Quick Fixes for Beauty Emergencies

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on February 26, 2013
From the WebMD Archives

Whether your social calendar takes you to a Hollywood awards show or your best friend's wedding, there's no reason a beauty emergency has to prevent you from putting your best face forward. No one has to know you're running short on beauty sleep, nursing a cold, or battling a blemish!

Sure, keeping skin healthy with good skin care is the best place to start, but for a red carpet emergency, try these professional pointers used by Hollywood's hottest stars.

De-puff your eyes. This common issue can be caused by too little sleep, allergies, or too much salt, but the answer is easier than you think. Celebrity makeup artist Tanya Rae (who's on Bette Midler and Megan Hilty's speed dial) suggests ice-cold water. "Dip a washcloth into ice water and cover your eyes for a minute or two, or dip your whole face in a bowl for a few seconds if you can stand it."

To draw attention away from puffiness, stay away from harsh or exaggerated eye makeup. Use soft browns and bronzes to contour the crease, and blend well. Then curl lashes and apply one to two coats of mascara.

Soothe a red, chapped nose. Your cold doesn't know you have a big event! The key to smoothing over red, flaky skin in a hurry is a heavy surge of moisture. Choose a petroleum-based product. Marina Gravani, makeup artist for many actors and a Mariah Carey favorite, suggests a three-step plan.

  • Let the ointment sit for a while, then wipe away excess.
  • Smooth on a tinted moisturizer made with a yellow base color. It hides red skin.
  • Apply your favorite foundation.

What pimple? Skin care products that blast blemishes are great for getting healing under way, but you need to disguise the spot before stepping out for the evening!

Emmy Award-winning makeup artist Kevin James Bennett has a simple solution: The same drops that "get the red out" of your eyes will reduce the redness of a pimple. Just dab it on with a cotton swab, top with foundation and concealer and you're good to go.

Fight dry, flaky lips. Exfoliating is the key for a prettier pout, and for making your lipstick's color and shine last longer. The artist behind J.Lo's signature look, Scott Barnes, suggests using a dry toothbrush with a medicated lip balm to rub off the rough skin.

Lose the lackluster skin. It's easy to give sluggish, sallow skin a quick pick-me-up. Rae fakes a healthy glow with creamy products that sink into the skin and give it a hydrating boost. Her radiance-boosting recipe:

  • Apply bronzer where the sun would hit naturally (i.e. tops of cheekbones, forehead, temples, sides of the nose and chin).
  • Then add a pink, rosy blush to help liven the skin up.
  • Products with a little shimmer really make the skin glow. But there's a difference between subtle glimmer and full-on glitter. Stick with one lightly shimmery product (i.e. bronzer or blush) instead of layering them on.

Relieve redness or sunburn. Bennett's best-kept secret: Honey (especially the manuka variety if you can get your hands on it). When used as a five-minute mask or a spot treatment, "It has amazing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties," he explains. Once skin is soothed, film and television makeup artist Alicia Mizrahi Siller suggests a green-tinted primer. This hue gets rid of the red before you apply foundation.

Bring in a Pro

If it's in your budget, hiring a makeup artist is a sure-fire way to get gorgeous. They're an essential part of every celebrity's "glam squad." Beauty pros also have cases of supplies for beauty emergencies -- every kind of powder, concealer, shimmer, and color-correcting makeup.

Aparna Bhargava turned over her look to the pros before she walked the red carpet with her husband, composer Mychael Danna, at the Golden Globes and the BAFTA's, Britain's version of the Oscars. Her advice: Allow extra time.

"They use a lot more shades, primers and other products to make you look as good as possible," says Bhargava. At the Golden Globes, Bhargava wore a designer's glittery pink sari to reflect her Indian heritage. She suggests that glammed up makeup can also reflect your personal style. "Talk to your artist beforehand and make sure they understand the look that you want."

Show Sources


Alicia Mizrahi Siller, makeup artist, Los Angeles.

Kenneth Beer, MD; dermatologist, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Kevin James Bennett, makeup artist, New York.

Marina Gravani, makeup artist, spokesperson for European Wax Center.

Scott Barnes, celebrity makeup artist, Los Angeles.

Tanya Rae, makeup artist Patrick Melville Salon, spokesperson for Pink Papaya.

Toronto Star.

Aparna Bhargava, Toronto.

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info