It’s a matter of fact that we all put a certain amount of thought into how we look. Even if we adopt an approach that leans away from the received wisdom, an anti-fashion attitude, that is in itself a conscious decision. And there are so many opinions out there that it is more or less impossible to avoid being influenced by one or more of them – which is why it is worth being aware of the facts. Simply put, there are more than enough “accepted facts” that are built on some quite shaky ground, and it’s a good idea to avoid building a beauty regime around those.
So how do you know what and who you should be listening to? Well, that’s a decision you need to be taking on a case-by-case basis. But for the avoidance of doubt, there are some commonly-held perceptions that we’re going to look into here, and we’ll highlight any inconsistencies and misconceptions within them, helping you to lay some myths to rest.
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“You know, the natural look is much more attractive, you don’t need makeup”
Well, theoretically, yes. You don’t need makeup in that it is not essential to functioning as a human. By that evaluation, you also don’t need shoes. However, this attitude towards makeup is a mix of paternalistic opinion, misguided affirmation, and to no small extent a very uninformed understanding of what constitutes a “naked” face. Put simply, most celebrity #nomakeupselfie pictures are not as “natural” as people assume. Not only that, but this entire attitude assumes you’re putting on makeup for anyone other than yourself.
It’s more than fine to put makeup on because you enjoy it and get a feeling of confidence from it. It’s absolutely no more “misleading” than wearing different clothes at different times, and even if someone is being entirely honest that they “prefer” the natural look, so what? This isn’t about what they prefer – it’s your face.
“Makeup is bad for your skin”
There is a kernel of truth in this statement, but no more than that. Yes, makeup can cause breakouts, if there is an ingredient in the specific makeup you are using that your skin doesn’t tolerate. Yes, makeup can be bad for your skin, if you leave it on overnight or don’t use the correct routines to remove it. But overall, using makeup does not negatively affect your skin, as long as you know how to use it correctly.
There are a lot of things that can cause breakouts, but it’s important to note that it depends upon the person. A thorough skincare regime is an essential part of your routine, and as you build that routine you’ll start to learn what your skin likes and doesn’t like. Using simple skincare products and makeup of an appropriate quality will get the best results, so long as you bear in mind that different people will fare best with different products.
“Homemade products are the safest choice”
There has been a fashion in recent years for natural wellness, including home-making products as diverse as skin cream, deodorant and even shampoo. There are certain advantages to the homemade approach, not least the fact that it tends to be cheaper in the long run than paying for big-label products. And yet, the idea that they are inherently a better or safer choice really doesn’t hold much water when you look into it.
A popular ingredient in homemade products is baking soda. It’s a very useful natural ingredient, effective in everything from household cleaning to hair masks. And yet, baking soda is highly alkaline. This can have very detrimental effects on skin with the wrong pH. For some people it can be very beneficial in a skin scrub. For others, even a small amount of it can cause irritation and break the skin’s protective barrier. It’s worth looking at natural options, but treat them with the same caution that you would anything bought in a store – just because something is natural, that doesn’t mean it’s 100% beneficial.
“SPF makeup protects you from the sun’s rays”
Makeup with a sun protection factor (SPF) is a beneficial invention. It will protect you from the harmful UV rays that shine out from the sun, to a certain extent. To be more accurate, it will protect you more than wearing makeup without SPF. However, this should not be mistaken for it offering you sufficient protection for whatever you’re planning to do in a given day. On average, SPF makeup has a protection factor of around 25. If you’re going to be spending hours out in the sun, that’s not even close to being enough.
If you’re prone to burning – and even if you’re not, given that UV rays can cause skin cancer even in those who don’t tend to burn – then you need to be using a high SPF sun cream. It should ideally be at least 50, and it should be applied before your makeup. You can, by all means, apply SPF makeup on top of sunscreen, thus increasing the level of protection you’re getting. Because, quite aside from the health risks it poses, excess sun exposure will also prematurely age the skin.
“You don’t need a moisturizer, your skin is oily”
If you have naturally oily skin, then it means your skin is producing more oil than people whose skin is not naturally oily. And when you use products to cleanse and tone your skin, you will strip away oils. This does not lead to less oily skin – it leads to your skin responding by producing more oil, which can make it hard to apply makeup properly and cause unsightly skin problems.
So you should certainly pick a moisturizer that is good for oily skin, but as well as that, you should apply a basic serum like hyaluronic acid after toning the skin. This will reduce the body’s need to produce more oil, and be much better for your skin overall.
Assumptions about makeup and skincare may be based in sound logic and good intentions, but they are often only half of the story. Taking the chance to challenge these assumptions and make choices that benefit your skin will have lasting beneficial results.