03/20/2012 09:14 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Busted! The Truth About 10 Beauty Myths


Do you follow a beauty or skincare routine simply because you've always done it that way?

Many of us base our daily regimes on years of habit, often stemming from information gathered way back when we were kids. Our mother, our aunt, our best friend or some kid in science class told us a pearl of beauty wisdom and we accepted it as the truth: "Don't wash your hair every day" or "Keep perfume in the fridge," or "Use toothpaste to get rid of zits." But how many of these beauty adages are actually true?

Here are 10 that leave something to be desired in the accuracy department:

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10 Beauty Myths

Myth #1: Keeping perfume in the fridge will help it last longer

It's true that your favourite scents can be affected by too much heat or fluctuations in temperature. For this reason, it is a good idea to keep perfume or cologne in a cool, dry place. However, your fridge is not the best location. Taking perfume in and out of the fridge on a regular basis will certainly cause temperature fluctuations, and the scent of your perfume could transfer to your food. And who wants Eggs a la Chanel No. 5 for breakfast?

Myth #2: Toothpaste is good for treating acne

Sure, a dab of toothpaste may absorb oil and dry out a pimple. However, you are probably better off keeping the paste on your toothbrush. Your cool, minty dentifrice could cause irritation or even burning on your face, especially if you have sensitive skin. You could also end up with a dry, flaky patch where you had a pimple before, not necessarily a more desirable outcome. Keep your pimple-fighting simple: Clean skin, a bit of zit cream and patience.

Myth #3: Cucumbers reduce eye puffiness

We've all seen the images of a woman wearing a towel turban with a cucumber slice on each eye. But are a couple of cuke slices the key to faking a fabulous night's sleep? Indeed, they might take some of the puffiness away, but it's not the cucumber that did it - it's the cold. You could get just as effective a result by soaking some cotton pads in water and placing them on your eyes (the cold constricts blood vessel s and reduces swelling). Save the cucumbers for the salad.

Myth #4: You should wash your hair every day

Washing your hair too much can strip the hair of the natural oils that make it shiny and soft. As well, washing every day will fade that awesome dye job you spent so much money on. Unless you have very oily hair, try to wash your hair every other day. If skipping a day makes you feel like your hair lacks a bit of panache, try out a dry shampoo. It will absorb some of the oil and give your hair the volume you're looking for.

Myth #5: Don't rub your wrists when you apply perfume, it will crush the scent's molecules

There is something to this one. On the one hand, rubbing your wrists together won't "crush the molecules," as some people might have you believe. Molecules are way too small for your puny wrist muscles to have any effect on them. However, rubbing your wrists together may generate heat. This could cause the perfume to evaporate more quickly than it would normally, and cause the scent to smell differently than it would normally.

Myth #6: Cocoa butter will prevent or reduce stretch marks

Slather creams, oils, body butters on your tummy and hips all you want - they may feel nice and make your skin soft, but unfortunately they won't prevent stretch marks or make them go away. It probably has more to do with genetics than how much cream you use, so if your mom and your mom's mom got 'em, odds are you will too.

Myth #7: Products can make your pores smaller

Don't believe the hype! Pore size is genetic. You may find a product that will temporarily make your pores seem less prominent, but there's no way to reduce their size permanently using a cream or moisturizer. Instead of raging against the machine, embrace your face the way it is - what's the size of your pores got to do with anything anyway? If you'd really like some coverage, try using a smoothing primer under your foundation, or a lighter weekend look, try a moisturizer or one of the new BB creams.

Myth #8: Popping a zit is the best way to get rid of it

When a zit is staring back at you in the mirror, the first instinct is to squeeze that little jerk right into oblivion. However, popping a pimple may make you feel better, but it could actually cause zits to stick around longer. Squeezing a blemish can cause the pus to spread out under your skin, causing more inflammation. This, in turn, can create more pimples in the long run.

Myth #9: You can catch up on your beauty sleep on the weekend

If you're one of the many Canadians who gets too little sleep on a regular basis (you should be getting about eight hours every night, in case you're wondering), you've probably told yourself this one - I'll just sleep like crazy on the weekend and catch up on what I lost. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. The effects of sleep loss aren't magically erased when you oversleep on the weekends, and that includes the negative impact on your skin. Lack of sleep can cause an increase in stress hormones, which can impede collagen production.

Myth #10: Acne is caused by eating greasy food

Not true. Acne is caused by too much sebum production, which clogs pores. Excess sebum production can result from hormones, pollution, stress and bacteria, but not from consuming a lot of greasy junk food. However, there is evidence that fluctuations in sugar levels (caused by sugar bingeing) can cause hormonal changes, which can result in increased sebum production. So it's probably a good idea to keep your diet on the healthy side (and not just for your skin!).