6 New York Women On Their Biggest Beauty Blunder — & How They Fixed It

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Growing up, I had my fair share of bad beauty moments. And while the memory of my college spray tans still make me cringe, these growing pains seem so minor in comparison to other things. Beauty blunders are just part of becoming an adult — everyone has had ‘em, survived 'em, and learned how to overcome 'em. They're the necessary aches we must endure in order to learn just what exactly works, and what doesn’t.

The best part of sharing your biggest beauty mishaps is knowing that everyone has been there. We chatted with six of the coolest New York women about the hair, makeup, and skin care regrets of their youth (yes, they've gone through it, too). Get ready for Snooki-style poofs and lots of self-tanner...
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Way-Too-Thin Brows
"In high school, a lot of girls were tweezing their eyebrows. When I was 15, I decide to tweeze off most of my mine, turning them into thin tadpoles. I think I was just trying to fit in; someone at school had made a comment about my unruly brows, so I went to town on them the next day. It was not a good look, and they were way too far apart.

"It wasn't until my friend's mother blurted out one evening during a sleepover with her daughter, 'What the hell did you do to your eyebrows, Sophie? Don't you read Vogue? Thick brows are in.' So I started growing them back the next day. And thank god they came back. A lot of people compliment me on my eyebrows today, and I have her to thank for their reappearance.

"I've now learned that the features that make you stand out most are the ones that define you and make you unique. Whether you have thick eyebrows, a strong nose, or a big mouth, these are attributes that make you an individual, and can help you stand out from a sea of women all trying to look the same. Don't feel pressure to pick yourself apart to run with the pack. As you get older you will realize how boring it is to try and be someone you're not."

— Sophie Auster, singer/songwriter
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Self-Tanner Devotee
"For me, beauty is all about the glow. I am a total skin girl. I’ll spend 90 percent of my skin care and makeup application on my complexion, and the last 10 percent on mascara or a red lip. I love flawless, dewy skin, because if you have that covered, you don’t need anything else.

"In college, I was definitely guilty of over self-tanning. I was addicted to L'Oréal Sublime, and I would apply nearly half the bottle to create this insane orange color. Looking back at pictures, I am practically unrecognizable. At that time, I am pretty sure that this was ‘the look.’ At least, I thought it was. It was the late '90s and early 2000s, and I was trying to emulate Kate Moss. Finally, I kicked the tanner and started listening to my mom; she told me that it made me look like a grandmother.

If I could, I would advise my younger self to never ever go anywhere near a tanning bed, wear sunscreen, and avoid the sun whenever possible. Embrace your pale skin and I promise, years later, you will not regret it!"

— Annie Atkinson, founder, She's In The Glow
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Jersey Shore Poof
"Hair is my favorite category in beauty, but I wasn’t always a pro at doing my own. In college, I thought it was kosher to combine a Snooki poof with Mary-Kate and Ashley-style waves. Let me explain: First, I would air-dry my natural curls. Then, I would flatiron just the bottom two-to-three inches, resulting in approximately 80 percent waves and 20 percent straight. I am pretty sure we thought that’s what the Olsen twins did at the time, though mine looked more like an eighties girl-gone-wrong than an effortless model off-duty. Finally, I would pull my front pieces back with a tiny clip and tease it up, creating a Jersey Shore-worthy poof. Both styles had their 15 minutes of fame back then. I even remember college friends coming into my room so I could do my signature look on their hair. Poor girls!

"Back then, internships at places like Jane magazine (RIP!) exposed me to chic, working women who inspired me to look more sophisticated. I also advanced in my early-to-mid twenties once I learned my way around a curling iron, found a stylist who could give me flattering haircuts (thank you Dhiran Mistry at John Barrett Salon), and discovered my perfect three-product hair cocktail (dry shampoo, texture spray, and oil). Nowadays, people often ask me where I got a blowout on days when I style my own hair.

"Though I looked a bit silly back in college, at least I had the chutzpah to take a beauty risk and experiment. High school and college are excellent years to try things out (I also went for bangs at one point, and spent most of 2007 wearing Blair Waldorf headbands with bows). But, I am glad I got these things out of my system and can have a good laugh about it now. One more piece of advice: If you still have your hair [color] virginity, hold onto it. I’ve never dyed mine and it’s in super-healthy condition!"

— Lauren Levinson, beauty editor, POPSUGAR
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Eyeliner Goth
"My approach to beauty is clean, classic and minimal. Olivia Hussey, Emma Watson, and Natalie Portman are my beauty soulmates. But when I was younger I used way too much eyeliner on my bottom lids. It was pretty Goth but the thing is, it did not go with my style or look at all. And worst of all, it bled everywhere. I guess the look was 'in' if you were a Goth at the time, but I was so far from being Goth that it’s kind of a joke!

"One time, I went a few days without wearing any makeup, and someone gave me a really nice compliment and said I looked beautiful. So I decided to switch things up a bit. I went without makeup for a while, until I eventually figured out my recipe as to what works best and now wear it daily.

"Looking back now, I would tell my younger self to take care of your skin, use sunscreen, and wash and moisturize your face daily. It's your best accessory, and you need to take care of it. Less is more; natural and fresh is best; wear makeup that suits your age. Go light on the face with a bold or fun lip to keep things beautiful and young."

— Meghan Farrell, designer, MF Jewelry
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Margot Tenenbaum
"When I was younger, I wore a side-swooped fringe with a thick coating of black eyeliner — accompanied by a coat of fur — for most of high school and college. This was not the best look for me. It was a common mistake that only few could pull off. But at the time, it was all about Bright Eyes mixtapes, Winona Ryder, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen circa The Beatrice Inn, and Margot Tenenbaum.

"I think that everyone gets to a point that they realize what looks best for them. And, after much makeup experimentation — blonde hair, Wet n Wild nail polish, roll-on body glitter — I found that my most natural self looks so much better and, well, more natural.

"Now, my makeup preferences are even skin and a bare eye and lip for day. I’m really drawn to the effortless beauty style of Daria Werbowy. To me, she defines ultra-natural and ultra-cool; a unicorn of sorts. I love SK-II facial treatment masks. I use them as often as I can, as they are quite an indulgence. On a daily basis, I would be lost without Erno Laszlo Beta face wash and toner, Degree deodorant, and Le Labo Santal 33."

— Chelsea Zalopany, market editor, Vogue.com
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Over-Tweezer
"My biggest beauty mistake from my youth was tweezing my eyebrows super thin when I was a teenager. Thin brows were in, but mine were not the good kind of thin brows, and that was the problem. I should have had a professional do them for me; they were a terrible shape, and it took a while to grow them back and get them to look good again. It was so embarrassing. Your brows are so important since they frame your face. I looked totally different.

"I think once I started to get into doing a full hair and makeup look, I realized something wasn’t right. I chopped my hair off and grew my brows back. I started wearing stronger makeup and experimenting more. And that’s when I knew that I wanted to do makeup as a career.

"My beauty style today is what I like to call modern '60s Cher-Goth. I always have a strong black cat-eye and lots of mascara, and keep the rest of my face clean. I never wear lipstick. And my bangs are very '60s Cher, but the rest of my hair is quite long and beachy in texture."

— Kristin Gallegos, celebrity makeup artist
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