Beauty and the Beast: Is Your Beauty Routine Doing More Harm Than Good?

Have you ever been blissfully happy if not slightly smug about your beauty routine, only to have it smashed to pieces by an article that banishes your beliefs?

Hopefully this is not that article! My aim is not to tell you what you are doing wrong (hey, I buy an average of 4 eye creams a year but do I use them? Nope) but share with you my “uh oh” moments where I realized just what was described above.

The Pouf

Exfoliation is great for the skin; sloughing off dead cells makes room for the shiny new ones. One issue that many people don’t realize is how much bacteria and MOLD your loofah breeds. Just think…if you have never disinfected it, you are literally scrubbing your body with nastiness. No amount of Bath & Body Works Sea Island Cotton Shower Gel can counteract THAT.

Solution? Zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds! Also, make sure to take it out of the shower and hang it on a hook after each session. The air in the stall is stale and bacteria love to grow in dark, damp places.

The Suds

I have the most delicious-scented shampoo. Every time I use it, I love the scent it releases throughout the day. Here’s the problem- it does dry out my hair a bit even though it is a “moisturizing” shampoo. Being a bottle blonde (ahem…at least I was a blonde when I was six), I suffer from low moisture locks. The culprit? Sodium Laurel Sulfate.

SLS is a foaming agent…the stuff that makes the suds. If you recall from high school chem, sodium is salt…and if you have ever swam in the ocean, you know that salt totally dries out every cell of your body. I won’t freak you out and list the health hazards this ingredient poses (since a- almost every shampoo contains it and b- really, do you need more to worry about?) but I will let you know there are affordable shampoos out there that don’t contain this ingredient.

L’OREAL EverPure Sulfate-Free Hair Care- Shampoo & Conditioner $5.99 each @ Target

The Skin

Again, exfoliation isn’t the enemy, it is how you exfoliate and which products you use. The skin on your face is pretty thin, exposed to the elements on a daily basis, and is often sensitive. I used the St. Ives Apricot Scrub all through middle school, high school, right on up until a few years ago.

I took a close look at the chunks in the scrub and noticed that they were actually jagged pieces of walnut shells. I switched to a daily exfoliating scrub with microbeads as well as a weekly microdermabrasion kit.

Olay ProX Advanced Cleansing System- $22 @
Mary Kay Microdermabrasion Kit- $55 @

Any other health hazards in the beauty routine you would like to share? Would love to hear from you!