It’s out with the old and in with the new. We’re not just talking about your beauty products — more importantly, we’re zooming in on your bad beauty habits too. Ahead, we ask the skincare pros and beauty insiders about the various faux pas and common mistakes that should not be committed in 2021.
“In recent years, and in 2020 in particular, consumers in the beauty community have become more and more passionate, educated, and informed on ingredients in their products.
However, there is a common misconception that ingredient percentages determine the efficacy of a product, and that could not be more untrue. It is important to first contextualise the overall formula because percentages do not tell the whole story including quality, the extraction process, source of the ingredient and where it is derived from.
All skincare ingredients are not created equal. The balance of ingredient percentages is key because it determines how they synergise with each other and makes sure that they do not cancel each other out – especially when paired with other products.
However, although some information is kept proprietary to protect brands and the years of research and development, you can always check the ingredients list, which is always legally labelled from greatest to least concentrated, up to one per cent.”
“I feel that one of the greatest misconceptions about beauty is that it is all about whatever you apply on your skin and the treatments you can do externally. All that is valid and in dermatology, we advocate the use of cosmeceutical skincare products and also effective aesthetic treatments such as lasers and IPL. These all work at different levels of the skin and there is definitely an effect.
However, you have to understand that ageing occurs due to a combination of environmental or biological factors. We are not fully able to control the biological ageing aspect but our lifestyle – like lack of sleep, the disruption of the circadian rhythm and a poor diet – is a very significant factor in the ageing concept.
Foods that are beneficial to us are those with high antioxidant content and these tend to be highest in colourful fruits and vegetables. I think that neglecting these lifestyle factors and nutritional aspects is really quite foolish.
I believe that someone who is living a healthy lifestyle (HITT exercises have been shown to be effective in combating the ageing process) and a balanced dietary intervention will certainly improve his or her body function. Thus, I feel that the biggest mistake is not understanding that all these lifestyle factors play a very big role.
Also, we have to bear in mind that when one product claims to do everything, it is likely going to contain a lot of different ingredients. Having more ingredients in a skincare product does not make it more effective – if you are going to put more active ingredients in a single product, each active ingredient will be very diluted.”
“It is very easy to pick the wrong shade of foundation that does not suit our undertone, causing our complexion to look dull, washed out or grey. Try watching a few YouTube videos to better understand your undertones and look out for warm, neutral or cool foundations accordingly.
You can use online tools such as the Temptalia foundation matrix to find the correct match even before you go to the store. This is especially handy since we are unable to use testers now.”
“The first beauty mistake would be not applying sunscreen when working from home. A broad-spectrum SPF50+ sunscreen should be applied every morning, even when we are staying indoors as UVA rays are able to penetrate through glass windows.
Next, do not practise bad face mask hygiene that causes ‘maskne’. The increased heat and humidity under the face mask encourage the growth of p. acnes bacteria on our skin, causing acne on the cheeks, chin and jawline.
Ideally, a reusable face mask should be washed after each use. Softer and more porous fabrics such as silk and satin masks are less irritating for sensitive skin. Applying a lightweight oil-free moisturiser on areas of high friction, such as the nose bridge and jawline, helps to prevention abrasion and maskne.
Lastly, I believe many of us have been neglecting skincare for the chest and back areas. Such practices include not exfoliating regularly, not showering immediately after exercise and seeking treatment for back acne late.
Exfoliate the chest and back two to three times a week, and shower immediately after exercising. Avoid picking at blemishes on the back as they can lead to keloid scars. Seek medical treatment for back acne early as it usually responds quickly to antibiotic and anti-fungal treatment.”
“One of the common beauty mistakes of Asian women is the fact that they simply follow the hype on products raved about on social media. While I understand that some of these products are worth the hype, they may not necessarily be ideal for Singapore’s climate. I think Asian women should pay more attention to what their skin needs rather than what’s been raved about.
Perhaps they should understand their skin better and what their skin requires depending on the environment they’re in. For example, in a tropical climate like Singapore, lightweight products that are less intensive on the skin may be more suitable whereas in winter, drier climates, deeply nourishing products may be ideal.”
“Many of the common beauty mistakes specific to 2020 are really in relation to the specific lifestyle changes we have made this year in response to dealing with Covid-19.
A major change would be the daily use of face masks, and I believe it has taken us quite a while to adjust to the changes that daily mask-wearing has led to with regards to skincare and makeup.
Wearing the wrong lipstick underneath a mask is probably one common beauty mistake I notice during this period of time. Wearing bright, shimmering or luscious red lipsticks do not work as well underneath a mask.
A better choice would be using a lipstick formula with a sheen instead of a heavy shimmer, more nude-coloured lipsticks, and of course using long-lasting lipsticks. A better idea is to always have a spare mask with you. After all, masks get stained or dirty with makeup and lipstick, and regular mask-changes are better for your skin.
With mask-wearing being so prevalent, maskne and other sorts of occlusive dermatitis aggravated by frequent, long-hours of mask-wearing have become the new norm. A common mistake is to use richer, more occlusive products in the day when mask-wearing occurs, as this tends to lead to more trapping within the pilosebaceous glands, which leads to an aggravation of acne especially in the areas that are typically covered by the mask. Instead, apply lightweight, non-comedogenic products such as gel-based moisturisers as this will minimise the risk of maskne.
Finally, do not forget to wear sunscreen to avoid getting an uneven tan line over the face. Apply one that has at least SPF 30 across your entire face. If you are still worried about the Singapore sun causing an uneven tan across your face, wear a hat or visor to keep your face in the shade.”
“Wearing a mask has been incredibly tough on my skin. I found that exfoliating every three days and moisturising every day has really helped my skin. The mistake in this is how easy it is to not keep to that routine and keep myself from stopping when my skin gets better.
Another mistake I realise is that we do not tend to give our products the time to work on our skin and we end up switching products frequently. This caused my complexion to break out.”
“I believe this year, many Asian women chose to follow trends and while there is nothing wrong with that, it is important to know how these will affect our skin.
With skincare, there is no one size fits all. All of us have different skin types, lifestyles, diets and even live in different climates, which is why it is crucial to understand that what works for others may not necessarily work for you.
Next, I believe a common beauty mistake is the use of makeup wipes. Not only are they bad for the environment, but they are also bad for your skin too. Though it is a convenient way to remove makeup, it damages the skin since they are rough. It is almost like an exfoliator for your skin – you would not want to be overdoing it. Also, never replace a makeup wipe with a face cleanser.”
This article was first published in Female.