Bad beauty habits are easy to slip into, but they can do major damage over time. 

We all have our bad beauty habits. Nobody’s perfect! And when it comes to your personal beauty routine, it’s all too easy to cut corners here and there. After all, who’s going to know? But if your skin and hair could talk, they’d beg you to break these bad beauty habits once and for all. Check yourself by reviewing these five common sins — and why they really are a big deal in the long run.

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Bad Beauty Habit #1: Never washing your brushes

Oh, you know you’re supposed to wash your brushes regularly. But they don’t look that dirty, do they? Every time a beauty blogger mentions the importance of clean brushes, you feel a secret twinge of shame…but no one needs to know, right?

What’s the big deal? Bacteria, bacteria, bacteria! Even though your dirty brushes might look and feel fine, they’re dusting your pores with germs and even mold! At worst this can lead to dermatitis or skin infections, but even more commonly, breakouts. If you’ve been struggling with mystery skin problems, you might want to consider taking better care of your tools!

Bad Beauty Habit #2: Sleeping in your makeup

When it’s late and you’re exhausted, washing your face suddenly becomes a dreaded ordeal. You can feel the remnants of your makeup breaking down on your face, but nothing seems more important than climbing into bed immediately. Sucks for your pores, you know, but will a few more hours without cleansing really make that much of a difference?

What’s the big deal? Makeup isn’t the only thing you take to bed when you skip washing your face. There’s also sweat, pollution, and whatever your hands have touched and absently shared with your face throughout the day. While you’re in dreamland, your pillowcase is massaging that invisible mess deeper into your skin. Just remember: Every time you skip washing your face, you’re asking for a breakout!

Bad Beauty Habit #3: Going overboard with exfoliation

Nothing feels better than soft, squeaky-clean skin after a good round of exfoliation. Gritty scrubs are great for sloughing off dead skin cells, which makes it easier for moisturizing products like lotions and oils to penetrate your skin. Plus, they feel amazing. Almost addictive, in fact. Before you know it you’re scrubbing away on the daily.

What’s the big deal? Go easy on your face! Whether your scrub uses sugar or ground-up nut shells (no microbeads, please!), those tiny grains are merciless about their job. When you exfoliate too hard or too much, you risk irritating or even scratching the edges of your pores. This can result in faint redness or even tiny blemishes under the skin. Try to limit exfoliation to 1-3 times a week and see how your skin feels.

Bad Beauty Habit #4: Skipping sunscreen

You’re not at the beach. And it’s not even that sunny out. You probably won’t even be outside for long today. Why bother? Anyway, a sun-kissed look is always in style.

What’s the big deal? Are you kidding? If you break one bad beauty habit on this list, break this one. A good SPF will protect your skin from wrinkles, sunspots, premature aging, and, you know, skin cancer! The sun can do major damage even on an overcast day, so stop thinking of sun protection as a seasonal affair and put it right up there with brushing your teeth. It’s that essential. At the very least, buy a daily moisturizing lotion with an SPF. There are so many to choose from! Come on, now!

Bad Beauty Habit #5: Unprotected styling

Hey, looking good can be a lot of work. Isn’t it enough that you took the time to blow dry, straighten or curl your hair? Who wants to add another step — or another product — to the mix? The results look about the same anyway.

What’s the big deal? Heat styling is one of the main causes of hair damage. You don’t see the effects right away, which is why it’s so easy to skimp on heat protectants and carry on with your business. But think of how hot that styling tool is, and what it’s really doing to your hair. All that heating and ironing and toasting adds up over time, turning your hair into dry, brittle straw. Keep your tools under 400 degrees if you can, try not to heat style every day, and always use a heat protectant — no excuses!

Are you guilty of any of these bad beauty habits, or do you have a special one of your own? Let us know in the comments!

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