You Brush After Coffee
It’s true that the acid or sugar in coffee, sodas, and fruit juice eat away at your teeth’s outer shell, called enamel. But don’t try to scrub them off right away. When you brush your teeth right after you down an acidic food or drink, you will remove that weak enamel. Instead, swish well with water and wait at least 1 hour before you brush. Even better, brush before you sip.
You Swim With Dry Hair
Pool water has chemicals that damage hair and turn blonde locks green. Think of your hair like a dried-out sponge: If you wet it with tap water before you swim, it can’t soak up as much in the pool. When you get out, wash your hair right away, preferably with an after-swim shampoo.
You Shampoo Too Much … or Too Little
Shampoo strips hair of your scalp’s natural oils. Do it too much and your locks will get dull and dry. But how often you suds up depends on your hair type. For fine, straight hair, you can shampoo every day if oil and dirt build up, but many experts say you should do it every 2 to 3 days. Thicker or curly hair can go a few days to a week between cleansing. People with very textured hair can wash it once or twice a month. Ask your stylist what routine and products are right for your hair.
You Skip Conditioner
Maybe you worry it will weigh your hair down. Or you just don’t have time for it. But without it, hair will get dry and dull. To keep your strands looking smooth and healthy, apply a lightweight conditioner each time you wash your hair. Put it on the ends of your strands (not the roots). Use your fingers to work it in.
You Swab Out Your Ears
It may feel good, but cotton swabs actually push earwax in deeper. What’s more, you might even damage your eardrum or the tiny bones that help you hear. So how are you supposed to clean out earwax? Ideally, you shouldn’t have to — your body can clear it out on its own. But if your ears feel full, you hear ringing, or you have trouble hearing, see your doctor. She can decide how to safely remove the wax.
You Use Deodorant to Stop Sweat
Deodorant masks odor, but if you’ve got sticky or sweaty armpits, antiperspirant is what you need. It stops moisture by plugging sweat glands. Some products should go on at night and again in the morning on dry skin. Got sweaty palms? You can use antiperspirant there, too.
You Shave Right Before a Pedicure
You may not want your nail technician to feel your hairy legs. But the tiny breaks in your skin right after you shave are the perfect entry point for any bacteria in the foot bath. That could lead to an infection. Don’t shave at least 24 hours before a pedicure. On that note, don’t let your aesthetician cut your cuticles, since that also creates an opening for germs.
You Don’t Swap Your Razor
If you’re using a dull razor to shave, you’ll likely need to pass over the same area multiple times to get smooth. That creates tiny cuts in your skin that can lead to bumps, rashes, irritation, and infection. After about five to seven shaves — or any time you need to go over an area multiple times — it’s time to switch blades.
You Scrub Your Face
You don’t need to scrub with a washcloth to clear the day’s grime from your face. All your skin needs is a gentle massage with your fingertips and a mild cleanser. Wash your face once or twice a day in lukewarm or cool water. Check the label of your cleanser, and skip those with alcohol or abrasive ingredients. Rinse thoroughly.
You Load Up on Skin Products
Besides a gentle cleanser on your face, dermatologists say the only essentials are a moisturizer. Serums are pricey with unproven benefits, and toners may lead to dry and irritated skin. For acne, don’t use multiple products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. They can combine to irritate skin. If drugstore acne treatments aren’t working for you, talk to your dermatologist.
You Soap Up Your Sensitive Areas
The vulva and vagina are super sensitive. So skip harsh soaps that are scented or antiseptic — they can throw off the balance of bacteria that keep the area healthy. The same goes for douches, scented wipes, and vaginal deodorants. All you need is plain, unperfumed soap to gently wash around the area every day.