Want to up your makeup game or get tried and test skincare tips? Beauty blogger Candice Chen shares her expertise in this column about makeup and skincare hacks!
Emergency Beauty Hacks
Chipped a nail at work, woke up with a puffy face or – horrors of horrors – popped a nasty, pus-filled pimple? Beauty guru Candice Chen (@makeup_box) shares some of her top tips for common beauty emergencies.
I just woke up with – horrors of horrors – a huge zit on my face. What’s the best way to treat and conceal an angry, red and bumpy pimple?
The last thing you want to do is try and pop an angry red bump…unless you’re prepared for it to be redder, angrier, crusty, weepy (insert all possible disgusting words here) for the next 1 to 2 days.
Nothing is going to make the pimple disappear completely by tomorrow (although one can hope), but lotions and treatments which contain Niacinamide will help to temporarily soothe inflammation and swelling. Try Papulex or Mario Badescu’s Buffering Lotion.
To conceal a large pimple, try reverse contouring – apply a slightly paler concealer around the lower edges of the spot (where it casts a shadow), and a deeper shade in the centre and top of the pimple. Pat and blend gently to visually “flatten” the bump. Make sure you use a long-wearing, high-coverage concealer formula.
Set the area with powder foundation to maximise coverage and lock the concealer in place.
What should I do if I feel a pimple brewing under my skin? It feels like a big one!
Skin can respond differently to various acne treatments, but I’ve always found that applying an antibiotic benzoyl peroxide face lotion (such as Proactiv’s Repairing Treatment) to the entire face will help to kill off any stray acne bacteria. Just be careful about applying the lotion onto sensitive dry patches or your eyes and lips.
To treat the pimple itself, apply a treatment which contains sulphur (such as the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion) directly on the spot. Benzoyl peroxide formulas work too, but I don’t recommend using them long-term as acne bacteria can grow resistant to it. Save it for the days when you really need some help.
Help! I just popped a pimple and it looks bad. Really bad. What should I do?
There there, don’t panic just yet. First, disinfect the area properly, so that bacteria doesn’t spread to other areas of your face.
If your pimple is “weeping” blood and fluids (we’ve all been there…), hold a clean tissue to the spot and apply pressure for a few minutes. Once the oozing slows down or has stopped, apply some Niacinamide lotion to the pimple to soothe the inflammation.
If your wound won’t stop oozing, try Bioderma’s Cicabio Lotion. The product helps to soothe, seal and dry surface wounds like sores and chicken pox.
I was up crying all night and I just know that my eyes are going to be puffy in the morning. What should I do before going to bed?
Try to sleep with a slightly raised pillow, so that your head is tilted upward slightly. This helps to promote the draining of fluids from your face, which will minimise the amount of water retention around your eye area.
Apply an eye cream that contains caffeine (such as Origins No Puffery Cooling Roll On) to reduce puffiness around the eye area.
Any tips to deal with puffy eyes in the morning?
Try a drainage massage. Lean forward while sitting down, then cup your eye sockets with the balls of your palms. Press firmly and hold, then count to 10. Repeat along the centre of your cheeks and further down the hollows of your cheeks (beside your mouth).
Apply a thick layer of eye cream to the eye area and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. If you don’t have eye cream, try used tea bags (black or red tea bags, not green, white or chamomile tea) that have been chilled in the fridge.
I couldn’t sleep all night and now I look like death. What should I do to perk my face up in the morning?
I find that the best way to “wake up” my face in the morning is to massage a lightweight face oil into the skin. Also massage your lymph nodes (i.e. brow bones, hollows of the cheeks, the hollow behind your ear lobes) to get your circulation going.
In terms of makeup, try applying a primer that has a slightly peach or lavender undertone to it. Also, as lazy as you may feel, don’t skip blush application! I personally find that a peachy-pink or rose-gold blush like NARS Deep Throat really helps to liven up the face instantly.
I haven’t had time to uh, wash my hair and it’s getting really greasy. Any quick fixes to give my hair a bit more life?
This may sound crazy, but try giving your fringe a quick rub and rinse with soap and water while leaning over the sink. The hair there dries quickly, so you’ll only need some sturdy paper napkins to absorb excess water. The main giveaway for greasy hair is the crown and fringe, so your hair should look much better after you sort that out.
Of course, if you have dry shampoo then it will probably be more convenient to use that instead. If all else fails, try tying your hair back for a sleek, flattened look.
I over-plucked my eyebrows and now I look like a joke. Anything I can do to fix them stat?
Use a flat-angled brush and brow liquid or pomade (such as Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Brow) to draw in fake brow strands where you have any gaps.
If your brows are too thin, go for a grey-toned brow pencil and lightly fill in your brows. To create a fuller look, overdraw slightly below your natural brows. Try to work in short, hair-like strokes rather than one sharp long line.
Also, never draw or pluck above your brows. It’s much easier to make mistakes when you pluck from the top, as you might unintentionally distort the shape of your brow arches.
Oops, I chipped a nail at work and my manicure kit is at home. What can I do to even it out and/or hide it?
If there are numerous or obvious chips, just get some nail polish remover sachets and remove your entire manicure. Clean nails look better than a horribly-chipped manicure.
If your nails are stained or it’s only one nail that got damaged, try a quick stick-on manicure kit (such as Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips). It may not last very long or look perfect, but at least it’ll get you through the rest of the day.
I’ve been running around all day and now I’m sweaty, oily and uh, perhaps even a bit smelly. What can I do to make myself fabulous again? I don’t have time for a shower yet!
Get some baby wipes and do a quick wipe-down once you stop sweating. If you’re still running around in the heat and will likely continue to sweat, then dust some talcum powder onto your skin to soak up the oil and moisture.
If you’re worried about smelling bad, there’s nothing a little deodorant can’t help with. Go for the spray-on type rather than the roll-on kind, as those tend to distribute better over a larger area of skin. Spray deodorant once down your back (and maybe even under your bra) to combat any potential body odour.
I tried out a new foundation and it made me break out in a rash. Help! What should I do to make the rash go away ASAP?
Rashy skin usually goes through a red and angry phase, followed by a tight and flaky phase where the top layer of cells die off and shed.
During the red and angry phase, look for products which contain allantoin or niacinamide (try pharmacy brands like Avene, La Roche Posay or Bioderma) and rotate them with whitening serums. It may sound strange, but whitening serums often contain powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can help to soothe and repair skin quickly. Avoid products that contain alcohol, exfoliants and strong acids.
After a certain point, your skin will probably start to feel tight and itchy – this is when you might need a heavier and more emollient product. When surface cells die, they stiffen and stop being pliable and flexible, which is what makes your skin feel tight.
Try products that contain ceramides, such as lightweight oils. These will help to protect and nourish your skin, while also minimising the appearance of flaking. Regardless of what stage your skin is in, make sure you apply sunblock and avoid sun exposure.