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Published May 18, 2013, 11:40 PM

Beauty breakdown: Professionals weigh in on hair, skin and makeup advice

FARGO – Women start learning beauty tips and tricks as soon as they’re old enough to observe their moms’ habits. Then come the sleepovers, magazines, websites and blogs. All devoted to beauty.

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

FARGO – Women start learning beauty tips and tricks as soon as they’re old enough to observe their moms’ habits.

Then come the sleepovers, magazines, websites and blogs. All devoted to beauty.

“75 Timeless Beauty Tricks.” “Beauty Tips: Get Gorgeous in a Flash.” “10 Beauty Tricks That Make Guys Melt.”

By the time we hit adulthood, we’ve been bombarded with advice about how to look our best. And not all of it’s useful, or even true.

Here, a group of local professionals weigh in on some of the more common notions about hair, skin and makeup.

“Toothpaste zaps zits.”

Yes, toothpaste can dry out pimples, but it can also cause irritation from the alcohol, fragrance and flavor it contains.

Dr. Susan Mathison of Fargo’s Catalyst Medical Center says whitening toothpaste may also cause light spots in place of the breakout. If it can bleach your teeth, it can bleach your skin.

If you don’t have acne-specific products on hand, try calamine lotion or benzoyl peroxide cream instead.

“You can match your foundation to your hand.”

Women seek the perfect shade using their jawlines, necks, chests, inner wrists and hands. But Moorhead-based makeup artist Trista Jetvig Chapman says hands aren’t made for matching.

“They’re usually a shade or more darker than your face because they don’t get the exfoliation or sunscreen your face normally does,” she says.

Chapman, who owns Blushed Airbrush Makeup and Tanning, uses the neck as a swatch.

“Your neck is usually the closest color to your face, and then your makeup will blend instead of be too dark or cause a makeup line,” she says.

“Brushing your hair a lot makes it shiny.”

Marcia Brady’s 100 strokes a day is too much, but Fargo hairstylist Erin Hafliger says brushing does increase shine because it helps distribute the natural oils from the scalp down through the ends.

“Sleeping on your back prevents wrinkles.”

Though Mathison says she can usually tell which side people sleep on, sleeping on your back isn’t preventive.

“Sun protection, not smoking and a healthy diet play an even more important role,” she says.

“Crossing your legs will give you spider or varicose veins.”

Brandi Rostad, a nurse and vascular technician with Fargo’s Hogue Vein Institute, says that’s a myth. They’re genetic.

“It would seem to make sense that you cut off blood flow while crossing your legs, which would lead to these unsightly veins,” she says. “However, there is no clinical research to back it up.”

“Only people with fair skin need sunscreen.”

Anyone who gets the faintest hint of additional color from sun exposure is at risk of skin damage, Mathison says.

Make sure your sunscreen’s broad-spectrum, and boost your protection with hats, sunglasses and protective clothing.

“Split ends can be fixed.”

Nope. But they can be prevented and their appearance diminished.

Hafliger says protein treatments containing keratin or argan oil can help strengthen the hair and mend mild breakage, but if the ends are split, they should be cut off.

“Pumping the mascara wand makes for easier application.”

Chapman sees it all the time – women pumping their mascara wands to get more product on them.

What they’re actually doing is pumping more air into the tube, causing faster dry-out.

Instead, swirl the wand around as you pull it out to collect more mascara toward the end.

“Trimming your hair makes it grow faster.”

Hafliger says setting regular trims doesn’t make your hair grow faster, but it does keep it healthier while it’s growing.

“The best place to apply perfume is on the pulse points.”

Chapman says she was always told to put fragrance on pulse points because the heat from them refreshes the fragrance.

“I always put mine on my neck behind my ears and where my arm bends and feel like it lasts much longer than just spritzing all over my body,” she says.

“Shaving your legs makes the hair grow back thicker.”

Wrong. Mathison says it only seems thicker because when it grows back, you feel the sharp, blunt, thick ends from the previous shave.

“Sharing makeup with your friends is like swapping germs.”

Yup. Chapman says bacteria can be easily transferred from brushes, lip glosses and especially mascara.

She uses disposable wands for eyes and lips and uses makeup and brush cleansers to kill bacteria and keep her products safe.

“My advice is to not share unless you learn to properly clean your tools and products,” she says.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590