How to transform your teenage beauty mistakes into chic looks that won’t make you cringe

We all experimented with, um, questionable beauty looks when we were teens. In fact, embarrassing beauty mistakes are practically a requirement for being a teenager. Thankfully, learning from mistakes is one of the most interesting aspects of developing a beauty routine. However, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your former mistakes altogether. We asked our Beauty Panel how they’d wear their “mistakes” today in ways that are totally chic and easy to do.

Challenge 98: Show us how you’d correct your teenage beauty mistakes now.  See the answers now! »

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Colleen Conroy
Vancouver | Blush Rouge

When I was younger I had a serious tomboy phase, until one day I started to become very interested in fashion magazines. I loved scouring the pages and reading all about the new trends and products out there. I still remember the day I came across a page that showcased a new M.A.C lipstick. My mother, the amazing woman she is, drove me an hour to the closest M.A.C store to find this exact lipstick. It was gold and frosty and I was completely in love with it. Even though it was beautiful, in reality, it was not necessarily the best one for me. With it’s cool undertones it didn’t come close to complimenting my skin tone. Frankly, it washed me out completely. To add to that, I would pair it with so many different coloured eye shadows. Blue, green, yellow, you name it…and I often wore them all at the same time!

I decided to choose this as my teenage beauty mistake, because it was such a milestone in my beauty life. My first professional quality lipstick! It was gold, featured in a magazine, and made me feel oh so wonderful (so really not a mistake at all). However, the look I did could have used some tweaking. Here I have decided to make it more modern by choosing a gold lipstick with a little less of a cool tone, and a little more warmth to keep some life in my face. And instead of painting rainbows on my eyelids with any variety of eye shadow I could get my hands on, I updated with a modern monochromatic style. Bronzed lids, bronzed cheeks, bronzed lips.

Products used: M.A.C Select Moisturecover in NC20 and NW25, M.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish in Medium, NARS bronzer in Laguna, NARS blush in Orgasm, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Taupe, MAC eyeshadow in Jest, Amber Lights, and Deep Fixation, L’Oréal Double Extend Mascara in Blackest Black, MAC Lipstick in Fetish, MAC Lipglass in Gold Rebel, Joico Joigel Firm Styling Gel, Joico Joishape Finishing Spray.

Alison Leong
Vancouver | Alison*Elle

My teen years were a time of extreme makeup experimentation, particularly when it came to bold eye looks. In fact, my very first M.A.C eye shadow, purchased in 2004, was Electric Eel, a bright blue I would be extremely hesitant to wear today—especially the way I was wearing it as an all-over lid colour. While my days of fantastical makeup may be long gone, there are certainly still ways to channel that love of fun colour. Here, I’ve layered a bright turquoise (another favourite of younger Alison) as a thick liner with my regular black cat eye liner on top. This double liner effect results in a pop of colour without being too crazy, and is totally wearable without screaming dated.

Products Used: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation in Y245, Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion in 25I and 20M, Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic Eyeshadow in Diamond Light Turquoise (D-21) and Matte Black (M-11), Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge Lipstick in Cool Candy Pink (#21)

Having cringe-worthy beauty mistakes from your teenage years is almost inevitable. It’s practically a rite of passage; a collective laugh you only get to indulge in years later. It’s not something to feel bad about, it’s just something that happens. Luckily we grow up and out of our awkward years, having tested the waters with sticky lip gloss and sloppily applied fake tans.

My worst beauty mistakes involved over plucking already thin eyebrows, dollops of jet black eyeshadow, and a mop of box dyed hair. But I think my biggest teenage beauty mistake had to be dousing myself in cloyingly sweet perfume. A lot of it. I mean, I wasn’t exactly into Hawaiian Ginger (thankfully), but I went a bit overboard with the vanilla scents in my youth.

About a year ago I went on a hunt to find a “grown up” vanilla perfume. Something that harkened back to my highschool days, but was suitable for a grown, twenty-something woman. Dozens of samples later my nose settled on Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, a buttery sweet vanilla gourmand. Notes of sandalwood and licorice balanced out the sweetness, exuding a level of sophistication I can only describe as knowingly sultry. It’s a charming vanilla for the fancy lady I always knew I could be. Oh, and I ditched the heavy black eyeshadow, too.