5 easy fixes for common beauty fails.

Zoe's got a solution to fix Lindsay's blush.

While it has been statistically proven that every single person reading this post is incredibly attractive, intelligent, generous, thoughtful, artistic, witty and terrific at singing Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire, sometimes we mess up our makeup, or our hair, or our nails or our tanning.

This is entirely acceptable, obviously, because if we were all perfect all the time, none of us would ever truly stand out. That said, should a lady like to swiftly ameliorate her errors, and return to her flawless, shining glory, then she should definitely, probably consider these simple, hasty solutions.

1. Just say you leave the nail bar and you smudge your polish…

What, is it too hard to get money out of your wallet, and then put that money in the parking meter, and then get your keys out of your bag, and then unlock the car, and then put your seatbelt on without the full use of your nails? WHAT ARE YOU, SOME KIND OF MORON? I’m being facetious obviously: it’s impossible to do Real Life with wet polish, unless you have an assistant/three hours to sit completely still and not pick up anything, do anything or wee.

The fix: This is best fixed immediately, while the polish still isn’t dry. Gently press the smudge with your thumb, to gently massage the polish back into position. Don’t worry if it looks worse for a second. Now apply a coat of thick, shiny topcoat over the nail, which will – using ancient wizardry – blend it all together, mask the smudge, and create the illusion of a flawless varnish.

2. Just say you have over styled your hair and it’s lank with product:

I told you that styling crème would weigh it down, but did you listen? I told you you should’ve just bitten the bullet and washed it last night, but did you listen? I told you that applying too much frizz serum/Moroccan oil near the scalp would lead to this, but did you listen? DID YOU? Oh. You have headphones in. My apologies. Carry on.

The fix: You have to reset the hair. It will save you tired arms and time and swear words, I assure you. Keep a water spray in the bathroom, and spray it lightly all over. Then add a plum-size amount of mousse and run it through (for “scaffolding.”) Now blow dry your hair quickly, with a large round brush for volume and freshness. Use some dry shampoo on the scalp once it’s completely dry for even more oomph. Or, for a quicker fix, just spray it water, and using a finetooth comb, comb in a deep side part and a low pony/bun. Slick as a sausage dog covered in olive oil.


3. Just say you have applied too much blush or bronzer…

I applaud you for being honest enough to admit it. Good for you. It breaks this dame’s heart to see ladies looking otherwise radiant save for enormous swipes of brown or pink molesting the sides of the face.

The fix: Take some foundation on a sponge, or foundation brush, or even just a cotton pad, and blot over your cheeks to neutralise the colour. If your lipstick colour is too intense (is there such a thing??) go over lips in nude lip liner, or a nude gloss, which will take the volume down a notch, but maintain that delicious creamy texture.

4. Just say you have fake tan streaks on your legs or arms…

Because you dared to go to sleep within two hours of application. Or sleep on your side with one hand pressed onto your shoulder/neck. Or apply your product half-pissed. Or sweat. How dare you.


The fix: If you have another night before the event you want to be tanned for, do another thin coat (or two) of tanner on the limbs in question. If you need to look chipper today, then use either a tinted body bronzer – which is makeup, not self-tanner – once you’re dressed on the areas that need evening out. I quite like Sportsgirl’s Body Glow ($9.95), or Le Tan’s Body Bronzer ($12.99). That said, I usually go the heavy duty fix via Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs ($24.25). I buy it in the tanned or medium shade, and it acts like spray-on foundation, essentially. It goes on wet, you blend it on, then it sets like a powder. I have been known to use it in place of tanner in sartorial, flesh-showing emergencies, on arms, legs, every stonkin’ where.

5. Just say your hair is too “done” looking and you want it looser/sexier/cooler…

This often happens when we leave Someone Else in charge of our hair, such as after a cut and colour, or when we get an updo, but can also be our own fault, because we are not tonging our hair right, or think we are doing it right, but if people look at your curls and waves ‘Well they’re definitely artificial’ because they are perfect the whole way round the head, then I’m afraid you’re doing it wrong (and you should watch this). But that’s just my opinion, of course. I was voted Best Overall Opinion on Everything in 2003, but you know, whatever.



The fix: If it’s just happened, that is, you’re still in styling mode at home, you can re-curl/tong/styler some sections, and be sure to tug them out and loosen them up a few short minutes after they’re out of the heat. Then run your fingers through them and ruffle them up a bit. Shake it up, you know? Fancy, deliberate styles aside (like beehives, fingerwaves, slick ponytails, blunt fringes with immaculate, blunt bobs etc) I maintain hair looks best when it doesn’t look you’ve spent an hour doing it. So, if you’ve looked at your hairstyle, and you’re not thrilled, because it’s too stiff, or all a bit perfecty-perfecty or even too straight and plain and conservative and flat, flip your head upside down, spray in some texturiser (such as sea salt spray – a hair must-have along with mousse and hairspray and heat protector) and on high heat, but low intensity, roam your hair dryer all over for 30 seconds. This blast of heat and a bit of a tousle with your fingers will give you excellent, natural texture. Flip back up and finish with a TINY bit of Magic Dust (my term, not an actual product: actual product names are evo Haze ($29.95), Schwarzkopf Osis Dust It, Aveda Hair Potion ($24.00) on the scalp all over for added grit and filmclip-girl texture. Heck, even dry shampoo will do the trick. If it’s an updo, you can VERY CAREFULLY tug at small pieces to loosen it up, or have some fun, wispy bits out around the neck, or tease around your hairline with the heel of your palm for some cool, fashion frizz, but be careful, woman, for the love of lemonade, be careful.

Just say you’re reading this post and you really should be doing work…

You have excellent taste. No fix required.

Yours in orange palms and smudged big toe polish, (cute!)


Zoe Foster is an author and columnist and Contributing Editor for Mamamia. She has previously been the beauty director for both Cosmopolitan and Harper’s BAZAAR magazines, and the Editor at Large of Primped.com.au. Zoe has published four books; Air Kisses, Textbook Romance (which she wrote with Hamish Blake), Playing The Field and Amazing Face. You can follow Zoe’s tumblr here and her Twitter here. You can and should buy Amazing Face here.