What’s Your Worst Beauty or Style Disaster Story?

by Thembi Ford

Trying be hot can turn disastrous, especially when you’re trying something new for the first time and don’t put enough effort into making sure things go smoothly. Sitcom television loves to center episodes around these types of incidents: everything from the hot mess of a Gordon Gartrelle shirt that Denise made for Theo on The Cosby Show, to Gina accidentally burning all of Myra’s hair off at the hair salon on Martin. “Ooops that’s not what I had in mind,” moments are horrible to live through but you’ve got to admit, they’re fun to watch others experience and you’ve even got to laugh at your own after the fact…you have to laugh or else you’ll go a bit crazy.

The bane of my existence has always been waxing. I’ve had the jacked up haircut, makeup gone awry, and more awkward kid style disasters than I could count, but every horror story I have about trying to be cute starts with my decision to wax something. Just this weekend, my decision to let the new girl do my eyebrows ended in my friends and I wondering how a professional esthetician armed with hot wax could think that what she did to my face was good work — one eyebrow is really arched and the other kind of droopy, making me looking like a tragedy and comedy mask or something. But wayward eyebrows are the least of my waxing woes.

My absolute worst beauty disaster occurred when I decided to have my lip waxed for the first time. I don’t even have a particularly hairy lip, so I have no idea what I was thinking. I also just walked into any old spot and didn’t think much about the quality of the job either, and that was my downfall. This woman burned the LIFE out of my upper lip. I went home and iced it and put some creams on it, but I spent the entire night laying in bed, wishing my face would stop feeling like it was on fire. The next day I looked in the mirror and saw that I had a reddish-brown welt on my upper lip shaped like two rectangular waxing strips — in other words, I had a burn mark on my upper lip that had me looking like Adolph Hitler.

It was so noticeable that I spent the next few days getting funny looks from strangers and even my boss at work (a man) asked me what the hell had happened to my face (exact words). All I could do was answer that I’d tried waxing and it went awry, to which he responded “but you didn’t have a moustache.” Too little, too late.

Do you have a beauty or style disaster story? Share in the comments!

  • Dreaming

    Hmmm. I am pretty simply with my appearance, so I have never had any disasters.

  • mamareese

    Haha I got one me and my girls were going to this club in Charlotte. I’m a big girl and my motto is when it comes to appearance big girls gotta do xtra. I was new to the area by way of KY at the time. So I decided i was gonna sew me some bad a@# plus sized gauchos….they were hot at the time. Well they were plaid black and hot pink….cute where I messed up…made a hat to match. I was walked in my homegirls apt and got clowned….I looked like a damn scottish golfer…..Ugh they rode me so hard and kept ordering me Killian’s and Irish drinks all night. Hated them heilfas that day….oh but now I am on point everytime!!!! LOL they called me Shanicka McGee!!!

  • Princess P

    bwahahahaaa lol

    I just spit coffee everywhere!

  • Princess P

    My worst beauty blunder was when I decided to let my aunt do my makeup for senior portraits.

    She took one of those razor shaper things to my eyebrows and they came out horrible! I had these skinny black eyebrows with pencil drawn over them. And to top it off she put me in red lipstick that was not my color. The picture is forever in my yearbook now lol

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Girl why do you wax your eyebrows, thread em!!!!!

  • Dalili

    LMBO!! I have tears rolling down my eyes!

  • jenna marie christian

    My worst beauty disaster was when i use to PURPOSELY use extra dark brown lip pencil to line my lips and then add the clear lipgloss and thought it was the hottest ish ever. you couldn’t tell me i wasn’t fine after i lined my lips with no blending or adding lipstick of any sort..O_o ..but praise him for deliverance. i was blind, but now i see..lol

  • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

    You know, I’ve tried threading before but I just wasn’t impressed. I really like a clean look. When it goes right, it’s great. But when it goes wrong…well…you know :-/

  • Dreaming

    I had my eyebrows threaded once, and it hurt, more than the wax. Not only that, but the women who did them shaped my eyebrows a little bit differently than what I liked.

    This reminds me… I guess I do have a beauty disaster. When I was in 7th grade and used relaxers, I shaved the hair (new growth) on the back of my head because I heard some people talking about my hair. Well, it just made my hair look worse, and when my mother saw it, she thought my sister had done it.

  • Dalili

    I had teeny, weeny micro braids that I kept longer than I should have. I took them out and washed my hair without combing it; needless to say my hair was a matted mess. I tried everything in the book then decided it would be easier to just cut it off, and cut it off I did….with scissors. My friend showed up shortly after to pick me up to run some errands…..and I so utterly thrilled that I solved my hair woes happily opened the door without throwing a scarf of hat on. The look on her face was priceless! We still laugh about it today.

    I went to the barber shop the next day and when I pulled my hat off you could literally hear all the men in the shop gasp in horror. LOL!

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    sisto, you gave me a good laugh!!! Micro braids are bomb, but I stray far from them, far I tell you….I don’t even have the patience to have them put in, not talk of undoing em

  • Dreaming

    Oh my goodness. Yikes!

  • Em.

    Oh mamareese! You made me scream!

  • Em.

    I was little when this happened but I got hold of my step-dad’s razor. I thought it would be a good idea to lather up one of my eyebrows and shave it. I shaved half of it clean off. It was during the school year and the folks made me go to school like that!

  • Dalili

    Heeeyyyyyy African Mami! LOL! Good for you! I now know better! I’d had those done back home, I procrastinated because they were oh so small and long; I waited until the very last minute. But yeah never again!

  • http://method2hermadness.blogspot.com girlformerlyknownasgrace

    Oh dear. How many stories to choose from. There was the time i got a weave done from a random Senegalese woman on a street corner of Harlem with goldilocks curls that did not match my skin tone at all. Lets just say i was no Mary J Blige. Grown men laughed at me on the street.

    There was the time I got tree braids for the first time. It was also the last time.

    There was the time i thought it was ok to lip wax at home. The skin above my lip was green. I had a mossy mustache for days.

    The time i bought this weird grandma underwear and paired it with jeans and no belt. Forgot myself on the subway when i lifted my hands to hold the railings. Again all i recall is laughter.

    And the time(s) i thought it was ok to re-wear shirts without washing and upon leaving home discover the god forbidden armpit stain (lipstick tomboy to a fault at times).

    There are more but it may be t.m.i. for this site.

  • Sankofa

    Oh my gawd! Please stop I’m DYING!

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Disaster Story:

    I was in Harlem,and decided to get my hair did. Harlem is little Africa, for those not in the know, and the salons are infiltrated with a lot of French speaking West Africans. They are really good with braiding and the whole shindengdeng. So since, I was going to be in the vicinity for a good minute, I decided what better way to attract some African Mandigo warriors than have my hair braided in tiny weeeeeny lines. I walked around and finally settled for a place that was going to do it for a paltry $30! Since there were other customers before me, I decided to flip through the magazines, and settled on a Goapele signature style! An hour later, I was on the braiding chair and was excitedly showing my African sistah what I wanted-the Goapele hairstyle.
    She started braiding my hair, and I convinced myself that the sharp pains I was getting were from not having braided my hair in a long time. Two hours later, I was done and looking hella mighty fly. The style was BOMB!!! So I decided to go fishing like Jesus and his disciples for Mandigo warriors. That is when it hit me, I was VERY VERY VERY sick! The sun was blazing hot, and it’s rays were touching on my skin and making me tear up in pain.

    Let me tell ya’ll, I was walking on the streets of Harlem with my hands held to my head and tears streaming down my cheeks. I was on FIRE!!!!!!! I entered into a small grocery mart, bought two bottles of water, and right out in the streets I poured them on my head. I swear to goodness, I thought I was going to DIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! The braids were really tight. I did not even have the strength to move. I contemplated calling 911, and my parents to bid them farewell and thank them for having born me. I sat down on the streets, and people who were passing by wondered what was wrong with me. I did not look homeless, but I sure looked quite problematic. Water was dripping from my neatly done head.

    I decided to go to Malcolm Shabazz market and see whether, I could cool my head down in a friends stall. By the time, I got there the FIRE in my head was so bad, that I decided to enter that eatery joint across from it. I sat down and plopped my head with a bang. The customers there, thought I was dying! One came and asked if I was alright-I just gave a limp nod and continued to slowly DIE!!!!! I stayed in there for a good THREE hours, while I waited for my head to quiet down. This girl that worked there, had the nerve to come and tell me that if I wasn’t going to buy anything it was time to go! Lawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd hammmmmmmmmmmmercy!———->I gave her a look that shut her up immediately!

    Needless to say, God is good and alive because I am completely healed from that day’s torment. No permanent damage was done. But ladies, if you are going to get your hair did and you start feeling pain RUUUUUUUUUUN. Just up and run without an explanation.

  • Dalili

    L.M.A.O!!!! Oh my word! I can relate with the heavy handed braiding!

  • http://method2hermadness.blogspot.com girlformerlyknownasgrace

    I hate heavy handed braiders! I had this one hair weaver who braided my hair in the circular motion so tight the skin in the center of my skin was raised from the skull. Another hair braider – doing micros, what else – braided my hair so tight i had a permanent surprised look on my face for a while.

  • binks

    LOL I did that too! Another disaster I had was when I was transitioning to natural; I didn’t get the memo at the time that I needed to blend my two textures together so I was going around with these raggedy straight pieces of hair on top of my mini afro…yikes. I big chopped so quickly that I did it with kitchen scissors.

  • Princess P

    I’m at my desk crying! My kids are looking up from their desks trying to figure out what is wrong with me!

  • Shirl

    My story is not so much a style disaster as a waldrobe malfunction. I had gone to church one Sunday morning and sat up front so that I could enjoy the “word”. Midway through service I went to the ladies room, walked back up to the front of the church and sat down. I noticed that the pew felt a lot cooler and realized (to my horror) that the back of my dress was tucked into my pantyhose. I waited until the church cleared out before I would go to my car.

  • c0c0puffz

    I have too many bad weave stories. I let my cousin glue weave in my head and got laughed at when I went to school. I also remember shaving my eyebrows and drawing them on, then wrestling with my family they melted off. Cousins teased me so bad.

  • Dalili

    girlformerlyknownasgrace: LOL! There are no shortage of hair braiding horror stories. I can’t tell you the # of times I’ve undone tight cornrows, sometimes the very day I get them done. Micros I put up with because of the funds and time involved, but I’ve learned to go to the same lady and that madness of having 6 different hands on my head at one time is not permitted.

  • LemonNLime

    While I was living in France, I wasn’t able to get a relaxer done because of the water so I figured it would be a prefect time to transition to natural hair. Because I was shedding all over the place, I thought that braids would be a great protective style and since there was a sizable francophone African population it would be easy to get them done.

    Now warning the following ALL took place in French and while I knew French well enough to get around and do school work, I clearly didn’t have the proper vocabulary for hair. Also I knew NOTHING about braids, twists, or weave (which I have ALWAYS had an aversion to) just because I had always been relaxed.

    Anyway, I went to a braider and told her I wanted my hair twisted, which I thought meant kinky twists, long enough to put on top of my head , which to me meant shoulder length. She took that to mean Senegalese twists that stopped right below my hip bone. She started at the back of my head and worked her way forward and while she was working on them I read until I doozed off. When I woke up I was FREAKED OUT, there was SO much hair! My head was wicked heavy from all of it and boy did it hurt! I just kept thinking I am going to be bald from this weave weighing on my hair! The braider was so proud too and I didn’t want to be rude so I said it was awesome. I went home and tried to put it in a bun but the bun was almost as big as my head. Those things were in there for 3 days and then the can OUT.

  • NY’s Finest

    You got me crying. Plaid gauchos with a matching hat? LMAO, I just can’t.

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    I think my worst beauty disaster was when I was relaxed and I had a beat pin curl roller set when I left the house. It just happened to be one of the most humid days in August so a few hours later when I caught my reflection in a window while walking down the street, I almost screamed out. My hair was a mess, all curl gone. Just a ball of frizz with a part down the center.

    I had two other beauty disaster but funny enough, people complemented me on them.

    The first was when I bleached my hair and my hair came out about 20 different colors of from dark blonde to auburn. I got soooooo many complements on my hair. the second was a beauty counter make over(Lancome). I told homegirl give me a “going to work look with a little pump”. Well maybe the makeup artist thought I was working as a futuristic GoGo dancer in a punk rock club. Again, I got plenty of compliments it was unreal and I really thought I looked a mess that day.

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir



    Bravo on your being able to sew. I don’t know many young women who can sew. My grand can a little and my great grand can bery well but my mother and I can’t thread a needle. Sewing is a skill I think is going to be very important if the economy continues to decline.

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    Jenna I think the look you were trying to rock was the ole school Naomi Campbell look lol. She was famous for the lip and countless numbers of us sisters have tried it over the years. It took me a while to get it right.

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    I’ve made braiders take down a braid if it’s too tight. They try to tell it has to be tight but I tell them “hell na, I like them loose”. I’ve also learned to run if the lady braiding your hair has no edges.

  • girlformerlyknownasgrace

    @ Dalili and Chic Noir-Oh hell no. When I was a child I used to abide these “it has to be tight” hairbraiders. Now when they say that I let them know my rule: “I have to keep my hair!” For a long time I thought my hair just grew in short; I was letting hair braiders abuse my hair the way emotionally abusive people abuse their partners–I let it happen without realizing I did not need that treatment. Pain is the price of beauty my ass. My hair is past my shoulder blade now, but I am STILL missing decent edges.

  • Dreaming

    Some hair braiders piss me off. Even when you tell them not to braid tightly they do it anyway.

    The woman who used to braid my hair would braid very tight. One day I told her to be easy and she was like, “No, no, I have to do it because there is no hair there.” I thought to myself, “Well, yea. Maybe if you didn’t braid so tight, there would be some hair there.”

  • Tight Lipped Mary

    one time i was taking out my mini twists… i got tired. me and my mother went to a play so i put on a wig…the wig was really cute. well this man was really late and he leaned into the chair i was sitting in and something in his shirt got caught on my wig. lol. i felt my wig sliding off of my head. luckily he was talking to someone and luckily for him, he did not feel me fumbling for my “hair” and i was able to get it loose. as a matter of fact he not me complained about his huge beer belly. it wasn’t funny then but it is funny now.

  • Dreaming

    “…But the bun was almost as big as my head.” – Aahahahaha. I actually laughed out loud at this.

  • Tight Lipped Mary

    i loved that look when it was done right…

  • Em.

    You guys are killing me with these hair stories. My head hurts from laughing!

  • Bridget

    I will never forget the time I tried to wax my armpits myself. This happened when I was in high school back in the ’80′s and hot wax wasn’t popular yet here in the south. Instead of testing the wax on my leg or arm I applied it to my underarms first-and not a thin layer either. The directions said to rip it off and I was too chicken to do that so I applied another thick layer to “soften” up the first layer . What a mess! I was too scared to rip that layer off, too. The wax got hard and I was forced to hold my arm up like I was in school trying to get the teacher’s attention. I had to stay like that for nearly 2 hrs until my mom got home and she finally wound up cutting it out of my hair. OUCH!

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @ gfkas

    i had a permanent surprised look on my face for a while.
    You ain’t never lied!!!! I had that face even after taking em out! Jesus!!! It was serious….but you know me, always about supporting my African pippoz! shiiiiiiiid.

    LMAOOOO! I too was laughing when I was writing this.

    I ain’t telling nobody to take anything down. The moment you pull my hair-I’M OUT! With no remorse or apologies to be made. Learned my lesson.

    @ Dreaming
    My head, my hair, my rules! Take it or leave it!!!

    @ Dalili
    Hey sistoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! :)

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    @ dreaming and girlformallyknownasgrace

    Traction alopeica is what many of those tight braiders leave you with. I had my edges fall out on one side but thank God it grew back.

    @girlformallyknown as grace
    Have you been to the dermatologist ? It’s possible they can give you some steroid shots into your scalp to help your hair grow back. Taking a book hair vitamin with botin may help too.

  • Dreaming

    African Mami – I’m sorry, but I’m not understanding why you think I was questioning your choices.

    I was speaking about my personal experience of having hair braiders pull on my hair too tight, even when I advised them not to do so and even when they recognized that the reason my hairline was thin around the edges was because of them pulling too tight.

  • Dreaming

    Chic Noir – Yea, thank goodness I don’t suffer from that. I have some thin spots around my front edges, but it’s barely noticeable.

    Whenever I get my hair braided, I tell them not to make the braids around my edges too small, because the smaller the braid, the worse it will be.

  • Jinx Moneypenny

    - Too-thin brows. I really needed to not work against my brow shape.
    - Too-thin jet black brows. Much too dark for my complexion and face.
    - When my first attempt at transitioning was done with no knowledge of how to care for my hair, including new growth and relaxed ends. It ended in an emergency trip to a salon for a cut and relaxer. 2 years since then, relaxer-free and loving it. :-)
    - Paying to get a synthetic weave done. Couldn’t comb or brush the sh-t for the life of me.
    - Not paying but getting a synthetic weave done as a favour. Looking back at pics of it gives me a sinking feeling everytime.

    There’s probably a ton more but I can’t share everything, lmao.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @ Dreaming,

    Oh no no no no no….I got what you were saying!!!!! That was meant for the hairdresser!!! Should have made that clear. Oi!! Oi!!! No fighting!lol…

  • http://method2hermadness.blogspot.com/ girlformerlyknownasgrace

    @Chic Noir–don’t scare me with that isshht!! I don’t want no Naomi Campbell hair situation on my hands! Ima call a dermatologist first thing in the morning! Is there a special type of dermatologist that would understand black hair and aloepecia? (because I know from experience that not all do understand Black skin–family members with unique skin conditions and the like).

    I have also stopped going to Dominicans to get wash and sets about a year ago, something they do makes my hair so pin-straight that it is actually thinning my hair. I want my hair to thick as well as long. Not just long with no edges and no volume. Sorry to veer off topic.

  • Hushpuppies

    When I wore braces I thought it was a good idea to draw more attention to them by wearing read lipstick. I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea.

    I remember once in grade school my mom forgot to twist my hair into two pigtails before she went to work. I wanted my hair to look nice, so my 9 year old self decided to dump a bunch of baby oil in my hair to help brush it back into a ponytail. People kept asking me why the back of my neck was sweaty that entire day. Haha and to make matters WORSE, I put on a hat over the baby oil mess, and my teacher made me take off the hat in class.

  • Hushpuppies

    *red lipstick

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    @girlformallyknowasgrace- I think the best thing to do is try to find a blk dermatologist. I’ve heard of few in the MD/Was/Vir area who do a good job. One treated gospel singer Yolonda Williams skin.

    I’ve heard horror stories about the Dominican wash and sets. Have you used Curl formers or an at home roller set to str8 your hair? Do you watch any of the youtube hair gurus who can give you ideas on how to style your hair without heat?

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