18 Beauty "Fails" We Actually Love

Photo: MCV Photo.
Beauty used to be a whole lot simpler. Makeup was meant to enhance and conceal — not to be extravagant or obvious. Hair was expected to be coiffed, not messy (which usually meant straight and smooth). Lashes were long and separated, and lipstick was applied with pinpoint precision. Nails were painted subtle nude hues (a.k.a. beige or ballet pink), and skin was perfectly even, smooth, and powdered. These, for a long time, were the tenets of what it meant to be beautiful.

Did you doze off somewhere in the middle of that paragraph? Us, too. In today's world of nail art, duo-chrome shadows, and messy crown braids, these so-called "rules" are beyond snooze-worthy — not to mention, seriously limiting and non-inclusive. And, while they may seem outdated, we still hear them regurgitated all the time. Seriously, how many times have you heard the old "don't go bold on both your lips and eyes — choose one or the other"?

We say eff that noise. Some of the downright prettiest looks we've seen recently would be considered faux pas in the conventional beauty sphere. Break-the-rules beauty is a helluva lot more interesting to us than the traditions we've all been taught. 

Which is why we thoroughly embrace the following beauty "fails" in all their smudgy, imperfect, outlandish, and in-your-face splendor. Read on to learn the 18 beauty "fails" we'll gleefully continue to make, no matter how against the status quo they may be.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Makeup That Looks Like Makeup
Don't get us wrong: We full-on love the recent swing toward natural makeup and bare faces. But, we don't think that means super-graphic makeup needs to be thrown by the wayside. Yes, it's empowering and awesome to see a woman own her natural beauty, but there's also something intrinsically beautiful about a meticulously executed, unabashedly exaggerated cat-eye. In our world, there's a place for both approaches to co-exist peacefully, without any shade being thrown at the opposite camp.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Frizzy Hair
Can we all just take a moment and agree that the old adage of smooth and shiny as the epitome of hair beauty is just plain outdated? Call us crazy, but we like the look of frizz on our 'dos. Sure, we manage it with a few products here and there, but our days of fruitlessly trying to smooth our strands into submission on sweltering summer days with 95% humidity are way behind us. Bring on the flyaways — we dig the softness and the whole IDGAF vibe.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Lived-In Lipstick
No, we're not standing up in favor of the dreaded dried-lipstick ring. However, we love lipstick that's got a bit of a lived-in quality to it — smudged, blotted, and with color not evenly concentrated all over the lips. It looks like you've been up to mischief, in the best sense of the word.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Uneven Nail Art
With all the tapes, precision brushes, stickers, and various accoutrements out there, nail art has turned into one big hassle. Instead of the straight, sharp lines and super-precise dots and shapes, we much prefer a free-form technique and all the imperfection it brings. As nail guru Jin Soon so wisely put it,"Imperfect, not straight, is more artistic." Because you can see it was done by a human hand, it adds to the artistic aspect. The whole "lines so razor-straight they had to be made by a computer and glued to my nail" look is so over.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Mismatched Brows
We're not sure who thought up the idea that your brows had to match your hair color, but we call malarkey on that one. We dig seeing brows of contrasting hues, like a blonde rocking a dark set of arches. Or, something more offbeat like this lilac-brunette pairing.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Shiny Skin
We've said it before, and we'll say it again — humidity skin is our favorite kind of skin. The dewy sheen that coats your cheeks and forehead needs to be celebrated and treasured — it's so much fresher than a powdered-within-an-inch-of-its-life complexion.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Imperfect Updos
As much as we pore over YouTube tutorials and try to follow those Pinterest diagrams, we can still never seem to get our updos as picture-perfect as the ones we see on the DIY circuit. But, we're okay with that. A few loose tendrils here, a couple of ends poking out there actually add some individuality to a pulled-back style, and keep it from looking too junior-high prom.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Matchy-Matchy Lipstick
The concept of matching your lipstick to your outfit demonstrates how cyclical beauty trends can be. Popular in the '50s and '60s (along with matching your lipstick to your nail polish), this trend was seen as dated until very recently. We've always been fans, though — we dig the streamlined effect wearing the same color top-to-bottom creates.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Dirty Texture
There's bedhead, and then there's dirty hair — a coiff that's mussed up, matte, and a little bit unpredictable in shape. You can't deny the badass, rock-'n'-roll aspect of this type of texture, which is probably why we love it so much. Well, that and it gives us an excuse to plop some dry-shampoo powder in our hair, run our fingers through our manes haphazardly, and call it a day.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Bold Eyes & Lips
This is probably the most repeated of the beauty rules: Dark eyes with bold lips will make you look trashy or garish. While this look is not the easiest to pull off — there are a lot of ways it can go wrong — that doesn't mean it can't look elegant. When executed properly, and with a bit of restraint, the statement lip and eye can actually appear rather polished. It's all about the colors you choose and how you apply them.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Bushy Brows
Okay, so this runway look is a bit exaggerated, but you get the idea. Maybe we're still scarred from our '90s, pencil-thin brow period (we blame Drew Barrymore for that one), but full, thick, slightly unruly arches are much more our speed these days. We like filling in ours with a pencil, and then using a spoolie brush to brush them upward to make them look fuller and a bit untamed.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Visible Roots
Maybe we're just lazy, but the whole idea of rushing to the salon the minute you see roots has always seemed kind of silly to us. We like the cool dimension regrowth can create — very Madonna circa 1983. Whether they're drastically darker or just a few shades off from your dye job, we say embrace 'em.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Clumpy Lashes
Poor Tammy Faye Bakker. The evangelist's name was invoked in countless beauty articles warning women to avoid her signature clumpy-lash look. Granted, we're not piling on pounds of lash-lengthener like Tammy Faye, but we still think she had the right idea. We love a good clumpy-lash moment, especially when it's paired with a bright pop of color on the lips. The look can have a mod appeal, and is a great way to add intrigue without using shadow or liner. All hail heavy mascara!
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Visible Bobby Pins
Sure, you can tuck those pins and wrap your hair around them to hide them, but where's the fun in that? We much prefer using bobby pins as statement pieces — creating patterns and shapes that rival even the fanciest of hair accessories. Your only limit on what you can do with them is your own imagination.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Smudgy Liner
Considering that our liner always ends up migrating under our eyes anyway, this is more of a need-based item than the others on this list. That doesn't make us love it any less, though. We've started using our dark liners exclusively on our lower lashlines — leaving the upper lashlines and lids bare — and then smudging them into sooty undereye stains. If you keep it close to the lashline, the resulting effect is gorgeously edgy — and saves you from having to do a midday touch-up when your mascara shadows make their daily appearance.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Falling-Down 'Dos
The cousin of the messy updo, the falling-down 'do is a braid or pulled-back style in which a large portion of the hair is left loose or looks as if it's about to come unpinned. Its appeal is the unintentional aspect — it looks as if your hair just kind of fell that way and looked cool, and you're chill enough to roll with it.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Frosted Lips
We'll be damned if we let those horrible frosted-lip looks of the '80s keep us away from our beloved metallic lipsticks. Thanks to new technology and types of shimmer and finishes, a sparkly sheen can look modern and chic. Case in point: this photo.
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Photo: MCV Photo.
Wet Hair
Air-drying is pretty much our jam here at R29. Besides being a whole lot easier than struggling with a round brush and blowdryer every morning, we like being able to embrace and display our natural textures. So, whenever we see another wet-headed girl on the subway, we always give her the nod of solidarity. You rock that a.m. damp 'do, girl.
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