Beauty Tips
BY: Blair Smith

The Truth Behind Beauty Old Wives’ Tales

Setting the record straight on the most popular beauty rumors

Step aside, Mythbusters. I’m coming in hot with the cold, hard truths about some of the most pervasive beauty claims. While your grandmother might have had the good sense to reinforce daily moisturizing and drinking lots of water, you can’t always count on her for the most nuanced beauty intel. Don’t get me wrong—there’s a lot nana got right, but in this age of misinformation, I figured why not dig deeper to get the whole truth? Below, I’m breaking down the truths and myths that have had everyone scratching their heads for so long.

The claim: Cutting your hair will make it grow faster

The verdict: MYTH

The ends of your hair have absolutely no relationship to the follicles on your scalp. Whether you trim your strands or not, you can count on them to grow an average of one-fourth an inch per month. No more. No less. Regular trims might keep your hair from breaking or splitting as frequently and therefore appear longer, but your hair’s rate of growth is absolutely not impacted by a hair cut. For women with mid-to-long hair, we recommend a trim every two to three months.

The claim: Shaving makes hair grow back thicker

The verdict: MYTH

After shaving, hairs growing back might appear thicker and more stubbly—but in fact, they are not. All hair tapers off a bit at the ends, but when the blade of your razor hits the hair, it’s cutting it right at its thickest point. The hair then grows from its thickest point forward, appearing more like thick stubble. But, if you prefer not to deal with razors ever again, laser hair removal might be just the thing you need. It uses fast light pulses to selectively destroy hair follicles by targeting their melanin — this permanently reduces hair growth by up to 80% after a series of treatments. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it isn’t!

The claim: Drinking from a straw can worsen fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth

The verdict: TRUTH

Lately, straws have gotten a bad rap— and it’s not just because they are environmentally wasteful or dangerous to our turtle population! Much like smoking a cigarette, frequent straw use involves the repeated motion of pursing your lips. This helps encourage the breakdown of collagen and elasticity at a quicker speed, which results in more fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. Just say no to straws (and cigarettes and vape pens, too). But, if it’s a little too late, and you’d like help getting rid of those pesky lines, injectables like Botox and Juvéderm can help by targeting the underlying muscles that cause fine lines and wrinkles and restoring volume to the treated area. Pretty cool, right?

The claim: Crossing your legs can cause varicose veins

The verdict: MYTH

Varicose veins (aka enlarged veins that you can see through your skin) are not, in fact, caused by crossing your legs. They are caused by an increase in blood pressure for long periods of time, so while your standing desk might be good for you in some ways, it can certainly result in more varicose veins. This affliction is quite common in adults, affecting roughly 30% of people (although more common in women). The real guilty party: your genetics.

The claim: Mayonnaise is good for your hair

The verdict: TRUTH

Who knew that when Hellmann’s mayonnaise was talking about “bringing out the best,” what they really meant was your best hair? The eggs in mayo are heavy in protein, which strengthens hair, while the oil is a nearly perfect moisturizing agent. Not so interested in smelling like a BLT while nourishing your tresses? Mix in a little vanilla extract to cut through the mayonnaise’s smell.

Blair Smith is a lifestyle and beauty writer who currently resides (and will likely stay forever) in Brooklyn, New York.

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