We’ve all made beauty mistakes. Despite being a beauty expert for over 30 years, I’ve certainly perpetrated a few doozies.
At age 15, I sunbathed with so much oil and foil that I could have been mistaken for an oven-ready chicken. At 16, I wore so many sets of false eyelashes I could barely open my eyes.
And I once obeyed a magazine instruction to condition my dry, frizzy hair with beaten egg. No-one mentioned the importance of rinsing in cold water, so the hot water cooked it. Ever tried getting scrambled egg out of curly hair?
At around the same time my best friend, who had straighter, oilier hair, tried malt vinegar as a ‘conditioner’ and for three days made passing strangers spin around looking for the unexpected fish-n-chip shop…
Thankfully, I’ve learned since then, but I was also hooked. Especially after my first beauty makeover and, ten minutes later, a boy I’d liked for ages finally noticed me. Make-up, it seemed, could change my dating potential – and my life. Fabulous! If I could only make money from it. Oh wait…
Anyway, here I am and, over the years, I’ve tried some wonderfully loony things masquerading as beauty treatments. There was the “Alpine” bath where the therapist proudly proclaimed that the hay being massaged lovingly over my body was 100% pure and unprocessed. “What, you mean unwashed and full of cowpats?!?” Erm, yes. Apparently you could hear my laughter three rooms away.
There were the anti-cellulite algae bath which, frankly, looked like a vat of gently bubbling diarrhoea. To be honest, I preferred having cellulite.
And a few treatments really hurt.
On the plus side there was the energising therapy, sadly no longer available, whose inventor had had a mis-spent youth, or at least spent too long at rock concerts, It involved a vibrating bed that pulsated in time to the accelerating drumbeat of a Navajo chant and I emerged with my hair almost vertical end and my eyeballs practically spinning in their sockets. It was certainly an alternative to caffeine.
Then there was the shiatsu massage that produced an unusual emotional reaction – not tears, but laughter. For ten straight hours. Every time my giggles faded away, they bubbled straight back up again. I didn’t get much sleep that night, but it was the best bedtime fun I ever had without company.
Of course there were disasters, too, one of which involved losing quarter of my hair to bad hair extensions. Not all of it grew back. I also tried semi-permanent (or ‘tattooed’) eyeliner which, after various re-applications over the years, caused loss of sensitivity to my eyelids. Fortunately, it eventually disappeared.
I’ve also come away from various hair and make-up makeovers looking suspiciously like Cruella di Vil, Shirley Temple and Lady Penelope. Thankfully not all at once.
And some of the skincare ‘advances’ have ranged from facials that burst more blood vessels than road rage, sheet masks that have scared more neighbours than the last Halloween movie, and a metal mask that provided me with a close resemblance to Hannibal Lecter. Worse, while I was trialling it, my then editor came into the office and had an entire conversation with me without appearing to even notice. And worse still, the magnets on its inside, which were meant to rev up my circulation, created an effect that, after our extended conversation, left my face brighter than the average traffic light. Clearly not all circulation-boosting is good.
Learning what works in beauty is a lifelong journey for all of us. The industry is constantly evolving, so are we and so are our attitudes. But the reason I love it is because it helps me look better than the way nature designed me, and it can do that for everyone.
Beauty isn’t just about how our features were arranged, but about health, confidence, happiness – and perhaps a nifty eye for colour. The first depends on your genes (and perhaps a good doctor); the second and third depend largely on your attitude and your choices. But if you don’t have the fourth, you can fake it with advice from the professionals – including a friendly beauty editor who knows only too well that sometimes we all make mistakes…
Have you ever made any beauty mistakes that you don’t mind sharing? We’d love you to let us know in the comments section below…
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