13 Bad Beauty Habits & How To Break Them

No one intentionally wants to mess up their skin, hair, or nails. And yet there's a long list of bad beauty habits that can mess up all three — leading to breakouts, thinning hair, and messed up nails. So it's totally worth taking the time to check in with your daily routine, your nervous ticks, and your dirty little eccentricities to see where you might be going wrong.

Figuring out which bad habits you've picked up over the years could finally answer some of your toughest beauty conundrums. Why's your hair falling out? Why is your chin always speckled with zits? Why is your skin always dry, despite slathering yourself in lotions and oils on the regular?

The problem, of course, isn't always just figuring out what the issue is, but also finding a way to fix it. For example, I am constantly biting my nails. I know it's gross, but it's become quite the engrained habit that I now can't stop. And all it takes is one look at my hands to realize I should never pay for a manicure ever again. Or, at least until I reign in my habit.

But never fear. These types of problems are fixable with a little bit of hard work, and a few tweaks to your routine. Below are some bad habits you may have adopted over the years, and what you can do about them, to once again have healthy skin, hair, and nails.

1. Keeping Your Makeup Forever

I know, I know — you really love that frosty lipgloss from middle school. They just don't make that color anymore, and the look is kind of coming back in style, so therefore you can't throw it out. But think about the decade's worth of germs inside the bottle. Not to mention the fact makeup breaks down over time, and can start to smell. Do you really want to smear that on your face?

How To Break It

Keep in mind how long makeup lasts, and toss it after the expiration date, no matter how much it hurts. According to Sophia Panych on Allure, you should replace mascara every two to three months, foundation every six months to a year, and lipstick every year. But toss all three immediately if they smell bad, or irritate your skin.

2. Going To Town On Your Zits

Oh, how tempting it is to spend the evening inspecting your skin for zits and blackheads to squeeze. It's OK to do occasionally, if you pop the zits correctly. Yet we all know a quick peak in the mirror can quickly get out of hand, leading to red, inflamed skin — and monster pimples like you've never seen before.

How To Break It

Start by not staring the mirror. Wash your face, and be done with the bathroom for the night. If that's not enough motivation, remember that picking can cause scarring. "When you pick at your face, the damage can cause the tissue to die and leave a depressed scar," noted Jill Lee on Livestrong.com. So hands off.

3. Styling Your Hair Within An Inch Of Its Life

If you've adopted a beauty routine that involves blow drying and flat ironing every single day, it may be time to give your hair a rest. According to Janelle M. Hickman on StyleCaster.com, excessive heat damage can take a toll on your hair leaving behind lackluster curls, fried ends, and parched strands. Not good.

How To Break It

Accept that you'll have to wear a pony tail, braid, or bun at least once a week to give your hair a break from styling. Or, apply a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week to put some nutrients back in your hair, according to StyleCaster.com.

4. Sleeping In Your Makeup

Falling asleep with your makeup on every once in a while isn't the end of the world. Doing so night after night, however, can lead to clogged pores, acne, and an unnecessary exposure to free radicals from the makeup trapping pollution against the skin, according to Simone Kitchens on HuffingtonPost.com. It's way better to wash your face, and let your skin breathe during the night.

How To Break It

If you know deep down you're too tired (or lazy) to wash your face every night, then keep some cleansing cloths by your bed. Simply wipe off your makeup, and then pass out — no cold water, or scrubbing, required.

5. Skimping On The Sunscreen

I've known about the importance of sunscreen for what, twenty years now? And yet I still prance around outside sans SPF, hat, or sunglasses. While that's OK to do sometimes, it really is a bad habit to get into. "Over the years, too much time outdoors can put you at risk for wrinkles, age spots, scaly patches called actinic keratosis, and skin cancer," noted an article on WebMD.com. Definitely not worth it.

How To Break It

Keep a bottle of sunscreen by your front door so you remember to smear some on before leaving the house. Or, look for makeup that has SPF built in, according to Mackenzie Wagoner on Vogue, so you can more easily incorporate it into your morning routine.

6. Gnawing On Your Nails & Cuticles

Biting your nails is so so bad, and yet it's so incredibly (weirdly?) enjoyable. And yet, it leads to ragged nails, peeling cuticles, and chipped, half-eaten manicures. Sad.

How To Break It

Stress is the most likely culprit that leads to nail biting, according to WebMD. So figure out a way to deal with your anxiety, such as with yoga or meditation. Or, make the habit a little less appealing. Apply a bitter-tasting nail polish, keep your nails trimmed short, or drop some cash on an expensive manicure so you won't want to bite.

7. Slouching Your Way Through The Day

I don't know about you, but I have absolutely horrible posture. Whenever I catch a glimpse of my reflection, or see a photo of myself, I'm always slumped over — and it doesn't look great. According to the staff at Harper's Bazaar, slouching also puts a burden on your back muscles, which can lead to totally unnecessary pain and agony. In short, standing up straight is clearly the better choice.

How To Break It

Set a timer on your phone to go off every 15 minutes. Then, check in with your slouchiness. After a while, you'll remember automatically to stand up straight, and put those shoulders back. Take it from me, you'll feel much better as a result.

8. Not Washing Your Pillow Case

Forgetting to wash your pillow case is a classic gross habit, and one that can lead to problem skin. According to Kristin Booker on SELF, it's all due to excess dirt, oil, and makeup accumulating in the pillow case, leading to clogged pores, and eventually breakouts.

How To Break It

Follow tip number four, and remember to wash your face at night. It'll keep your pillow case from getting too dirty, too quickly. Oh, and actually wash your pillow case once a week. Your skin will thank you.

9. Playing With Your Hair

Again, I'm totally guilty of this one. When I had longer hair, I found myself searching for split ends, and constantly picking at what I found. Now that my hair is shorter, however, I can't pick, but I still twirl it when I'm bored. Besides making hair oily and damaged, this habit can lead to hair loss over time, according to Harper's Bazaar, since playing with the strands often causes them to fall out. Yikes.

How To Break It

If you find yourself twirling your hair, look for a relaxation techniques (much like you'd do to stop nail biting.) Or, sit on your hands when you're waiting somewhere — like the subway, or the doctor's office — to prevent yourself from fiddling out of boredom.

10. Taking Ridiculously Hot Showers

I know, it feels so good to luxuriate in a hot shower. But hot water can strip your skin of moisture, leaving it feeling tight and dry, according to WebMD. Cue flaky skin, and hours spent excessively applying moisturizer.

How To Break It

Start getting used to cooler showers. Warm is OK, just not boiling hot. And limit yourself to five to ten minutes, only once a day, as suggested by WebMD.

11. Peeling Off Gel Manicures

Gel manicures are obviously good about not chipping. I mean, that's the whole point, right? They do, however, lend themselves to peeling, since the gel is thicker than a regular manicure, according to Rachel Adler on Refinery29.com. Once the nail starts to grow out, it's hard to resist peeling the gel off yourself. "That is, in fact, the worst thing you can do to your nails, as it peels off the top layer of your nail right along with it," Adler said.

How To Break It

If you know you're the type to pick at chipped polish, do yourself a favor and get the gel professional moved well ahead of time. Most nail salons will remove it for free, so you really have no excuse.

12. Going Overboard With The Scrubs

You may feel like you're doing a good thing by using a daily face scrub. But exfoliating too often can actually do more harm than good. As Jennifer Sams said on the beauty blog DivineCaroline.com, "... too much scrubbing can leave your face red and even create little whiteheads deep under the skin that won’t go away."

How To Break It

Even thought it feels so good to slough off dead skin, limit your scrubbing and exfoliating to once or twice a week. If you must wash vigorously on a daily basis, stick to a wash cloth, suggested Chelsea Peng on Marie Claire. Just make sure it's clean, to prevent smearing bacteria all over your skin.

13. Not Washing Your Makeup Brushes

Much like pillow cases, makeup brushes can go on for weeks (sometimes months) without any love. And as you may have guessed, this can lead to a build up of bacteria that won't do your skin any favors.

How To Break It

Put your foot down, and tell yourself you'll wash those brushes at least once a week. "To make the task easier, invest in a spray cleaner or a brush mat ... and the weekly cleanings will be done in no time," Adler said.

Now that you know how you're accidentally undermining your beauty routine, you can start working on breaking all those bad habits. It may take a while to change your ways, but getting healthier skin, hair, and nails will be totally worth the effort.

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