder temperatures. For those who can, try limiting washes to twice a week. Use a dry shampoo with scalp-soothing ingredients such as oat milk on in-between days to absorb excess oil.
Nader also recommends natural jojoba oil to calm irritated scalps in autumn. “Just pat a few drops on the irritated area at night time and it won’t affect your styling routine in the mornings,” he notes.
Exercising in makeup
Up there with sleeping in your make-up (yes, guilty as charged), hitting a hard-core F45 class in a full face of foundation can also be damaging to your skin.
“Keep the skin make-up free or at least avoid wearing heavy foundation or bronzing powders if your exercise routine involves sweating,” Hobson says. “The skin eliminates waste from the body through sweat, so it needs to do that effectively.”
Wearing make-up could cause irritation or clog pores during the process, leading to breakouts. Hobson suggests preparing for a gym session by cleansing skin thoroughly, followed by applying an oil-free moisturiser and a tinted mineral cover-up if required. Keep make-up removing wipes in your gym bag for a fast fix — they’re also perfect for a post-workout face refresh.