An all-too-familiar scenario – it’s absolutely vital that you look your most fabulous best, you’re rushing to get ready, the clock’s ticking, you’re almost done, and… ooops!
Overdid the blush? Smudged your fresh mani? Get out of that beauty jam fast (the party awaits!) with these simple fixes.
My hair went frizzy in the rain
Instead of trying to smooth down strands with your hands, duck into the bathroom and twist your hair into a few sections, then run lightweight hair (or even face) cream over them, suggests Alli Webb, a hairstylist and founder of Drybar Blow Dry Bars. Let your hair dry a bit, then shake it out and you’ll have smooth hair with added body.
Here’s another way: Simply throw your hair up into an easy bun, which hides frizz and always looks chic, says Webb. To prevent frizzies the next time bad weather strikes, style with a product labeled ‘anti-humectant’ (it seals in sleekness and prevents moisture from entering).
I smudged my mani on my way out the door
If you have nail polish remover handy, use your fingertip to apply a tiny bit over the smeared polish—it acts like paint thinner to even out the color (nail polish remover wipes work, too).
But when all else fails, the pros actually suggest quickly pressing the smudged tip to your tongue. ‘The combination of saliva and a little pressure on the nail bed can soften and redistribute color,’ explains celebrity manicurist Elle. (We don’t recommend getting in the habit of it, though!)
In the future, ‘don’t wait until your mani is done to dry your nails,’ says Elle. Run your blow-dryer’s cool-shot button over your polish in between coats to speed up the drying process.
I’ve got lipstick on my teeth
After you run to the bathroom to remove the smudge (clearly, your first move!), try this tactic to make sure it doesn’t happen again: Separate a facial tissue into a single-ply and use it to softly blot away excess color from your lips.
‘The creamier your lipstick, the more likely it is to smear,’ says Poppy King, makeup artist and designer for Boots No7 Lipsticks. Then, wash your hands and place your index finger into your mouth, pucker your lips, and pull out your finger. This removes any color that’s inside the base of the lip, preventing it from migrating onto your teeth.
I just smeared my mascara
Give it a minute! Rushing to grab a cotton swab and dabbing it off immediately will remove the excess mascara but also take off the rest of your eye makeup, setting you back even further.
Instead, let the smudge dry (about 60 seconds). It will get a little flaky and come off ‘almost like a crumb rolling off your skin,’ says Kristofer Buckle, celebrity makeup artist. Just dampen a Q-tip or a tissue twisted into a tiny pencil-shaped point and hold it over the smear to gently remove it. And next time you’re swiping on mascara, open your mouth wide while you’re coating your lashes. It keeps you from blinking, so you’re less likely to get a smudge (try it, it works!).
I put on so much powder, my skin looks old
Ah, yes! The old powdered-skin look. Adding a little moisture to your skin can turn back the clock, notes Jillian Dempsey, celebrity makeup artist and Avon’s creative color director.
Fill a plastic spray bottle with lukewarm water and give your face a quick once-over. Or, dampen a bathroom towel, then lightly press it down into skin, starting from the center of your face moving out to the forehead and chin.
Whatever you do, don’t try this using a paper towel or tissue: both will make your face wetter than you need, causing all your makeup to run.
I used too much hair product and my hair looks greasy
The best way to take down styling products? Get your hands on an oil-absorbing powder. Household staples like baby powder and cornstarch—even translucent face powder—will do the trick. Sprinkle a little into your palms, rub hands together, then massage it through your roots like you would a dry shampoo, says Ashley Hanna, hairstylist at Mizu Salon in New York City.
Hair spray can actually help, too; it contains alcohol, which sops up oil. Another option: Embrace a slicked-back style. Put your hair into a high ponytail or a sexy low, over-the-shoulder version and you’re ready to go.
My straightening iron just fried my hair
Put down the iron and reach for a hydrating leave-in conditioner or a light hair oil (even olive oil!) to run through your strands, concentrating on the scorched area. After applying, comb through with your fingers.
‘It will instantly smooth and moisturise the straw-like texture,’ says DJ Riggs, hairstylist and TIGI creative director.
(Bonus: It also gets rid of that burnt-hair smell.) In the future, use a heat protecting spray before straightening and keep the temp at 350  degrees, max.
So there you are – no need to panic after all. Go ahead and enjoy the party!
Written by Diana Cerqueira, this article originally appeared in Health magazine