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Fact or fiction? HM confirms or debunks the well-worn beauty myths that get repeated over and over until taken at face value as fact.

9/6/04 Respect Your Callouses. Who hasn't been on the pedicure throne in a total US Weekly reverie when you're interrupted by the disturbing sensation of that seemingly mild-mannered manicurist whittling one of your choicest callouses off with something that looks like a cheese grater? Manicurists who use credo-blades (even the name is bone-chilling) to slice away callouses and claim that this is the only way to get smoother feet are flat-out wrong, and in some cases, violating the law! In beauty-forward California, the use of credo-blades or similar instruments by manicurists is illegal (http://www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/formspubs/in-home2.pdf). Despite instant results, such a radical and violent removal of skin can lead to injuries, not to mention sanitary concerns. And contrary to bad advice from hacks, cutting calouses down can result in them growing back quicker and thicker (eeeeckk!). Alternatives? Mild abrasive foot files (as long as it is used on you and you alone) like Creative Nail Design's Callous Smoother (available for purchase at spas and salons) get the job done without harm. Glycolic-acid containing foot creams like Philosophy's Soul Owner (4 oz./$14.00), achieve the same results, only over time, with regular application. Next time you get a pedi, don't get violated!

3/20/04 Calcium Deposits In My Nails? How many times have you had a white spot on your nail and naturally assumed, since the diagnosis has been handed from mothers to daughters and girlfriends to girlfriends for decades, that the spot is a "calcium deposit"? Let's debunk this little beauty urban legend right here and now - this is completely not true. So what are these white spots that appear on our nails from time to time? The technical term is leukonychia and it simply means that there has been an injury or trauma to the nail. Think about clear plastic, and how when bent or hit sharply, it turns white - that's exactly what happens to your nail - get it? Did you really think calcium floats around the body and is randomly deposited in the fingernail? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? The good news about leukonychia? It grows out with your nail.

02/13/04 Does Soda Really = Cellulite? This is a beauty myth that just won't die. As recently as last month, I heard a licensed esthetician telling someone that if you want to reduce your cellulite, stop drinking carbonated drinks. Now, seriously folks, do you really think that bubbles from soda or other fizzy drinks float around your bloodstream and then decide to just hang out in your ass and thigh area, creating a dimpled surface? The answer, once and for all is NO. Genetics and a sedentary lifestyle are to blame for the cottage cheese. Exercise and deep massage helps, and as for all the bottled cellulite remedies and treatments out there - some improvement has been seen, but more research is needed - sounds like the HM Agents have a new mission!