Bad habits are like a slick boyfriend: They’re incredibly hard to break away from. We asked the industry's top skin- and hair-care experts for a little help with our worst beauty habits—and it turns out the solutions are a whole lot easier than splitting from an SO.
Biting Your Nails
If you’re a chronic nail biter, it can be tough to back away. “In some cases it may represent underlying stress or anxiety,” says N.Y.C.-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. Before your run your fingers ragged, consider keeping your hands occupied with a stress ball or “use bandages or gloves to provide a physical barrier,” says Zeichner. Another option? Try brushing on a top coat like Bite It ($5; cvs.com). “It creates a negative response to nail biting due to the off-putting taste,” says San Diego dermatologist Melanie Palm, M.D.
Pulling Out Gray Hairs
You may have noticed some silvery strands when brushing your hair, but resist the urge to pluck them out. “When that hair begins to grow back, you’ll be left with spikey growth. Worse yet, if you keep plucking, the hair may not ever grow back,” says N.Y.C. hairstylist Chris Lospalluto. Instead of reaching for the tweezers, mist on a cover-up spray to camouflage any rogue strands. We like Rita Hazan’s root concealer which comes in five shades ($25; sephora.com).
Licking Your Lips
While licking your lips may provide temporary relieve to dry skin, it just further exacerbates dryness over time. “Try using a 1-percent hydrocortisone balm to first soothe irritation,” says Dr. Palm. Then make sure you stock your coat pockets and bags with inexpensive balms like Aquaphor ($5; drugstore.com). “They create a moisturizing barrier which prevents further dryness,” says Dr. Palm. Also, try chewing gym: “Keeping your tongue occupied keeps you from licking your lips,” she explains. Just make sure to avoid cinnamon flavored varieties, which can be irritating if the skin is already inflamed.
Picking a Blemish
Popping a pimple can be grossly satisfiying, but your short-term fix can leave you with long-term hyperpigmentation (AKA acne scars). Instead, apply a warm compress to the affected area for a couple of minutes a day to reduce inflammation, says L.A. dermatologist Annie Chiu, M.D., who also suggests topping spots with a drop of Visine ($2; drugstore.com) to take down any redness. If you’re prone to touching, limit your access to the area by applying clear or skin-colored silicone bandages over the blemish, suggests Dr. Palm.
Not Taking Off Your Makeup
We get it, a late night out or a long Netflix binge can make feel too exhausted to go through an entire cleanse, tone, and moisturize routine. For the nights you can’t make it to your sink, “keep a stash of cotton pads and micellar water 9try Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water Makeup Remover and Cleanser, $9; ulta.com] in your nightstand,” recommends Dr. Palm. A quick swipe of the micellar water helps remove pore-clogging makeup so you’ll be less likely to get breakouts.