If you’re fighting under-eye puffiness, a monster pimple, or a dry-skin attack and you have access to the internet, then you’ve likely spied some pretty out-there advice and slathered on some pretty crazy ingredients in the name of a glowy complexion.
Been there, tried that—and while sometimes you strike gold, other times you’re left with just a glob of toothpaste on your face (or worse).
Which is why I was so excited to tap 18 beauty gurus to find out the craziest thing they’ve done for radiant skin. Maybe you can relate—if not, you can at least get a good laugh.
Keep reading for their skin-care horror stories, surprising beauty successes, and everything in between.
Kerrilynn Pamer and Cindy DiPrima, co-founders of CAP Beauty
KP: I haven’t had gluten for eight years because I have Celiac disease, and that cleared up my skin. Some people may think eight years without pizza is crazy, but I will never have clear skin as long as I’m eating wheat!
CP: I try to take ice-cold showers or I end each shower with a blast of freezing-cold water, which boosts circulation and reduces inflammation. I also spray live bacteria on my skin from a brand called Mother Dirt.
Indie Lee, founder of Indie Lee
I’ve smashed up avocados and slathered it head to toe—very Shrek-esque! That was a wacky experiment during my early product-development days.
Adina Grigore, founder of S.W. Basics
In high school I had such terrible acne that I got on prescription Benzamycin. It’s a cream you apply every day to kill bacteria. It also removes the top layer of your skin and makes you really white—you feel like your face is cracking open. I would never do anything like this now, but at the time it felt magical…. I wish I had known better!
Rose-Marie Swift, founder of RMS Beauty
When I was younger I got someone to get me Retin-A from a doctor. The prescription was super strong and I put it all over my face—even my eyes—for a few days. Was I ever burnt! I peeled for a week. I was lucky I didn’t do extreme damage. Never again.
Dr. Roshini Raj, gastroenterologist and founder of Tula
The craziest beauty treatment I’ve ever tried was applying hemorrhoid cream to my puffy eyes!
Tara Pelletier, co-founder of Meow Meow Tweet
I’ve been using kombucha as a face toner recently and I’m pretty crazy about it. I brew my own to drink and started spraying it on my face a month ago, and my skin is very happy.
Laura Schubert, CEO of Fur
I use ingrown concentrate from my line, Fur, on my eyebrows to hydrate the hairs and keep the skin underneath blemish-free.
Tata Harper, founder of Tata Harper
When I was about 15, I scrubbed my face with a mixture of turmeric, lemon juice, and salt to get rid of some minor blemishes. It irritated my skin, and I ended up bright yellow from the strong pigment, so it definitely was not an improvement!
Shirley Pinkson, natural makeup artist and co-founder of W3ll People
I was getting ready for a big trip in which I was meeting someone special, and I wanted to make sure that my skin was positively radiant! I started with a dermaplaning session—which is a method of exfoliation that consists of using a scalpel to gently scrape off the top layer of dull dead skin cells. Yes, I said scalpel.
My skin felt and looked baby fresh, but I couldn’t stop there! I [used] a prescription-level glycolic peel that I’d been saving for a Sunday night at home and nearly burned my face off—literally. The glowing, radiant skin I dreamt of was now scaly, red, and cracking! Luckily, that special someone—who is still my special someone—saw what radiated beyond the redness.
Maddison Osborn, co-founder of Raw Complexions
I used to apply toothpaste on my breakouts as an awkward teenager—all of my girlfriends were doing it at the time and I knew nothing about corrective skin care, so I literally tried everything to clear them up!
Gigja Wesneski, founder of Root Science
The craziest thing I’ve done to clear my skin is a mask every day for an entire week! During my crazy mask week, I alternated between moisturizing DIY masks and my two Root Science clay-based masks, Reborn and Detox. The DIY masks included turmeric (don’t apply this undiluted, unless you want to walk around looking like an Oompa Loompa—take my word for it), colloidal oatmeal, chlorella, and honey. The crazy thing is that it totally worked! Took some commitment, but was well worth it.
Rebecca Casciano, natural makeup artist
Many years ago, when my skin was at its worst, I saw a renowned holistic healer who used kinesiology, psychic, and energy healing to read my skin. Our session lasted several hours, in which she evaluated my mental, physical, and spiritual conditions. She believed that our saliva is the essence of our being and asked me to spit into a small cup. Then she used a pendulum to determine my food or environmental allergies, past life trauma, vows, and curses. I left with pages of information on her readings and extensive instructions on how to heal my mind, body, and spirit. It was definitely a unique experience!
Jillian Wright, clinical aesthetician and founder of Indie Beauty Expo
Calamine is great for pimples overnight because of the zinc. My daughter thinks pretty out-of-the-box, too: She went into my studio and took a half teaspoon of activated coconut charcoal, then went downstairs and mixed it with some non-toxic glue like Elmer’s, and made a DIY blackhead strip for her T-zone—and it worked!
Jessica Richards, founder of Shen Beauty
The craziest thing I’ve ever done is a professional-grade peel at-home on my own. Let’s just say I wish it would have been Halloween, as I wouldn’t have needed a costume! I now rely on the products in my store to give me the rejuvenation I’m looking for.
Karen Behnke, founder of Juice Beauty
I used to be so addicted to the sun. I would lie on reflectors all summer—and in the Michigan winters, I would fry my face (with no sunscreen on) under a very toxic sunlamp to clear my skin and get tanned. Even worse, when my skin would burn and peel to reveal the very raw skin underneath, I would burn my burns to make an attempt to clear and even out my skin tone. This is one reason that I was so motivated to start a skin-care company, and subsequently Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Collection, as I had terrible hyperpigmentation from these unhealthy habits.
Ashley Prange, founder of Au Naturale Cosmetics
I recently fell in love with the face cleanser by Mother Dirt. The idea behind the line is that our modern obsession with cleanliness strips our skin of the natural microorganisms that have aided in skin health for centuries. This cleanser uses AiBiome technology to nourish your face and preserve your skin’s good bacteria. I’m obsessed!
Jana Blankenship, founder of Captain Blankenship
The craziest thing I did for clear skin was get pregnant! I’m only half-joking: I have two small children and while I was pregnant my skin was radiant and clear. The increased blood flow circulation during pregnancy causes your face to be brighter, hence the pregnancy glow. To maintain this look all the time, I try to increase circulation through exercise—which is usually me pushing the two little ones in a double jogging stroller!
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