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More of Your Beauty Disasters

Real Simple readers share some not-so-pretty experiences.


Superbad Cuts

After an Audrey Hepburn movie marathon, I decided it was high time I had short bangs. I also decided I didn’t need to go to a hairstylist. The result: half-inch bangs cut on a cowlick right before senior pictures. Not the glamorous look I had hoped for.
Ashley Winchell
Kansas City, Missouri

Disaster occurred when I was old enough to operate a pair of scissors and clipped off one of my blond pigtails. My mom, who had been waiting for a baby girl for seven years, had to equal me out by clipping off the other side. Until my hair grew out, she had to live with everyone thinking I was her third son.
Katherine von Haunalter
Lafayette, California

Right after my college graduation, I found out that my boyfriend had been cheating on me. I was so upset by the news, I decided to cut my hair―on my own―right then and there, just so I could feel like I was in control of something. What a mistake. I ended up with uneven bangs, haphazard layers, and a big mess. I had to get it professionally fixed. After that, I vowed never to let a man ruin my hair again.
Shoshana Parker
New York, New York

Twenty years ago, I went to an upscale hair salon for an appointment with a stylist who cut hair according to how it “felt.” Not how the hair felt to the touch, but how it felt it wanted to be cut. My hair came out choppy, very short, and parted on the wrong side. It has never “felt” that way again.
Lynn Fischer
Freeport, Florida

In the 1960s, I was in seventh grade. I decided one day that it was time for me to have bangs. After school, I headed into the bathroom. I stood in front of the mirror. In my left hand, scissors. In my right hand, my hair held firmly in place just above my eyebrows. I cut away―and then I let go. I watched in horror as my new bangs sprung up, landing about an inch above where I had cut them. Quick thinking produced a solution: I brought more hair down from the top of my head and cut a new, longer row. Once again I let go, only to watch the bangs end up shorter than I had planned. The third time was the charm. Another row cut. Finally, bangs the length I had wanted. I was thrilled and relieved, but only briefly. My older sister arrived home, accompanied by her boyfriend. They looked at me and burst into laughter. Long before I ever heard the word comb-over, I had created the ultimate comb-forward. My bangs started at the very back of the crown of my head.
Natalie Dwyer-Haller
Erie, Pennsylvania

When I was maybe seven years old, I decided to give myself a haircut. This was in the mid-1980s. My mother took me to the hairdresser to try to fix the horrible mess I had inflicted on my long blond hair. My school pictures that year tell it all: There I am in a turquoise green jogging outfit with monkeys on it; my hair, a spiky mullet―with a wonderful part down the middle.
Christy Dinkins
Havelock, North Carolina

Natural Disasters

One summer I was bitten on my hairline by a horsefly. About 20 minutes later, my brother pointed out that I had a rather large welt on my forehead, so I put some cortisone cream on it. Later that afternoon, despite the cream, it had taken over half my forehead and was making its way toward my right eye. By evening, my eye had swollen shut, and it stayed that way for four miserable days. What’s more, after the swelling went down, I was left with a lovely black eye. Four years later, I still have what I consider to be a completely rational fear of horseflies.
Julia Hefner
Vallecito, Colorado

Making Faces

Old makeup. I hadn’t cleaned out my makeup drawer for a while, and while putting on makeup one morning, I chose a lipstick in a pretty shade. It looked perfectly fine, but unfortunately looks can be deceiving. When I put it on, my lips turned bright red and felt hot, with a painful tingling. Let’s just say I clean out my makeup drawer regularly now.
Stephanie Brewer
Danville, Kentucky

At the age of 13, I wanted so badly to wear eye makeup, but my mother said no. So when I got to school, I used an ink pen to line my eyes. It was hideous and my friends spent the day laughing at me. I never tried that again.
Lila Piercey
Memphis, Tennessee
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