7 Beauty Mistakes I'll Never Make Again

They seemed like good ideas at the time...
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They seemed like good ideas at the time...

Beauty mistakes: we all make them. I'm grateful that my biggest mistakes happened in the years before digital cameras and Facebook, because I don't know what I'd do if I had to look at my under-plucked eyebrows every time I signed in to post a cute picture of my dog.

I can't hate on my crazier looks, because even when they weren't the best, they taught me things. What I CAN hate on are the treatments and experiments that started out in good faith and went south--the "It seemed like a good idea at the time!" school of cosmetology, if you will.

Here are some of my favorite beauty disasters that I will never try again.

1. Fish Pedicure

I’ve never liked people touching my feet. Maybe it’s because I’m extremely ticklish or maybe it’s leftover dance trauma, but I’m incapable of letting a nice lady scrub my heels without getting incredibly anxious.

So naturally, it was a great idea to stick my legs in a tub of water and let hundreds of tiny fish eat the dead skin off my feet.

I was 14 when I did this, and I made it about two minutes before bailing. The tickling combined with the slippery little fish bodies provoked a strong “GET ME OUT OF HERE OH GOD” reaction. The only way I'd ever have my dead skin nibbled off by marine scavengers again is if I suddenly turn into a manta ray.

#selfie from National Geographic.

#selfie from National Geographic.

And I am NOT a manta ray.

2. Fake Tanning One Leg

You guys saw the fruits of my fake-tanning labors, and I’m still glad that I overcame my fear of semi-permanent bronzing. However, I did not account for the long-lasting nature of one of the tanners I tested, and walking around with one brown leg and one pale is far from ideal.

I looked like this for over a week.

I looked like this for over a week.

This was a great idea for the article, but TERRIBLE for my life. Fake tanner all over or not at all.

3. Highlighter Eyebrows

When I was in school, a friend accidentally electrocuted herself and burned off her eyebrows and eyelashes. She got a lot of shit for that, so she started asking me to draw her brows on before class.

I got very creative with her eyebrows, and she let me do whatever I wanted, including coloring them in with--drumroll please--yellow and green highlighter.

ARTIST'S RENDERING.

ARTIST'S RENDERING.

I liked this SO MUCH that I started wearing it myself. And then one day, it rained between classes. I'm not sure how many of you have ever gotten highlighter in your eyes, but it is a very painful experience. My eyes were bright red and sore for days afterwards, and my mother did not stop scolding me the whole time.

4. Drunken Haircut

You know how I’m always telling you not to mess with your hair when you’ve been drinking? I say this from experience. Once upon a time I went to a party with my friend Emily where we got spectacularly drunk. Upon stumbling home, I said to myself, “Self, you need to cut your bangs. NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT!”

When I woke up the next day, my fringe was crooked and about an inch too short. Asymmetrical baby bangs are a cute look on some people, but not on me.

When your bangs are right, it feels like they grow super-fast. When you screw them up, they WILL NOT GROW.

When your bangs are right, it feels like they grow super-fast. When you screw them up, they WILL NOT GROW.

Drunk hair cutting is like cheap Mexican food at 2 a.m. It seems like a good idea, but you regret it the next day.

5. DIY Brazilian

In case that heading hasn’t horrified you enough, allow me to break it down further:

- I had never had a Brazilian wax. Hell, I had never had ANYTHING waxed.- I had had never waxed anything, on myself or anyone else.- Delicate parts. Very delicate parts.

Rest assured, this went exactly as horribly as you’re imagining. There were burns. There was blood. I screamed a lot. It was a nightmare.

6. Acrylic Nails

The year that I moved to the US, I went through a rite of passage that no suburban girl in the early aughts could avoid--getting fake nails before a dance.

At the time, I still bit my nails pretty badly and I didn’t want my hot pink dress to look less awesome because of my bleeding stubs. So I went with my friends and paid a nice lady to give me long, square, French-tipped nails.

I consulted Pinterest, and apparently 90% of prom nails still look like this. The more things change...

I consulted Pinterest, and apparently 90% of prom nails still look like this. The more things change...

These nails weren’t my style, even at the time. But all my friends were doing it, so I jumped off that proverbial bridge like the teenage lemming I was.

Having acrylics wasn’t bad, once I was used to them. What was bad was removing them. My natural nails were DESTROYED, and it took a solid year to coax them back to normal.

Never, ever, ever, EVER again.

7. Teasing With A Round Brush

Sometimes you can’t find your paddle brush or comb, so sometimes you use a round brush to tease your hair, and sometimes it gets firmly stuck in the back of your head.

Portrait of a Stressed Out Lady.

Portrait of a Stressed Out Lady.

It took two hours and a full bottle of leave-in conditioner to coax that round brush out of my hair with minimal breakage, and I had truly LEARNED MY LESSON. I never want to have to consider cutting a styling tool off of my head ever again.

What are you best beauty screw-ups? Have you ever had (or DIY-ed) a treatment that was a spectacular failure? Did anyone else get square French acrylics before a dance? Come on, you can tell me.