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In the past few months, school supplies have gotten a glamorous makeover.

Tape has become a popular contouring tool. Correction tape applicators have been transformed into false lash dispensers. And now, Clarins has resurrected our beloved multi-color retractable pen and turned it into a brilliant beauty device.

Instead of featuring cartridges of different inks, the upcoming Clarins 4-Colour All-in-One Pen Eyes & Lips ($30, available Jan. 4 from clarinsusa.com) features four styluses meant to be used on eyes and lips.

There is one neutral lip liner and three shades of eyeliner: black, navy, and brown. (An insert in the product’s packaging also suggests using the brown eye pencil to fill in brows and draw on freckles.)

It’s super simple to use; just click down your desired shade, then twist the pen to wind up the pigment. Do note that each shade has a very flat tip, so while it’s not the ideal tool for an intensely precise line, it’s worth overlooking that fact to have such a versatile product in your makeup bag.

Cleaning out one’s beauty collection is a New Year’s resolution for many of us. While it seems counterintuitive to immediately shop for new swag in the first week of January, doing so (and buying this product) will help you stick to your goals. After all, you can replace four different items items in your stash with this baby!

And, as per the KonMari method, that should bring you a lot of joy.

Everyone wants to achieve glowing, gorgeous and perfect skin. Often we go about it the wrong way and apply harmful chemical laden synthetic beauty products that end up causing more harm than good.

If you want to make a real and lasting change for your skin, opt for natural alternatives such as these magical herbal agents.

1. Chamomile

Chamomile is one of nature’s miracles. It has an incredible number of benefits, and none more so than for our skin. Alpha-bisabolol – a compound found in chamomile – reportedly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by accelerating the healing process of the skin while also possessing anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying a cooled cup of chamomile tea as a face wash or applying the tea bags onto your skin are two of the most effective ways to take advantage of chamomile as a natural skin healer.

2. Witch Hazel

Produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch Hazel shrub, millions of people swear by witch hazel for its acne relieving properties. Witch hazel is an anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce inflammation of pimples. It also clears away excess sebum without drying out the skin too much. Witch hazel is also an astringent meaning it helps to tighten skin tissue and can reduce the appearance of dark under eye circles.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is another of the more popular herbs for treating skin. Applied most commonly as a gel, women use aloe vera gel prior to applying make-up to keep skin moisturized while men often apply to skin after shaving to rehydrate and treat small cuts. Like witch hazel, aloe vera is another important natural remedy in the fight against acne. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce pimple size while its anti-microbial properties kill bacteria. Rich in vitamin C and E – two of the most important vitamins for our skin – aloe vera is another of nature’s miracles for achieving healthy, gorgeous skin.

4. Calendula

Calendula is a garden plant in the daisy family that, like aloe vera and witch hazel, has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It is also a vulnerary agent that helps to heal wounds and soothe damaged skin, such as sunburn, cuts and scrapes. Many have also used calendula oil to treat eczema.

5. Lavender

Lavender may be more famous for its relaxing effects of the mind, but it also helps to soothe skin, too. It is rich in a compound called linalool that assists with skin healing while also preventing tissue degeneration keeping skin firm and preventing wrinkles. To make lavender even more of an anti-aging wonder, it encourages the growth of new skin cells due to its cytophylactic properties. Lavender also helps to heal wounds, scar tissue, acne, eczema and problem skin. Being anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-toxic, anti-bacterial and an anti-septic just serves to show how incredible lavender is for skin.

For some people, making smart food choices and breaking bad dietary habits can be enough to banish uncomfortable stomach cramps and bloating, which can have a genuine impact on quality of life.

Here are a few tips from digestion disorder specialist Daniele Festy, and endocrinologist and nutritionist Pierre Nys on how to calm your stomach.

Go easy on crudites

Too many raw vegetables can irritate intestinal mucus and the colon, although it depends on the individual nature and sensitivity of your digestive system.

Dishes such as cooked beetroot or a salad of cooked carrots with cumin will be better tolerated than classics like raw tomato and cucumber.

Keep legumes to a minimum

Legumes like lentils, dried beans and chickpeas are excellent sources of plant-based protein that help increase satiety – making you feel fuller.

However, not everyone can digest them easily.

Try including small quantities of legumes in your dishes and to see how you react.

Pick dairy products with low levels of lactose

Outside of specific lactose intolerances or allergies, dairy products can cause nausea, pain, bloating, and even migraines.

If you notice these discomforts, switch to yoghurts and matured cheeses that have lower levels of lactose, as well as fermented milk products or plant-based milks such as soy or almond milk.

Tuck into low-sugar fruit

It isn’t always easy to fit in the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

However, citrus fruit, for example, is better eaten outside of mealtimes to avoid bloating and slow digestion.

Pineapple, although relatively sweet, can be eaten at the end of a meal as it’s great for digesting proteins.

Make sure you remove the skin of nectarines, apples and pears.

As a general rule, fruit is better cut into chunks or grated, rather than consumed whole.

 

Peel vegetables

The skin of certain vegetables, like bell peppers and tomatoes, isn’t digestible.

Simply plunge them into boiling water for two minutes and the skin should peel away easily.

With green vegetables, try just eating the lightest-colored parts, which are less likely to cause flatulence than dark green parts.

Go half and half with grains

Wholegrain cereals are recommended to help boost dietary fibre intake, but a gut that’s used to eating white flour products, like industrially-produced sliced bread, won’t appreciate the switch to brown bread or brown rice if it’s done instantly and involves large quantities.

To avoid weakening intestinal mucus, half-and-half formulations of bread or pasta, for example, can lead to smoother transitions.

As a general rule, it’s wise to reduce portions of carbohydrates.

Watch out for hidden sorbitol

Sorbitol is a natural sugar used in many “light”, “diet” or “sugar-free” products, thanks to its relatively low impact on blood sugar levels.

It is found in preserves, candy and chewing gum.

This sweetener can give certain people stomachaches and can cause digestive problems such as diarrhoea.

It is also hidden in certain fruits, such as pears and plums.

Make sure you read food labels carefully. – AFP Relaxnews

 

If you want to lose weight, what’s on your plate is often more important than the minutes you spend in the gym. And if you want to see the most change, a 2015 study from Harvard says you should be cutting carbs, not fat.

For the study, published in PLoS One, researchers from Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital reviewed 53 randomized trials of over 68,000 patients who had been assigned to either low-fat or low-carb diets.

They found that low-carb diets were consistently better at helping patients lose weight than low-fat diets; the participants on the low-carb diets lost 2.5 pounds more than those on low-fat diets, with the average weight loss among all groups at about six pounds.

This latest study on the weight-loss benefits of a low-carb diet adds further evidence that if you want to lose weight, ditching bread — not olive oil — can help you see success.

Another recent study, for example, showed that dieters who ate fewer than 40 grams of carbohydrates per day lost about eight pounds more than dieters who were put on a low-fat diet.

Other studies have shown that high-carb diets may be the real heart-disease culprit, not saturated fat.

All in all, this new review is a good reminder that if you want to lose weight, you should choose a diet rich in healthy fats, lean proteins, and fresh produce. Of course, not all fats are created equal — find out which healthy fats you should be incorporating into your diet here:

1. Polysaturated Fats

Found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils such as corn and safflower oil, and fatty fish. This category encompasses omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are known as essential fatty acids because our bodies don’t make them—we have to get them from food.

2. Saturated Fats

Saturated fat increases total cholesterol and LDL, and may boost your type 2 diabetes risk. Meat, seafood, and dairy products are sources of saturated fat. Some plant foods, like palm and coconut oil, also contain it. Animal or vegetable, saturated fat carries the same risks.

Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products to get their key nutrients while cutting saturated fat.

The Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 10% of total calories come from saturated fat. So if you eat 2,000 calories a day, for example, keep your saturated fat intake below 22 grams.

3. Unsaturated Fats

Saturated fat increases total cholesterol and LDL, and may boost your type 2 diabetes risk. Meat, seafood, and dairy products are sources of saturated fat. Some plant foods, like palm and coconut oil, also contain it. Animal or vegetable, saturated fat carries the same risks.

Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products to get their key nutrients while cutting saturated fat.

The Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 10% of total calories come from saturated fat. So if you eat 2,000 calories a day, for example, keep your saturated fat intake below 22 grams.

4. Cholesterol

Scientific understanding of the dangers of dietary cholesterol has shifted. It used to be thought that eating dietary cholesterol, like in shrimp or eggs, would raise cholesterol. It does to some extent, but it’s more important to focus on not eating saturated and trans fats.

For people with normal cholesterol levels,the current recommendation is no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily, while people at high risk of heart disease should consume less than 200 milligrams daily. For perspective, one egg contains about 200 milligrams of cholesterol.

5.  Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fats raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL. Canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados are good sources.

Trade sour cream dip for hummus (which is rich in olive oil) or guacamole; use veggies or whole-wheat chips to dip. Try peanut oil in a stir-fry to jazz up your diet while helping your heart.

Unsalted nuts contain monounsaturated fat, but they’re high in calories. Sprinkle them on salads or yoghurt, rather than eating a 170-calorie handful.

6.Omega-3 fatty acids

In the world of good fats, omega-3s are superstars. They fight inflammation, help control blood clotting, and lower blood pressure and triglycerides.

Fatty fish like albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are good sources, Greaves says. You don’t have to break the bank to get them; canned Alaskan salmon and canned sardines are okay too.

Vegetable sources include soy, walnuts, and some vegetable oils. There are no specifics on how much you should consume, but the American Heart Association suggests eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fish each week.

Those of us who pay close attention to our skincare regimen know the importance of moisturizing. However, buying good moisturizer can add up fast, so it’s useful to know natural ways you can moisturize your skin at home. Whether you’re avoiding unnecessary chemicals or are running low on your favourite jar of moisturizer, you might be interested to know about natural products you can use to keep your skin smooth and supple.

“When our skin is hydrated, it remains happy and plump,” says esthetician Emilee Wilson over email. “Fine lines and wrinkles smooth out, and our epidermis doesn’t have to work so hard to give us that healthy glow. I enjoy moisturizing my skin internally with good fats and yummy oils.”

If you’re looking to moisturize your skin naturally, try these six home remedies to keep your skin radiant and hydrated.

1. Oil

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Some natural oils are a good alternative to traditional moisturizers,” says dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban over email. Some good options include argan oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. “There are many skin products that now contain oil as well as soaps that are oil based, which may also be a good alternative,” she says.

2. Avocado

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A facial mask made of avocado is a great way to nourish dry skin, as avocado contains healthy fats and a variety of nutrients that help to hydrate the skin. Avocado is high in oleic acid, which increases skin permeability, according to a study published in the journal Drug Delivery. Mash up the avocado and apply it directly to your face, or mix it with some sugar or honey as a scrub.

3. Aloe Vera

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Aloe vera has soothing, anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great remedy for cracking or dry skin. Studies from the American Journal of Infection control found aloe vera to be a successful treatment for women with dry and wrinkled hands. You can use a ready-made gel or take it directly from the aloe vera plant to relieve skin discomfort and bring it back to a smooth texture.

4. Honey

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Filled with antioxidants, honey contains antibacterial properties that help to unclog pores and provide the skin with moisture. Apply honey directly to the skin like a mask or mix it with something like lemon or milk, which can help moisturize the skin, according to the Ayurvedic research journal Ayu.

 

If you’re a DIY fanatic, you may already know that baking soda and salt have a ton of skin care uses, but what about an ingredient that’s a little sweeter? Sugar is actually pretty useful, from your face down to your toes.

Prevents Ageing

Sugar as part of your regular diet has been proven to cause wrinkles. But when used as an exfoliant, sugar removes wrinkles and fine lines that appear on your face. Sugar and lemon scrubs also prevent age spots, giving your skin an even texture and glow. The signs of aging can be hidden by using sugar regularly, as it will give you younger-looking skin. Sugar is also used to combat tanning, as it also reduces dark spots and blemishes caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Hydrate Skin

The thickness of the dead cells on the surface of the face is reduced by frequent use of sugar and the balance of skin’s oils are restored. Therefore, your face remains moisturised longer and is protected from various toxins. Sugar prevents the skin from forming dry flakes by keeping it moisturised. When infused with natural oils like olive oil, almond oil and jojoba oil, it hydrates the skin and gives it a dewy appearance.

Excellent Cleanser

A major beauty benefit of sugar is that it contains glycolic acid, which causes the removal of dead cells and dirt on the surface of the skin. It cleanses your pores deeply and prevents acne, which is caused by unclogged pores. Add a tablespoon of sugar to a few drops of honey and almond oil to make a gentle cleanser which absorbs dirt and oil from pores.

Exfoliates Skin

The outermost layers of your face are covered with dead cells which the skin sheds every 15-30 days. The glycolic acid in sugar is effective in scraping away this layer of dead cells and promotes the regeneration of new skin cells. Exfoliating using sugar prevents the skin from being dry and keeps it smooth and silky to touch. A gentle and hydrating sugar scrub can be made by mixing one tablespoon of sugar with one tablespoon of sesame oil and one teaspoon of eucalyptus oil.

Lip Care

Many women suffer from dry, chapped lips. Keeping the lips soft and moisturised is another beauty benefit of sugar. Make a paste of olive oil and castor sugar and scrub your lips with this to get rid of the dull, dry flakes that form on the surface. Your lips will look smooth, even-toned and beautiful. Exfoliation with sugar makes it easier to apply lipsticks and lip gloss, and these products will even stay on for longer!

 

Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is a powder made when common charcoal is heated in such a way as to develop lots of internal spaces or ‘pores’ which help to trap chemicals.

This pure black powder – which is used in gas masks and water purifiers – is also sold in capsule form, and is a common additive in many skincare products.

You don’t need to spend money on expensive lotions and creams to take advantage of the detoxifying abilities of activated charcoal though – keep reading to find out how and why to use activated charcoal in your beauty regimen.

Blackhead Busting Face Mask – in addition to the detoxing abilities of activated charcoal, this mask contains bentonite clay, which acts as a magnet to draw dirt and blackheads from the pores. It also helps to kill the bacteria which contribute to blemishes.

Pore Minimizing Mask – along with charcoal and bentonite clay, this recipe calls for Matcha green tea powder. This triad of super ingredients makes for an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory detoxing mask that reduces pore size and regenerates skin cells.

Homemade Facial Cleanser – a gently exfoliating cleanser that kills bacteria and removes impurities. Even better, it also doubles up as a moisturizer! Containing organic coconut oil, activated charcoal, baking soda, lavender oil and rosemary oil.

Foaming Facial Scrub – a natural toner, scrubber and grease fighter all in one, this recipe lathers up well and contains just five ingredients: rose water, activated charcoal, water, liquid castile soap, and lavender essential oil.

DIY Charcoal Pore Strips – a simple recipe to save you shelling out on expensive pore strips. Thanks to the combination of gelatin and activated charcoal, these really draw out impurities and blackheads. The 6-minute video gives a step-by-step demonstration.

Non-Toxic Eyeliner – frame your eyes without exposing them to harsh chemicals. This easy to make eyeliner doubles up as a cream eyeshadow too! You’ll need nourishing coconut oil, soothing aloe vera gel and activated charcoal.

Eye-Friendly Mascara – this all natural homemade mascara really makes your eyes pop by darkening, separating and conditioning the lashes. While it’s not waterproof, it stays put all day long and is easy to wipe off. With coconut oil, aloe vera gel, beeswax, and activated charcoal.

Teeth Whitener – this ‘recipe’ couldn’t be easier – just apply some activated charcoal to your toothbrush and dab it onto your teeth. Allow it to sit for three minutes before washing away. This simple trick works to strip away stains like coffee, tea, wine and plaque.

Cinnamon & Clove Tooth Powder – you can use this powder as you would a paste – just tip a little onto your toothbrush. Made with bentonite clay, calcium powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, cloves and activated charcoal. Both cloves and cinnamon are powerful antimicrobial agents with cinnamon shown to kill the bacteria that causes bad breath.

2-Ingredient Body Scrub – one of the simplest beauty products to make at home – and a great recipe for beginners – this involves blending activated charcoal with a liquid of your choice. Try orange blossom or rose water, an herbal infusion or, for very dry skin, olive or coconut oil.

Tinted Slick Eyebrow Gel – enhance your brows, and keep unruly hairs under control, with this simple and natural gel which contains aloe vera, Fair Trade cocoa powder, activated charcoal and some nourishing vitamin E oil.

Tea Tree Charcoal Soap – a detoxifying, exfoliating, clarifying and feel-good soap that can be used head to toe, without drying out the skin. It’s also incredibly simple to make – you’ll just need a shea butter soap base, activated charcoal and tea tree essential oil.

Charcoal and Rose Clay Spa Soap – this pretty two-tone soap will make every day a pamper day! Made with a shea melt-and-pour soap base, activated charcoal, and rose clay; and scented with sandalwood, rose, and mandarin essential oils.

Clarifying Shampoo – the perfect natural clarifying shampoo for those with product build-up. It’s also great for those with an itching, flaking, or sore scalp. Ingredients include baking soda, borax, activated charcoal powder, and water. This product can be used on wet or dry hair and even works for those who are no ‘poo!

Activated Charcoal and Salicylic Acid Dandruff / Acne Mask – homemade multi-purpose beauty products are fantastic for saving on space, time and money! This face mask for acne doubles up as a dandruff deterrent thanks to its versatile ingredients which include aspirin, organic raw honey, and witch hazel.

Black Salve for Bug Bites – a natural and time-honored remedy for drawing out stings and splinters, while soothing irritated skin. Ingredients include calendula-infused oil (learn how to make your own here), coconut oil, beeswax, bentonite clay, lavender oil and tea tree oil.

Black Detox Bath – purify your skin from head to toe with this black bath, comprising Epsom salts, sea salt, charcoal and a blend of essential oils.

While we’re clearly obsessed with learning everything about beauty, we’ll be the first to admit that the sheer volume of information can be daunting. And some important tips can get lost along the way. Are you using the right primer? Are you using bronzer correctly? And is powder really necessary? It’s easy to make some big makeup mistakes without even realizing it.

Well, that stops now. Once you see which mistakes you’ve been making, you’ll swear to never make them again — after all, your beauty reputation is on the line. And don’t think that only beauty newbies are prone to errors! So read on: even if you’re a professional, you’re bound to pick up a new trick or two.

Not cleaning your makeup brushes.
We’ve all been guilty of this from time to time. Even most makeup artists confess that the time-consuming brush-cleaning process is their least favourite part of the job. But even if you don’t care that dirty brushes can make you break out, don’t forget that they’re affecting your makeup application. Not only will the colours be all muddled together, but a precise technique is rendered way more complicated — the bristles are already overloaded with pigment, blurring that perfect cut crease to oblivion.

Putting bronzer on your whole face.
If you want to fake a sun-kissed glow, use self-tanner on your face, not bronzer — your pale hairline and neck will be a dead giveaway. Lightly apply a subtly shimmery bronzer to the bridge of your nose, cheekbones, chin, and forehead to mimic a real tan.

Matching foundation to the back of your hand.
This seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve all done it. Why would we test foundation on our hands when we’ll be wearing it on our faces? Your face and hand are often not the same colour as they don’t receive the same amount of sun exposure. Try foundation on your jawline for a perfect match.

Sleeping in your makeup.
Yes, you know that this is bad. After all, it’s probably why the beauty industry invented cleansing wipes! But it doesn’t just cause breakouts — falling asleep with a dirty face can make you look older sooner. Makeup settles in your pores and stretches them out, which is permanent over time. Enlarged pores = rough, aged skin. Trust us, if we knew all along that a clean face was the key to keeping our skin dewy and youthful, we would have created better habits long ago.

Applying lip liner just to the edges.
Unless your desired look is a throwback to the ’90s, don’t do this. Even if you apply lipstick on top, your lip color will fade, leaving an unflattering ring around your mouth. Instead, forgo liner entirely or fill in the lines for a durable, last-all-day pout.

Wearing waterproof mascara every day.
Unless you’re a very sweaty individual or a synchronized swimmer, you shouldn’t wear a waterproof formula regularly. It’s very drying on the lashes. And since these mascaras are hard to remove, you’ll probably rub your eyes a lot during the cleansing process and end up losing some lashes.

Using the wrong blush formula.
If your blush looks unnatural, reconsider switching from cream to powder (or vice versa). While powder tends to last longer, cream leaves the most natural-looking flush — but both skin type and season come into play when picking a formula. Cream blushes will likely slide off oily skinned beauties (especially in Summer!), while powder can call attention to dry or wrinkled skin.

Coconut Oil isn’t the only kitchen staple that can work wonders when incorporated into your beauty routine. Vinegar is another hidden gem that beautifies your skin, hair and body. Since vinegar is loaded with antioxidants, it fights against free radicals that accelerate the ageing process.

It also soothes and disinfects thanks to its antibacterial properties. There are many types you can use, but apple cider vinegar is usually a head-to-toe beauty cure-all. Below, are 7 beauty uses for vinegar you need to try now:

1. Face Wash – Mix one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water for a simple, but nourishing face wash. The vinegar wash will help restore your skin’s ph level and normalize your sebum production. This means less breakouts, oily skin and reduces the chance of infections. After washing, don’t forget to moisturize with one of these oils.

2. Conditioning Hair – If you go the no-poo route or want to restore your hair’s ph level (making it less oily), then vinegar is an excellent conditioner. Simply try this DIY clarifying rinse and finish your routine as you would. It doesn’t smell as much as you would expect and your locks will be shiny and strong in no time!

3. A Whiter Smile – You can use vinegar mixed in water as a quick mouth rinse to kill bacteria, or you can brush your teeth with baking soda and vinegar. Combined, these ingredients will not only whiten your smile, but also combat tartar buildup – improving your overall oral hygiene.

4. Deodorant – No need to combine household products or use an aluminum-based deodorant. Instead, dab a small amount of apple cider vinegar under your arms and go. You’ll notice the smell is strong at first but it will vanish once it soaks into your skin.

5. Rid Razor Burn – One of the worst parts about shaving, especially if your razor isn’t brand new, is the risk of razor burn. Dabbing vinegar over the affected area will calm inflammation and prevent infections. If you have sensitive skin, dilute apple cider vinegar in water first to avoid a slight burning sensation. Here are a few other remedies to try.

6. Hand Scrub – Keep your hands as youthful looking as your face by exfoliating them with a cornmeal and vinegar scrub. This will slough off dead skin, leaving you with smooth, soft hands. You can also mix sugar with vinegar if you’re looking for a sweeter scrub. 😉

7. Clean Nail Beds – Before you polish your nails run a cotton pad soaked in white vinegar over each. This will remove any residue or moisture and help your manicure last longer. Don’t forget to wait to wash your hands until after your top coat has dried!

The Beautyblender isn’t your grandmother’s makeup sponge. There’s a reason professional and YouTube makeup artists keep more than one in their kits at all times. Since the brand launched over 10 years ago, it has become an insider favourite and created a new category of edgeless sponge applicators (with plenty of knockoffs available).

The main question we get when someone sees us with the pink egg: “Is it worth the money?” Yes. The Beautyblender will cost you $20 (which is about 19 more dollars than the cheap triangle versions at the drugstore). But you’ll get a dewy, airbrushed finish you can’t achieve with brushes alone.

There are a few things you need to know before you run out and buy one. Consider this your Beautyblender owner’s manual straight from the product creator, Rea Ann Silva. Avoid these 12 mistakes to keep you from getting mould, tears, or stains in your prized beauty tool.

1. Water Works
You’re using the sponge dry: We get it, you didn’t read the instructions, but theBeautyblender is supposed to be used wet. The damp surface gives you streak-free blending and a dewy finish.

Your sponge is dehydrated: Professional makeup artists like to keep a cup of water nearby to keep the sponges moist while working on set. “The best way to use the Beautyblender is when it is activated and damp and completely wet,” Rea Ann says. This January, the brand is releasing a new Reactivate spray that will plump the sponge when water is scarce.

2. Washing Machine
You only clean it once a week: Rea Ann recommends you pour cleanser on your sponge after every use, meaning every day. Make sure to keep the plastic cylinder it comes in as a drying station.

You’re scrubbing it too hard: Your BeautyBlender can tear if you have supersharp nails or if you’re pulling the ends too hard when you clean the sponge. Instead, use a gentle squeezing motion. While the sponge is soaking wet, pour the cleaner directly on any soiled spots. Use a pinching motion to distribute the cleanser in and out of the sponge. You can also roll the sponge between your palms. And no, you can’t put them in the washing machine.

You’re not soaking it: For stubborn stains, you can also use a concoction of cleanser and water to soak your sponges overnight. If the spot still won’t lift, you can pretreat your tool with a thinner oil (like baby oil) before cleansing.

3. Storage Solution
You store it in a ziplock bag: Mouldy makeup sponges do happen, but it’s all due to human error (that’s your bad). “When you remove oxygen and light from anything that is moist, you have the opportunity for mold and bacteria to start forming,” explains Rea Ann. So a damp Beautyblender stuffed in your dark, enclosed makeup bag is a bad idea. Instead, use a breathable mesh or organza bag to transport the sponge when you travel.

You tried to microwave the germs away: “The worst possible thing you can do is put it in the microwave,” Rea Ann says. “I don’t think it kills bacteria, it just melts everything.”

You kept it too long: Even though you clean your sponge every day (right?), the Beautyblender needs to be replaced every three months. The older it gets, the more likely it will rip or tear.

4. More Than Makeup
You’re not using it for skin care: The Beautyblender is not a one-trick pony. You can use the damp applicator to apply your skin care products, too. Rea Ann recommends using the white Pure ($20) to apply your serums, sunscreen, and moisturisers because it’s softer and free of dye.

You only use the Beautyblender with cream makeup: You’ve probably seen the Beautyblender on YouTube in your favourite contouring tutorials. Many makeup artists like to use it for applying setting powder in focused areas, like under the eyes. “The great thing about using a damp sponge with powder is that you can really control where you’re applying it,” says Rea Ann. “Brushes are like brooms that sweep things around your face.”

You use a wiping motion to apply your foundation: The BeautyBlender bounce is not a dance you need to learn; it’s the perfect application technique for this egg-shaped sponge. It’s very similar to the stippling motion you’d use with a regular brush. “What you’re doing in that one bounce motion is depositing the makeup onto the skin, and then blending it at the same time.” It also works to sculpt the face. Use the pointed end of the sponge to drag product with your contour cream. Then, use the larger end to bounce away any lines of demarcation.

You’re only using it for makeup: Yes, we told you to never use the Beautyblender dry — on your face. Rea Ann uses the condensed sponge to remove makeup and deodorant stains from clothes. Once you’ve hit the three-month mark, you can repurpose your old sponge for ombré nail art designs, too.