Summer Beauty Blunders

Save yourself from humiliation by avoiding these four beauty no-nos for summer.
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Young woman with straw hat on beach

Things we love about summer: Lightening up on the makeup, piling hair on top of our heads, showing off bright summer pedicures. Things we don't love about summer: The beauty faux pas that are so easy to make. Here, the biggest beauty flops you can make come hot weather, plus our best tips on how to avoid them.

Self-Tanner Sleeves

The Faux Pas: You apply your tanner meticulously, avoiding streaks and splotches, but you forget that part of your body where your arms meet your hands. The result: Tanned sleeves and white hands.

The Fix: Strategic tanner application. If you're using a traditional lotion tanner, squirt a dot of product onto the back of one hand. Then rub backs of hands together, up to your wrists, to coat hands naturally. Another option: Try one of the new spray-on tanners, which allow you to direct a soft stream of tanner onto the back of each hand (without risking the dreaded tanned-palms look).

Crusty Heels

The Faux Pas: You spend lots of time painting your toenails a pretty, summery shade, but forget to check the state of the skin on your heels. The result: Dry, flaky, crusty heels peeking out of your mules and sandals.

The Fix: Daily maintenance. Long before you plan to break out the open-back shoes, start a heel-maintenance program. This should include daily exfoliation in the shower, using either a grainy scrub or foot file; application of an AHA or BHA foot lotion, preferably twice a day; and weekly moisturizing masks to infuse dry skin with hydration.

Long, Bright Fingernails

The Faux Pas: You love the bold color of summer polish, so you figure more polish is better. The result: Talons that are visible 50 feet away.

The Fix: A swift clipping. Believe it or not, those bold summer shades look better and more modern on shorter nails -- say, tips that end no more than a quarter inch past your fingertips. Wearing a bright hue on short nails gives a more subtle flash of color, so the focus is on your whole look, not just your nails.

Bronzer Overload

The Faux Pas: In trying to give yourself a sun-kissed look, you swipe on several layers of shimmery bronzer. The result: Orange-brown stripes across your skin.

The Fix: Wearing too much bronzer gives a decidedly unnatural look. And since the very idea of bronzer is to give a natural appearance, going overboard combats just what you're trying to do. Instead, choose a bronzer that's on the lighter side. Look for one with no or very little shimmer, since natural tans are matte, not shiny. Apply with a fluffy blush brush by swiping brush over bronzer, blowing off excess, then gently sweeping the brush over cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and temples. If you need more or want more depth, simply add a second layer.

Originally published on, May 2005.


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