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10 Common Beauty Mistakes You Might Be Making

We all make mistakes—and occasionally, we make the same mistakes over and over again without registering that they’re mistakes in the first place. We’re the first to admit when we’ve made a beauty blunder, which is why we’ve rounded up the 10 most common beauty mistakes to spare you from having the same slip-up time and time again. We’ve learned from experience.

1. You’re over-exfoliating. Exfoliation helps skin layers turn over faster, which can make your complexion look younger and more glowing, but too much exfoliation messes with the skin’s barrier, causing it to lose moisture and even be more susceptible to redness and acne. It’s easy to overdo it when you’re using a mechanical exfoliant, such as a scrub or washcloth. Instead, opt for a weekly gentle-strength chemical exfoliant or peel, which loosens dead skin cells using an acid (glycolic, salicylic, lactic) or enzyme. Always moisturize and use sunscreen after exfoliating, and avoid scrubs made with particles such as seeds or crushed shells; these exfoliants have jagged edges that create microscopic tears in the skin.

2. You’re neglecting your neck. Our necks are exposed to the same aging effects as our faces—the skin there is similarly sensitive and sees sunlight almost year-round (turtlenecks notwithstanding). When applying your moisturizer and SPF, don’t stop at the jawline.

3. You’re using the wrong cleanser. Does your skin have a squeaky-clean feeling after you splash away your face wash? You may be overdrying your complexion by stripping away its natural moisture. Only the oiliest skin types should use foaming cleansers or washes with scrubbing beads. If your skin is dry (and most of us get drier as we age), choose a moisturizing cream cleanser. Combination skin can handle a little bit of lather, but opt for a gentle formula that won’t irritate dry patches.

4. You’re washing with hot water. Whether you’re showering in it, splashing it on your face, or rinsing your hands with it, hot water strips your skin of its natural oils and leaves it parched. Rinse with warm or cool water instead.

5. You’re using mineral oil-based moisturizers. Lip balms and moisturizers made with mineral oil or petrolatum don’t get absorbed; instead they create an occlusive barrier on skin’s surface. This helps trap moisture in, but doesn’t hydrate skin that’s already parched. Instead, try a product with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or even an oil, all of which penetrate skin to moisturize beyond the surface.

6. You’re not tending to your skin type. Don’t just settle for any old cleansing, toning, and moisturizing routine—addressing your specific skin type and concerns is a must, because using the wrong products for your skin can exacerbate the problems you already have. Pay close attention to what you’re buying, and really choose your products carefully rather than sticking to that same so-so cleanser you’ve been snagging at the CVS checkout counter for years.

7. You’re washing your face too frequently. Once in the morning, once at night may even be too much for some people, and forget about any more than that. Unless you’re working out, there’s no reason to wash your face with the full-on cleanser and water routine more than once a day, in the evening. It’s super important to get rid of makeup and the day’s grime each night, but in the morning, your skin is fresh from a night of sleep, not dirty. Splash with water and follow with moisturizer instead, or use a micellar water for an extra clean feeling.

8. You’re drying out your skin with too many acne treatments. Over-treating is very real, and bringing out the big guns on breakouts isn’t always the best thing for your skin. Acne-fighting ingredients are intended to dry out blemishes, but using too much or using them too frequently can cause the opposite reaction and dry skin out to the point that it begins to overproduce oil. Limit yourself to one application in the morning beneath makeup and one at night, and stick to one treatment rather than layering or experimenting.

9. You’re trying to scrub away pimples. It can be tempting to try and buff away raised breakouts, but you’ll only wear away the top layer of the skin, resulting in more breakouts. It’s a vicious cycle, so treat your skin gently.

10. You’re washing your face without removing makeup. Some cleansers are meant for makeup removal as well as deep cleansing, but others are meant to cleanse the skin after you’ve removed your makeup. Using a makeup remover first ensures your cleanest skin possible, as you’re less likely to leave residue behind—and you’ll avoid rubbing makeup further into your pores as you cleanse.

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