In October I asked a few questions around beauty myths and found the answers. It’s time for another round of such questions. If you’ve got a question for future posts – let me know. Let’s all learn together.

This time we look at spot squeezing, hair washing, homemade versus store bought face masks, and teeth whitening – because we all know those teeth whitening toothpastes do jack shit.

Should I squeeze my spots?

This one puzzles me. I know that you shouldn’t – because any squeeze action only damages the skin and surrounding area – often making the spot (mark) last longer than normal and sometime scab over. I just hate the white bit and HAVE to squeeze it.

If you insist on squeezing, like me, you’re best to clean the area of your face and use a tissue on each finger tip. Once cleared dab a spot gel or cream on top to seal the surface. Another suggestion is using a sterile needle – lance the pimple while staying parallel to the skin, pierce the raised white part of the blemish and pull up. You can then gently squeeze out the pus without causing more damage to your skin.

I know this information, yet I will still resort to squeezing a spot on the move or at work because a massive white volcano on your face wont make you any friends.

How often should I shampoo my hair?

This is a tough one. Sometimes my hair looks amazing on day two or day three post wash – and sometimes it looks like an oily rag. Dry shampoo really has been a revelation in hair care. I always have a large can of this at home on my dresser and  a small one in my handbag for an on the move refresh. For details on the best dry shampoo’s on the market check out this thorough test of 54 different products.

Your hair becomes greasy due to the build-up of sebum: an oil which oozes from the sebaceous glands present everywhere except from the palms and the soles of the feet. Shampoo’s job is to clean the dirt and grease build up from your hair. Fine, straight hair enables oil to spread quicker, while thicker, curlier hair is more prone to dryness as sebum can struggle to travel down the follicle.

Apparently a good benchmark for shampooing frequency is twice a week, or when it feels it needs it. Everyday washing is not recommended. Alternatively, you can do what Lucy Aitken did and give up shampoo altogether. Instead giving her tresses a refresh with an egg and baking soda once a fortnight, whether it needs it or not! Tempting, but I don’t know that I could commit to it.

Do at home teeth whitening kits actually work?

I hate that my teeth aren’t as pearly and white as they used to be. I don’t want to look like Malibu Barbie with super bright white teeth, but years of coffee and red wine have not been kind. I have bought an at home kit in the past, but hit dire consequences when the teeth guard/ tray/ rubbermajiggins melded TOGETHER while dipping in hot water to soften them to set against my teeth. I didn’t know they were going to be so bloody sensitive. So then I had to just rub the whitening gel on my teeth with my finger. It didn’t give me any top results. So what are our other options?

Avoiding certain foods and drinks can help with reducing the risk of teeth discolouration.

When I was younger my mum (an ex dental nurse) used to get us to sprinkle baking soda on our toothpaste before scrubbing. From reading around the internet this seems to be a common at-home trick. One site even suggests a bunch of tips on smart habits to prevent yellow teeth.

The whitening strips come out as most popular – less mess and no issues around the mouth guards smothering each other. I shall buy some and update you on my progress.

Of course, with these and the other teeth whitening solutions – it’s very important your teeth are in good condition. You don’t want to cover up an underlying tooth problem.

Are homemade face masks more or as effective than store bought?

In fact, people say they’re more effective. They’ve not been whipped up in a lab with a list of ingredients that you can’t say or spell.  Just the same as nutritionists tell you eating fresh fruit is better than drinking fruit juice that has been processed – you’re better off smearing an avocado all over your skin, than buying a magic mask from the chemist. Right now in London it’s cold and I’m finding my skin to be excessively dry, so anything adding moisture to my skin makes me feel like a new woman!

There is an endless list of fruit, vegetables and other food items that you can mix and concoct your own mask cocktail.

Top of my list of masks: avocado (high in fatty acids and oils, so very moisturising)  + pineapple (fruit enzymes gently remove skin cells and stimulate new cell growth) + honey (an antibacterial and antioxidant).

For a quick exfoliator and moisturiser try one lemon + 1/4 cup of olive oil.

As someone who loves too cook, the idea of mixing these potions really excites me. Mix up your mask or moisturiser and slap some chilled cucumber slices on your eyes and lay back with some music.



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