A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

50 Internet Hacks That Just Don’t Work

Brushing your teeth with charcoal will get rid of stains—along with your tooth enamel.

1 / 51

Don’t believe everything you see

We’ve all been there! After watching a clever hack online, you’ve likely thought to yourself, “That’s brilliant! I have to try it!” In an ideal world, everything goes exactly as shown in the video and you end up learning something new. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, and many of those “hacks” are staged to get clicks. But how can you sort out the good from the bad? Well, we found some of the most popular hacks out there—related to home, beauty, health, and even a few legal issues—and asked the experts to ID the ones that don’t work in the real world. The truth may be slightly disappointing, but it will save you a lot of time, energy, and frustration in the long run.

2 / 51

Keeping an avocado pit in guacamole will prevent it from turning brown

Brown avocado is fine to eat, but it’s definitely less appetizing. Unfortunately, two of the most popular hacks to avoid browning—storing it with the pit in it or using a squirt of lime—don’t work, says Silvia Martinez, a Mexican food chef and founder of Mama Latina Tips. “The guacamole will turn brown regardless because it’s exposure to air that causes the oxidation,” she says. “The solution is to put a barrier between the guacamole and the air. For me, a layer of plastic wrap pressed against the entire surface of the guacamole is what works every single time.”

3 / 51

Putting a Mister Clean Magic Eraser in your toilet will remove stains

Magic erasers can be almost, well, magical in its ability to remove stains from all kinds of surfaces. So, you might be tempted to try this cleaning hack. We’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but cleaning stained toilets isn’t that easy, says Leanne Stapf, a professional cleaner and the COO of The Cleaning Authority. “Many people assume that Mr. Clean Magic Erasers will dissolve and the chemicals inside will eat away any toilet bowl stains,” she says. “This doesn’t work because the key to the Magic Eraser is its melamine foam. The foam acts like a fine sandpaper on stains, but you must scrub to see any results. The Magic Eraser doesn’t work on its own!”

4 / 51

Rubbing lemon on marble countertops will make them shiny

Is there anything lemons can’t do, according to the Internet? The tart yellow fruit is a staple of all kinds of hacks, but this is one you should definitely skip. Not only does it not work, but it can also cause irreversible damage to your counters, Stapf says. “Marble countertops are composed of calcium carbonate, which reacts with acids, and lemons contain a high amount of citric acid. So when lemon juice touches marble, it quickly starts to eat away at the surface, ‘etching’ your countertops and leaving dull spots on the once smooth marble surface,” she explains, adding that you shouldn’t use all-natural or homemade cleaning solutions that include lemon on your marble, either.

5 / 51

Burning a candle in your ear will clean out earwax

Earwax serves an important purpose in our ears, but too much of it, especially when it becomes impacted, can lead to discomfort, tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss. So, it makes sense that people are looking for an easy way to clean out the gunk. But is “ear candling”—the process of sticking a hollow cotton or paper cone dipped in wax and then lighting it on fire in order to create suction to draw out the wax—the answer? Absolutely not, says Courtney Johnson, a nurse educator at an ear, nose, and throat practice in Denver, Colorado. “You risk getting hot wax inside your ear or burns on your face, and the worst part is that it doesn’t even work,” she says. “Just come in to see your doctor. We have much safer, quicker, and more comfortable ways of getting earwax out.”

6 / 51

Touching pressure points will drain your sinuses

Got a bad head cold? One popular online hack says to put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and press one finger on your forehead, between your eyebrows, to clean out clogged sinuses. The theory is that touching those two pressure points for 30 seconds can “release” mucus buildup. “Feel free to try it—it can’t hurt,” Johnson says. “But it won’t clear your sinuses. There isn’t any medical backing for this hack.”

7 / 51

Putting Vicks VapoRub on your feet will cure a cough

The Internet loves to tell people to put weird things on their feet when they are sick—sliced potatoes, onions, mayonnaise, and, in this case, a menthol rub. Unfortunately, none of these things provide any medical relief beyond a placebo effect, Johnson says. “Putting VapoRub on your feet, under your socks, is the least effective place to put it for cough relief,” she explains. “Just use it as instructed. It does help, especially when combined with a warm, steamy shower.” Here are more old wives’ tales you should stop believing.

8 / 51

Putting ice cubes in your garbage disposal will sharpen the blades

Garbage disposals are black holes where food goes in and gets mulched, never to be seen again (hopefully). Understandably, if yours isn’t doing its job well, you don’t want to stick your hand down there to figure out the problem, which is probably why this Internet hack is so popular. Toss in a handful of ice cubes, run the disposal, and all better! There’s one big problem, though: Garbage disposals don’t have blades, says Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a Neighborly company. “Garbage disposals have two teeth-like impellers that work to grind solids into liquid, and they don’t need to be sharpened,” he says. (And even if they did, ice wouldn’t do the trick.)

9 / 51

Storing Christmas ornaments in egg cartons will keep them safe

Figuring out what to do with fragile holiday ornaments is always tough, but the Internet has a clever hack: Store ornaments inside plastic egg cartons or apple clamshell cartons. Have these people never seen an actual Christmas ornament? Ornaments are very rarely smaller than an egg, and many aren’t smaller than an apple. Storing them this way risks breaking precious heirlooms, says Kathy Stanton, a professional organizer and owner of Ultimate Christmas Storage. A better option would be a storage box made specifically for the job. Be prepared for the holiday season with these other clever, expert-approved ways to store your Christmas decorations.

10 / 51

Doing cardio while wearing plastic bags helps you lose fat faster

We could do a whole article on Internet weight loss hacks that don’t work, but one of the most common calls for people to do cardio while wearing plastic garbage bags or a sauna suit in an effort to burn more fat. Don’t do it, says Christopher Clarke, a certified personal trainer. “The only thing wearing a plastic suit while you work out does is increase your water loss,” he says. “The scale may show a weight decrease afterward, but you’ve only lost water, not fat, and you’ll regain it when you rehydrate.” In addition, this can be dangerous, as it increases your body’s core temperature while dehydrating you.

11 / 51

Wearing a waist trainer will get you a tiny waist

Waist trainers are a super popular weightloss hack on Instagram and are even touted by many celebrities. “Wearing a waist trainer may have some benefits in improving posture and back support, but it can’t shrink your waist or burn belly fat,” Clarke says. “The only proven way to reduce belly fat is by eating a proper diet, exercising, getting plenty of rest, and reducing alcohol consumption and stress levels.”

12 / 51

Putting a yogurt-dipped tampon in your vagina will cure a yeast infection

Bacteria to deal with bacteria—makes sense, right? Not in this case, says Allison Hill, MD, an OB-GYN and the chief medical correspondent for Florajen. “While yogurt may contain some live cultures of bacteria, there is not nearly enough to make a difference with your vaginal flora,” she says. “In addition, the sugars in the yogurt could actually stimulate the yeast to grow, making your infection worse.” If you’ve got any kind of funky vaginal discharge, don’t substitute Internet health hacks for a doctor’s visit.

On the flip side, here are some old wives’ tales about food that are true(ish).

13 / 51

Pounding cranberry juice will cure a UTI

Juice is delicious, but despite the many Internet claims to the contrary, it’s not a substitute for medicine when it comes to treating medical conditions, Dr. Hill says. “The only way to cure a urinary tract infection (UTI) is with antibiotics,” she says. “Cranberries may be helpful in preventing a UTI by making it harder for bacteria to attach to the bladder wall, but the juice contains lots of sugar, so it is better to consume cranberry in a supplement form like Cystex.”

14 / 51

Wearing oil-infused wristbands will keep mosquitoes away

With so many illnesses capable of being transmitted through mosquito bites, it makes sense that people are looking for a way to keep these pests away. However, many people are leery of the chemical deterrent DEET and turn to citronella, lavender, or other essential oils (often “infused” into a bracelet or candle) as a more natural bug spray—but these mosquito repellents don’t work, says Kevin Chan, PhD, an entomologist for Mosquito Squad. Even if they did have some effect, they would only work in small, confined spaces with no wind, he explains. Instead, check out these mosquito repellents that are worth your money.

15 / 51

Using wool dryer balls prevents clothes from shrinking

The theory: Using a wool dryer ball in your dryer will decrease the amount of time needed to dry your clothes and thereby reduce shrinking. The reality: The real problem with dryers isn’t just the temperature or the time the clothes are in there—it’s the tumbling action, says Andrea Seemayer, a garment expert and the founder of A.Lynn Designs. “The motion of tumbling the clothes is what twists the fibers tighter and causes shrinkage,” she explains. “Using low heat may help reduce shrinking, but as soon as that garment starts twisting and turning in the tumbling machine, it is destined to come out fitting differently, and no special dryer ball will change that.” In case you were wondering, this is how dryer balls compare to dryer sheets.

16 / 51

Wrapping a pair of jeans around your neck will indicate whether they fit

A very commonly repeated shopping hack advises people to wrap the waist of a pair of jeans around their neck to check for fit without actually trying them on. If the ends touch, then the jeans will fit…supposedly. But this is one shortcut you should skip, Seemayer says. “This hack does not take into account the amount of stretch that may be in the pant or the style (hip hugger, high waisted, low rise, etc.), and it surely doesn’t tell you if the pant will fit your thighs, which can vary tremendously from one person to another, no matter the waist size,” she explains. Sorry, but the only way to know if jeans truly fit is to try them on.

17 / 51

Wearing high-waisted pants will make you look 10 pounds thinner—instantly

High-waisted pants are having a fashion moment right now, but that doesn’t mean it will be flattering on everyone. And the universal advice that this cut will make you look slimmer and longer is not true, Seemayer says. People who are short or have shorter torsos, in particular, may want to try a lower rise, she says.

18 / 51

Freezing your credit card in ice will make you spend less money

This popular finance hack would work…if the only way to use your credit card was to hold it in your hand. These days, however, many people have their credit cards stored on file on websites like Amazon or through an account like Google or Apple (not to mention everyone who’s memorized it). Plus, this hack doesn’t teach you responsible credit management, says Ryan Wright, founder and CEO of DHM Industries. “There is no reason to deprive yourself of this valuable resource if you are a responsible adult. Plus, you risk missing out on rewards like sky miles or cashback,” he says. “As long as you are paying the card off each month, you actually come out ahead.”

19 / 51

Putting a rubber band across a paint can will reduce drips

Anyone who has ever painted knows the frustration of spills and drips down the can. One Internet hack suggests putting a large rubber band across the top opening of the can, allowing you to wipe excess paint off your brush without making a mess. “Great idea in theory but terrible in practice. When I tried it, as soon as I pressed the brush onto it, it went flying off the can, spraying wet paint all over the room,” says Jason Paul, a professional interior painter. He adds that even if it does manage to stay on, you will still have to deal with oh-so-carefully removing the paint-laden band without flipping it around the room. “They make plastic pieces that attach to the lip of most paint cans that solve exactly this problem but with zero mess.”

20 / 51
coconut oil
Natalia Klenova / EyeEm/Getty Images

Using coconut oil on your face will get rid of zits

Coconut oil has become very popular in skincare, but just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you, says Carly Ettinger, a beauty trend expert in New York City. “Coconut oil is very comedogenic, which means it actually can clog your pores and create breakouts,” she says. “Everyone’s skin is different, but many people report having more pimples after using coconut oil, especially on their face.”

21 / 51

Taking a picture from an extreme downward angle will make you look more attractive

When it comes to online dating, it’s understandable that you want to put your best foot (or face) forward. However, using Internet hacks—like taking a picture from an extreme angle or using FaceTune—to take a better profile picture can backfire big time, says Laurie Berzack, a relationship counselor and dating coach. “It’s important for your profile photo to reflect the real you,” she says. “Online dating is simply a means of meeting people who you want to connect with in real life…not a parallel universe where everyone looks perfect.” Plus, many people are getting wise to these tricks and will wonder what you are trying to hide. That said, these are the photos your dating profile absolutely must have, according to matchmakers.

22 / 51
vinegar and baking soda
Eskay Lim / EyeEm/Getty Images

Vinegar and baking soda will get pet stains out of carpet

These two ingredients are frequently featured in Internet cleaning hacks, but it’s more show than substance, says cleaning expert Mary Cherry, owner of Evie’s Cleaning Company. “Sure, the chemical reaction fizzes and it looks like some cleaning is happening,” she says. “But that fizz is carbon dioxide, and when that is gone, you are left with water. Yes, water.” Plus, baking soda can be abrasive and damage delicate surfaces. To get your home in tip-top shape, try these genius cleaning hacks from professional house cleaners.

23 / 51

Mopping with white vinegar makes wood floors sparkle

Vinegar is often touted as an “all-natural” floor cleaner in various hacks, but it could do more harm than good. “Whoa. Stop. Do not ever do this,” Cherry says. “Vinegar is acidic and will break down the finish of your floor. Stick to a neutral pH wood floor cleaner and save yourself from hiring someone to refinish your wood floors.”

24 / 51

Donating clothes in parking-lot bins will help the needy

There are lots of Internet hacks to purge your closet, but one bit of oft-repeated advice—to donate your clothes to charity—needs to be more thought out, says Patty Morrissey, organizing expert for Mercari. Know that clothing recycling has become a big business, and those convenient metal bins in parking lots are often run by for-profit recycling companies, not charities. And if you do donate directly to a charity, sometimes less than 20 percent of clothing actually gets re-worn. Some items, however, can really make a difference to those in need. Here’s how—and where—to donate practically anything.

25 / 51

Color-sorting your stuff makes it easier to find

A super popular organizing hack on Instagram is to color-code your closet, bookshelves, pantry, and other areas to make items easier to find and use. But while those shelves of rainbow-hued books make for a pretty Instagram picture, it’s just not practical. “This is not reflective of how people really live or use their space. Who looks for snacks based on color?” Morrissey says. “Our homes should help us live and make us feel safe and supported and not set up oppressive standards that are more for show than practicality.” Even clothing is better sorted by type—the style, season, and use—than by color, she adds. Here are another 26 secrets from professional organizers.

26 / 51

Not eating after 7 p.m. makes you instantly lose weight

This popular diet hack doesn’t work on its own—there’s nothing magical about calories eaten after a certain time, says Lauren Smith, RD, LDN, owner of The Sorority Nutritionist. “It might be tempting to think it’s this simple, but the truth is, the only way to gain body fat is by eating more calories than what your body needs and the only way to lose it is to eat [fewer] calories than your body needs,” she says. “Your metabolism doesn’t just turn off at 7 p.m.”

27 / 51

Brushing your teeth with charcoal makes them whiter

Many health “gurus” claim that activated charcoal can detoxify the body, lower cholesterol, reduce IBS symptoms, improve skin, and remove stains from teeth. For a brighter smile, they recommend simply putting it on your toothbrush and cleaning your teeth as normal. However, none of these claims are backed by credible science—and charcoal can actually be very harsh on your teeth, wearing away enamel and making them more sensitive over time, says Kim Melton, a registered dietitian.

28 / 51

Using lemon or peppermint oils will cure a food allergy

There is no cure for food allergies, and a true food allergy can be fatal, says David Stukus, MD, an allergist and a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. But even if you’re just trying to treat a food sensitivity, essential oils or herbal supplements are ineffective at best, and they may actually make the problem worse. “Remember these are tactics used by people trying to sell you something, so you need to be suspicious, being wary of information claiming to be scientific, personal anecdotes, and paid celebrity endorsements,” advises Dr. Stukus. “If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is a myth, regardless of how many likes, shares, or retweets it has.”

29 / 51

Putting a garlic clove in your vagina will reduce odors

An oft-repeated Internet hack says to put whole garlic cloves into your vagina to improve vaginal health, cure infections, and even balance hormones. Do not try this at home, says Yvonne Bohn, MD, an OB-GYN and Cystex‘s chief medical correspondent. “In general, you should not insert any foreign things into the vagina because these can upset the natural pH and kill the good bacteria, leading to more problems,” she says.

30 / 51

Drinking coffee relieves dry eyes

The idea is that caffeine stimulates tear production, but the research for this is limited, and even if it’s true, it would translate into a small, short effect. Chronic dry eye requires treatments that go beyond Internet hacks like coffee or rinsing with water, says Leigh Plowman, OD, an optometrist with Dry Eye Directory. “There are over two thousand components in normal tears, and each of these is necessary,” he says. Drinking coffee doesn’t affect these at all. Plus, washing your eyes with water can make dry eyes worse and could even give you a serious infection, he adds.

31 / 51

Tightlining your eyes will make them stand out more

Tightlining—the practice of putting eyeliner directly on the waterline of your eyes—is a common hack touted by makeup artists for making eyes look bigger or stand out. However, drawing a tight black line around the inside of your eye can make them actually look smaller and more closed—in addition to being unsafe, Dr. Plowman says. “You want to avoid using cosmetics on or near the waterline, as it can get into your eyes and clog up your oil glands,” he explains. Here are 12 makeup rules you should know by the time you’re 40.

32 / 51

Using a cold spoon whitens your eyes

There are a lot of hacks for brightening the whites of your eyes, and most of them don’t work, Dr. Plowman says. This includes the “trick” of putting a spoon in the refrigerator for five minutes and then holding it over your eye. While the cold might temporarily reduce puffiness around your eye, it won’t do a thing for the whites of your eye. You should also avoid regularly using “whitening” eye drops, as you can become dependent on them, he adds. If you have chronically dry eyes, talk to your doctor about effective long-term treatments.

33 / 51

Baking soda and tomato juice will get rid of blackheads

Beauty aficionados will recognize this as one of many strange hacks targeted at getting clearer skin. But according to Marisa Garshick, MD, a medical correspondent for Certain Dri, baking soda is too harsh to use as an exfoliant. “While some degree of exfoliation is helpful to get rid of dead skin cells and help give the skin a nice glow, it is just as important to avoid over-exfoliation, which can be harsh and irritating to skin,” she says. And the tomato juice? It likely has very little effect, but it can redden your skin if you leave it on for too long.

34 / 51
lemon wedge and baking soda
gojak/Getty Images

Rubbing lemon and baking soda in your pits is a good natural deodorant

This one is a double whammy, with both lemons and baking soda. This time, the hack says that rubbing a paste of lemon juice and baking soda in your pits is a great cheap and natural deodorant. However, the citric acid in lemons can really sting (especially if you apply it after shaving), and while the baking soda might help mask an odor it won’t reduce sweating, Dr. Garshick says. (Not knowing the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant is one of the most common deodorant mistakes people make.) “It is important to remember that ‘natural’ products can contain compounds that can be irritating on the skin, which can lead to redness and irritation,” she says.

35 / 51
Hand holding a coffee cup in a Starbucks coffee shop. In...
Zhang Peng/Getty Images

Giving up your daily Starbucks will make you a millionaire

Giving up a small, daily luxury—like a coffee or a bagel—is one of the most commonly shared financial “hacks.” The idea is the little savings add up to big bucks over time. However, this isn’t enough for most people, says Leibel Sternbach, a financial advisor and the founder of Yields4U.com. “This hack is so harmful, words can’t even begin to describe the amount of damage this does to people. No matter how much you manage to save by cutting your expenses, the fact is that for most people, adding an extra $500 or $1,000 to your savings a year isn’t going to make you be able to magically retire,” he says. “Before you start cutting expenses, figure out how to invest in your earning potential. Increasing your salary will exponentially increase the amount you can save far more than cutting out your daily Starbucks.”

Looking for a career change that will put more money in your bank account? Check out the 21 most in-demand jobs for 2020.

36 / 51
Young woman sitting on couch at home meditating
Westend61/Getty Images

Meditating on happiness will cure your depression

The mind is a powerful tool, but it can’t always heal itself. Meditation and positive thinking are oft-recommended “brain hacks” for curing depression, but while they can be good tools in managing stress, they’re not a cure-all, says Ashwini Nadkarni, MD, an associate psychiatrist and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. “Depression is a major medical illness, and just as you can’t resolve cancer with positive thinking, you can’t resolve your depression just through meditation,” she explains. These aren’t bad things to try, but don’t beat yourself up if they don’t work for you, and don’t hesitate to seek medical care for your mental health, she adds.

37 / 51
woman cross eyed
PeopleImages/Getty Images

Crossing your eyes will help you fall asleep faster

The Internet is filled with hacks to sleep better, and some are actually helpful. And then there’s this one, which says you’ll fall asleep faster if you cross your eyes and stare into space. There’s no scientific backing for this, and in fact, keeping your eyes crossed can cause headaches. So, what can you do to get some shut-eye? Try drinking a glass of milk before bedtime, sleeping with a weighted blanket, or taking a hot bath, suggests Dr. Nadkarni. Here are 12 weighted blankets for every type of sleeper.

38 / 51

If the police don’t read you your rights, your case will be dismissed

There are a lot of videos on YouTube dedicated to hacking the legal system, and one of the most popular claims that if the police don’t read you your Miranda rights, then they can’t legally arrest you or the case will be thrown out on this technicality. Not true, says Brian Joslyn, a criminal defense attorney in Columbus, Ohio. “Despite what you may have seen on TV, Miranda warnings are not a constitutional right and only apply when the police detain you to question you about a criminal matter that they believe you committed,” he explains. That said, you won’t want to miss these 17 secrets traffic cops aren’t telling you about avoiding a speeding ticket.

39 / 51

If you ask an undercover police officer if they are a cop, they have to tell you the truth

Many videos spread this “hack” for outing undercover officers, but it couldn’t be more false, Joslyn says. “I don’t know how this common ‘hack’ ever even became a thing because there is simply nothing within the law that requires law enforcement to tell you that they are, in fact, law enforcement,” he says. “For that matter, there is nothing that requires law enforcement to tell you the truth. On the contrary, law enforcement is tactically trained to lie to suspects sometimes in the course of a sting or even within an interrogation.”

40 / 51

Sucking on a penny can help you pass a Breathalyzer test if you’ve been drinking

People will try a lot of things to fake out an alcohol or drug test, but most of them simply don’t work. “According to the Internet, the copper supposedly somehow interferes or interacts with alcohol in your body and therefore skews the Breathalyzer result,” Joslyn says. “First, there is no scientific data to support these claims, and second, the show Mythbusters put this to the test and also came to the conclusion that sucking on a penny had no effect on the results of a Breathalyzer.”

41 / 51
Woman Hanging Clothes On Clothes Line
AndreyPopov/Getty Images

Hanging wet laundry indoors will fix dry winter air

Dry air is a problem for many people, especially during the winter, and installing a whole-house humidifier is expensive. So the Internet is rife with hacks for easy ways to increase the humidity in your home, including the suggestion to hang your wet laundry inside rather than putting it in the dryer. “I’ve seen this cited all over the Internet, and this is simply not an effective way to tackle dry air,” says John Hughes, an air-quality specialist and the founder of Air Control Guy. “This will only add time to your laundry cycle and will not help with any of the winter discomforts of dry air, such as cracked skin, dry nasal passages, or itchy eyes.” But when it comes to your laundry, air-drying your clothes may actually be better than machine-drying them.

42 / 51
mstahlphoto/Getty Images

Putting keywords in white font at the bottom of your resume will make sure it’s seen

Getting your resume seen by a human is the most important first step in finding a job. To help yours get to the top of the electronic pile, this hack advises taking key words from the job listing, typing them across the bottom of your resume, and then formatting them into a white font. They will be invisible to human eyes, but they will supposedly get your resume through a computerized screener. Unfortunately, this isn’t as foolproof as it sounds, according to Damian Birkel, a certified career counselor and founder of the Professionals in Transition Support Group. “There simply is no magic list of keywords,” he says. “Instead of wasting time on silly hacks, concentrate on applying for jobs where your abilities match the requirement of the position and highlight that on your resume.”

43 / 51
Young woman spraying mist on face
RunPhoto/Getty Images

Misting your face with fancy water will give you glowing, fresh skin

Facial water sprays, either DIY or purchased, are cited as a quick way to get dewy, glowing skin on beauty blogs. The reality? They just give you wet skin, and wet skin isn’t necessarily healthy skin, says Elizabeth Donat, a licensed esthetician and beauty expert. “Nothing will dehydrate your skin faster than spraying water on it,” she says. “Think about when you take a bath and your fingers get all pruney (that’s called transepidermal water loss). Products that are just 100 percent water will do that to your face.”

44 / 51
Mature woman with make-up mirror massaging her face and neck
ljubaphoto/Getty Images

Doing facial exercises will get rid of wrinkles and sagging skin

“Exercising” your facial muscles may feel good, but it won’t produce the results you’re looking for. There’s just no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to anti-aging skin-care routines, Donat says. “There are products, like retinoids, that are proven to fight wrinkles, but know that it can take six to nine months, in most cases, to see the full effects of a new skin-care routine,” she explains. “You have to be diligent and consistent for a long period of time to see major changes.” These are the anti-aging creams dermatologists trust the most.

45 / 51

Trademarking your name will prevent identity theft

Thieves can’t steal your name if it’s legally protected, right? Despite the Internet telling people they can and should trademark or copyright everything under the sun, that’s not actually how the law works, says Devin Miller, managing partner and CEO of Miller IP Law. “Surnames cannot be trademarked, as there are a lot of people with the same name and you cannot stop other people from using their name,” he explains. Plus, do you think someone intent on stealing your identity is really going to be deterred by a little “TM” next to your name? Exactly. That said, there are a lot of common words you may not realize are trademarked.

46 / 51
Pumped breast milk
Ceneri/Getty Images

Drinking blue Gatorade will increase your breast milk if you’re nursing

Nursing mothers are already under a lot of pressure, so when they worry they’re not making enough milk, it’s easy to turn to the Internet for hacks. However, this is one hack that just doesn’t make sense, no matter how sleep deprived you are, says Leigh Anne O’Connor, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. “I don’t even know how this started, but it’s become an incredibly popular myth,” she says. “But there is nothing in blue Gatorade that would help with milk production.” Plus, the high sugar and artificial colors and flavors don’t make it the healthiest choice for mom or baby.

47 / 51
Shopping for fruits
ADX Collections/Getty Images

Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store will help you buy only healthy foods

“This advice has been given for years and isn’t relevant anymore, if it ever was! It can make a person feel like they need to spend a fortune and only have fresh foods on hand in order to be healthy and/or lose weight,” says Annessa Chumbley, a registered dietitian and Premier Protein nutrition consultant. “The truth is, there are many healthy products in those center aisles—frozen vegetables, canned meats, beans, plain popcorn, beef jerky, frozen meats, mustards, natural oils, tree nuts, etc. Don’t feel guilty about the budget you are on or what you need to purchase in those center aisles!”

While we’re on the subject, these are the 36 best frozen foods you need to buy from Costco.

48 / 51
Green celery smoothie
Johner Images/Getty Images

Drinking celery juice will help you detox and lose weight

Grapefruits, carrots, kale—the Internet has cycled through dozens of ingredients when touting a juice hack. The current winner? Celery. But while celery juice does have some health benefits, it’s certainly not the magic cure-all many folks would have you believe, Chumbley says. Not to mention that juice cleanses, in general, are not a healthy or sustainable way to lose weight, she adds.

49 / 51
Woman in sportswear doing squat
bymuratdeniz/Getty Images

Squatting is the fastest way to get a better booty

Big, round butts are having a big moment on the Internet (as you’ve probably noticed), but if you weren’t born blessed with a juicy peach, you can squat your way there, right? Actually, squats are not an effective way to build your butt, says personal trainer Gina DiNapoli, founder of JABS by Gina and a Premier Protein fitness consultant. “Squats do not isolate the glutes; they actually involve many large muscle groups, including your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, and even back and core,” she says. “If you want to be sure you’re isolating that booty, body-weight glute bridges are actually a better move!” But that doesn’t mean squats aren’t a good exercise—just make sure you’re following proper squat form.

50 / 51
Women itching scalp itchy his hair and was massage her hair on a white background,Haircare concept
chokja/Getty Images

Using baby powder as a dry shampoo is a smart and inexpensive swap

Dry shampoos can extend the time between washes significantly, but they can be pricey, especially if you use them frequently. So one common hair hack is to sprinkle baby powder into your roots. Bad idea, says Savannah Fincher, a hairstylist and corporate educator for Blo Blow Dry Bar. “Baby powder is talc-based and can clog the pores on your scalp,” she explains. “Extended or frequent use can lead to scalp dryness, acne, product buildup, and even hair loss.”

51 / 51
Avocados And Avocado Oil On Wooden Table
Suda Ratn Sangkh Sakda / EyeEm/Getty Images

Slathering on avocado oil will protect you from a sunburn

Commercial sunscreens can be laden with chemicals, and there are a lot of Internet hacks for using natural ingredients as a DIY sunscreen, with two of the most popular being coconut and avocado oil. But while they may moisturize your skin, they’re not going to protect it from the sun, says Erum Ilyas, MD, a dermatologist and the founder of AmberNoon. “Unfortunately, these DIY sunscreen recipes often have absolutely no sun-protective qualities and do little to shield skin from UVA rays, which can cause skin cancer,” she explains. If you want a chemical-free sunblock, your best bet is to cover up with sun-protective clothing, she adds. And just so you know, here’s the only sunscreen the FDA wants you to use.

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen is a health, lifestyle and fitness expert and teacher. She covers all things wellness for Reader’s Digest and The Healthy. With dual masters degrees in information technology and education, she has been a journalist for 17 years and is the author of The Great Fitness Experiment. She lives in Denver with her husband, five kids and three pets.