Do NOT Try These Beauty Hacks — Ever!

By now you're well aware that any information gleaned on the internet should be taken with a very, very large grain of salt. That maxim is especially true when it comes to beauty (here's looking at you, Pinterest). For reasons unbeknownst to us, the rise in makeup and skin hacks popping up on YouTube and Instagram doesn't seem to have an apex. We're all about a clever solution or a money-saving tip, but this stuff? Not so much.

In order to sort out the good from the no-definitely-don't-do-that, we consulted the experts, who gave us the plain and simple truth. That way, next time you come across a video recommending you smear diaper-rash cream on your face, you'll think twice.

Ed. note: A previous version of this story attributed these skin-care myths to specific people, when they are, in fact, commonly believed and practiced. It was not our intention to target anyone or their individual skin-care practices personally, but to inform our readers of potentially harmful advice and to offer some alternatives that are medically sound. We regret that publishing names took away from that message, which is why they have now been deleted.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Limes In Place Of Deodorant
The idea of rubbing a lime under your pits is zesty and earth-friendly, right? But Joshua Zeichner, MD, says it could quickly take a turn for the worse (lime is acidic, after all). "Limes can cause skin irritation and red, burning, scalding rashes," he tells us. Even a splash of the highly sun-reactive citrus from a poolside margarita could be majorly bad news.

Try Instead: Regular deodorant is your best bet (here are some options, including a more natural alternative). But you can also use a cleansing towelette and a mist of fragrance if you're in a pinch, he says.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Using Mouthwash To Combat Dandruff
Another hack on the nope scale, some claim that the ingredients in a product like Listerine (menthol, thymol, eucalyptol, and methyl salicylate), are prime for banishing tiny, white flakes. Not so, Manhattan dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD, says.

"There is no scientific data to support this. Dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of yeast and is often accompanied by a compromised skin barrier,” she says. “I'd worry that use of a strong alcohol-based mouthwash could further disrupt the scalp's skin barrier, only exacerbating the problem.” She adds that the solution could also alter color-treated hair.

Try Instead: Sometimes, it's best not to mess with a good thing. "The most effective way to combat dandruff is with a clinically proven zinc pyrithione shampoo-and-conditioner regimen," Dr. Fusco recommends. You can get started here.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Using A Stiletto, Knife, Or Plunger To Contour
The list for why this is a bad idea is pretty lengthy, but at the tippy-top is the unsanitary and dangerous nature of these "tools."

Try Instead: Literally anything else with a straight line. Here are some obvious suggestions: A piece of paper, ruler, pencil, book, notebook, credit card...should we keep going?
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Deodorant To Combat Shine
"Not a good idea!" warns Dr. Zeichner. "Antiperspirants work by blocking your sweat glands from producing wetness, but they don't do anything for oil-producing cells." If you tend to get a really sweaty face, a transparent antiperspirant is a fine idea — with the asterisk that it can congest pores and cause potential breakouts.

Try Instead: For shine, try an oil-absorbing primer (this one comes formulated with SPF for good measure). And to prove that we're not above all hacks, here are some blotting items you probably already have handy (cough, rolling papers, cough).
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Diaper-Rash Cream For Breakouts
While Dr. Zeichner says diaper-rash cream can help soothe and calm inflamed skin (and can mellow an angry pimple), it's not something you should be smearing all over your face. For already sensitive, acne-prone, and oily skin, a pore-plugging ingredient like zinc oxide (often found in diaper-rash creams) can trigger further breakouts.

Try Instead: "Look for an acne product with benzoyl peroxide that fights acne-causing bacteria," Dr. Zeichner recommends. Neutrogena's Stubborn Acne Leave-on Mask is great for an all-over situation, while Clearasil's Acne Treatment is good to dab on specific spots.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Using Onions To Speed Up Eyebrow Growth
"Onions are rich in sulfur, which may help kill bacteria and yeast on the skin, to help improve dandruff, but [this] likely does little to regrow hair," says Dr. Zeichner. Is anyone else not that sad to keep onions away from their eyes?

Try Instead: Rather than risking a tear-stricken face in the hopes of bushier brows, Dr. Zeichner says to reach for topical minoxidil. We're also fans of Province Apothecary's brow serum, which includes botanicals like castor, argan, and jojoba oils, and is formulated to stimulate hair growth while also deepening hair color (with the help of coffee).
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Garlic For Pimples
Because pimples are like vampires? Another no-no, according to Dr. Zeichner. "Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the size of a single, big pimple," he says. "But, it will leave you smelling like an Italian restaurant." Basically, file this one under not dangerous, but also not so pleasant.

Try Instead: "It's not as memorable, but a dab of a 1% over-the-counter cortisone cream is pretty effective," he says.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Cornstarch For Baking
If you're not privy, baking is a technique popularized by YouTube vloggers to set your base makeup, create a poreless finish, and accent the high points of the face. Sounds harmless (though time-consuming) enough, right? But things took a turn for the weird when one YouTuber recommended using cornstarch in place of regular ol' powder.

According to an article from Cosmo, you definitely don't want to go down that road. "I would not recommend cornstarch on the face," Doris Day, MD, tells the outlet. "It's food for yeast that live on the skin."

Try Instead: Leave the cornstarch in your cupboard and pick up a setting powder instead. If you're in a cash crunch, Dr. Day says a light-colored eyeshadow could work to set concealer.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
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