Nix these useless beauty items from your routine to save time and money.
From wrinkle-reducing creams to color-enhancing shampoos, how do you know which potions perform miracles and which fall short?
Read on for expert advice on 10 products you should save your pennies on and how to really get more beauty bang for your buck.
(Photo: iStock)1. Toner
Women swipe this on their faces to get that tingly, tight, squeaky-clean feeling, but dermatologist Doris J. Day, MD, author of Forget the Facelift, says that toner is an unnecessary extra step in your daily routine.
Newer soaps don’t leave the residue that toner was invented to remove. “If toner makes you feel like you’re getting your makeup off, it’s fine to use it, but if you’re busy like most women, skip it,” says Dr. Day.
2. Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner
Can’t control the flakes? Over-the-counter hair products aren’t the solution, according to celebrity hairstylist, Hikari Tezuka. They can actually dry out your scalp, making dandruff worse.
If you suspect you have a medical condition like psoriasis or eczema, which tend to cause dandruff, speak with your doctor, otherwise, Tezuka recommends moisturizing your scalp the old-fashioned way: brushing your hair 100 times with a natural-bristle brush before you wash your hair. This redistributes natural oils, stimulates your scalp and aids skin shedding. And a brush costs a lot less than shampoo and conditioner that you’ll continually need to replenish.
3. Foot Creams
“In the age of Purel and chronic hand-washing, everyone needs a hand cream, and you likely already own one, so why buy a foot cream too?” asks Heidi Waldorf, MD, and Director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Or just use petroleum jelly. Slather it on a few times a week, put on socks and you’ll get smoother skin while you sleep. If that feels too greasy, Dr. Waldorf recommends a smoothing hand cream with humectants (they draw in water), like Dermatopics Intensive Hand Cream, sold at dermatologists’ offices.
(Photo: iStock)4. Body-Firming Lotions
While you may covet dimple-free skin for your upcoming vacation, don’t bother slapping on anti-cellulite lotion.
According to Dr. Day, none of these creams firm your body or reduce cellulite long-term. “If they did, I’d be first in line to buy them,” she says. Dr. Day explains that these products often contain caffeine to improve blood flow or plant extract to hydrate skin, which may temporarily work, but hitting the gym and eating right are more likely to help.
(Photo: iStock)5. Color-Enhancing Hair Care
No, you can’t boost your blondeness (or brunette-ness or redheaded-ness) with a bottle from the drugstore.
“The tone in color-enhancing shampoos and conditioners will not be a perfect match to your hair, and that can make your tresses brassier or more golden,” says celebrity hairstylist Nick Arrojo of Arrojo Studio in New York City. He adds that these shampoos have more additives than others and that they contain a temporary color stain that’s more detrimental than beneficial.
A better way to retain color: Shampoo less frequently and use dry shampoo on the off days—it soaks up excess oils without stripping color. “Think of it like dry-cleaning a red silk dress, as opposed to putting it in the wash,” says Arrojo.
Before shower gel existed, shaving cream served an important purpose: to soften hair follicles and help the razor slide, says Dr. Waldorf.
Since shower gels like Dove Body Wash contain a lot of glycerin, a humectant, they double as moisturizing soap and shaving cream. So kick out the cream to cut the clutter in your shower stall.
Some say applying these capsules directly to skin has anti-aging effects. But exposing these pills to light causes their time-reversing antioxidants to break down, says Dr. Day, rendering them useless. In fact, the preservative in the pills may irritate your face.
Find a cream with vitamin E instead. It contains the vitamin in a form that light doesn’t affect, so you’ll reap the beautifying benefits. -
(Photo: iStock)8. Split-End Eliminators
Unfortunately, split ends can’t be nixed with serums. Ends split at the top of the hair shaft and produce an electrical charge that worsens frizz. Serums may neutralize this static with temporary frizz-taming results, creating the illusion of smoother, shinier hair for a day or night.
“But there’s only one true cure: getting a haircut,” says Arrojo.
Wearing any number SPF is a good thing, but sky-high numbers can set you back big bucks. Dr. Waldorf says that SPF 70-plus gives people a false sense of security, and that 30 is sufficient if it has broad-spectrum protection (look for titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone or mexoryl in the active ingredients) and you’re applying it evenly and frequently.
Dr. Waldorf uses Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30 from Colorescience and recommends the SPF 30 over the 50. “The 30 is $10 less, and you may not use enough of the 50 if you’re spending more money on it,” she says.
Seems like a great idea—10 tiny drops each time you get an indulgent manicure. But “oil doesn’t stay put, and for damaged or split cuticles, creams and ointments stay on longer,” says Dr. Waldorf.
She suggests using an affordable brand from the drugstore, like Aquaphor or Vaseline, for the ultimate cuticle cure.
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