In honor of Throwback Thursday, we’re taking it way, way back and coming to terms with our worst beauty offenses. And to prove that everyone makes mistakes, we got the editors of some of our favorite sites and magazines to get in on the embarrassment (er, fun). Because at the very least, bad bangs, Nair, and one (very red) dye job gone wrong make for a good story.
Click through the slideshow to read about 10 editors’ most embarrassing beauty blunders!
Joyann King, Digital Director, HarpersBazaar.com
"Two words: white eyeliner. I spent six wasted years, in high school then halfway through college lining, my wide blue eyes with chalk-colored liner. I must have gotten the idea from Clueless or something. Needless to say, unless Pat McGrath is the deft hand behind it, this look is better left for the runways."
Jean Godfrey-June, Executive Beauty Director, Lucky Magazine
"The beauty industry, if nothing else, loves to celebrate. In full black tie. The first time I was ever invited to one, my boss urged me to walk down to the fashion department and ask to borrow a dress, since I certainly had nothing that fabulous in my wardrobe. I was terrified, as the fashion director was truly one of the most terrifying people ever to walk this earth. But I went.
The label Ghost was chicer than chic at the time: The fashion director took me into the fashion closet and pulled out a slip dress from Ghost, bias cut, in this gorgeous, molten-silver silk. She looked at me: "Don't. Get anything on it."
A makeup company offered to send someone do my makeup; I accepted. Because I was new, I didn't know about …directing the makeup artist, being firm about what you want. This makeup artist was into the blackest, most major smoky eye you can possibly imagine, I mean layers upon layers of black, more black, sootiest black.
I had so much makeup on that when I arrived at the event and rushed up to greet my friends—it was Amy Astley (now the editor of Teen Vogue) and her husband Chris—they looked at me blankly. Neither of them recognized me AT ALL. But I lived it up, drank my champagne, and explained who I was to all who didn't recognize me, and had a great time.
Once home, I was extremely eager to get my makeup off. I had a giant bottle of sea-green Borghese makeup remover—it was one of the most glamorous beauty items I had ever owned, and I hadn't used it yet. I pressed down the pump mechanism with great verve … and it shot straight forward onto the silver Ghost slip dress, right at my heart. I staggered toward the mirror, full-on Reservoir-Dogs-style, the spot where I'd been shot was widening, creeping across the fabric like a wildfire. All I could think of was the wrath of the fashion director. And the unspeakable amount of money it would doubtlessly be to replace the dress she'd been so generous to lend me.
I took it to the dry cleaner and prayed. I prayed every day for a week while they worked on it. And, miracle of all miracles, they got it out. The Ghost dress was returned to its original glory, and the fashion director never guessed. Which is why, probably, I'm still here to write this story!"
Jane Larkworthy, Beauty Director, W Magazine
“Years ago, when I first started wearing contact lenses, I reached for a bottle of eye drops from my desk drawer when I was on a conference call. I leaned my head back, squeezed a drop in, and it felt quite thick. I looked at the bottle in my hand and it was a salicylic acid acne spot medication!
Fortunately, the goop landed right on my contact lens, which saved my eye. I hung up, ran to the ladies room and RINSED.”
Emily Dougherty, Beauty & Fitness Director, Elle
"I don't believe in the term 'beauty blunder'! It's my job to experiment with beauty, so if I'm not having multiple 'blunders' everyday, I'm not doing my job. I love anytime I get that feeling of ‘Hmmmm, I'm not sure about this look…’ or ‘Hmmmm, maybe I should have approached this at-home-hair-cut/perm/dye-job a little differently’. I try to have one of those moments every day!"
Hillary Kerr, Co-Founder, Clique Media
“Junior year of high school I asked my colorist for red hair. I thought this meant auburn, she thought I meant Strawberry Shortcake. The result was insanely bright red hair—I looked like a clown, no joke. It took years to get my hair back to its original blonde and possibly scarred me for life. Needless to say I haven’t experimented with any other hair colors since!”
Alex Taylor, Director of Content & Social Strategy, Clique Media
“I have always loved to experiment, so when it comes to beauty blunders my list is quite long and extensive. That said, my crowning "blunder" occurred in middle school when I decided to use Nair on my eyebrows since I was afraid to get them waxed. The product ate away at my skin and left me with massive scabs in lieu of eyebrows for a few weeks. My mother was not entertained. To this day, my brows have never been the same!”
Faith Xue, Editor, Byrdie
“I was bored during my sophomore year of college—which is how all beauty disasters start, right? I decided that my hair would look considerably better if it had some color—namely, pink streaks. In a fit of what I thought was daring creative genius, I applied a cheap drugstore dye in haphazard streaks to my hair. I actually felt quite edgy afterwards. The feeling faded soon after, when I regained sanity and looked at myself in the mirror.”
Nicole Akhtarzad, Fashion Assistant, Who What Wear
“One time my friends convinced me to cut my own bangs. That wouldn't have been such a problem if I didn't have extremely curly hair that was straightened at the time. An awkward six months followed.”
Liz Lynch, Editor, Domaine
“A few days before my senior prom I was in major primp mode and naively scheduled a brow wax just hours before a session in the tanning bed (gasp! I know). Needless to say, my freshly waxed brows got quite the scorch session in the tanning bed, and no amount of work from a department store makeup artist could cover my burnt, swollen, bright-red eyes. I've happily blocked my senior prom beauty look from my memory and wisely given up tanning beds for good.”
Kat Collings, Editor, Who What Wear
“Once in elementary school, I saw a new bottle of ‘shampoo’ in the bathroom, and proceeded to wash my hair with it. I thought it smelled a little funny, but I ignored it and finished up quickly to get back to watching The Rugrats, my preferred evening programming. It was several hours later that upon giving me a goodnight hug, my mom realized I had washed my hair with her new bottle of Nair! Thankfully my speediness in the shower had prevented the Nair from actually working, and my hair didn't all fall out. Good thing I'm not one for leisurely showers!”
CTA: What’s your most embarrassing beauty blunder? Tell us in the comments!