Find out your beauty frenemies with this week's hot tips

It’s a catchy phrase that’s inspired movies aplenty, and one that I’ve recently realised could also be applied to many of my most long-standing skincare and make-up habits.

Despite being someone who should know better, my ablutions are littered with “beauty frenemies” – there’s so much I do because it’s quick, easy or I’ve always done it, but which could never be described as best practice. 

Take heat-styling, for example. My blow-dry skills leave a lot to be desired, so I can’t resist a pair of straightening irons to smooth things over after I’ve blasted the moisture out of my hair. 

It’s quick, easy and looks great but any appliance that reaches temperatures of over 150° degrees is going to cause damage. There are two options: either embrace the waves – which, let’s be honest, I won’t be doing any time soon – or spritz thoroughly with a heat protection spray before starting a styling session.

Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray (£7.29; nationwide) prevents damage, locks in moisture and is a bargain. That way you can keep your frenemy close without worry.

Then there are gel manicures, which I can’t live without. While my sister perfected the art of painting her nails during her teens (she’s particularly ambidextrous so far better equipped than most of us), my attempts are so shoddy it looks like I’ve allowed my toddler to give me a manicure.

This is why I am addicted to salon applications of CND Shellac. With a shelf life of about three weeks, you can let the professionals do the hard work and it is dry before you have paid.

Yes, chip-free polish is a brilliant thing, but I rarely return to the salon to have it soaked and filed away, instead peeling it off while watching telly and losing layers of nail in the process. 

The solution? Investing in a lifetime supply of SensatioNail Gel Polish Remover (£6; 0345 070 8090,, an acetone that lets you soak away your polish at home when it starts to look shabby.

Wipes really are the “Mean Girls” of the beauty world, luring you in only to stab you in the back once you let your guard down. They’re quick, easy and when you’re ready to collapse at the end of the day the idea of being able to cleanse in bed is oh-so-enticing.

But this is one frenemy we should definitely live without. It may feel like the low-maintenance option but the truth is they don’t thoroughly remove the day, and sometimes simply smear it around – and that’s before we talk about how bad they are for the environment (surprisingly, many are made of plastic so aren’t even slightly biodegradeable).

There’s no alternative to a decent cleansing routine, so I just need to kiss these goodbye for good.

As for our relationship with spots, yes, we know we’re supposed to stop before we pop, but who can resist when you have a zit staring back at you in the mirror… Squeezing is so pleasing in the moment but this quick fix can spread bacteria, cause scarring and drive the problem deeper under the skin.

Despite my best intentions, I’m never going to be someone who is able to ignore a breakout, but following with a dab of Origins Blemish Treatment Gel (£15.50; 0800 054 2888, should contain things nicely. It uses the fruit extract saw palmetto, which has antiseptic properties and can help control excess oil production to prevent pimples. 

Another frenemy of anyone with problem skin is the type of face wash designed for acne – these transform in days but can actually aggravate the issue in the long term. Anything too harsh strips skin of natural oils, causing sebum production to go into overdrive and creating a vicious circle of lumps and bumps. 

If your skin feels tight after cleansing, the product has been overzealous in its actions. As a twenty-something I suffered from adult acne which only disappeared after I switched from antiseptic washes to Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser (£32; 0800 917 7147,, which helps repair the natural barrier to help sensitised skin protect itself from environmental aggressors. 

Finally, while I’ve never been a fake tanner myself, I know many women battle a love/hate relationship every summer. Modern formulations mean that streaks and smells are largely a thing of the past – and no one will quibble about its transformative effect on wobbly bits and body confidence – but there’s still the irritating issue of uneven fade.

After a few showers, limbs have lost their tawny hue but knees, elbows and other edges cling to their colour tenaciously. 

The solution is already in your kitchen cupboard. All it takes is a couple of tablespoons of baking soda mixed to a paste with water. Massage in, wait a few minutes and shower it – and those annoying patches – down the drain. 

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