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Quick Hair and Makeup Tips

How to Handle Beauty Emergencies

Quick fixes for common beauty crises, from overplucked eyebrows to breakouts and blemishes.

Various beauty suppliesYunhee Kim


Problem: Running Out of Lipstick

Solution: Cream or powder blush dabbed on lips with a finger creates a soft, sensual look. For a creamier texture, top blush with clear gloss or a lip balm, says Carol Shaw, a Los Angeles makeup artist and the creator of Lorac cosmetics. This works in reverse, too: Use lipstick as blush. Keep in mind that lipstick has much more pigment than blush, says Joli Baker, president of the cosmetics company Pür Minerals, in Atlanta. To avoid going overboard, start with a tiny dab, then gradually increase the color. Add a bit of moisturizer to blend it in.

Problem: Gray Hair

Solution: While mascara is sometimes used as a quick fix to touch up unanticipated gray hairs, "it is possible that mascara could stain the hair, due to its high pigmentation," says Ron Levin, a colorist at the Pierre Michel salon, in New York. He prefers a product called Tween-Time, by Roux, as an alternative in between colorings. "It is a dry lipstick-like stick that can be wetted and applied directly to the roots of hair for instant color," he says. "It will also stay on the hair until your next shampooing." Also recommended: Covermark, which is applied like mascara but made specifically for the hair.

Problem: No Cuticle Cream

Solution: Use baby oil, Vaseline, or olive oil, says Skyy Hadley, a celebrity manicurist and the owner of the As "U" Wish Nail Spa, in Hoboken, New Jersey. Even avocado oil or the contents of a vitamin E capsule massaged into the cuticles will work, says Mark G. Rubin, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. "It's really just the fact that you're putting on something oily to hold in water and moisture that matters," he says.

Problem: Chipped and Broken Nails

Solution: Use a block buffer in place of a nail file, if needed, says Hadley, "but if you are in a real bind, use the back of a matchbook. Be careful, though, because you might scratch off the back of the matchbook, leaving your nails black or red!" she warns. "Binding broken nails with nail glue or Krazy Glue should hold you over until you get to your nail tech."

 

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