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Break bad beauty habits

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Who cares if you fall into bed without taking off your make-up first or never moisturise below your chin? It can't do any harm, right? Wrong. Some bad beauty habits can lead to sagging skin, cellulite and ageing. Time to break yours now!

Falling into bed with your make-up on

BEAUTY FALL-OUT: Blocked pores, spots and ageing

STYLIST PRESCRIBES: Cleansing your skin is the single most important thing you can do to keep skin looking young. Removing dirt prevents dullness, encourages massage and makes you more likely to apply helpful products afterwards. In fact it's so important leading facialist Yvonne Martin suggests doing it twice: 'Use an oily cleanser to remove the first layer of make-up and dirt, then a milky cleanser which you can spend time working into skin to help draw out further impurities. If you haven’t got time to double cleanse twice a way, then at least do it once – preferably in the evening and before you get too tired.’

WHAT TO BUY: Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm, £30; Eminence Lemon Cleansing Milk, £28, (01527 834 904)

IMPORTANCE RATING: 10/10 - cleansing is the cornerstone of a good, anti-ageing skincare regime.

Not washing your hair

BEAUTY FALL-OUT: Lacklustre locks and hair loss

STYLIST PRESCRIBES: A dry, flaky scalp is often the result of having greasy hair, but did you know it's one of the primary causes of hair thinning and even hair loss, as well? 'A healthy scalp is a clean scalp,' says leading trichologist Philip Kingsley, 'so if you want the best hair possible, wash it often.' And the minute you notice any flakiness, switch to an anti-flaking shampoo, sticking with it for at least three days after the flaking has gone.

WHAT TO BUY: Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care Shampoo and Conditioner, £2.39.

IMPORTANCE RATING: 7/10. Why risk unhealthy hair for an extra ten minutes in bed?

Skipping body lotion after your shower

BEAUTY FALL-OUT: Dryness, cellulite, sagging

STYLIST PRESCRIBES: 'Moisturising is all about replacing the oils we strip away with washing as well as regularly massaging the skin to help prevent loss of firmness and tone,' says Dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting. The key is to find a lotion you love, that's quick to apply and whose effects last even if you miss the odd application. Oils are also great as they can be applied straight from the shower and almost patted in if you're short on time. If you're really pressed, use a hydrating wash. It won't improve skintone, but it will minimise dryness.

WHAT TO BUY: La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP, £11.50 (this very light weight lotion sinks in super-fast, but it's designed for ezcema sufferers, so it's heavy-hitting in the hydration department); Eucerin's Dry Skin Bath and Shower Therapy, £8.25; Connock London Soothing Bath Oil, £42.

IMPORTANCE RATING: 5/10. Dry skin can be atoned pretty easily, but it's nicer if you moisturise.

Forgetting to brush your teeth at night

BEAUTY FALL-OUT: Bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay - and loss

STYLIST PRESCRIBES: How many of us 'forget' to clean our teeth in the morning or at night, excusing ourselves on the basis we cleaned that morning/the night before? 'Cleaning our teeth is a mundane chore, but brushing twice a day will make a significant, positive difference,' says leading cosmetic dentist Dr Simon Darfoor. Given some stats suggesting poor teeth can make us look at least ten years older, that's a difference to how old you look, as well. Brush your teeth for two minutes each time and if it helps you last the course, find something to do at the same time. An electric toothbrush will also make it feel easier and gives the best results. If you're really pressed for time or have genuinely forgotten, use a mouthwash.

WHAT TO BUY: Colgate Fluorigard mouth wash, £2.99; Philips Sonicare FlexCare, £79.99 moves at 30,000 vibrations every minute for a really thorough clean

IMPORTANCE RATING: 10/10. Dentures, anyone?

Picking the skin at the sides of your nails

BEAUTY FALL-OUT: Tender skin, infections and stumped nail growth

STYLIST PRESCRIBES: We must be turning into a nation of nervous wrecks as nail expert Andrea Fulerton says she’s seen ‘a definite increase in the number of people tearing the skin down the dies of their fingers. It’s become much more common than nail biting’. Start by having regular manicures - polished nails are too good to nibble. Then stop picking before it starts by keeping the skin around your nails neat. Soft clippers are the safest way to remove it.

WHAT TO BUY: Andrea Fulerton’s Cuticle Trimmers, £7.99; Mavala Stop Nail Polish, £9; YSL La Laque lasting nail lacquer, £16, (it’s an amazing non-chip formula that lasts).

IMPORTANCE RATING: 7/10 - your hands say a lot about you, so get yours in shape

Words: Samantha Freedman

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