12 Common Beauty Blunders
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12 Common Beauty Blunders

Bounce back from 12 common beauty blunders.

Too much of a good thing can sometimes be very, very bad. While most beauty blunders (like an overdose of self-tanner) are committed in the pursuit of perfection, these mishaps are easily avoided. The trick? Keep it simple. "Concentrate on one new idea or look at a time," says celebrity makeup artist Vincent Longo. Whether you're an out-of-control brow plucker, an overzealous skin slougher or a makeup maximalist, we have solutions to 12 of the most common I-messed-up complaints. Here, our two-step plan to right your beauty wrongs (and prevent repeat offenses).

1. "The box said 'rich brown,' but my hair-color shade turned out more orange!"

Fast Fix: Call the 800 number listed on your hair-color box. Since orangy results can indicate that the formula wasn't left on long enough, they may suggest another round of permanent color. To speed fade-out, wash hair three or four times with a clarifying shampoo such as Redken Hair Cleansing Créme Clarifying Shampoo, $8.50.

Next time: Stay within two shades of your natural hue. If you want a more dramatic change, consult the 800-number folks first. You can also try on new colors risk-free by scanning in a snapshot at clairol.com.

2. "I shaved my bikini line and now it's full of red bumps!"

Fast Fix: First, apply a dab of salve that contains a soothing agent, such as Therapy Systems Emergency Treatment Cream, $29.50, to calm and moisturize skin, suggests Debra Luftman, M.D., a dermatologist at UCLA. Follow with hydrocortisone cream to decrease irritation and speed healing.

Next time: Exfoliate daily with a glycolic lotion such as Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 5% Moisturizer, $40, to keep hair follicles open and less prone to painful ingrowns. Avoid razor burn by shaving in the direction of growth, and use an oil (which protects skin better than a gel or cream). to try: Desert Essence Aroma Essence Shaving Oil, $5.99, contains healing tea-tree oil.

3. "I overplucked my brows and now I have a bald spot!"

Fast Fix: Brush your brows upward and fill in bald spots with eye shadow that's a shade lighter than your natural brow color, recommends Cover Girl makeup pro B.J. Gillian. Next, use an exact-match brow pencil and apply hairlike strokes over the powder to create a natural-looking shape. to try: Cover Girl Perfect Point Pencil, $4.35.

Next time: Leave major shaping to a pro, then maintain the look yourself by plucking regrowth. If you can't resist the urge to get creative, use foundation to "blank out" the areas of brow hair you want to remove, then step back and preview your new shape.

4. "I bit my nails off right before a big event!"

Fast Fix: A French manicure will give the illusion of length. Apply a coat of white or cream polish just to the tips. Allow to dry for at least 10 minutes, then cover the entire nail surface with two coats of sheer pink or beige polish. to try: Sally Hansen French Manicure Kit, $5.95.

Next time: Get weekly manicures. You'll be less likely to nibble on nails when they're smooth and polished.

5. "I exfoliated my face and now it's red and blotchy!"

Fast Fix: Apply a layer of plain yogurt and leave it on for 10 minutes. "The acidophilus in milk fat is soothing and cooling," says Dr. Luftman. Then neutralize any residual redness with a layer of light-diffusing moisturizer, like Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, $13.99.

Next time: Forget about scrubs of any kind they're just too abrasive for your skin. Instead, use a mild chemical exfoliator such as a glycolic toner. to try: Prescriptives Immediate Glow, $19.95.

6. "The deep conditioner I used left my hair too limp!"

Fast Fix: Dissolve one teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water, pour it into a spray bottle (or try a saltwater-infused styling spray such as KMS TurnStyle Beach Head, $9.95), and mist hair from roots to ends until it's slightly damp. Blow-dry again to add back tons of volume, says New York City hair pro Nathaniel Hawkins.

Next time: Deep-treat hair before shampooing to get the conditioning benefits without the limpness. Follow with a light leave-in conditioner such as Clairol Herbal Essences Intensive Blends Crème Leave-In, $4.99.

7. "I slept with makeup on and my skin broke out!"

Fast Fix: Wash with an AHA cleanser such as BeneFit Alpha Clean, $20, to deep-clean makeup-clogged skin. Acne treatments can be drying, so follow with an AHA moisturizer instead to soften skin while exfoliating. to try: Pond's Age Defying Complex, $10.99.

Next time: Make washing your face a pre-bedtime must. Keep a pack of premoistened washcloths (like Becoming Gone With a Wipe Instant Cleansing Cloths, $12) on your nightstand.

8. "Too much styling cream has left my hair greasy!"

Fast Fix: Sprinkle your hairbrush with powder, then brush from roots to ends. "Nothing short of shampoo will remove the excess cream, but this can temper the greasy look," says Hawkins.

Next time: Use a wax or pomade. Both require only a small dab to do the job (and use them on ends only).

9. "I ripped out a clump of lashes while curling them!"

Fast Fix: Dot a thin dark brown liner (such as Laura Mercier High Definition Eye Pencil, $16) on the edge of the rim where lashes are missing, advises Gillian. Follow with thickening mascara (like L'Oréal Lash Architect 3-D Mascara, $7.95) to fatten up the lashes that border your no-fringe zone.

Next time: Use a curler only on naked lashes. If you apply mascara first, it can stick to your fringe and causes tear-outs as you pull it away.

10. "My creamy eye shadow is all creased!"

Fast Fix: If you already have the dewy stuff on your lids, your only option is frequent (but simple) touch-ups. Smooth the crease with a finger, then powder to set the results. Re-smooth as needed every few hours.

Next time: Fortify lids first with an eye-shadow base, such as Tony & Tina Therapeutic Eye Base with Apple Seed Enzyme, $22. Get a similar effect with a glimmery (not glittery) eye dust, such as Jane Iced Shadow, $3.49.

11. "I used self-tanner on my face and it's unnatural!"

Fast Fix: Slough away the tanned outer layer of skin with a gentle scrub such as YSL Gommage Natural Action Exfoliator, $40. Then even out skin tone with a compact foundation and a dusting of bronzing powder. to try: Vincent Longo Water Canvas Créme-to-Powder Foundation, $45.

Next time: Mix self-tanner with moisturizer to lighten the result. "Just be sure to blend thoroughly," cautions Longo. For the most foolproof (and washable) finish, use liquid bronzer like Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronze Concentrate, $27.95, instead of unpredictable self-tanner.

12. "My hair frizzed the second I went outside!"

Fast Fix: Spritz on a spray-on shine enhancer, such as Rusk Deepshine Sea Kelp Shine Spray, $14.95, then run a hot blow-dryer through locks a minute or two will calm frizzies. If that doesn't work, smooth sections around your face with a travel curling iron.

Next time: Prevent frizz with silicone products. "They seal the cuticle and add weight to your hair," says Hawkins. to try: Salon Selectives Get Carried Away Anti Frizz Lotion, $3.99. If it's super-humid outside, you'll be happiest if you keep things simple: Work in some leave-in conditioner and pull hair back into a chic ponytail.