Beauty Blunders: Tricky Problems Solved!

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. While that may be a little dramatic when you're talking about beauty tips, the message still rings true: Sometimes, in an effort to make something better, we only end up exacerbating the problem.
While you may think you're helping yourself by covering up those dark circles, or tweezing your brows into submission, if you're not clued in to the proper methodology, you might actually wind up looking older – and not in a good way. Here, we've rounded up some of the most common beauty blunders, and offered expert tips on how to bypass these aging snafus. Read on to learn how to avoid these all-too-common cosmetics pitfalls.
1 of 6
Undereye Concealer

Concealer is a miracle product — provided it's used correctly. There's a lot to consider when choosing one. The wrong shade? Prepare for raccoon eyes. Makeup artists used to recommend going one shade lighter than your foundation, but that advice is outdated. These days they advise choosing one that’s an exact color match to your skin tone and applying it after foundation (chances are you’ll need less). "Concealer is the accessory to your foundation," says Mathew Nigara, a makeup artist for NYC New York Color.

A creamy consistency is also crucial. What you use to cover renegade zits is too thick and will only emphasize undereye fissures. Apply concealer sparingly and use the ring finger to pat it in. The heat from your skin will help it melt seamlessly, and minimize tugging to this (ahem) wrinkle-prone area.

Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift Concealer, $38, available at Nordstrom; Almay Wake-Up Undereye Concealer, $8.99, available at; Benefit Erase Paste, $26, available at Benefit.

Photos: Via Nordstrom,, Benefit
2 of 6

As a rule, aging skin should steer clear of powder anything. Cream consistencies are your friend – much less likely to settle into (and emphasize) fine lines. But for those times you may need a powder, (i.e. to combat oil or humidity), find a translucent formula, apply sparingly, and only use where needed. Blotting papers are also a great staple to tote along for touch-ups.

Shiseido Pureness Oil-Control Blotting Paper, $18, available at Macy's; Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder, $34, available at Laura Mercier; Napoleon Perdis 25s Sable Finishing Powder Brush, $32, available at Nordstrom.

Photos: Via Macy's, Nordstrom
3 of 6

This colorful cosmetic can make or break your look. Stick with a sheer pop of pink or peach on the apples of the cheeks, and B-L-E-N-D away telltale lines with a velour puff.

Even worse than look-at-me blush jobs are those failed attempts at contouring. This technique, which uses a brown shade of blush to create chiseled cheekbones can just look muddy (and silly) if done wrong. "Contouring is tricky and unforgiving," says Nigara. "Instead, use a bronzer to sculpt the underside of your cheekbones, chin, and jawline."

Bobbi Brown Bronzer/Blush Duo, $36, available at Bobbi Brown; Nyx Stick Blush in Magnolia, $5.99, available at Ulta; Colorescience Face Colore Brush, $49.50, available at SkinBotanica; Smashbox Airbrush Whipped Cheek Color, $29, available at Nordstrom.

Photos: Bobbi Brown, Nyx, SkinBotanica, Nordstrom
4 of 6

This is the story of a Botox neophyte who decided to give it a try. After the procedure, she emerged with a lineless forehead – but her lids weren’t as lucky. They drooped; a possible side effect that happens more often than you realize. It’s called ptosis and occurs when the medication travels close to the eye muscles.

Skip the Botox & bagels breakfast your bestie is throwing, and get yourself into the office of a properly-trained professional (and walk out if it's the nurse wielding the needle). "Too much Botox above the brow can make the area heavy," explains Manhattan dermatologist Neil Sadick. "If you have a small forehead, let the doctor know you’re willing to accept a few lines to ensure you don't end up with drooping eyelids."

Photos: Via Well and Good NYC, Allergan
5 of 6

Everyone is talking about retinoids, and for good reason. They're the closest thing we've found to the Fountain of Youth (that doesn't involve a blade). But we're also a society that tends to go overboard on good things. Use too much of the prescription-strength version of vitamin A and skin will look dry, flaky, and positively reptilian.

Chat with your dermatologist to tweak your Rx for a less aggressive version, and build up tolerance slowly. Resist loading it on (a pea-sized amount, please) and apply only where those creases crop up. Or find an alternative age-defier. "I prefer recommending glycolic acids," says dermatologist and BeautyRx founder, Neal Schultz. "This chemical exfoliant rarely causes the problems seen with Retin A."

Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, $18, available at Mario Badescu; Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer, $45, available at Peter Thomas Roth; Cane + Austin Retexturizing Treatment Pads, $60, available at Cane + Austin.

Photos: Mario Badescu, Peter Thomas Roth, Cane + Austin
6 of 6

A well-groomed brow frames the face and lifts everything up (well, everything on your face, at least). But get it wrong and you'll be looking mad, sad, and frankly, off-balance.

There are numerous how-tos and kits to help you tweeze the perfect arch. But if you're all thumbs, consider seeing a professional waxer, threader, or brow specialist for regular grooming sessions. They can usually balance out a botched brow job, and give you tips on managing regrowth with a good pair of angled tweezers. One warning: Avoid those 5x magnifying mirrors, or you’ll be plucking away at hairs that only someone with X-ray vision would notice.

Rubis Switzerland Pointed Tip Tweezer, $34, available at BeautyBar; Tweezerman Pop Op Mini Slant Tweezers, $15, available at Bloom; Anastasia Beverly Hills Tweezers, $28, available at Sephora.

Photos: Via BeautyBar, Bloom, Sephora