Bad habits can be tough to break, especially ones that involve your beauty routine. But, you may be guilty of bad beauty habits that are only holding you back from realizing your true gorgeousness potential. And when you read on and discover the dirty truth on what these bad habits are costing you, you’ll be eager to break them for good.

Bad beauty habit #1: Using dirty makeup brushes.

This one’s a biggie—we all know we should be
cleaning our brushes regularly, but who’s got the time? Truth of the matter is, you need to make time. “If you use your powder brush 24/7, chances are a lot of bacteria and dirt has accumulated in its soft bristles,” says
Stephanie Daga, a Toronto-based makeup artist at BlushPretty. Think of all the dust and makeup flying around your vanity, she says. “It’s all trapped in that brush you use on your face! And that’s not all, if you keep your brushes in your hot, steamy bathroom–talk about a playground for breeding bacteria.”

Break the habit: Clean your makeup brushes at least weekly—schedule it into your calendar to remind yourself. “I use clear baby shampoo, like Johnsons & Johnsons, which is really inexpensive, and some warm water,” says Stephanie. For a quick clean in between washings, she suggests spritzing them with a cosmetic sanitizer, such as Beauty So Clean Sanitizing Mist, or rubbing alcohol. Plus, it would be a good idea to store your brushes in a less humid environment than your wet bathroom.

Bad beauty habit #2: Playing with your hair.

We can perhaps blame movies for perpetuating this bad habit—the pretty, popular girl is often seen twirling a lock of her
long hair around her finger in a flirty way. But this toying with your hair can easily become a bad habit, one that
Greg May, owner of Greg May Hair Architects salon in Toronto, has seen damage hair—and even result in hair loss, with patches of hair missing where the person has been twirling away.

Break the habit: Make a conscious effort to stop twisting your hair—even if it means you have to don mittens until you’re able to resist the urge. You’ll also want to strengthen your hair, says Greg. “Use a protein treatment once a week to strengthen the damaged, weakened hair. Look for one that contains wheat protein and/or keratin, which is the structural component hair is made of,” he says. You may also want to apply a gloss containing a protein such as soy, he adds. “Doing this will replace all the lost amino acids in your hair which will not only heal your hair, but give it a luminous shine.”

Bad beauty habit #3: Going to bed with makeup on.

You’re exhausted and just want to get under the covers as soon as possible. It won’t be too big a deal if you go to bed without washing off your makeup, right? Not so, says
Jenny Kanavaros, New York-based makeup and hair artist with Judy Inc. “Sleeping without removing your
eye makeup will irritate your eyes and can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause acne and leave your skin looking dull and lifeless,” she says. And left-on mascara may dry out your lashes and make them brittle, causing them to fall off.

Break the habit: No matter how tired you are, it’s worth taking a few minutes to remove your makeup before bed, says Jenny. “It will pay off in the morning by giving you a healthy fresh looking palette to apply your makeup for the day.” Makeup removal cloths do the trick nice and quick—try Yes to Cucumbers Natural Glow Facial Towelettes or Olay Daily Facials Express Wet Cleansing Cloths.

Are you using too much conditioner, or not blending your foundation? More beauty habits to break on the next page …

Bad Beauty Habit #4: Skipping the eyelash curler.

“Lots of women seem to shy away from curling their eyelashes—sometimes they’re hard-pressed for time or often they’re just afraid to use a curler,” says
Kevin Smith, a Toronto-based hair and makeup artist with Judy Inc. “But curling your lashes always make you look more enlivened,” he says. Some women put on more mascara but if you curl your lashes, you can use less mascara, he adds.

Break the habit:
Budget time for curling your lashes in your morning routine. Start by clamping down the curler as close to the lash line as possible, says Kevin, and repeat two more times along the lashes. If your lashes are quite straight, give the curler a quick blast with your blowdryer to heat it up a bit—just be careful to not overheat it, he says. Kevin swears by the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler—“it’s a nice, well-made mechanism with a great curve that suits most women,” he says.

Bad beauty habit #5: Using too much conditioner.

If you’re squirting handful of your conditioner into your palm and then reaching for your scalp then you’re literally pouring money down the drain—and causing your hair to go flat. “Many people use way too much conditioner on their hair and it makes their hair go flat at the roots,” says
Antonio Tocci, owner of Salon Tocci in Toronto.

Break the habit: If you have shoulder-length hair you only need about a loonie-sized amount of conditioner, says Antonio. “And we have natural oils in our scalp, so you only need to apply conditioner midshaft down to the ends,” he says.

Bad beauty habit #6: Failing to blend your foundation.

If you find that your makeup is getting all cakey and crease-y on your face, it’s because you’ve been forgetting to blend. The unwelcome result? Makeup settles into fine lines, making you look older than you are.

Break the habit:
Even if you have the right formula and shade of makeup, if you fail to blend your skin will look more tired than fresh. “Blending is really important because you want your makeup only to even out your skin tone—not mask it,” says Stephanie. She suggests using a clean brush (she favours MAC Brush 109 or 187 to buff the skin in a circular motion all over after having applied foundation. “This will not only remove excess product (which causes the cakiness and creasing), but it blends any telltale foundation lines away,” she says.

Photography by Jean-Claude Lussier

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