Beauty Disasters: How to Cover Up Almost Anything

“But why,” you ask. “We are all flawed humans, right?” Right! And as flawed humans we know that, for example, though our boss already saw them and everyone at work is giggling (haters), hickeys weren’t part of the look our cousin had in mind for her bridal party. Knowing a little trompe l’oeil can be really helpful for when, on occasion, you choose to be a slightly altered version of yourself.

One more thing to keep in mind: your eyeballs have spent much more time examining and can get so much closer to whatever you’re trying to cover up than almost anyone else’s. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect, no one will notice. Seriously, we don’t scan each other’s bodies looking for barely there flaws and deceptions, unless “we” are tabloid magazines and “bodies” are those of famous people. Sucks to be them! Here we go.

Sunless tanning mistakes: There are plenty of things you can do in preparation for a spray tan that’ll help you avoid mistakes, but what if it’s too late? What if you had your four-year-old do the back of your legs? The key is water and exfoliation. Water is an amazing solvent, did you know? Some suggest taking bath a with a few cups of baking soda in it. Others (me) say you can just scrub with any old exfoliant — baking soda included — and a washcloth after a good long soak in the tub. You definitely won’t get ALL the self-tanner off, but you’ll be able to soften some of the obvious streaks or hard edges around your hands and feet. If you’re desperate to get it off your hands or feet — but don’t try this elsewhere! — body hair bleach supposedly works. And if you’d rather just spend money, this stuff calls itself “Tan Remover.”

Bruises: Have you forgotten about leg makeup?

Tattoos: Get some Dermablend or this tattoo concealer from Sephora. They really do work! Especially if you’re only covering a small tattoo on your wrist that’s clashing with the wrist corsage you want to wear to prom.

Eyebrows: Say you’re a bushy-browed dude who would rather look like a very surprised Barbra Streisand, just for the evening. Here is SynWax! You can cover your brows with it, followed by your regular foundation and powder, and then draw your eyebrows back on any shape you want. It’s also said that bar soap and glue sticks work as well if you layer them. Here’s me working with the SynWax and a hidden bottle of wine.

Crying: Don’t cover it up! Everyone cries. Probably 10% of the world is crying right now, so big WHOOP you had a cry in the bathroom at work. Also, crying is shorthand for “I need a hug!” Not convinced? Okay, try washing your face with cold, cold water and applying a cold compress to your eyes for a few minutes to counteract puffiness. If you’re in a bar, this might just have to be ice cubes from your drink wrapped in napkins. Next, a few eye drops. Then, reapply your eye makeup. You knew you were in a fragile emotional state when you left the house, so of course you have these supplies on hand, right? I find the less eye makeup you wear after a crying jag, the less attention you draw to your eyes, with one exception: a dramatic cat eye. If you make it big enough, the look is so disarming people won’t notice what else is wrong with your face.

Hickeys: Get double duty here from your tattoo-covering products OR try a layer of green concealer under layers of your own concealer or foundation and top with powder to set. It’s possible to layer regular foundation or concealer pretty heavily, as long as you have the right color and you blend the edges a whole lot. The green stuff just counteracts the red and purple so your concealer can do a better job. Also, thank goodness scarves are popular these days. Back in my time, a scarf was a dead giveaway that you’d been necking. Also, there was such a thing as NECKING!

Dark under eye circles: I really don’t see what the big deal is about “dark under eye circles.” They’re not unattractive to me, and half the time I only notice that someone else thinks they’re a problem because they’ve tried to cover them up with too-light concealers and light reflecting things. If this is something that concerns you, try layering a quality foundation that matches your skin tone. For a little more oomph, L’Oreal makes an excellent full coverage concealer that is affordable and comes with a setting powder. But seriously, you only need to bust that out like twice a year.

Ding in nailpolish: I’m sure this is 100% toxic, but I always fix dings in my wet nail polish with my tongue. Yep. Just lick, lick, lick it back into the right place. If you’re the type to always ding your polish, don’t rely on that technique. Instead, buy some of these and never worry about waiting for your polish to dry again.

Big ole cuts: Liquid bandage! Okay, it’s not like you can put this on and then put makeup over it (or can you?), but if you’re feeling like a bandage will draw more attention to your rollerblading injury than the injury itself, try this alternative. Skaters I know actually carry Super Glue around with them for sealing up wounds on the spot. That is neither here nor there, just a fun fact about skaters and why you probably shouldn’t date them.

Zits: Again, I say normally don’t bother; futzing with zits does more harm than good. Everyone who knows and loves you knows and loves your zits. Also, zits need air to heal and dry out. The best you can do for day-to-day blemishes is find a zit zapper that works for you, whether it’s heavy duty or an all-over solution. Also: WASH YOUR FACE FOREVER. But if it’s the day you’re getting your professional CPA head shots taken for the ad you’re placing in The Owosso Argus Press, there is an emergency plan of action I can vouch for. First, dry the zit out as much as you can for as long as you have it before the event. This stuff is a miracle in that regard. Sometimes I have to put on a new coat every hour or two for a whole day. Then, about an hour before you must leave the house, wash your face gently with a wash cloth. Be gentle! You just want to remove the most removable dry flakes from the dried-out area. Next, apply Neosporin to the zit for at least half an hour. This’ll soften the skin back up and reduce some redness. Next, and this is crazy, but take a cotton swab with some Visine on it and dab the zit. It’ll take even more red out. Now apply concealer with a brush and top with powder. You’ll be good for a few hours, so hurry.

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