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Our Staff Dishes About Their Worst Beauty Mistakes

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It happened in the bathtub. I was soaking, luxuriating in the extra-hot water, when I suddenly remembered I had a brand-new bottle of bath oil. It had been a prize at a bridal shower, and was in a big, fancy glass bottle with a stopper. It smelled great. I stood up, got out of the tub, and dripped all over the floor as I rooted through my cupboard, looking for the oil. There it was! I grabbed it, climbed back in the bath, and...the bottle slipped out of my hands. I tried to catch it, but it fell, bashing against the side of my porcelain tub. It shattered everywhere.

Here’s the thing about being naked in a white tub full of oil and broken glass: you can’t really see the glass, and it’s hard to get a grip on anything to help yourself out. As I frantically scrambled to get a handhold, I kept slipping and landing on more broken glass. The water began to turn a menacing pink color. I started to panic—I was cutting myself everywhere! I couldn’t get out! I was going to bleed to death, alone and naked in my bathtub.

Good news, everyone. It occurred to me to grab the washcloth I’d left hanging on the faucet to use as a grip on the side of the tub, and I slowly, painfully pulled myself out, cutting myself badly again in the process, but successfully not dying.

Since I knew I couldn’t be the only one with a beauty horror story like this, I asked Beautylish staffers to share their tales of terror. Try not to cover your eyes!

Blind spot

“I’d just returned to my parents' house for the summer after my junior year in college, and I unloaded all my toiletries onto one shelf in the bathroom. That night, I was exhausted and rushing through my bedtime routine. After taking out my contacts, I reached into the cabinet and grabbed what I would have SWORN ON MY LIFE was my eye makeup remover—but was in fact nail polish remover. I doused a cotton ball and began wiping off my mascara and eyeliner. Sweet mother of mayhem, it took me five full seconds to understand what was happening. By then, my right eyeball was marinating in nail polish remover. It felt exactly how you think it would. Surprising, I didn’t land in the hospital. I flushed my eyeball under running water for what was probably a full five minutes (high school chemistry lab safety lesson!), and I was fine. Looking back, I maybe should’ve contacted poison control or something. But lesson learned: organize your beauty products immediately after unpacking.”–Jorie Larsen, contributing writer

Bad hair day

“One Saturday when I decided to dye my own hair with a box from the drugstore, I put on the product and let it sit for the required 30 minutes, which meant I had that much time to finish chores, like the dishes. (I’ve always been a hardcore multi-tasker.) Well, one of the items in the sink was a pizza cutter, and in my haste to get all my chores done while the dye was setting, the cutter slipped and made a nice gash in my thumb. I was bleeding profusely and should have gone to the ER to get stitches, but I was more worried about my hair—so I let the wound be, tourniqueting my hand with a dish towel. To this day, my hair looks great, but I have a nice big scar to remind me to slow down!” –Selena Fragassi, contributing writer

Human cannonball

“I was about to do a performance for the Rockefellers—the real Rockefellers! For whatever reason I decided that my buzz cut needed a touch-up the day of the show. Performance rule #1: never get your hair cut on the day of a show. I ended up shaving a hole in the middle of my head, so I had to take everything off down to the skin. At the time, I was also bleaching my eyebrows, so it looked like I had no hair at all. My husband, who is an airbrush artist, came to the rescue and painted my head. I looked like a human cannonball, but at least it was better than unintentional baldness! I put on my fanciest clothes (to help offset the severe head look), went to the gig and had a great time.” –Bec Stupak, creative director

Blue streak

“At just three years old, I already had a healthy fascination (soon to be obsession) with makeup, but a less-than-stellar understanding of correct application. So my mom’s blue eye shadow was (regularly!) worn in a gorgeous blue stripe across my eyelid, over the bridge of my nose, and onto the other eyelid. It was very editorial. I was ahead of my time.” –Sarah Campbell, contributing writer

The over-archer

“When I was in high school I wanted to pluck my eyebrows but the pain was always too much for me. One day I took my razor and tried to shave the little hairs around them. As luck would have it, I shaved off half a brow. I tried penciling it in but since I’d never done that before, I ended up with one half regular brow, one half thick brown line that was so painfully tragic. Luckily, shifting my side bangs to the other side (sort of) saved me for the month or so it took to fully grow back the brow.” –Jamie Gaul, contributing writer

Crossing the line

“When I was about 14, I discovered black eye liner. I’d bought a NYX pencil liner for a buck at a little boutique and was so excited to dramatize my eyes. I rushed to the nearest mirror and outlined them, top and bottom. Mind you, this was summer time. I spent the rest of the day wandering with friends, shopping, browsing, you know, kid stuff. I thought I looked super cool with my new intense look—so cool that everyone was checkin' me out. Little did I know all the oil and sweat had spread the pigment so much that I looked like Ozzy Osbourne (or a cuddly human panda). I probably thought that I was fierce, but confidence only goes so far.” –Terry Lee, editorial designer

Do you have a scary story to share? Tell it below.

Comments

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Feb 12, 2019

Vishal T.

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Sep 27, 2014

Jennifer E.

I have the exact same eyebrow story! & everyone I know had the exact same black eyeliner experience. The nail polish remover is extremely scary, be careful huni.

Jul 04, 2014

Hana D.

May 20, 2014

Hannah Rose M.

In 5th grade, I really wanted bangs but my mom would not let the hairdresser do it. I had done so much with my hair that I could say I had DIY done everything. Except cutting it. I thought I was a pro so I wet my hair and combed through it and grabbed my scissors. At a diagonal, I started to chop. My mom didn't know and I was at my dads house. It looked good, but was definitely noticeable. I couldn't do anything with my hair for 3 months.

May 11, 2014

Nadhrah K.

I have black hair and I filled my brows in with a super black pencil because I couldnt find my brown one. alas, that was also the day when my a family friend whom I have a crush on comes to my house and when he saw me he looked at my brows and glanced away so as not to embarass me. but I already was anyway. argh! I knew I shouldnt have went ahead with it :(

May 09, 2014

Jodi N.

When I was about to go into the 7th grade I hated my eyebrows and wanted to get them waxed so bad but my mom said I was to young and wouldn't let me so one day I though it would be a good idea to try and shave them a little I used one of those razors that you always see people using to trim their nose hairs and I didn't really know what I was doing but I cut to much off it wasn't like half of my eyebrow or anything but it looked like I my eyebrows were balding and on the one I has like a hole in the middle, I was hoping it wasn't noticeable and I forgot about it but one day me and my mom were at the mall going back to school shopping and she looks at me and was like did you shave your eyebrows? And I was like no because I was afraid she would yell at me and she just started laughing and I was mortified and got so embarrassed and school was starting in like 3 days and I didn't know what to do and it was just the worst thing in my life now whenever I look back at my 7th grade picture I cringe at my stupidity

Apr 17, 2014

Sofia H.

Haha I was doing a tutorial and I opened this tube it looked like roll on lip gloss so I applied it and a couple seconds later my mouth tasted really weird I found out it was roll on perfume!

"An Ashy Mess": I first got into makeup when I was in my 11th grade year of high school. I had no clue or idea about my skin tone or color or how important if not detrimental it is. I used a face powder that was 2 shades lighter than my own complexion. I would wear it all over my face--not blending into my neck so I had the dreaded "cake face". I was going through old pictures the other day and I could do nothing but laugh because I swore up and down that I looked good! Now I am a blending expert. No more "cake face".

Apr 09, 2014

Megha S.

In my first year of undergrad, I was obsessed with getting my nose pierced. I got a piercing at a professional jeweller's. You're supposed to leave the piercing untouched for 6 months, before it can completely heal. Within a few weeks I'd gone to my grandma's in a different city. There I bought a nose ring that I was so excited to try. When my brother and I stopped for lunch in the shopping area, I excused myself to the restroom and proceeded to remove my nose stud. Needless to stay, since the wound hadn't completely healed, by the time I removed the stud, my nose was bleeding profusely and there was blood everywhere. To top it off, I wasn't able to secure the clasp of the nose ring inside my nostril and managed a half-baked job, because my skin had become very tender and it had started to hurt like hell. That night I went to bed and woke up next morning to find the nose ring had come off and the hole had closed. I wailed in desolation and got another piercing as soon as I got home. This time, I didn't take the stud off for the prescribed 6 months.

Apr 08, 2014

Lexie F.

When I was 14, my school did a production of beauty and the beast. I wasn't a main or anything but I was one of the "silly girls". Anyway, because we weren't villagers, castle objects or mains, we were free to do our own stage makeup. Having being SO experienced with makeup (haha not) and thinking that I knew everything, I started to contour my face. However I used super orange bronzer on my pale skin. And I didn't put it in the hollows of my cheeks, I put it just under. So I went on stage that night with an orange beard singing about gaston trying to be really girly and flirty. I probably looked more manly than gaston from some angles haha! To make things worse, after the show someone mistook me for one of the male villagers, even though I wore a dress. Talk about embarrassing!!

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