Emily Listfield

Trust us, even Kate Hudson has had a breakout at exactly the wrong moment. But whether you’re heading out for a job interview or a big night on the town, the last thing you need is an unpleasant surprise in the mirror. We went to the makeup artists and hairstylists who get the biggest celebrities ready for their close-ups, and we asked for advice on how to deal with some of the most common beauty predicaments.


When Brooke Shields and Catherine Zeta-Jones have a big appearance coming up, they turn to New York City makeup artist Kimara Ahnert. Her favorite trick to banish blemishes? Place an ice pack over the pimple for a few minutes, then squeeze a little bit of eye drop solution over the zit to reduce redness. Let the solution dry for a few minutes before dabbing on concealer. Follow with a light layer of translucent powder to set the concealer and even out the skin. Hollywood makeup artist Jerrod Blandino, whose products Scarlett Johansson is a fan of, adds this caveat: “Do not pick the pimple. It's easier to cover when it's not punctured. And make sure that the concealer you are using is an exact match for your skin tone so it's undetectable.”

Blotchy skin

Wake up with a road map of red splotches on your face? Don’t despair. With the right makeup, you can fake complexion perfection. First, apply moisturizer. “Use a product infused with naturally calming ingredients like chamomile, cucumber and aloe to soothe and alleviate redness,” Blandino suggests. Give that a few moments to sink in, then smooth on foundation. Pat concealer on any remaining red areas. Set with a dusting of translucent powder.

Puffy eyes

Too much salt and not enough sleep can leave you with so much baggage under your eyes you’ll be tempted to call for a moving van. But before you cancel your plans and climb back into bed, try celebrity esthetician Scott Vincent Borba’s favorite trick: “Put your eye cream in the freezer for ten minutes before applying,” he says. “It will act as a cold compress. Choose one with light reflectors to help reduce the appearance of puffiness.”

Dark circles

To treat those telltale under-eye rings, first head to the kitchen. Dampen tea bags, take a seat and apply the bags over your eyes for a few minutes. “The tannin in tea has been shown to reduce swelling and discoloration,” says Ahnert. “Then use a yellow- or peach-toned concealer to cancel out the purple or bluish color under the eye. Stay away from pink-toned concealers: They can actually make your circles more noticeable.” Models love this tip from Blandino: “Line the corners and rims of your eyes with a flesh- or nude-colored pencil to brighten and lighten the eye area.”

Over-plucked eyebrows

Got a little tweezer-happy? Laura Geller, the New York City makeup artist who counts Mary-Louise Parker among her clients, suggests this: Fill in your brows with a brow powder that matches your natural hair color as closely as possible. If it’s too light or too dark, it will instantly give you away. When you apply it, extend the length of the brows on the outside for a more youthful appearance. Ahnert recommends applying the powder with a baby toothbrush for a more natural look and to whisk away any excess product. “Then brush a clear brow gel over the brows to give them a groomed and polished look,” she says. 

Rain on your (hair) parade

You just spent 40 minutes blowing out your hair when a sudden downpour hits. Hats and scarves are one option, but New York City stylist Ted Gibson, who has tamed the locks of Anne Hathaway and Angelina Jolie, prefers a more elegant solution.

“Pull the hair back into a sleek ponytail,” he says, “use hair pins to twist it into a bun, and finish off with some hair spray.”  

Emily Listfield, a former editor at Self, McCall’s and Fitness magazines, has contributed to numerous publications, including Allure, More, InStyle, Redbook, Parade and The New York Times. She recently published her seventh novel, Best Intentions.