The Numbers That Help You Look and Feel Your Best
Put Down the Shampoo
1-2: Number of days you should go between washing your hair. Take it a step further by skipping the shampoo session and simply rinsing and conditioning every other time to boost softness, advises celebrity hair stylist Tami Jensen. For those in-between days, grab a dry shampoo like Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo or Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray.
Scrub It Away
2-3: Number of times you should exfoliate each week. “The skin needs its natural oils for moisture and to maintain balance,” says Paul Frank, a Manhattan-based dermatologist. “Over exfoliating will deplete this and create dryness and even irritation.” If you notice dry skin or increased redness and sensitivity post-scrubbing, cut back and allow your skin to recover.
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3: Months you should keep mascara—and then toss it. One study found that after three months of daily use, bacteria was found on 36.4 percent of the tubes tested. It’s okay to stock up: The three month countdown begins the first time you use it—not when it was purchased—says Chicago-based makeup artist Nika Vaughan.
4-8: Weeks you should go between replacing a facial cleansing brush head. “Bacteria breeds on facial brushes,” Frank says. “Every time you use it, bacteria multiply.” This increases if you use your Clarisonic frequently in the shower where moisture breeds mold and bacteria, Frank says.
30: Minimum SPF recommended by dermatologists. SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, whereas SPF 30 blocks an improved 97 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
375: Maximum temperature that your straightening iron should reach. And always apply a heat protector prior to styling for an extra shield, says Jensen. Leave more intense heat to the professionals.
Take a Shot
1: Ounces of sunscreen to apply every day. SPFs are tested using the standard application of 2 milligrams per square centimeters, or a shot glass-sized amount for the average-size adult. In reality, most of us apply about a quarter of that, or the size of a nickel, which decreases the protection factor. Dermatologists from a recent study suggest a double application to get closer to that shot glass worth of sunscreen for better protection.
Brush It Off
7: Number of times a week you should wash your makeup brushes if you’re fighting acne. “This is particularly important for any travel brushes that tend to live in a warm, dark purse or gym bag,” Vaughan says. For easy cleaning, apply a dab of Dr. Bronner Lavender Castile Bar soap and massage it into the brush under lukewarm water. The oils condition and reshape the brush, and the suds rinse away quickly. Place the brush on a hand towel to dry. “Proper cleaning and care will ensure that your brushes outlast all the makeup products in your bag,” says makeup artist Shannon O’Brian, adding that she’s had some of her brushes for over five years. Once you spot excessive shedding, a misshapen brush, or knotted bristles though, it’s time to find a replacement.
24: The percentage that signs of aging are reduced if you use sunscreen daily. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at 900 people under the age of 55, and found that those who applied sunscreen every day were less likely to have signs of aging after four and a half years.
360: Number of seconds you should brush your teeth each day. Break it into three two-minute sessions advises San Francisco Bay-area dentist Mark Burhenne.
24-48: Hours to wait to wash your newly colored hair to prevent fading. Always use a color protectant to help from stripping the color from your hair, Jensen says. Sulfate-free shampoo and conditioners also ensure the new shade lasts.
Talk About Dirty
100: Percentage of cell phones with bacterial contamination. A 2013 study tested cell phones and found that every single one tested positive for bacteria. To wipe yours of bacteria, clean it with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. A 2012 study found that regular cleanings with the medicine cabinet staple reduced the number of doctors’ phones with bacteria by 79 percent.
Om Away Worries
20: Minutes of meditation it takes to de-stress. A 2011 study found that meditating for 20 minutes before a stressful event reduces the heart rate. Even for people who hadn’t practiced before, the om session helped them calm down.
Feed Thirsty Skin
40: Ideal humidity percentage for your bedroom. Plug a humidifier next to your bed to prevent dry skin, Frank suggests.
Hit the Sheets
7: Number of days between washing your sheets. Mixing your bedding and clothing in a detergent and bleach mix removed 98 percent of dust mites versus 84 percent in detergent alone according to one study. We like Tide Vivid White + Bright Original Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent.
Trash Your Toothbrush
4: Number of weeks to use your toothbrush before replacing it. “The minute you start using a toothbrush, the ends of the bristles start returning to their former edgy selves and wear away the sides of your teeth,” Burhenne says. “This leads to tooth sensitivity and unsightly gum recession.” Replacing the brush once a month might sound excessive, but the $4 replacement is a small investment to keep the brush from cutting away tooth structure.
1: Seconds you can be outside before sun starts to damage skin. “Skin is harmed upon immediate exposure to sun,” Frank says.
5-10: Number of times to use your razor before replacing it. “A dull blade increases your chance of nicking yourself,” O’Brian says. “And if there is bacteria on your blade, there can be a lot of irritation.” Another surefire sign it’s time to replace the blade: rust.
Perfect Your Polish
4: Number of strokes of nail polish for the perfect manicure. Swipe the polish once down the center, once on each side, and across the edge of the nail, advises nail artist Cenita Scott.