5 Beauty Myths Most of Us Believe
Sorting fact from fiction in the beauty world is no easy task! Half-truths, myths, and hyperbole are pervasive when shopping for skincare, makeup, or hair care. Paula’s 21 books on the topic have proven just how crazy it can be.
We're here to set the record straight—to give you the most up-to-date, reliable information so you can find the best products because knowledge is beautiful!
Myth #1: Dry skin? Drink more water!
The truth: This is one of those beauty myths that refuses to go away, but here are the facts: Although drinking eight glasses of water a day is good idea for your body, but we wouldn't rely on it to get rid of dry skin. If that’s all it took, very few of us would have dry skin. The causes and solutions of dry skin are far more complex than just drinking water.
It’s generally assumed that drinking water is beneficial for your health but do you need to down 8 glasses every day? There’s no medical support for the notion that 8 glasses is the right number. In fact, many experts think it’s little more than hogwash, especially considering a good deal of the water intake we need comes from the foods we eat, not just in a glass of water.
But does drinking water help dry skin? Until very recently, there was no research indicating that drinking any amount of water had any impact on skin. Then a study published in Clinical Cosmetic Investigative Dermatology demonstrated that drinking water did positively impact skin; however, it would take a lot more than 8 glasses to see benefit.
The study demonstrated that it would take just under a gallon of water (8 glasses = half a gallon) to realize a statistical improvement in your skin. It was a complex study with 49 participants, but it was still an interesting analysis on water consumption and skin. One study doesn’t prove you should start downing a gallon of water to watch your skin improve. Still, other than going to the bathroom more often there certainly isn’t anything wrong with it—especially if you’re choosing water over sugar-laden beverages.
Whatever quantity you decide to drink, it certainly won’t replace the skincare recommendations we strongly urge you to follow. Getting the best skin of your life definitely involves what you ingest but what you apply to its surface to keep it healthy-looking and hydrated can make all the difference in the world.
Myth #2: You can “repair” damaged hair.
The truth: Countless products, including hair masks and deep conditioners, make claims of repairing hair, as if all the dyeing, straightening, and brushing we do to it can be mended by using these types of products. The truth is hair is dead (which is why it doesn't hurt when you get a haircut) and it cannot be repaired in any way to revert back to the way it was. You can no more mend a hair strand than you can mend a dead leaf.
What can happen when you use good conditioners, styling products, and appropriate styling tools is that your damaged hair can temporarily feel smoother, softer, shinier, and healthy. But none of that means your hair has been repaired. If you don't keep using the products every time you wash your hair, it will go back to looking and feeling damaged. If a hair-care product could truly repair your hair, you'd need to use it only a few times and then you'd be done, young hair again, but clearly that isn't what happens!
Myth #3: You can diminish cellulite with a cream.
The truth: The 85% of women in the world who have cellulite would love it if this were true (all of us here at Paula's Choice would love it too), but, alas, it's just one more falsehood. The cosmetics industry, and lots of doctors and aestheticians, want to sell you products and services (especially expensive ones) claiming to slim, trim, tone, and de-bump your thighs, but if any of those worked, who would have cellulite?
Myth #4: One hero ingredient is all aging skin needs.
The truth: Many cosmetics companies want you to believe that one miracle ingredient can do it all. Everything from melon extract from the south of France, a plant oil from Morocco or some other exotic or high-tech sounding ingredient is supposed to be the answer depending on the story the particular company is espousing. The truth is that giving your skin what it needs to look younger and healthier is far more complex than any one ingredient could accomplish, no matter how special it happens to be.
Skin is the body's largest organ and it needs an array of beneficial ingredients to be nourished, look renewed, be radiant, stay healthy, and look rejuvenated. Looking for skincare products with one superstar ingredient cheats your skin of the range of ingredients it needs to look better. Think of it like your diet: Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, but if you only ate kale, you would become malnourished because it alone cannot provide everything the body needs to maintain itself and stay healthy.
For a well-balanced approach to skincare, check out some of our favorite products with a range of beneficial ingredients proven to help skin look and act younger.
Myth #5: You should avoid parabens.
The truth: The "parabens = bad" myth is so pervasive that many people have opted to take a better-safe-than-sorry approach. We can't say we blame you for being cautious given the alarming, scare-tactic, falsehoods running amok on the internet, but facts are facts and we always prefer you know the truth, not rumor-fueled misinformation. As it turns out, according to published research and global cosmetics regulatory organizations, from the United States and Canada to Europe and Asia, parabens, especially in the small amounts present in personal-care products, are not a problem. It’s that simple.
Although many cosmetics companies have opted to avoid parabens, those who continue to preserve their products with them are not making a mistake. Parabens are among the most effective (and safest) preservatives around!
The next time you come across a beauty tip or a claim that sounds too simple, too good to be true, or downright scary, you can always check with us to help you decipher fact from fiction.
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!