Top 14 Absolute Worst Beauty Ideas on the Internet

The Internet is great.

We’re big fans! But that doesn’t mean it’s not a black-hole of terrible beauty advice that ranges from tediously ineffective to flat-out dangerous. Here, we debunk the craziest tips on the World Wide Web.

  1. “Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to fix spray-tan mistakes.”

Sure, why wouldn’t it be a good idea to rub a household cleaning product all over your exposed flesh? Oh, right, because it’s designed to scour walls and bathrooms.

In case you needed to be told; “As a general rule, it’s NEVER a good idea to use a household product on your skin,” says Randy Schueller, a cosmetic chemist and the cofounder of “They’re not subject to the same safety testing requirements as personal-care products.” But the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser isn’t coated in harsh chemicals?it’s made from an abrasive melamine foam that lifts stains away. And that material could cause an allergic reaction.

Instead, try dealing with streaky patches and stained hands by rubbing half a lemon on the area for two minutes before lightly buffing with a damp towel.

  1. “Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to whiten your teeth.”

PLEASE do not do this. “Sure, you could also rinse your mouth out with Clorox,” says New York City dentist Marc Lowenberg when asked whether there was any possible merit to this approach. (He was joking; definitely do not do that either). “It might remove stains, but the idea of putting a cleaning product in your mouth that isn’t designed for oral use is total insanity.” He further points out that all oral products have to be FDA-tested, and he would never recommend using anything that hasn’t been FDA-approved on your teeth. Seems like a reasonable rule. Might we suggest good ol? Crest Whitestrips?


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  1. “Make a DIY self-tanner with coffee grounds.”

OK, at least this one’s not dangerous — unless you have some sort of coffee allergy. We whole-heartedly appreciate the effort to get safe color without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays, but? it’s also not going to work. The coffee may slightly stain the skin, but it’s going to be extremely difficult to get good, even color. (We’ll stick with our Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, thank you.)

  1. “Use peanut butter as shaving cream.”

Aside from the obvious downsides (it’ll gunk up your razor in seconds, make a sticky mess in your bathroom, and attract vermin?we could go on), this so-called tip just seems like a huge waste of perfectly good peanut butter. If you run out of shaving cream, use hair conditioner. It gives the same slip as shaving gel while also “changing the hairs’ pH, making them softer and easier to cut.” So save the peanut butter for sandwiches.

  1. “Make a face mask out of kitty litter.”

This face-mask hack is mentioned on a number of different sites, which begs the question: Who on earth tried this first?

Turns out, they might not have been completely crazy.

Clay-based kitty litters often contain bentonite and silica, two ingredients found in many skin-care products formulated to absorb surface oils and create a barrier to hold moisture in. But other kitty-litter ingredients, like the masking fragrances, could be harsh and abrasive on skin. If you are looking for gentle exfoliation, stick to clay-based face masks that are known to be safe and also provide benefits like hydration, and cleansing. (Some of our favorites are Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and Freeman Avocado & Oatmeal Facial Clay Mask, which costs less than $5, might we add.)

  1. “Pop a pimple with a safety pin.”

The issue here?other than the fact that you’re voluntarily sticking yourself in the face with a pin?is that you shouldn’t be popping your pimples at all, let alone with a sharp, unsterilized metal object.

When you break the skin, the bacteria that’s on your face can penetrate it, and the contents of the pimple get pushed deeper. All that irritation is going to take much longer to heal and can lead to scarring.

So if you get the urge, remember that popping a pimple can lead to a vicious, never-ending cycle of zits that your future self will hate you for.

If you absolutely can’t resist, there’s a right way to do it. Use two Q-tips against either side of the pimple to help limit any trauma to the surrounding skin. Then deal with the aftermath by dabbing the area with witch hazel to disinfect it and applying an antibiotic salve, like Neosporin, which will continue to fight bacteria and help the spot heal with minimal scarring.

  1. “Lighten dark spots with lemon juice.”

Just as citrus can act like a homemade Sun-In and lighten your hair, it may brighten dark spots. But it can also have some pretty nasty consequences.

There is a condition called phytophotodermatitis, which occurs when you have citrus on your skin and are then exposed to the sun. It can cause an allergic reaction with blisters and inflammation. Instead, stick to skin-care products with safe brightening ingredients, like vitamin C, kojic acid, or licorice. (We are partial to SkinMedica Lytera.)

  1. “Make your own facial hair remover with melted sugar.”

Melted, sticky sugar equals so much BURN potential! If the sugar-gel gets too hot, it can give you third-degree burns, and even if you manage to get the melted-sugar formula on without searing your skin — you have to be super careful about the technique. Both your hands are will be busy, and it can very difficult to simultaneously hold your skin tight during the process, which can lead to bruising.

Instead, just use a razor for quick at-home hair removal (it?s easier on your skin than creams or epilators.)

  1. “Make pore strips with gelatin.”

Using gelatin?a protein typically derived from animal tissue and used in foods for texture or as a preservative?on your skin isn’t exactly dangerous, but it’s not going to do much to degunk your pores.

Gelatin is a powdered form of collagen, when applied to the skin the mask will likely hydrate, but it will not be able to remove the blockages from your pores.

Also, collagen is a large molecule and is not absorbed into the skin to give any type of long-term skin strengthening. If you want to deep-clean your pores, a better bet is to stick to classic Bior? Deep Cleansing Pore Strips.

  1. “Exfoliate with sandpaper.”

Just imagining sandpaper against skin is worse than nails on a chalk board. You can really hurt yourself with sandpaper, it’s not sterile, so there’s risk of infection as well as scarring

Instead, use an exfoliating scrub, like Jan Marini Bioglycolic Resurfacing Body Scrub or Porification Body Wash, which are far gentler.

  1. “Use a colored pencil as eyeliner.”

There’s a lot that goes into creating eye makeup, colors intended for use around the eye have to be specially approved by the FDA. By using something that hasn’t been specifically tested for that purpose, you could be risking severe consequences, like irritation, infection, or worse. Worst case scenario? Using unapproved colorants around your eye could lead to blindness.

File this one under Definitely Not Worth It.


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  1. “Use milk of magnesia instead of makeup primer.”

If you’re the kind of person who finds the idea of applying laxatives to your face appealing, well…you might actually be on to something.

Milk of Magnesia is a common over-the counter laxative. It’s a solution of magensium-hyroxide and sodium-hypochlorite that works by drawing water into the intestine, and that same mechanism might actually make it a useful primer. Its ability to drive water into the intestines may mean it’s capable of tightening skin and leaving a smooth surface for makeup.

While this might actually be the least horrible idea on this list, there are some downsides. Milk of Magnesia will likely dry out your skin since it has a high pH, and it might also disrupt your skin’s natural acid mantle. (For all you science nerds, the acid mantle refers to the outer layer of skin, which is typically slightly acidic. You don’t really want to mess with it.) Acidic conditions maintain skin-barrier function, so if you alter your skin’s pH you’re altering its ability to retain moisture effectively.

  1. “Make mascara out of Oreos.”

Yes, this is an actual idea that got hundreds of thousands of views, thanks to a beauty vlogger who recommended it to her legions of fans? Despite the apparent interest, DO NOT TRY THIS!

Aside from the fact that this sounds incredibly difficult to do, it’s also downright dangerous. The cookie particles are abrasive and can scratch the cornea. Plus, the chemicals in cookies may be safe to eat, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe to put in or around your eye.

Please invest your $5 in a tube of Maybelline New York Great Lash Mascara instead!

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  1. “Use brown sugar to straighten your hair.”

A hair-straightening method that does not involve hot tools is incredibly appealing, especially in the summer. But unfortunately, brown sugar isn’t going to do that kind of magic.

There’s no reason brown sugar would chemically straighten hair. The disulfide bonds that make hair curly are very tough to break and require a high pH. At best, sugar would act as a fixative or texturizer, like a salt spray.

At worst, it would be a sticky, insect-attracting mess.

by Stephanie Saltzman

With reporting by Allure Staff