These Beauty Horror Stories Will Make You Want To Give Up Makeup

Photographed by Winnie Au.
You know the feeling: There are only five minutes to get out the door and you still haven’t done your makeup. You rush to the bathroom, open that tube of mascara in a panic, and then the worst happens: mascara wand straight to the eyeball. Suddenly you’re screaming like Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest.

It happens to the best of us. To prove you're not alone, we rounded up some of the worst stories of beauty gone wrong from the Reddit boards. Click through the slides ahead — and prepare to cringe hard.

Editor’s note: These stories have been edited for clarity.
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1 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“I was going to dab a cotton pad of makeup remover on my face. It was late and I had removed my contacts (I have very poor vision without my glasses). I was also incredibly tired and sleepy. Well, I grabbed what I thought was makeup remover and went at it. After a minute, I noticed my makeup remover smelled very strong. And it burned. A lot. It was not makeup remover after all. It was acetone.” — Reddit user omfgcheesecake
2 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“A few years ago, I was using liquid eyeliner [and] the little applicator [was] dripping with product. I begin to apply [it] when a huge ass firework goes off pretty much outside my window out of the blue. I jump and jab the applicator into my eyeball, full of stinging black liquid. I screamed. After rolling around on the floor in pain for a minute or two, I looked in the mirror. My poor eye was glowing red for two days, and somehow I managed to get eyeliner coming out of my nose... Yummy.” — Reddit user familygoretrait
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3 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“This is going to horrify you guys, but back in high school, I used to wet my eyeshadow sponges with my mouth when putting makeup on. Every. damn. day. My senior year, I got to compete at Nationals for Forensics in Las Vegas and got the worst eye infection in the world somewhere between getting off the plane and my first morning there. I remember my eye itching really bad before I went to bed (with my makeup still on, mind you), and when I woke up, I could barely open my right eye. It was swollen shut and leaking, and the skin around my eye was red and flaky. The infection eventually spread to my other eye the next day, even with some antibiotics in me because I went to the hospital when I woke up that morning. I had to do the entire competition with my eyes swollen shut, and they stayed that way the entire week I was there. My skin didn't heal around my eyes for months, so I went makeup-free for quite some time. Guess who's super anal about cleaning her makeup and brushes? This girl.” — Reddit user heimeredinger
4 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“Almost 40 years ago, I actually did yank out most of my eyelashes on my right eye using an eyelash curler. Every one came out but a few strays in the corner. It was my first week in high school. I was never so grateful for having to wear glasses, which did camouflage the problem somewhat. I am sure I made up some stupid story for how I lost them, but I don't remember what it was. I didn't buy another eyelash curler until around five years ago or so." — Reddit user P_Grammicus
5 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“I was trying that 'glitter under the eye' look and fell asleep with a lot of glitter under my eye. When I slept, some went in my eye and cut it all up. I ended up getting a massive eye infection and being off uni for a few days because it was so painful!!” — Reddit user kitcatkittycat
6 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“I was trying to wax my upper lip for the first time, but ripped my upper lip skin off instead. I was so afraid that I'd have a dark scar above my lips forever (my skin is very scar-prone), and it would look like a thick mustache. So I immediately went to an emergency clinic and got myself silver cream to apply on the spot. The doctor was an asshole, though. He looked like he was stifling his laughter when I told him I was waxing my upper lip.” — Reddit user Dentina
7 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“I was drunk and decided to straighten my hair. Got a bit distracted and clamped the straightener down on my ear. Hurt like hell and blistered, but I got away without a scar. Don't drink and use heated hair tools!” — Reddit user interropanda
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8 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“So I used to use lash extensions all the time and usually it went really smoothly. But one time, the lashes were not cooperating, and I added way too much glue. If you've ever done lash extensions at home, you know that glue is basically like super glue—it dries super hard and plastic-y. The glue chunk on one of my lids was so sharp and scratchy, it was rubbing me raw just from opening and closing my eyes. I tried desperately to get it off, but this stuff is very hard to dissolve. Even leaving oil and vaseline on it overnight didn't dissolve it.

"Eventually, I just got fed up and ripped out the chunk of lashes (my real lashes!) that it was stuck to. I had a big scab on my lid for awhile after that. I only use latex glue that I can take off easily now. It was awesome having extensions that lasted for weeks, but that experience freaked me out.” — Reddit user feraltarte
9 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“Oh let's see, how about the time in fifth grade I decided to wear my mom's liquid foundation to school with nothing else on my face. She's very fair skinned, I'm very olive skinned. I laid that stuff on so thick. Covered my lips, covered my eyebrows. Yes. This is a great look. A girl at school said, ‘Um you need a compact.’ For whatever reason I thought "compact" meant "condom." I thought she was complimenting me because I looked SO GOOD. I didn't even know what a condom was; isn't that a thing people do when they have sex?” — Reddit user ohreallee
10 of 11
Illustrated by Nancy Pappas.
“In seventh or eighth grade, I plucked my inner brows because I thought I had a unibrow... Yeah, turns out I way over-plucked and ended up with thick, brown eyebrows that started halfway past my eyes. So naturally, being the brow guru I was, I decided to fill them in with black eyeshadow. Just picture an extremely pale 12-year-old girl with light brown hair and black, thick, drawn-on tadpole brows. It makes me cringe just looking back." — Reddit user
extrawhippedcream
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