By Cate Walker
Young girls learn everything they know about beauty from the women in their lives—how to have softer hair, stronger nails and radiant skin. But do these Old Wives Tales, so to speak, really work? Is your crazy great aunt’s recipe for shiny hair just, well, crazy? We asked around to learn what beauty tricks the women in your lives taught you and then we got busy. We asked, tested, and got the lowdown on which Old Wives Tales really work and which are just tales…
Beauty Tip: Vitamin E Improves Skin Texture And Tone.
The Claim. Scrape a knee or pick a pimple and apply Vitamin E to minimize scarring and to improve skin texture.
The Truth. There’s actually very little evidence that shows it helps – and, well, true to the evidence, our testing showed no change here! If you’re looking to improve your skin’s texture and tone, we did find an at-home peel that we love! NeoStrata’s Exuviance Performance Peel AP25 ($60 at dermstore.com) is a safe and easy to use high performance peel that not only works at the skin’s surface to exfoliate dead, dull surface layers, but also stimulates cell renewal among all layers, to reveal fresher, healthier cells.
Beauty Tip: Preparation H Eliminates Eye Puffiness And Wrinkles.
The Claim. Years ago, rumor had it that the hemorrhoid cream Preparation H was the cure all for wrinkles. Grandmothers everywhere were seen dabbing it around their eyes for what they claimed was an instant de-puffying lift.
The Truth. While Preparation-H did once contain Bio-Dyne (also known as LYCD – Live Yeast Cell Derivative), an ingredient famous for its wrinkle-reducing effects, the product has since been reformulated and no longer contains LYCD. As a result, any reports about its power against wrinkles are no longer relevant. So while Preparation H may have worked for Granny, you’re better off using an anti-wrinkle cream like Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Empower MP6 Anti-wrinkle Treatment ($75 at dermstore.com). With powerful wrinkle relaxing and anti-aging peptides, hydrators and vitamins, this non-toxic anti-wrinkle cream helps reduce the visibility of deep wrinkles without the loss of facial expression (a la Botox).
Beauty Tip: A Mayonnaise Hair Mask Gives You Soft, Shiny Hair.
The Claim. Slathering mayo in your hair will give you soft, shiny locks, inexpensively.
The Truth. Sure, mayonnaise is inexpensive, readily available and has lots of oil to smooth your hair… but we have to say that the stinky mess is not worth the few bucks you’ll save on other hair products. We much prefer the Moroccan Oil treatment ($39 at folica.com). Just a dime size amount on the ends of your hair helps to smooth, hydrate and nourish. Still want to try the mayo mask? Be sure to use the real kind and leave it on for at least an hour.
Beauty Tip: Sliced Cucumbers Treat Puffy Eyes.
The Claim. Cucumber slices can instantly relieve swollen, puffy eyes.
The Truth. Cucumbers primarily work to reduce puffiness because they’re cold and moist. That being said, they do work (and are cheap!). If you’re not into slicing your eye therapy, though, we have the product for you. The Body Deli’s Sea Cucumber Gelee ($45 at thebodydeli.com) has the same benefit of the cool, moisture-rich cucumber but also has active ingredients like certified aloe vera, skin-toning algae and nature’s most potent moisturizer, hyaluronic acid to help reduce puffiness and moisturize your whole face!
Beauty Tip: Tea Tree Oil Clears Acne.
The Claim. Tea Tree Oil is a natural antibiotic that helps fight pimple-causing bacteria.
The Truth. Tea Tree Oil ($8.99 at drugstore.com) has a strong scent, but does the trick, helping to clear up breakouts and heal the skin around it. If the smell is too much for you, we recommend DDF Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Gel with Tea Tree Oil ($28 at nordstrom.com), a gel combining nature and science that works great!