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We all consume skincare content on attention-grabbing video platforms like TikTok and Instagram like a naughty bag of sweets; we know it's not the best thing for us, but it's fun! In terms of content; there are often a lot of kooky faces and gimmicky products overtaking skincare information, which isn't harmful as such, but on the flipside there are definitely some bad habits you could pick up from these videos too! I'm not trying to call anyone in particular out (I wouldn't be surprised if I'd done some of these at some point), I'm just talking about general trends I see from dozens of creators, and why they might not be great for your skin. I'm sure some of it is just done for effect in videos, but it's important to know what not to try at home...
I don't know if it's because it looks somehow 'better' to people, but everyone in these videos seems to not only touch the dropper dispensing the product to their face but positively wipe it across their skin! Obviously for myself and many others doing this 'influencing' thing; we know how to place a product close to the skin without actually making contact with it, however if you're wiping a dropper across your skin, it's pretty clear that's not what you're doing! The reason you don't just stick your fingers into a serum is because that would contaminate the product with whatever bacteria is lurking on your hands. You can argue that as long as your face or your hands are clean, it's not an issue, but there's honestly so much bacteria (both good and bad) on the skin that it isn't worth risking it! For example, if you have a little whitehead and the dropper comes into contact with it whilst you're doing this, then you stick that back in your serum; all the bacteria is going right in there with it, where it will procreate and probably make you break out again and again as you continue to use the product. In the very least it'll cause the product to expire more quickly, which is annoying when you've spent your hard-earned cash on it.
Over-exfoliationI feel as though, even in a short video with no words, as influencers there's a bit of a responsibility to use products safely and ensure critical information is included in our videos or posts. Whilst it's not practical to do some long disclaimer every time you post anything and a degree of consumer common sense has to apply; it's important to recognise that people might copy how you use a product. I'm talking specifically about the Ordinary's AHA 20% & BHA 2% Peeling Solution | £6.30 | full review | which is a fantastic treatment for a once-weekly intense chemical exfoliation, if you don't have compromised skin and have done a patch-test. However there are people on TikTok in-particular (I guess lured in by the 'cool-looking' red blood-like consistency of the product and its affordable price for young teens) who are telling you to use it every day or leave it on for way too long. This is an advanced-level exfoliator and unless you've been using acids for a while, it's really a no-go. There are also lots of creators telling their fans to use a chemical exfoliation toner every day with no mention of sunscreen. Do not do any of these things! Most people only need to use a mild chemical toner about three times a week or if you choose to go for something stronger, once a week. And this should always be followed by sunscreen, or you risk causing serious damage to your skin.
Wiping off the serum sheet masks / eye patchesI think this one is possibly because sheet masks are called 'masks', people maybe don't realise that they're just concentrated serums. You should only leave them on for as long as the instructions say and not let them dry out on your skin, however if you're going to cleanse afterwards; there's honestly no point. If you want to use eye patches with a wash-off mask to save time then apply the eye patches, put the mask on (leaving a good amount of space around the patches), wait 10 minutes (or however long you're supposed to) and then remove the mask first using a damp cloth, apply your toner or face mist and then take off the patches, tapping the excess serum into the skin. However don't wipe away the product because it's designed to be left on the skin and needs this time to really work.
Getting your incredibly-long nails into the productThis one really squicks me out, again because it's a hygiene issue. Long nails aren't the cleanest thing in the world in general, but in particular when it comes to skincare, ideally you should use a scoop that can be washed and won't contaminate your product.We probably shouldn't be sticking our fingers in at all but I'm sure we've all done it occasionally. I just think that if you have very long acrylics; maybe you should just avoid it all together. I guess using the front of the nail to get the product out is a little better, but still...!
Over-applying productI actually think this is more of a 'getting PR' thing than anything else; it probably does make you apply things more carelessly and liberally than you otherwise would. I often do this; sometimes a product is almost done and I just want to finish it! However, if you're buying your products yourself and want to get the most out of them; you really don't need to slather on loads! A 20p-sized amount of moisturiser is plenty, around a brazil nut quantity of cleanser is fine, a dab of eye cream, two drops of an oil, three of a serum and so on...
D.I.Y.Unless you're a cosmetic chemist; mixing your own skincare together probably isn't the best thing to do! Some of these 'recipes' are pretty harmless (putting straight avocado or strawberries on your face probably isn't going to deliver their potential benefits to the skin in the most efficient manner, but it's a bit of fun, really), but others could seriously harm your skin. On the dangerous end we have D.I.Y.s involving apple cider vinegar (which is incredibly acidic) and using coffee grounds as a face scrub (they're far too rough and also have an uneven texture that will over-exfoliate some parts of your face whilst others are left still dry and uneven).
Applying mist at the 'wrong' part of your routineI've honestly seen face mists at every step in the skincare routine you can imagine during videos! I sometimes think this one is a bit unfair, because I quite often will re-mist my face during a skincare routine to keep my skin damp and ensure ingredients like hyaluronic acid work at their best. However, a face mist is effectively a toner in a spray bottle, so it should be applied directly after cleansing, otherwise it's probably not going to get into the skin through whatever moisturiser you've used. However, I wonder if some people do it at the end of their routine as a sort of priming step, to help with makeup application; so if this works for you then keep doing what you're doing! This one isn't going to harm your skin, it's just if you've spent a lot of money on an expensive face mist, you will probably want to ensure the ingredients are being absorbed into the skin.
Ripping off false eyelashesIdeally, false lashes should be removed with an oil-based cleanser, but I guess some people don't do this because it can ruin the lashes and many people like to re-use them. However ripping them off isn't going to do your natural lashes any favours; instead you could take a cotton wool bud, dip it in an oil-based cleansing balm and use it to gently ease the glue off the lashes without damaging them.
Only using face wipes as a cleanseFace wipes tug on the skin, can contain drying preservatives and, worst of all, just don't work very well! I honestly find them so inefficient and ineffective for removing makeup; I just don't get it (unless it's some sort of travel or drunken emergency...) I always recommend a double cleanse as the quickest way of removing makeup, as well as the most thorough option. I go in with an oil-based cleanser like the REN Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser* | £25 | full review | to lift makeup (splash with water to emulsify and then use a damp cloth to wipe it away) and then a cream or foaming formula like the Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser | £27 | full review | to totally clean the skin underneath. If you prefer using something like a micellar water, instead of pulling the skin around the eyes, you should soak a cotton wool pad in the product and just hold it over your eye for a few seconds so it can break down the makeup.
Overall, it's honestly everyone's right to have room to learn and grow when it comes to beauty, it's just that if you have a platform, it's important to be careful about and mindful of what you show to the world. Trying to spread skincare education might not get you the attention-grabbing-thumbnail clicks, but I personally think it's so important! I hope my explanation of some of these mistakes were helpful to at least a few of you and my alternative suggestions come in handy.
What are your pet peeve skincare mistakes on social media?