You Have to Cut Your Hair to Grow It Out, and 8 Other Beauty Ironies

Weird but true.

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Everyone dies for a Gift of the Magi moment, but if you stop and think about it, we've already got enough Maupassant material in our lives, thank you very much. 

Before we get into these weird-but-neat, counterintuitive findings, just remember this: When you stop worrying about your puny shy nonexistent arm muscles or huge pores or how one eye is a fraction smaller than the other, poof! It goes away.

1. You have to cut your hair to grow it out

Easy. The longer you forego a snip, the farther split ends will travel up the hair follicle, causing more dryness and damage—which you'll have to get cut to repair. (Pssst. This is the ideal schedule.)

2. The more you squeeze your skin to get rid of the bad stuff, the more bad stuff you introduce

Don't. Even. Touch. EVER.

3. The more you wear lip balm, the more you "need" it

*flips keyboard* But seriously—it's the vicious-est cycle. As skin flakes off, your body signals the bottom layers to produce fresh cells. But balm slows moisture loss, so your dead top cells don't dry out as quickly, and your skin doesn't send the "MOAR NEW CELLS PLZ" sign. Once the balm wears off, there aren't any new cells to replace the gross dead ones, which means your lips feel dry. *flips entire desk*

4. You spend all this time trying out different hair colors, but in the end, the best one is what you were born with

Another layer of irony: You might not even remember what that looks like, so you have to have your mom scan some photos over. could make the case that this irony is not always true.

5. The stuff you do to make your lashes look longer could cause breakage—or worse

Mascara is cool unless you're sharing, curlers are safe unless you're squeezing/your cat bumps into you, but falsies and extensions, well, not so much. The American Academy of Ophthalmology would have you know getting tiny fibers glued onto your real lashes can cause infection of the cornea, infection of the eyelid, swelling of the eyelid, and—almost forgot!—permanent or temporary loss of eyelashes.

6. We put on a bunch of makeup and call it "no-makeup makeup"


7. Starting an anti-aging regimen too early can backfire

This is a super controversial topic with not a ton of credible research yet, but basically, some experts say overuse of retinols and alpha hydroxy acids can thin skin over time, causing inflammation, discoloration, and making it more susceptible to UVA rays. So just to be on the safe side, how about we just keep wearing sunscreen and mellowing like fine merlots, yeah?

Because they work. See here and here.

9. "Cherish the face you have today. It's the one you'll want 10 years from now."

Can't argue with Caroline de Maigret.

You should also check out:

Is Psychodermatology the Answer to Your Skin Problems?

7 "Flaws" That Aren't

Every Hair Problem You've Ever Had–Solved

21 Gorgeous Portraits of Beauty Around the World

Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.