5 Most Disastrous Internet Beauty Tips (Tested)

Pinterest is the website embodiment of your high school's cheerleading squad, minus the mean girls and the dummies. Picture the beautiful cheerleaders who were also smart and also nice and would go out of their way to volunteer at the food bank while you couldn't be bothered to help your mom do the dishes. Or picture Mother Teresa, but hot. Either way, Pinterest is where perfect people post pictures of their perfect lives and the rest of us repin their perfection dozens of times a day. It's sick. Here's my page.

Among the Nutella and peanut butter milkshake recipes, inspirational quote macros, and hundreds of ways to distress your own furniture (my favorite is to tell it you're pregnant), Pinterest hosts thousands of tutorials for becoming beautiful. In one day, I tried all of them.

#5. Use Straw Curlers (to Look Like Napoleon Dynamite)


Before continuing, I suspect you already have questions. You're probably wondering: "Use straws to do what?" And "Why straw curlers?" And "Drinking straws or hay straw?" And "What's wrong with you?" My answers are "Curl your hair," "I don't know," "Drinking," and "I super don't know. I probably drink too much." All I can say is that, like an addict who tries a new drug just to see what it does to his body, I tried the drinking-straw hair curler tutorial just to see what would happen to my hair. The analogy especially works because when I took out the straws, my hair looked like each individual strand had been on a decade-long meth bender. But we'll get to that in a moment. Let's start with the tutorial itself.

According to the dozens of pictures I saw of this hair hack on Pinterest, it should have been easy. Before you go to bed, you divide your wet hair up into sections, wrap them around a straw, tie the straw in a knot, then go to sleep and wake up to a head full of curls. Yes, there was a 50 percent chance an errant straw end would gouge your or your lover's eye out in your sleep, but who are we kidding about lovers when you look like this:

Beauty hack or human/straw hybrid? You decide.

There were a few red flags I should have paid attention to before I tied plastic drink tubes into my hair. First, a lot of the tutorials were for African-American women, who have a different hair texture from mine. I'm pretty colorblind, so I missed that note the first go-around. (Thank you, '90s era United Color of Benetton ads.) Second, most of the Caucasian women who demonstrated the tutorial had really long hair, and mine is jowl-flap length. I'm pretty lengthblind, so I missed that red flag as well. What happened next will make your jaw drop (in fear).


There's good news and bad news. The good news is that the straw curlers really did curl hair, so that's a WIN for Pinterest. The bad news is that they already recast Annie and Quvenzhane Wallis got the part, so that's off the table for me. Which is a travesty, because I've been working on those songs longer than Quvenzhane's great-grandparents have been alive. Whatever. I'm over it. You know who else is over it? The one lock of hair that tried to make a run for it as soon as I took the straws out.

Approximately 30 seconds after taking the straws out of my hair, I realized something else: School wasn't out. School wasn't out, and I had to take a child to school about 15 minutes after taking the picture above. Good thing Pinterest teaches you how to fashion scarves into turbans! If only there was a Pinterest tutorial for how to conduct yourself during an emergency end-of-year parent-teacher conference while looking like a Gypsy.

Driving with a crystal ball balanced on your lap is harder than it looks.

I wasn't sure of the correct Gypsy accent, but Dracula always works in a pinch. "Vat is ze vinal grade in Englishsszzzzz?" I asked while tucking away the little runaway tendril and letting my sunglasses gently graze my chin bone. Keeping a straight face during the conference less than an hour after pulling straws out of my hair is how I ended up with my second Oscar. The first was for special effects. (It was me who did Star Wars.)

#4. Use Concealer to Conceal Your Humanity


Five minutes into the Hair and Beauty section of Pinterest, I find out that other girls are messing with their faces in ways previously only used at Cirque du Soleil and LA casting calls. They're using different colored makeup to contour their faces into perfection. I don't mean using dramatic eye shadow or lipstick to look fancy; I mean using different shades of flesh-colored cream to give the illusion of a skinnier face. Like this:

Stop being so hot, Pinterest.

Unless you live in a never-ending loop of tribal initiation rituals, you probably aren't seeing many women walking around with different colored lines on their faces. That's because the next step after applying the concealer is blending it in so the unsuspecting public never knows you're face-tricking them. My friend Katie Willert made the observation that once you've applied your makeup in this particular pattern, there's no reason to blend. After all, why bother with a skinnier face when you can shoot for LION? It's a great point, but once I put on the contouring makeup, I felt less like a lion and more like a clown melting in the sun.

On to the next parent-teacher conference!

Believe it or not, I've never streaked brown eye shadow down my neck in order to create the illusion of an hourglass neck before. That "blush" is also brown eye shadow. Those "eyes" are brown eye shadow. Everything is brown eye shadow, and color is an illusion. I am Lion, and nothing else matters.

#3. Use Baby Powder for Eyelashes (That Look Like Spiders)

Ralf Nau/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Once I rethought my stance on blending the white and brown streaks on my face, it was time to decorate my eyehair. If eyes are the windows to your soul, Pinterest eyes are windows that are wearing Las Vegas showgirls for curtains. Finding a subtle eye makeup tutorial on Pinterest is like finding subtle eye makeup on a pig's butt. Look all you want, but you're probably wasting your time. Speaking of butts, one of the cheapest hacks for getting fancy eyes is tangentially related to baby butts, but I'll get back to that after an explanation that leaves you feeling uncomfortable longer than necessary.

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Too late in the game for "Baby's Got Back" jokes, too desperate to stop myself.

Women who want thicker, more bangable eyelashes have a few options, each more horrific than the one before: eyelash serum, which could be nothing but semen in a tube, for all I know; false eyelashes, which require overcoming the fear of permanently gluing your eyes shut; or eyelash extensions, which are exactly what they sound like and cost more than a week's worth of groceries for a family of five. But according to Pinterest, there's another option for lush lashes: All you have to do is apply a powder usually reserved for baby butts to the hair surrounding your eyes! Dangerous? Maybe! Worth it? Probably not!

Never say I didn't put baby powder in my eyes for you.

According to the tutorial, all I had to do was put on a layer of mascara, then use a Q-Tip to apply a layer of baby powder to my lashes, then do the mascara again, so my eyelashes don't look like they're full of cocaine and that I'm the world's dumbest drug addict. The tutorials don't tell you to do that routine six more times, but I did anyway, just in case they meant to say "Repeat" but forgot. By the time I was done, my mascara wand was no longer able to penetrate the black jungle of tangled gunk that framed my eyeballs.

"For my next number, 'Here Comes the Story of the HAIRICANE,' by BOB Dylanfrizz."

For anyone keeping score, my hair was in revolt from both my scalp and nature itself, my face was semi-streaked with what could have passed for poop under the wrong lighting, and my eyes looked like they were surrounded by thousands of black caterpillars making love to spider legs. I never felt more beautiful.

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Kristi Harrison

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