35 hair & skin care mistakes you don't realize you're making, according to experts

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ByClaire Epting

My life changed when I first started seeing a dermatologist. I discovered that there were mistakes I was making in my skin-care routine without even realizing it. Since then, I’ve learned to trust the experts when it comes to hair and skin care, so I asked some experts for the top errors they see, and rounded up this list of helpful products to help you correct them.

With these easy hacks, you can ensure you’re looking after your hair and skin on a daily basis. For example, while it’s a given to apply sunblock before going outdoors, your hair and scalp can benefit from UV protection too — which is why this SPF-30 hair and scalp mist is such a brilliant idea. It prevents sun damage and also keeps your hair from drying out.

And as it turns out, sleeping on a silk pillowcase can keep your skin moist and prevent your hair from breakage overnight. Who knew? These things make you look better with almost no effort, and they’re all conveniently available on Amazon.


Mistake: Detangling your hair & causing breakage

Solution: This uniquely shaped brush that gently separates knots

While it might seem logical to detangle your hair by brushing from top to bottom, you actually want to start at the bottom and work upwards with a gentle brush — such as this one from Crave Naturals. “This will prevent any unwanted stress you are causing with your comb or brush,” says Brandie DeVillier, platform educator for Aveda Arts & Science Institute. The brush has flexible bristles and a unique shape that’s designed to separate knots without causing any damage.

  • Available colors and patterns: 10


Solution: A leave-in detangler spray that conditions your hair

In addition to starting from the bottom when removing knots from your hair, DeVillier also suggests applying a detangling spray to further protect your locks from breakage. This leave-in conditioner from Marc Anthony is fortified with hair-strengthening biotin as well as caffeine and ginseng, which help lock in moisture. Spray it onto damp hair before brushing for best results.


Mistake: Pulling hair back too tightly

Solution: These satin scrunchies that are soft & smooth

According to DeVillier, wearing a tight ponytail or braids all the time can potentially damage your hair follicles. “Loosen up those braids or choose a cute scrunchie over a rubber band,” she says. This pack of eight satin scrunchies includes a variety of colors and even a fun leopard print — use them to create hair-safe buns, ponytails, and half-up ‘dos.

  • Available multipacks: 7


Mistake: Picking at pimples

Solution: A leave-on acne treatment that’s gentle enough for daily use

Dealing with the occasional breakout is just part of life. While it may be tempting to pick at angry blemishes, it’s better to apply an acne-fighting product instead. Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD — who is also the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at The Mount Sinai Hospital — recommends this leave-on acne treatment from JORI. “This ultra-light water gel contains a micronized form of benzoyl peroxide that gets deep into the pores, where acne begins,” he explains. “It’s not irritating, and gentle enough to use every day.”


Solution: A multipack of wallet-friendly acne patches that prevent picking

If you’re looking to treat acne on a budget, these hydrocolloid patches are a great solution. Not only do they help reduce the size of your pimples, but they prevent you from picking at your face throughout the day. You get 96 patches in three different sizes, so one pack will last you a while.


Mistake: Not protecting your hair from heat styling tools

Solution: A leave-in hair cream that offers heat protection

Min Kim, master color specialist and L’Oréal Global Ambassador, recommends using this leave-in heat-protectant on your hair before styling with any curling or flat iron. The cream-based formula offers protection from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for up to four days. Kim says, “It will lock-in moisture, de-frizz hair, and protect the hair strands from high temperatures as well as unintended damage.”


Mistake: Not maintaining your professional hair color

Solution: A color-depositing shampoo that keeps your shade fresh

In between salon visits, you can keep your hair color looking vibrant with a little help from this color-depositing shampoo. It comes recommended by Jamie Mazzei, creative director of nuBest Salon in Manhasset, New York, since it can “extend the time between your hair color appointments at the salon and save you money.” Whether your hair is colored blonde, brown, or purple, the shampoo refreshes your dye job without stripping your hair of its moisture.

  • Available shades: 13


Mistake: Not regularly removing makeup

Solution: These reusable cloths that cleanse with just water

According to Anna Phillips, founder of The Lash Lounge, the key to longer eyelashes and eyebrows lies in regularly cleansing your face and delicate eye area to prevent clogged pores. “This enables lash and brow hairs to remain strong and leaves room for new hairs to grow,” she says. These microfiber cloths gently remove dirt, oil, and makeup from your face without any harsh cleansers or products — all they need is a little bit of warm water.

  • Available multipacks: 4


Mistake: Tweezing or shaving to make eyebrows grow thicker

Solution: A bottle of tea tree oil that boosts hair growth

Robyn Newmark, founder of Newmark Beauty MedSpa and Academy, suggests ditching the tweezers if you want your eyebrows to grow thicker. “If you have naturally thin eyebrows, massaging the brow area and applying natural oils like coconut or tea tree oil can also promote hair growth,” she follows up. This bottle of organic tea tree oil includes a glass dropper that makes it easy to apply small amounts to your brows.


Mistake: Using conventional deodorant

Solution: The natural deodorant that doesn’t block your sweat glands

Most conventional deodorants don’t just fight odor — they also block sweat from naturally forming. Newmark prefers a more natural method that eradicates odor-causing bacteria without blocking glands from releasing sweat. Available in refreshing scents such as coconut and vanilla and lavender and rose, Native’s natural deodorant is free of parabens and aluminum.

  • Available scents: 4


Mistake: Never exfoliating your skin

Solution: This coconut sugar facial scrub that gently removes dead skin

This coconut sugar facial scrub is a fantastic way to incorporate an exfoliating element into your skin-care routine. “Exfoliation is important because it helps remove dead skin cells that can build up on the skin's surface and cause problems like clogged pores and dullness,” says Simone de Vlaming, beauty blogger at Beautymone. The formula also includes hydrating coconut oil and calming chamomile to keep your skin feeling balanced and moisturized.


Mistake: Not adding deep hydration to skin

Solution: An ultra-moisturizing gel cream with high ratings

According to de Vlaming, the best way to keep your skin supple is to “moisturize at least once a day but preferably twice with a hydrating moisturizer.” It doesn’t get much more hydrating than this gel cream from Neutrogena, which is fortified with hyaluronic acid — an ingredient that helps bind water to the skin. Since it’s both oil- and fragrance-free, it’s a great choice for sensitive skin.


Mistake: Sleeping on regular pillowcases instead of silk ones

Solution: A mulberry silk pillowcase that protects your hair & skin

Made of 100% mulberry silk, this ultra-smooth pillowcase is gentler on your skin than a traditional cotton or polyester one. “Due to its softness, silk not only protects the facial skin from wrinkles, but also from hair getting tangled and breaking,” says Rosmy Barrios, MD, regenerative medicine specialist and medical adviser for Health Reporter.

  • Available sizes: Standard, Queen, King
  • Available colors: 20


Mistake: Using the same moisturizer for day & night

Solution: A daytime moisturizer with sun protection

Instead of using the same moisturizer in the morning and at night, you should bother to invest in a separate daytime moisturizer that both hydrates and protects your skin for the day ahead. “Daytime moisturizers have built-in SPF that helps in the protection of skin from harmful sun rays,” says clinical dermatologist and researcher Enrizza P. Factor, MD. La Roche-Posay’s SPF-30 moisturizer is formulated with niacinamide and glycerin, which boost your skin’s moisture barrier while soothing any irritation.


Mistake: Not regularly cleaning your phone screen & getting pimples

Solution: This travel-size screen cleaner kit

An often overlooked cause of skin breakouts? A dirty smartphone screen. “If you are not cleaning your phone regularly, then it can cause many skin bacterial infections,” says Dr. Factor. Luckily, the solution is simple — this screen cleaner kit that fits in your bag, desk drawer, or car. Just add a spritz of the alcohol-free cleaning formula to your screen and wipe it down with the microfiber cloth to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria.


Mistake: Using dirty makeup brushes

Solution: A makeup brush cleaner that’s made with clean ingredients

You may not realize it, but your makeup brushes may be the cause of your acne breakouts — if you don’t wash them regularly, that is. “Brushes contain a copious quantity of makeup product residue, oil, dirt, and harmful bacteria,” explains Dr. Factor. This shampoo gently cleanses your makeup brushes using only clean ingredients — no sulfates, parabens, or fragrances. Clean your brushes about once a week to keep them in hygienic shape.


Mistake: Not drinking enough water

Solution: This gallon-size water bottle with a carrying handle

Properly hydrating yourself has a myriad of health benefits — Dr. Factor reminds us that it can “bring a healthy glow to your face, increase skin elasticity, and reduce cracking and irritation.” In order to ensure you drink enough fluids, you can use this gallon-size water bottle with easy-to-read measurements and a convenient silicone drinking spout. A built-in side handle allows you to bring the bottle anywhere.

  • Available colors: 13


Mistake: Taking too-hot showers

Solution: A color-changing showerhead that’s temperature-sensitive

While a long, steamy shower may feel divine, too much hot water “can cause dryness and remove your natural essential oils,” according to Dr. Factor. This LED showerhead attachment changes colors depending on the water’s temperature — green for cool, blue for warm, and red for hot — so you’ll know when it’s time to dial down the heat. Just as good, built-in filtration removes minerals and impurities that may be harsh on skin and hair.


Mistake: Not including a toner in your skin-care routine

Solution: This witch hazel toner that’s gentle & hydrating

Dr. Factor recommends including a toner in your skin-care routine, as it can help restore your skin’s pH balance. “Your essential beauty products such as moisturizers can work more efficiently with toners,” she explains. This witch hazel toner from Thayer’s is both soothing and clarifying — plus, it hydrates the skin thanks to the use of rose petals and aloe vera.


Mistake: Not getting enough sleep at night

Solution: These amber light bulbs that help you wind down before bed

Getting enough sleep at night is an essential part of skin care that shouldn’t be overlooked. “At night skin cells repair themselves [and] carry therapeutic functions...” says Dr. Factor. If you’re having trouble winding down, you can install these light bulbs that cast a soft amber glow in your room. The blue light-blocking bulbs not only create a relaxing atmosphere, they also support your body’s natural melatonin production — so you can get to sleep faster.


Mistake: Curling your hair without any heat protectant

Solution: A protein-rich spray that shields your hair from heat

Before you grab that curling iron, Jennie Roberts, celebrity hair stylist and Global Senior Stylist for Curlsmith, recommends spritzing on this hair-shielding mist first. “Curlsmith Miracle Shield heat protection spray will protect hair from heat, chlorine and environmental build up,” she says. Formulated with guava fruit juice, shiitake mushroom, and ground pumpkin seed, the formula is protein-rich and safe for all hair types.


Mistake: Applying too much blush

Solution: A translucent powder that evens out your makeup

While applying blush is a great way to add a flush to your cheeks, it’s possible to over-do it if you’re not careful. “If you apply too much blush, it’s an easy fix by applying translucent powder on top to tone color down,” says celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sherriff. This translucent powder from NYX is ultra-lightweight and sheer, blending into your makeup and settling to a matte finish.


Mistake: Blush color that doesn't look right on you

Solution: This tinted moisturizer for a glowy, even look

If the blush color you’ve picked out is the wrong shade for your face, Sherriff suggests adding a thin layer of tinted moisturizer on top — such as this one from L’Oréal Paris. “This will soften the color if it’s harsh and give a faux glow or radiance to skin and the blush will be more subtle,” she explains. Infused with water and aloe vera, the moisturizer will keep your skin feeling hydrated and soft.

  • Available shades: 12


Mistake: Skipping out on hair masks

Solution: The overnight hair mask that’s ultra-hydrating

Dry, color-treated hair really benefits from a little extra TLC, such as a hair mask treatment. “Don't have the time to wait for a 15-minute hair mask? Try an overnight one that works magic on your hair while sleeping,” says Katya Bychkova, beauty expert at Style Sprinter. She specifically recommends this one from amika. The mask is infused with vitamin-rich algae, hydrating coconut water, and hyaluronic acid, which binds moisture to your hair shafts.


Mistake: Using too many exfoliants in one skin-care routine

Solution: This BHA liquid exfoliant that’s gentle & effective

Too many exfoliants used at once can cause your skin to become stressed and irritated. “Try spacing out your exfoliants in your routine instead,” suggests Bychkova. “For instance, use a BHA [beta hydroxy acid] serum twice a week on the days when you are not using retinoids.” This BHA liquid exfoliant is infused with salicylic acid, encouraging skin cell turnover and unclogging your pores for a bright, radiant glow.


Mistake: Using the wrong type of comb if you have curly hair

Solution: A wide-tooth detangling comb

Got curly tresses? “You should use a wide-tooth comb when detangling, styling, and wrapping your hair to prevent breakage,” says Elizabeth Davis, licensed cosmetologist and founder of Shedavi, a Black-owned luxury natural hair care brand. This detangling comb from Paul Mitchell is designed to glide through curls for a pain-free and breakage-free styling experience.


Mistake: Thinking you can only grow long hair if it’s in your genes

Solution: This nutrient-packed oil that promotes hair growth

Having long hair isn’t solely up to genetics — Davis says that “taking vitamins, using topical hair growth aids, and massaging your scalp” can help stimulate hair growth. This botanical elixir from Shedavi is made from a blend of castor seed, sunflower, and jojoba oils, which nourish your scalp and strengthen your roots.


Solution: This scalp massager that helps stimulate growth

Davis says that massaging the scalp may help stimulate hair growth — do it the easy way with this scalp massager and shampoo brush that has a 4.6-star overall rating after 54,000 reviews. The silicone teeth are soft and flexible and the ergonomic handle gives you a secure grip. The best part? It feels great.


Mistake: Using a regular bath towel to dry your hair

Solution: A pair of microfiber towel wraps that are super absorbent

Michael May, MD, is the medical director at Wimpole Clinic for hair dermatology, and he suggests swapping out your traditional cotton hair towel for a soft microfiber wrap. “A typical rough bath towel is harsh on the hair cuticle (the outermost layer of a hair strand), which is damaging to your hair,” he explains. This multipack of microfiber hair towels are super absorbent and soft, securing neatly in the back with a button closure.

  • Available multipacks: 8


Mistake: Neglecting to use hair & scalp sunscreen

Solution: This nourishing hair mist with SPF-30 protection

While it makes sense to apply sunscreen to your skin, you also shouldn’t forget about your hair and scalp. “If you are spending a lot of your time outdoors, apply UV protection hair products and wear a hat or cap before going out,” suggests Dr. May. This sunscreen mist adds an SPF-30 layer of protection to your hair and scalp. It’s good for your health, but it’ll also help keep your hair from drying out or fading. The formula is fortified with nourishing monoi oil and gotu kola extract, and finished off with an invigorating sage scent.


Mistake: Over-cleansing your face

Solution: The cleansing balm that doesn’t dry out your skin

While you should absolutely cleanse your face once or twice a day, washing your face too much can “cause dryness,” according to Patricia Gaile Espinosa, dermatologist at MyPsoriasisTeam. This oil-based cleansing balm effectively removes dirt and makeup from your face without stripping away your skin’s moisture. Formulated with active botanicals and vitamins C and E, the balm will leave your face feeling clean and soft.

  • Available styles: 6


Mistake: Layering vitamin C and retinol

Solution: This vitamin C serum you can apply in the morning

Since vitamin C and retinol are both potent skin-care ingredients, Dr. Espinosa advises using them separately to avoid irritation and maximize effectiveness. She suggests applying a skin-brightening vitamin C serum as a photo-protective agent in the mornings. The serum works to minimize sun spots, improve texture, and clear up acne. This one also includes hyaluronic acid — which helps bind moisture to the skin — promoting a smooth, hydrated complexion.


Solution: A retinol cream that works overnight

Following Dr. Espinosa’s advice, the best time to apply a retinol cream is right before you go to bed. Retinol — a form of vitamin A — is combined with moisturizing hyaluronic acid to smooth texture, stimulate skin cell turnover, and brighten your complexion. The powerful formula works overnight, so you can use lighter products during the day.


Mistake: Tying your hair too tight

Solution: An eclectic assortment of chic hair clips

Dr. Espinosa suggests using hair clips or pins as an alternative to hair ties, as traditional elastics can tug at your strands. This eclectic set of hair clips features an array of fun designs, including pearl-studded bobby pins and opalescent resin barrettes. Use them to pin back pieces of hair from your face or to create elegant half-up styles.


Solution: These elegant hair claws with a golden hue

Perfect for achieving both formal and everyday updos, these gold-colored hair claws elevate any ensemble. The durable metal clamps have large, wide teeth, making them suitable any for hair — including thick, curly, and long tresses. Each clip has a slightly different design, so you can swap them out to create tons of different looks.