Beauty Oops! Solutions to Bad Hair Days and Other Mishaps

Spa and salon experts serve up solutions to bad hair days and other beauty oops!

by Lisa Kasanicky

The business of primping and preening may be considered a superficial pursuit but let’s be honest: A bad hair day can get you off on the wrong foot and shake your confidence.

And I speak from experience. My history of bad haircuts started in kindergarten when my mother gave me a lopsided pixie the day before school pictures (“what a cute little boy” I was after that). Having experimented with sunless tanning products since the days of “Quick Tan” lotion (remember that fake-looking orange you could see and smell a mile away?), I still manage to end up with oddly tanned palms or striped legs. My aesthetician has threatened to hold my tweezers hostage after I attempted to “even out” my brows (tip: don’t pluck your brows with a magnifying mirror – objects are much smaller than they appear).

Small things that can add up to one rotten day. So three cheers for the beauty experts who rescue us and remind us not to take it all so seriously. Here’s their sage advice for fixing our most common beauty mishaps.

What to do when … Your eyebrows have been ambushed

Either your regular waxer was just having a bad day or you went tweezer happy on yourself. Whatever the case, you’re now sporting a pair of misshapen or patchy eyebrows. Now what?

“Bad brows happen,” says Natalie Stabb, lead aesthetician and makeup artist at Mozaik Skin & Body Studio in Scottsdale. “I once had a client who accidentally shaved off half an eyebrow with hair trimmers.”

Her solution to overly waxed or trimmed eyebrows is to reshape both brows and teach the client how to use an eyebrow pencil to fill in patches if necessary. In some cases, she uses a natural brow tinting dye to give brows a fuller appearance while they grow back in.

“Over-plucking is a bad idea,” she warns. “In many cases, the hair doesn’t grow back and then you’ll want to consider a brow growth serum that works over time to regrow the hair.”

Her final bit of advice is that in most cases, it pays to be patient and allow the hair to grow back naturally. Because hair grows in cycles, it might take a few months. Revisit your brow specialist every few weeks so he or she can clean the up and keep them in shape during the regrowth.

What to do when … Your hair cut becomes a hair crisis

Your first mistake was asking your hair dresser for “something different.” Unless your stylist knows you well enough to not take you seriously, you may end up with “something completely horrible.” Once you’ve accepted your fate, Phoenix stylist Salvador Calvano of Salvador Calvano Hair says go ahead and have that good cry and then set your sights on finding a new hairdresser.

Backed by a colorful career that has taken him from New York fashion runways to celeb photo shoots, Calvano says communication is key in the hair biz. And when a communication breakdown leads to a horrendous hair cut, it’s best to move on.

“Do your homework to find someone with experience, knowledge and taste,” Calvano says. “Find a stylist you like and does the kind of hair you like.”

Then, he says, “let it grow!”

“Don’t let a bad hair cut ruin your life and chalk it up as a learning lesson,” he adds. A bad hair cut might lead you to a beautiful new relationship with a stylist who gets you for many years to come.

What to do when … Your faux glow is streaked and splotchy

All you wanted was a little color. But what you ended up with looks more like a “Dancing with the Stars” contestant collided with a giraffe. First, pat yourself on the back for opting for the safe route to bronzed skin. Second, resist the urge to try rub your skin until it’s red and raw says Michele Lee, freelance hair and makeup stylist and owner of The Organic Glow, a mobile airbrush tanning service.

Because self-tanners rely on a sugar substance called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to react with dead epidermal cells to produce color, your first trick is to minimize the reaction. To neutralize the DHA and minimize streaks, Lee recommends breaking out the baking soda. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to a tubful of warm water and take a nice long soak. Or, mix the baking soda with water until it forms a thick paste and gently massage onto skin and rinse in the shower.

She also suggests a daily moisturizer with an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which will accelerate dead skin cell exfoliation naturally and gently.

Her final words of wisdom: “Don’t drink and tan!” Take the time to prep your skin and carefully apply the self-tanner. Sunless tanning solutions have come a long way and with a little practice, you’ll get it.

What to do when … Your nails are trashed from a foray in falsies

First, the good news: Acrylics don’t have to destroy your nails. Debbie Buzan, head nail technician at 20 Lounge Nail Bar and Boutique in Scottsdale, says if you have them professionally removed, your nails could survive. “What we do is file the acrylic down, leaving a thin layer on the nail so it can grow out naturally without damaging the nail underneath,” she says.

If they weren’t removed properly, Buzan recommends first nursing your cuticles back to health. “You have to really take care of the cuticle itself since that’s where the new growth is coming from.” Apply a cuticle oil twice daily so they stay don’t get dry or flaky – olive oil or avocado oil from your pantry works too.

She suggests biweekly manicures – either with a professional or at home – to keep nails short, hydrated and protected while they recoup.

What do when … You want to break up with your tattoo

If you’ve outgrown your “frat tat” or ex’s name scrawled across your backside, there is hope. Laser tattoo removal is a viable solution and the cost is minimal when compared to a lifetime of bad memories.

“The biggest misconception is that a tattoo is forever,” says Marci Zimmerman, founder of Delete Tattoo Removal & Laser Center in Phoenix.

Using a special laser that works at various wavelengths, Delete can erase unwanted tattoos in an average of 8 to 10 visits spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart.

“The time it takes is really based on the size and color of the tattoo, as well as the volume of ink,” she notes. The process is quick, works on all skin types and because the laser is equipped with a cooling device, is relatively painless.

Price also varies by tattoo size and ink intensity but Zimmerman is determined to keep it affordable. “No one should have to live with a tattoo they don’t want.”