Hot Mess SOS: How To Look Your Best in The Worst Situations

Urban Dictionary, the indisputable source for Gen X slang clarification, defines a hot mess as one who is “in obvious disarray or disorganization, while remaining attractive in spite of this.” Basically the bad news is, this is not your finest hour, but the good news is, you don’t sweat it because you’re still adorable anyway. However, there are a few tricks to the trade when it comes to hot mess-inducing situations. With a bit of preparation, you never have to be “attractive in spite of”—you can just be you, girl and be really good at it!

 Hot Mess #1: Leaving a Summer Concert

Smashbox Santigolden Age Be Legendary Lipstick Ring, $30

It’s about 2am, you think, as you inhale deeply relishing in the cool, fresh air that greets you as you exit Webster Hall. Yes, it is the dead of summer in NYC, but anything feels like relief after the sauna in which you’ve been basting for the past three hours. You’re just about call it a night when your best friend’s boyfriend’s (super hot) friend suggests late night grub at the Coffee Shop. There is zero doubt in your mind that you look less than ravishing, not to mention your dogs are barking from hours of shaking it with the aforementioned hottie. Luckily, you are wearing a jealousy-inducing Smashbox Santigolden Age Be Legendary Lipstick Ring and stashed a few other lifesavers that will have you feeling (and smelling) refreshed in no time. Like Ban’s nifty Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths. They cleanse odor instead of trying to mask it, so go ahead a dot your favorite come-hither fragrance on the wrist, ears—wherever makes you feel sexy! BO, check. Bad breath, meet your match. Mojito Mint Breath Spray  not only does the trick but is easy on the taste buds as well. Here’s to never going down until the sun comes up!



 Hot Mess #2: The Morning After

Dr. Scholls Fast Flats, $7

Dating and relationships can be unpredictable. And if you’re still at that early stage where you don’t have a toothbrush at your significant others place, here’s how to be prepared. Now, we’re sure you’re the type of girl that never leaves the house without clean underwear. But an extra pair? That’s where Cheeki comes in! Toss one individually sealed extra panty into your bag for those “sleepovers” or the many other occasions they might come in handy. Another great item to keep stashed on standby is a travel toothbrush. Violife Travel Toothbrush Sanitizer will keep any toothbrush germ-free whenever you’re on the go. Finally, a 10am jaunt in 5-inch stilettos is never fun. Pack a pair of flats like Dr. Scholl’s Fast Flats or slim sneakers in a fun print that can go with anything—these will probably come in handy long before the morning after.

 Hot Mess #3: Sudden Sunburn

Laure Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $40

Despite your best intentions, it’s possible that your dreamy day at the beach can turn into a nightmare. The music, the sangria, and the shoreline breeze—it all made you a little too carefree and suddenly it hits you. Your skin starts feeling itchy and sensitive, your head feels achy and woozy, and, ugh, nausea. Those are the first signs of sun poisoning, and it’s a good thing you realized it before it’s too late. First thing’s first, get out of the sun and head straight for hydration! Even better if you can get some ice to apply a cool compress to your skin and take a pain reliever ASAP. What’s more is that you were planning a day date tomorrow, but were not planning on going as Rudolf the red-nosed cheerleader. Don’t fret; here are a few tips to keep you from looking perpetually embarrassed. Start with a skin soothing, aloe moisturizer like Mario Badescu. Next, step away from the powder. Any powder-formulated foundation is going to sit on top of your skin and pale in contrast to the burn. Try a tinted moisture instead, like cult favorite Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free, for sheer, bendable coverage. Use a little bronzer such as Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer
to highlight on the cheeks and nose, and blend around the outer edges of your face. Finally, keep the rest of your makeup barely there; just a little mascara and nude gloss should do the trick. And next time, wear a hat!

Hot Mess #4: Red-eye Flight

NARS Crime of Passion Palette, $58

So you’re a bi-coastal babe. To you it means endless hours on red-eye flights across the U.S., but everyone else is wishing they had either your tan or your wardrobe. Late night travel can be brutal, leaving you not only tired but dry, flat, and puffy too. Tack on a 9am meeting and it seems you left your sun-kissed glow at bag check. A TSA-approved travel-sized set of Evian Spray Brumisateur Natural Mineral Water,
(that’s ‘spray’ en français!) works great to keep skin hydrated in flight. Depending on how much time you have when you land, you can head straight to the airport restroom to refresh and finish up in the cab, or make a B-line for your office, where you might be more comfortable. A swipe of Ole Henriksen the Clean TruthTM Cleansing Cloths rids your face of dirt and germs and rejuvenates your complexion. Keep your makeup light: a little under-eye concealer, a life-saving all-in-one palette like NARS Crime of Passion Travel Compact, mascara, and on to revamping those tired tresses! Bumble and bumble’s Prêt-à-Powder, (also in a convenient travel size) lifts your locks and absorbs oil disguising your second-day style as a freshly coiffed hairdo. And if you need more tips, check out our beauty travel guide: How to Step Off A Plane and Look Fabulous. Voilà: jetsetter extraordinaire!


Hot Mess #5: 100-Degree Temps on the Day of Your Interview

YSL Kiss & Blush, $40

Trying to look professional in 90-degree heat is an exercise in futility. That time we wore a billowy, lilac-hued silk top to a BCBG interview, got out of the car and were suddenly wearing a skin tight, purple Wet One…yeah, that happened. You don’t ever have to be that girl! Step one: Plan ahead. You’re going to need extra prep time after you arrive but before your interview, and a bag big enough to smuggle in your survival kit that doesn’t look like you came from the grocery store. Step two: Don’t wear your interview top on the way to your interview. Wear a t-shirt and bring what you plan on changing into. Just be mindful of wrinkles.

Don’t wear a full face of makeup either! An interview isn’t the time to show of your contouring skills (unless you’re a makeup artist) anyway. Do the bare minimum (moisturize and conceal) so your face doesn’t melt en route. Now, you’re also going to need a place to change and freshen up. So do some recon, girl! Either identify the nearest Starbucks or make sure wherever you’re going has a bathroom in the lobby. Step three: pack your survival kit. This includes a dress that you will change into. A bottle of water you froze the night before. (P.S. This will sweat as it thaws, so wrap it in paper towel and don’t let it get anywhere near your resume. Since you did the bare minimum on your face before you left the house, (and a conservative look is key) a few items are all you need.

1. Neutrogena Deep Clean Shine Control Blotting Sheets. We haven’t left the house without them since May.

2. Mascara. The most essential make up product ever invented.

3. A double duty cosmetic like Yves Saint Laurent Kiss & Blush for lips and cheeks for a quick, coordinating glow.

4. A brush and mini hair spray. If your hair has become three times its normal volume in transit, at least, you can slick you mane into a tidy, high ponytail.

5. Deodorant.

Now, you can confidently walk in that interview calm, cool, and collected. After you ace it, which we know you will, go ahead and treat yourself to that emergency Snickers Ice Cream bar; you deserve it!





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Julianne Zigos

Julianne Zigos is a freelance fashion and lifestyle editor, writer and reporter based in New York City. Former projects include editor for Glam Damn It and The Upswing. Her work has been published via various online editorials from Daily Front Row to Business Insider. She’s most likely found on the red carpet covering film premieres and events, backstage interviewing designers at NYFW, or on the couch killing zombies as a recently converted gamer. Her favorite things to do are run, ride motorcycles, and travel, scouring the world for up-worthy trends and the best places to take selfies.

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