Beauty Blunders -- Solved!

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Botched Bangs and Cakey Foundation

Q: On an impulse, I let my stylist cut bangs. But now I hate them! What can I do?

A: A totally new look can be tempting, especially when you're caught up in the excitement of sitting in your stylist's chair. And while an impulse change can be good, sometimes it's not quite what you expected, such as with your bangs. The great news is that while you can't take the bangs back, you can make them more manageable. To start, head back to the salon and discuss your dissatisfaction with your stylist or the salon manager. Your stylist can add more layers to the bangs, or use a razor to thin the hair, giving it a wispy look. Another option: Cutting layers into the pieces around your face, so the bangs blend into your style better.

If the thought of cutting into your bangs even more makes you nervous, your best bet is to camouflage them as you grow them out. To do this, you need two indispensable tools: A strong-hold hair product and a hair accessory. Use a pomade, firm-hold styling gel, or wax to slick bangs straight back, or smooth them to the side. Then, keep them in place with a headband, discreet barrette, or scarf. Experiment with different accessories to suit different outfits and moods.


Q: I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror at work and was horrified to see that my foundation looked cakey and mask-like! How can I get a more natural look?

A: Foundation application can be tricky, and if you don't get it just right, you wind up with the too-made-up look you describe. Surprisingly, getting it just right is easy if you know the tricks:

  • Trick #1: Find the right formula. Use your skin type to choose. For instance, if you have very oily skin, an oil-free, matte formula will work best for you. If your skin is on the drier side, a cream or whipped moisturizing formula is your best bet. Using a foundation that works against your skin type -- a moisturizing foundation on oily skin, for example -- can cause base to cake or flake.
  • Trick #2: Find the perfect shade. Foundation is one product worthy of a splurge: If possible, go to a department store cosmetics counter to buy your base. The makeup artists who staff cosmetics counters are trained to match foundation to skin, and the better your base matches, the more natural it will look. Two great foundation brands: Prescriptives and Bobbi Brown.
  • Trick #3: Prep your skin. If your skin isn't in good shape to start, there's no way your foundation can look good. Begin with freshly washed skin to give the foundation a clean base. If you tend to be dry, apply a light moisturizer after you wash. And if your skin is excessively oily, apply a mattifying solution to skin. Allow these products about 10 minutes to sink in before applying foundation.
  • Trick #4: Apply with a brush. This relatively new type of makeup brush makes applying base easy, clean (no foundation-covered fingers), and allows you to blend more effectively than any other application method. Use a cotton swab to dot foundation on forehead, cheeks, chin, and down nose. Then blend the foundation downward and out toward your hairline with the foundation brush. Use a cosmetic sponge to buff the edges of your foundation. Finally, top with loose powder to lock foundation in place.

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