Old Wives’ Tales that Actually Work!

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As a professional Makeup Art and beauty enthusiast, I’ve come across some pretty strange rituals and tricks, most of which don’t work.  I’ve heard about men and women letting small creates eat away dead skin, how mayonnaise is a sure cure for sun spots, and all I have to say to these is ‘No…just no.’ So I’ve decided to compile a few tricks that actually work into one article. I’ve tested all of these on myself and clients, but keep in mind I’m no cosmetologist or dermatologist, so if you’re unsure about what may affect you, contact a professional.
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1)      Using Neosporin to Combat Acne Scars:
When I was younger, and first started breaking out, I committed the sin to end all sins; I picked and popped my way through acne for the first couple of years.  This is one of the worst things you can do to your skin, let me tell you. Over the years I’ve managed – through trial and error, steady diet and constant supervision – to ward off any major acne, so now I only break out occasionally, and I can usually identify why it happened (ie: sleeping with makeup on, eating all the cookies, trying that new face wash with the weirdly purple formula, sounding familiar?).  But the biggest problem I still face is covering my old acne scars, and I hate to tell you, but those things just need time to fade. The skin naturally sheds and regrows, but scarred tissue can be extra stubborn, so be patient.
Now that you have some back story, let’s get back to talking about Neosporin, also known as triple antibiotic (because it contains three antibiotics: bacitracin, neomycin and polymyxin).  We all know to put Neosporin on cuts to help with healing, but I find that it is also very useful in the area of skin care. Whenever I have a zit, I have to wait and let my face wash and body naturally handle the little devil, but what do you do when the pore is finally clear of all the gunk? Say you steamed it out, or it just dissolved while you were exfoliating, or if you just got impatient and committed the sin to end all sins and popped the poor thing? Don’t freak out, here’s what you do!  You need to disinfect the area, by rinsing it out and then applying either a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide solution, whichever works best for your skin. Then, after the wound is clean, apply a small dot of Neosporin to the area and let it heal. The Neosporin will keep the pore clean and protected from bacteria and other things that can cause scarring and re-infection. Keep applying the Neosporin twice, every day, before makeup and after cleansing, until the area has completely healed. This should minimize, if not prevent, any scarring and dark spots.tumblr_n6x85bQGFi1s2l7r9o1_1280
2)      Milk Bathing for Sunburns:
I know this sounds weird. Trust me, I thought so too, at first, but then I was introduced the wonderful healing qualities of milk.  I had read and been told for years that a milk bath was the easiest and fastest way to gain relief from bad sunburns, and I always scoffed at the idea. I mean, ew! Sitting in a bathtub filled with milk. Talk about unsanitary and wasteful.  But here’s where I was wrong. A. You don’t have to actually bathe in the milk (I’ll explain the how-to later), and B. the milk is actually very calming and gives almost instant results.
Here’s how it works. Whole milk is filled with proteins and vitamins (A, D and E, to name a few), that help to rehydrate and protect damaged skin. I recently got a very bad sunburn on my back and could barely move, all thanks to forgetting that my back also needs sunscreen. So, after a few hours of discomfort, I remembered that I knew a fast way to help heal the skin.
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I had a friend pour a glass of cold milk and dip a soft cloth in it, until it was damp. She then applied the cold milk cloth to my skin (this is a great way to from a life lasting bond, by the way), and I was instantly thankful for cows. The cold cloth will soothe the burning and stinging, and as it continues to soak in you will be surprised to find the area less red and irritated than before.  We repeated these step a few times, again soaking and leaving the cloth for a few minutes, until the area was comfortable and relaxed. After this I just popped in a room temperature shower and rinsed off the milk to reveal softer, calmer and noticeably less red skin.
What happened here, was the milk, with all its fats proteins and vitamins, cooled the fried area and then formed a protective film that rehydrates and heals the skin. This is what you need to do when you get burned, because the skin is essentially super dehydrated. The cells have had their water stolen by excessive exposure to the sun, and need to regain this moisture in order to function. In addition to a milk bath you should also drink lots of water, this way you hydrate from the inside as well, and apply aloe and moisturizers to the affected area. The combination of these things should have you healed and back to enjoying summer in half the time it usually takes.tumblr_n45sfkw8la1rtx5two1_1280
3)      Using Dish Soap to Clean Makeup Brushes:
Now, let me clarify something about this trick before I begin, soap and other brush cleaners will, overtime, breakdown the hairs and glues used in your brush. So, if you own very expensive makeup brushes, you may want to look into higher end cleaners, but I personally prefer to buy mid-range brushes and spend my money on high quality makeup instead.
I find that most girls don’t clean their makeup brushes often enough, once a week is what I recommend, and even that can be a bit long to wait. And I know, I know! You don’t have time to sit around cleaning brushes once a week, much less every couple of days, but I can promise you’ll see a huge improvement in, not only your skin, but also your everyday makeup looks. Let me explain. When you use your makeup brushes, you are moving product back and forth between the surface of your skin and the makeup pallets.  Over time, the brushes retain oils, pigments, dirt and bacteria, which you then reapply to your skin, but also introduce to your once clean makeup. This can cause acne, breakouts, irritation and even cause mold to grow in your brushes and makeup. Have I grossed you out yet? Good! Get to cleaning.
This is a trick I learned from my oil painting days. I used to have to clean up to twenty brushes a day, and the only way to really clean the oil paints out of my expensive brushes was to use heavy duty dish soap, like Dawn or Palm Olive. These kinds of soaps are strong enough to clean out oil and pigment without stripping the brushes of their hairs.
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You’ll need a dish soap you like, preferably one with little to no fragrance, as these can cause irritation to the skin, a small bowl, your dirty makeup brushes, and a towel or makeup brush drying rack for the end. Take the small bowl and pour in a little of the soap and add water. Swirl your brush in the soapy water and watch as the makeup loosens and separates from the brush. You’ll be amazed at how much comes out. You may have to repeat this step one or two more times, until the water runs clear. When the brush is cleaned of makeup, make sure to rinse it under cold water to get out all the soap, then reshape the hairs and lay them to dry flat on the towel, or if you have a brush rack you can use that. Repeat this with all your brushes, and let them dry. I recommend doing this at night and letting the brushes dry overnight, as it can take a while, plus the repetitive action gets me nice and tired before bed.
Another quick note, try not to use hairdryers to dry the brushes, as these can heat up the glue that hold the hairs in place and overtime this can warp the shape and cause the brushes to shed. I also recommend buying new brushes every three to five months, to keep your skin health and free of bacteria.
Have you tried any strange beauty tricks that you want me to test and share? Comment below or follow on Instagram! Tag @cosmiamagazine and hashtag the picture with #cosmiamag.  I look forward to all your responses!

I’m a nineteen year old, Southern Californian, professional designer and makeup artist, who is currently pursuing the finer things in life (art, food and travel). Here are some others things that are mildly interesting about me: I am trying to learn Italian and live up to my surname. I will eat almost anything. I have two closets, and I’m working on a third. I collect books and magazines (and apparently closets). So if you ever need someone to eat exotic food with or to translate an Italian magazine, I’m your girl.