Beauty trends are nothing new – for thousands of years, new ones have been introduced to us while old ones have been proclaimed useless, outdated, or even dangerous. Some of these trends actually work, and become part of the everyday beauty routine for many women around the world. Other trends are exactly that – a trend. A popular fad that makes headlines for a little while, then disappears to be replaced with something newer.
But then there are the trends that become super popular, despite the fact that they’re actually really bad for you, and even potentially dangerous and harmful to your health. Sometimes it seems like there are people who will do anything out there in the name of “beauty” (ahem, self-tanning beds that are proven to cause cancer yet remain in-demand), which is a little terrifying.
You should know if the trend you’re getting into might be bad for you, and that’s where we come in. Here are 12 popular beauty trends that you didn’t know are actually dangerous. If you’re doing any of this stuff, you might want to stop and move on to something different!
Top KnotsIt's not a myth that tightly pulling your hair back every day will make you start to lose your hair or make your hairline go back. So, it should come as no surprise that a recent study found that the popularity of top knots are contributing to a rise in traction alopecia, a fancy name for hair loss. Well, a fancy name for a specific kind of hair loss that is caused by constant tugging at the roots for hours at a time. So will the bun you do once a week make you lose your hair? No, but if you put your hair up in a tight bun every day, then yeah, it might. The trick to pulling you hair back is to leave it as loose as you can. Hair loss happens when the hair is pulled back super tight. So, if you sleep with your hair up every night, try making it more loose - or try leaving it down sometimes. Source: Instagram
Brazilian WaxesIn theory, this shouldn't be surprising. Think about what a Brazilian wax entails: a strange person is putting their hands near or on your vag, after pouring hot wax down there and then ripping the hair out of your skin. Ouch, and also, terrifying. And Brazilian waxes can, in fact, be dangerous. If you go to a place that is not sanitary, they can lead to infections, ingrown hairs, and even STDs. When a wax isn't done right, it can even pull your skin out. Ugh! But it's not all bad. The key to getting a safe wax down there is to go to a place that does it correctly. For example, European Wax Center, a popular chain, uses blue wax and a new stick every time they apply wax. So, they apply the wax with a stick, throw the stick out, grab a new one, apply the wax, throw out, and continue cycle. This ensures that there is no contamination whatsoever, so you're not at risk for catching infections. Make sure your waxer is doing that, wearing gloves, and has a good reputation, and you should be okay. Source: iStock
Hair ExtensionsHair extensions are a fun way to create a new look without waiting for your hair to grow out or praying for more volume. They're also a safe way to play around with different colors. But are they damaging your hair and/or scalp? As it turns out, yeah, they might be. More than a few women have reported hair loss and bald spots after using hair extensions, whether they're clipped in or sewn in. Here's why: hair extensions can be heavy, and when they're attached to your scalp for hours at a time, they're weighing things down. Similar to top knots, they're tugging at the roots, causing this kind of hair loss. Besides being dangerous in this way, hair extensions can also be pretty uncomfortable, and can cause headaches and pain. Source: Instagram
Sun-InSun-In is an inexpensive hair products that promises to lighten your hair or give you natural-looking blonde highlights when exposed to the sun. It seems like a cheap, easy, bleach-free way to get lighter hair. But it can actually be really bad for you. Sun-In uses a whole bunch of chemicals to do it's lightening magic. These chemicals can dry out hair, leaving it weak and susceptible to damage like breakage and hair loss. And when you combine Sun-In with hot tools like blow dryers, it only gets worse. Sun-In is also known to give darker hair an orange tint instead of light blonde. So, it may be worth it to just pay for the highlights!
Waist TrainingEven if you don't follow any of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters on Instagram, you've definitely seen or heard about their popular method of waist training. Waist training is basically a corset that cinches around your waist to nip in that area, making your stomach and waist look tiny. Waist trainers make your waist weirdly small, which in turn make your hips and boobs look bigger. You're supposed to wear them a few hours a day for them to work, and then voila - you're a human Barbie. Except... maybe you shouldn't do any of that. Waist trainers are, by definition, squishing you to look smaller. This means they're squishing important organs, like your lungs, or bones, like your ribs. Waist trainers obviously make it difficult to breathe, and women have even passed out while using them. But that's definitely not the worst thing that can happen - wearing them too often can lead to compressed lungs, crushed organs, and even broken ribs. Is a small waist REALLY worth that?! No, it's not, and anyway - these don't even really work! They may make your waist look smaller right after taking it off, but there are no long-term effects. You can push the extra fat away, but it will come back. I promise. Source: Instagram
Braids And/Or WeavesAshley's braids might look awesome, but are they damaging her head/hair? Unfortunately, they probably are. Similar to hair extensions and top knots, braids and weaves can contribute to hair loss because of the constant tugging at the root. It's slightly different with black women though. This type of hair loss, from braids, is called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, and it centers on the crown of the scalp and spreads peripherally. It's irreversible and scarring. This happens because braids, and the weaves sometimes used to make braids, are super tight. You may have heard of black women getting braids and then complaining about being in pain for days, even over a week, afterward. This is because the braids are so tight that it causes headaches, scalp tenderness, and just general misery. Source: Instagram
Fake EyelashesAs you can see, I love the look of false eyelashes. I have pretty long eyelashes in general, but falsies just look amazing and make me happy. However, they're probably not doing me any favors in the long run. Fake eyelashes can actually be dangerous because of the glue used to keep them in place. If it gets in your eye, this glue can cause pain, infection, scarring, and cuts. The lashes themselves can also bother your eyes. So please, use sparingly! Source: Instagram
Bleaching Your TeethHaving a white teeth is seen as a positive thing in our society, and there are some people out there who will pay big bucks to have whiter teeth. This usually means getting them bleached. While it's a popular practice, it's also not a safe one. Hydrogen peroxide, which is used in most teeth whitening products, can change your tooth enamel, making it weaker and more sensitive. The more often you do it, the worse it gets, and it can't be reversed. Healthy teeth are important, so please be careful! Source: iStock
Circle Contact LensesCircle contact lenses are lenses that are used to make eyes look wider, more round, and bigger. They first became popular in Asia, where women are VERY into making their eyes look bigger. The popularity of these lenses have caused many brands to create themselves. These lenses are sold on shady websites and you don't even need a prescription to get them. And while they might make eyes look bigger, they are also damaging them. They can deprive the eye of oxygen, and can even lead to blindness. Oof. The contact lenses on Lo Bosworth in this photo are from Acuvue, and are supposed to be safer than these weird, cheap versions on the Internet. They require a doctor's visit and a fitting, and after being tested, don't show negative side effects like cheaper versions do. If you want to try circle lenses, these are definitely the way to go! But still - be careful. Your eyes are sensitive, and if you don't have to put foreign objects in them every day, then you probably shouldn't. Source: Instagram
Brazilian BlowoutsHaving straight, smooth, silky hair is nice, and some women are desperate to get it. However, the straightening treatments popular in salons are really not a good idea, especially the Brazilian Blowout. This treatment contains so many nasty chemicals, including dangerously high levels of formaldehyde, which is just as scary as it sounds. Formaldehyde is a strong-smelling gas that can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes, itching, and irritation. Even scarier? After the FDA released an official warning about this, a lot of salons started advertising formaldehyde-free treatments - that aren't actually formaldehyde-free. Yikes. Source: iStock
Burning Your Split EndsLast year, Brazilian supermodel Barbara Fialho made headlines when she said her secret to great hair was to burn it. Yes, burn it. She does a process called Velaterapia, which is when an open flame by candle is used to singe off split ends. The flame opens up the follicles to make them more receptive to conditioning and doesn't ruin the length. While this procedure IS popular, it definitely is dangerous - I hope I don't have to explain why. Please never, ever try this on your own. If you're going to do it, go to a professional. Or just get a trim guys. It seems like the safest option. Source: iStock
Gel ManicuresI'm sure that by now, you've already heard about the dangers of gel manicures. But I'm repeating them, because they are still incredibly popular. Gel manicures use UV rays to dry the nails, meaning your hands are sitting in incredibly close contact to UV rays for a decent amount of time. UV rays obviously lead to skin cancer, especially when they are that close to the skin. Even if your salon doesn't use these UV rays, the gel manicure itself is still bad for your nails, leaving them brittle, weak, and dry. Source: iStock
Which of these beauty trends have you tried? Which do you think is the worst? Tell me in the comments.