Beauty 911: How to Handle Wedding-Day Emergencies

From perfume overload to sudden breakouts, fix any big-day beauty woe with these tricks of the trade.

1. Stress has your skin looking red and splotchy. Redness and rashes can be a major problem when you’re stressed, but stay calm — there’s an easy fix. Dermatologist Annie Chiu, owner of The Derm Institute in Redondo Beach, CA, says, “Use a small amount of Afrin Nasal Spray on flushed skin for an in-a-pinch fix. It constricts local blood vessels, which will instantly reduce redness.”

2. Your skin is dry and flaky. Use an exfoliating cleanser or polishing mask. If you don’t have either on hand, make a simple scrub by mixing sugar and a cleanser. Massage the mixture over your dry patches, then rinse with cool water, Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, cosmetic dermatologist, suggests. Layer on a moisturizer and let it sink in completely before applying a primer.

3. You wake up with a zit. It’s the ultimate bridal nightmare, so be sure to shrink the blemish as much as possible before applying concealer. Dr. Michael Lin, a Los Angeles- based dermatologist, suggests using a layer of a benzoyl peroxide- based acne medication to kill bacteria and shrink the pimple. If you’ve already picked at it, opt for Neosporin instead, since benzoyl peroxide can dry out an open wound and cause flaking. In a pinch and don’t have benzoyl peroxide? Not to worry — celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas says, “Dab a bit of yogurt onto the blemish. The lactic acid and probiotics will calm and heal it fast!”

4. You wake up with puffy eyes. If you’ve been losing sleep over your wedding, take a moment to perk up your eyes before the big day. Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, says, “Chill out for 10 minutes with a gel eye mask. No mask on hand? Put spoons in the freezer for 30 minutes and use those instead.”

5. You wake up with dark circles. Stay hydrated and try, try, try to get adequate sleep, suggests Glazer. For day-of fixes, “color correctors and eye-brightening shadows work wonders.” For blue and purple tones choose a peach color to cancel out the darkness. Add a pop of shimmer shadow at the inner corner of your eye to brighten and bounce the light.

6. Your hair comes out differently than it did in your trial. If you don’t love your hair, don’t panic! Celebrity hair stylist Mark Hill says, “Be honest. If you want more height or more curls, just ask!” Hill recommends taking pictures from lots of angles during your trial to help your stylist recreate the look on your big day.

7. You’ve cried your makeup off. It’s totally natural to shed a few tears — just make sure you have your foundation on hand in case of a makeup meltdown. Celebrity make- up artist Cristina Bartolucci suggests applying foundation over your tear tracks, then wiping clean with a tissue.The foundation will pick up the moisture in the tracks, leaving you with a clean surface. Dot foundation in a line down the tracks and blend to finish.

8. Your nail polish is chipped. Be sure to bring your nail color (and polish remover) with you on your wedding day — if your polish chips, it will be an easy touchup. Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann says, “Using your fingertip, dab polish remover where the chip is and gently smooth out the ridges. Allow the nail to dry, then lightly paint your polish into the chip. Your nails will look as good as new!”

9. Your lipstick is smeared. To cover up smudges, makeup artist Jenny Patinkin says, “Dab concealer around the edges of your lips, then blend to keep lipstick in place. Look for a concealer with an opaque finish — a creamier formula can make your lipstick bleed.”

10. You went overboard on perfume. If your fragrance is out of control, Patti Kapla, V.P. of Business Development for, recommends swabbing skin with a cotton ball doused in rubbing alcohol to neutralize the scent. Assess, and if need be, “Reapply sparingly to pulse points like your wrists, inside your elbows and the nape of your neck," Kapia says. "The perfume will react with the natural fluctuations in your body temperature and emit scent throughout the day without overwhelming.”

11. Red wine has stained your smile. Have all the vino you want — just keep some tooth-cleaning wipes on hand to deal with stains, says Dr. Lana Rozenberg, D.D.S. Rubbing the inside of a lemon peel on your teeth also brightens your smile (but don’t do this too often or you’ll erode your enamel).

12. You over-plucked your eyebrows. Went crazy with the tweezers? Fear not — you can create the illusion of fuller brows. “Use a thin brow pencil to fill in patchy areas, then brush a brow powder on top to add volume,” Patinkin says. “Waxy pencils alone can melt on warm skin and powders can smudge or rub off, but combining them gives great hold.”

13. Your spray tan looks uneven. “First, get in the shower and exfoliate from head to toe,” says Alyssa Hilliard, UV-free tanning expert and director at Sunless, inc. Exfoliating diminishes the appearance of dark or orange tones. For a natural alternative, Hilliard says the acid in lemons works, “but will strip away the tan, so be careful not to use too much lemon juice as you lightly touch up areas that appear orange."

14. You’re bloated when you wake up. “To initiate the elimination process and flush out toxins, drink one to two glasses of warm water with lemon as early in the day as possible,” says Kimberly Snyder, celebrity clinical nutritionist. She suggests doing yoga poses, especially twists and bends that compress the midsection, to aid in reducing your bloat. Eliminate bloat-inducers like dairy, beans, onions and carbonated drinks from your diet seven days before the wedding to ensure you wake up bloat-free.