Fiction: Drinking water keeps your skin from drying out.
Of course water is good for us, but can it really give dry skin a refreshed, hydrated appearance? Not on its own, says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist in Toronto. "If this were true, then the simplest cure for dry skin would be to drink more water." What keeps skin hydrated is oil, in conjunction with other factors. "Dry skin is caused by changes in the top layers of skin called the epidermis and stratum corneum," she adds. Dr. Kellett treats patients' dry skin with high-performance diamond and silk peels, which remove dead skin cells and leave complexions looking fresh.
Fact: Split ends can't be repaired with hair products.
If your ends are looking frizzy and dull, chances are that you're plagued with split ends. Some products on the market claim to salvage your split ends, but truthfully, nothing beats a regular trim. "The only way to get rid of split ends is to cut them off. A haircut every six to eight weeks is best, especially for people with long hair," says Nhi Tran, Sassoon Salon's creative director. The best defence is a good offence: Tran suggests using heat-activated protective products, which can help prevent damage caused by styling tools.
Fiction: You only get cellulite if you're overweight.
Fat chance. It's actually the luck of the gene pool that dictates who will get cellulite (fat deposits that are trapped in pockets beneath the skin). It doesn't matter if you're tall and full-figured or petite and svelte – no one is safe! "Anyone can get cellulite," says Dr. Paul Cohen, a Toronto-based dermatologist. "It has nothing to do with your weight. It's [caused by] hormonal influences on the way the fat in your body is compartmentalized." Firming creams, self-tanners and basic moisturizers can temporarily diminish the appearance of cellulite, but not even liposuction offers permanent results.
Fact: Crossing your legs will give you varicose veins.
Sitting like a proper lady has its disadvantages. Crossing your legs can actually constrict blood flow through your veins, "which may manifest itself over time as varicose veins," says Dr. Kellett. She explains that these veins tend to crop up in people who have other risk factors, such as obesity, histories of leg trauma, family histories of venous disease and occupations that require standing for extended periods of time. Standing forces the venous network to work overtime, pumping blood from the legs all the way up to the heart. If your valves are out of whack, blood can pool, which leads to bulging veins.
Fact: Storing your nail polish in the fridge makes it last longer.
Any cosmetic product, particularly if it's chemically based, will benefit from being kept in a cool, dry place. According to Lisa Hughes, an esthetician at Toronto's The Ten Spot Beauty Bar, a cool temperature can help prolong the quality of the product. The chilly environment helps ward off premature clumping in polishes. But there's no need to stockpile enamels in the refrigerator: To put an end to goopy polish, Hughes suggests adding a few drops of polish thinner to restore it to its original consistency.
Fact: The less you wash your hair, the healthier it becomes.
Many women don't have time to wash their hair every day, but can this really improve the health of their hair? According to colourist Luis Pacheco, co-owner of Hair on the Avenue in Toronto, skipping a few washes will help keep natural oils in your hair, making it appear healthy and shiny. "Excessive hair washing removes sebum from the hair and scalp," says Pacheco. "Sebum keeps hair moisturized and serves as a protectant against the elements." If your strands are thin and oily, you'll need to wash your hair more frequently. Choose a gentle shampoo that doesn't leave any buildup.
Fiction: Concealer should be lighter than your skin tone.
If you buy concealer that's a shade or two lighter than your skin tone, your eyes will be left with an unnatural white aura, says Gregory Graveline, a Toronto-based freelance makeup artist. "Your concealer should be the same shade as your foundation or natural skin tone," he says. He warns that highly pigmented concealers can be too heavy, particularly for mature skin. Graveline suggests using a dab of liquid foundation instead. "The subtle improvement is preferable to a cakey-looking eye area," he adds.
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