It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much of an expert you are when it comes to beauty and skincare. At some point, all of us make a bad move that renders us ready to look into the mirror, slap our hands to our faces, and scream a la Home Alone’s freshly shaved Macaulay Culkin.
Maybe you thought you’d try your hand at a DIY turmeric mask, only to gently wash away your self-made concoction and reveal a tinted yellow complexion. The horror! Or perhaps you built up enough courage to cut your own bangs and, well, let’s just say you’ve given Picasso a run for his money.
Whether it’s an at-home beauty disaster, a salon visit gone horribly awry, or simply a need to recover from the long-term effects of a specific treatment—such as acrylics or lash extensions—we’ve rounded up a panel of industry pros to help you through each one. So stop panicking and start reading!
Healing Your Skin After Going Overboard With Picking
Everyone knows you shouldn’t pick at your skin or mess with pimples, but there’s something so satisfying about relentlessly attacking a problem area. In the end, though, you’re left with an inflamed, irritated patch that’s more problematic than it was to begin with. We’ve got you.
First, start by applying an ice cube to the area for about a minute to quickly curb inflammation and reduce redness. Next, head to your sink.
“Double cleanse the skin and spot treat with a lactic or glycolic corrector. Then moisturize with a light, oil-free moisturizer,” advises Andrea Freundt, an esthetician based in Los Angeles. If the wound is open, you can apply a bit of Neosporin or another antibiotic on top to fight potential infection. Otherwise, Freundt says to “finish with a slightly tinted sunscreen to conceal the area.”
Fixing Your Hair After Poorly Cutting Your Bangs
Whether it was one too many drinks or an overinflated sense of confidence and easy access to a pair of scissors, you’re officially the not-so-proud owner of botched DIY bangs. Perhaps you were going for thick Betty Paige fringe or wispy, face-framing layers, but either way, you’ve now got a hair monstrosity on your hands (or would that be on your head?). No problem.
“My best advice is to go see your trusted stylist ASAP, and do not try to fix anymore yourself as it may make it even worse,” says Jenny Balding, a stylist at NYC’s Cutler Salon. “She or he will be able to blend the damage with the rest of the surrounding hair [and help the overall shape] flow beautifully and be seamless.”
She adds that the growing out process will continue to evolve after the initial correction and recommends checking in with your stylist every six weeks “to keep you looking on point.”
Correcting a Bad At-Home Hair Dye Job
Maybe it wasn’t the scissors that rendered you horrified, but rather an at-home dye job gone terribly awry. Did you remove that highlight cap only to reveal uneven, leopard-like spots when all you wanted was Instagrammable balayage? Or did you step out of the shower with hopes of a Kardashian platinum blonde but you’ve just got a mop of orange atop your head? Cry your tears, but then run straight to the salon.
“When correcting an at-home dye job gone wrong, do not attempt to fix it at home,” warns Adrianna Vizzoni, a colorist who’s also with Cutler. “Contact your colorist or stylist for professional advice and set up an appointment. Once you’re in the colorist’s chair and ready for a consultation, be sure to inform them everything used at home that brought you here. That way they can take better measures to ensure your hair health is not compromised when attempting to fix it.”
She also recommends bringing in pictures for inspiration and to remain patient and hopeful. It may take hours and lots of cash—budget for around $150 to $400 depending on your location and salon—but a good colorist will ensure you look fabulous when all’s said and re-dyed.
Regrowing Lashes After Getting Extensions
They may look great at first, but when you consistently get lash extensions, your lash health inevitably suffers. Even if you’ve gone to a topnotch salon, repetitive application of glue and the weight of the extensions can make your natural lashes brittle, dry, sparse, and stubby. Whether you’re allowing your lashes a quick break or are giving up extensions for good, the first thing you need to do is have them removed professionally, says Courtney Buhler, the CEO and founder of Sugarlash PRO.
“Picking at them will only cause more damage and could possibly cause infection without proper aftercare instructions,” she explains. “Once removed, brush on your vitamins. If you have bald spots or sparse lashes from shedding or removal, nourish your lashes using a lash growth serum loaded with biotin and conditioners such as panthenol.”
You can try an over-the-counter option, such as Lashfood’s Phyto-Medic Eyelash Enhancer, which is made with medicinal herb extracts, soy protein, lavender water, and an essential amino acid for hair growth called arginine. On a budget? Buhler says castor oil works great for traumatized lashes, too.
Consistency is key, so make sure you apply your serum every day. While your lashes are growing out, try magnetic falsies (no glue required!) and opt for a nourishing mascara, like Milk Makeup’s new KUSH High Volume Mascara. It’s formulated with CBD oil, which helps to strengthen and condition your lashes while adding volume.
Recovering Skin After Accidentally Tinting It With a Face Mask
You may recall that time when Daisy Ridley accidentally dyed her face yellow with a potent DIY turmeric mask. Given how buzzy the ingredient is in skincare at the moment, she is definitely not alone in her Adventures With Accidentally Dyed Skin. There are also some super pigmented red clays that can tinge your skin, as well. Repeat after us: Everything will be okay, and you will laugh later.
“If you accidentally stain your skin, the good news is that the stain only exists in the top layers of the skin. There are a few tricks you can do to alleviate the issue,” explains David Pollock, a beauty expert and cosmetic chemist who has formulated products for brands such as Smashbox, Lancôme, and L’Oreal. “You can saturate a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol), wipe it over the stain, and then rinse your skin well.”
If your skin needs a little more help, he says to jump into a warm shower to loosen up the dead skin cells and then very gently massage the area with an exfoliator. Rinse away and, if necessary, repeat. When done clearing the stain, use a good moisturizer to help soothe the skin.
Regrowing Eyebrows After Over-Plucking
If you’re dealing with a case of plucking gone wild, rest assured you’re not the only one who got overzealous with a pair of tweezers. The ‘90s was proof of that. First things first, friend: Put the tweezers down.
“The hair that was over-plucked will eventually grow back, but don’t do any further damage trying to correct it. You need to let them grow back in and then just groom where you need to in order to create the shape you are looking for. Slowly but surely, your brows will bounce back,” says Joey Camasta, a celebrity makeup artist who serves as director of Makeup Artistry’s Ready To Wear Beauty. “I recommend Latisse to my clients to regrow hair—it’s a hair growth serum that actually works. I have also heard of women using Rogaine on their brows. I think just getting a good hair regrowth product is a great way to [expedite] the problem.”
Meanwhile, you can use a brow powder or pencil to fill in sparse brows. The key is to use quick, sharp strokes that replicate natural brow hairs. If you have thin brows that stubbornly won’t grow—either from years of over-plucking or genetics—microblading could be a viable option.
Transitioning Your Nails Away from Acrylics
It’s no secret that acrylics are super damaging to your nail bed. If you’ve reached a point where you’re finally ready to give them up and transition into a regimen that’s healthier and easier to maintain, the first thing you need to do is remove the acrylics.
“If you’re at home, soak nails in pure acetone. I recommend warming the acetone,” advises Gina Edwards, a celebrity nail artist with KISS. “You can put a bowl of acetone into a larger bowl of hot water and add oil to make it more gentle and less drying on the skin.”
That said, Edwards does recommend having them professionally removed if you can afford it. A pro has all the tools and knowledge they need to minimize damage to your real nails. Once your nails are removed, go crazy with conditioners.
“My first recommendation is using a keratin-based nail product, such as a strengthening nail treatment,” says Edwards. Her favorite is KISS’ Breathable Manicure System; some other options would be OPI Natural Nail Strengthener and Nails Inc. Superfood Nail and Cuticle Repair Oil. Apply these products daily, allowing your nails to be naked for a good week before applying nail polish.
The Last Word
Whether you’re in the panicky midst of a beauty blooper or in reluctant recovery mode, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to go forth and correct. And remember, if Britney Spears can make it through 2007, then you can definitely combat a terrible haircut, tinged skin, or stubby lashes. You’ve got this!