Nightmare Hair Scenarios and How to Fix Them

The best-selling Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook may have taught you how to fend off a shark and escape from quicksand, but what about the real catastrophes in a chick's life — like having a heinous hair moment before a big date or botching an at-home dye job? Fear not...Cosmo comes to the rescue with our own EMT (Emergency Mane Treatment) advice.

Disentangle Your Hair from a Round Brush

Resist the urge to grab the nearest steak knife and slice off that entire section of strands. The better approach:
  • Don't panic and tug. "That will only make the knots tighter," says Guy Romeo, a stylist at the Privé salon in Los Angeles.
  • Pin up loose strands. Gently remove as much hair as you can with your fingers, and clip up the freed strands as you go.
  • Pick the locks. Take a rattail comb, knitting needle, or similar skinny stick and use the pointed tip to dislodge the remaining hair bit by bit from the bristles.
How to avoid barrel-brush entanglements:
  • Never work with a section of hair that's wider than the brush you're using.
  • Lift each section up and away from your head before you start rolling the brush underneath it. (Tangles often occur when you inadvertently involve hair that's below the section you're working on.)
Fix a Dud Dye Job

While nobody's saying that orange roots couldn't have a big fashion moment, now's not it. So in the meantime:
  • Go to a pro. See a colorist as soon as possible. If you try to fix the problem on your own, you'll just make it worse. This process is typically more complicated than a straight coloring job, so be prepared to pay more.
  • Style curls into your coif. Until your appointment, wear your hair curly. "Curls help the botched color blend in and be less noticeable," explains Rodney Cutler, owner of NYC's Cutler Salon.
How to Prevent Home Hair-Color Mishaps:
  • Watch the clock. Leaving color on for too long can be a disaster, says Cutler. You might wind up with tangerine tresses.
Disguise a Botched at-Home Bang Trim

You thought you were so savvy trimming your own fringe — until you lopped off an inch where a centimeter would've sufficed. Some possible remedies:
  • Go for a side sweep. Part your hair on the side where your bangs are the longest, then sweep them across your forehead so they fall over the too-short bits.
  • Create piece-y texture. The more intentionally piece-y your do looks, the more effectively your bad bang job will be camouflaged. Work a dab of pomade between your palms and fingertips, then twirl little sections of hair from roots to ends.
  • Tie on a hip head-scarf. If your bangs are too short but not crooked, Romeo offers this approach: Brush them against your forehead and place a scarf or headband at your hairline to nudge them down to a normal-looking length.
How to Avoid Bad Bang Cuts:
  • Rather than cut your own bangs, finagle a free fringe trim at the hands of a pro. "Many salons offer complimentary bang trims to regular clients," says Cutler.
  • If you're set on doing it yourself, don't make the all-too-common mistakes of wetting your bangs and taping or holding them down (either way, they'll seem longer than they really are and you're likely to overcompensate by cutting too much off). Instead, start with dry bangs and let them hang naturally to get the most accurate sense of their length. Then use sharp, fine-tipped scissors and a slow, steady hand to do the deed.
Deal with Last-Minute Product Overload

If you overestimated the amount of styling goo to use and now your strands look more oil-slicked than glamorously styled, take these measures:
  • Remove excess product. Wrap your head in a dry towel, then scrunch with your hands to absorb whatever you can.
  • Powder your roots. To absorb the rest, use cornstarch, talcum powder, or a dry shampoo. Create a part two inches above one ear and sprinkle powder into the roots. Use your fingertips to rub it in. Repeat every two inches until you get to the other ear.
  • Tousle your tresses. Flip your head upside down, and with your dryer blowing on cool, run your fingers through your hair.
How to Prevent Product Overload:
  • Start with less product than you think you'll need — you can always add more.
  • Begin your product application at the nape of the neck. "When you work from the undersections of your hair, you'll deposit the bulk of the product in the least noticeable places," explains Cutler.
Treat a Curling-Iron Burn on Your Face

"Burn, baby, burn" has a nice ring to it on the dance floor — but if this is what happens when wielding a curling iron, here's first aid for your beauty flub:
  • Prevent inflammation. Apply ice (wrapped in a washcloth or plastic bag) to the burn immediately for 10 to 15 minutes, says New York City dermatologist Arielle Kauvar. Take a break for a few minutes, then repeat for up to an hour or as long as you can.
  • Assess the damage. Determine if the burn is first degree (redness but no blistering) or second degree (inflammation and mild blistering). Note: The chance of getting a curling iron-inflicted second-degree burn is pretty slim.
  • Treat the skin. If it looks like a first-degree burn, apply an OTC antibiotic ointment (such as Bacitracin or Polysporin) twice a day to guard against infection, and stay out of the sun to prevent discoloration. If you've managed to get a second-degree burn, see a physician for a prescription topical antibiotic.
  • Disguise damage. Don't use makeup on the burn, but obscure it by leaving your locks loose and tousling them forward.
How to Avoid Curling-Iron Burns:
  • When rolling the curling iron against your head, stick a thin plastic comb between your scalp and the iron, suggests Cutler. A basic black comb that's about an eighth of an inch thick fits the bill — it's enough to block the heat but not so thick that it will block access to your roots. "I use this trick at shoots, because if you burn a model's face, she hates you for life," says Cutler.

Revive Limp Locks

If your do has drooped, you don't have to spend the day with strands that are as flat as a pancake. To make your flapjack style look more full:
  • Shake dry any damp spots. If you were stuck in bad weather or in a sweaty situation (hmmm...), use a towel (or tissue if that's all you have) to get your tresses as dry as possible.
  • Tease your roots. Pull out a comb, hold a two-inch section of hair straight up, then briskly move the comb up and down the backside over the roots only (from your scalp to two inches away). Make sure to do the back of your head as well.
  • Pull it back. When all else fails, try a sleek ponytail.
How to Prevent Limp Locks:
  • Don't overload on product. If you expect wet weather, use a humidity-proof styler.
  • Use a root-boosting volumizer when styling.
  • While blow-drying, lift your roots up and point the nozzle up into them to lock
    in lift.

Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.


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How to Answer: 'Why Should I Hire You?'

By Joe Turner, author of "Job Search Secrets Unlocked"

"Why should I hire you?"

This is the classic question most of us hear during an interview. It's often preceded by the phrase, "I've already interviewed another person for this position who looks perfect." Then comes the killer question, "Why should I hire YOU?"

Sometimes the most innocent interview question can prove to be the key to the empire for some, while it can be the swan song for others.

The next time an employer asks, "Why should I hire you?" see the question in a new light -- as an opportunity to shine and pull ahead of your competitors.

Be careful to avoid clever retorts or comedic one-liners here. Your interview is serious business and a wrong answer will send you packing. This is the one question that interviewers like to ask because the answer can separate the contenders from the also-rans. Give a wrong answer and the large "game over" sign flashes above your head.

What hiring managers really want to know is, "What's special or different about you?" or "How are you different than all the other candidates who have applied for this position?" With this in mind, a good way to approach your answer here is to launch into your best "story" that answers this question: "Will you go the extra mile?"

Why is the employer asking why he or she should hire you? Because there are only five areas of interest he or she is concerned with:

1. Your skills2. Your knowledge about the company3. Your manageability4. Your affordability5. Whether you can go above and beyond your job description.

In this day of "lean and mean" operations philosophy, employers are looking for employees who can think bigger and perform duties beyond their jobs.

Realize that there will always be competing candidates with a higher skill level, more experience, more education and training or even a smoother interviewing style. The one equalizer though, is the ability to demonstrate how you have risen above and gone that extra mile to accomplish an important task, complete the job or realize an important goal.

Here, you recount that story of exactly how you worked 60-hour weeks, acquired new skills or did whatever it took to distinguish yourself and meet the challenge head on to successfully make the sale, save the project or rescue a client. If you can put a dollar value on the result, your story will only be that much more dramatic.

Knowing this ahead of time, it's wise to put in the time beforehand to work on your answer to this question. Pick your best example of how you went above and beyond in your job. Work on your story to perfect it. Set the scene, describe the challenge and describe your role and the successful conclusion. Use this as an example of how you use your particular set of skills in an extraordinary time to "give it your all" and produce a clear benefit to your employer.

Since no other candidate can duplicate your own personal story here, you'll make a memorable impression. Not only that, but quite possibly you'll pull yourself ahead of that "perfect" candidate who preceded you.

As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. Author of "Job Search Secrets Unlocked," Turner has been interviewed on radio talk shows and offers free insider job search secrets at:

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Sexy Shape-Up Secrets

Workout tips from Carmen Electra's trainer.
by Kate Dailey for ExerciseTV

You need a body-boosting workout but you don't have time to spend hours in the gym. Celebrity trainer Michael Carson feels your pain. His client Carmen Electra doesn’t have a lot of time to spend doing squats either. Carson’s solution? Spend as little time as possible working out—and avoid exercise moves you hate.

To follow Carson’s advice, you need to maximize your gym time with a series of dynamic movements that tone muscle, increase flexibility, and burn calories. That means giving tried-and-true exercises a mobility makeover and using more muscles at once.

Carson calls his workout system “rotational”--think of it as three-dimensional body movement. You’re not just moving back and forth and side to side, but in all directions. “It gives you a lot of muscular use with very little impact, and it helps prevent injury,” Carson says. “It’s all about fluidly increasing circulation, improving metabolism, burning calories, and doing everything with one movement.” Sounds good to us.

Follow his tips for a body you’ll want to show off:

Twist and shout: Crunches and traditional core exercises shorten your torso and can actually do more harm than good for your posture. “The more you twist and stretch, the more you make your muscles elongated. Traditional abs training shortens them,” he says. Carson emphasizes moves that encourage full range of motion, like the HELICOPTER SQUAT. Not only do they make you look longer and leaner, they can help prevent injury as well.

Don’t ignore your core: Everybody knows the importance of core training to increase stability, posture and strength. But do you know what your “core” is? If you think abs and back, think again. “Your core goes down below your thighs, almost to your knees,” says Carson. It’s made up of many muscles that all work together to keep you stable and strong. That’s why when you work out, you should engage them all in tandem instead of trying to spot train. Try moves like the BENT OVER PRESS to give your core a real-life workout.

Posture makes perfect: How you stand when executing a move can impact how your muscles fire, which in turn can hinder the effect of your workout. When lunging, keep your weight on your heels and squeeze your glutes for maximum impact, says Carson. Throughout your workout, shift your weight from the ball of your foot to the pads of your feet. Pay attention to which muscles are firing as you move, as well as which moves challenge you more. (If it hurts, don’t push it; check with a trainer to ensure you’re not setting yourself up for injury.)

Ugly moves have pretty results. It’s a natural impulse to want to check yourself out in the mirror when you’re working out. But doing so can sometimes hurt, not help, your form. “To do a squat properly, you want to lower your shoulders to the same degree that you’re lowering your hips,” says Carson. The result can be a move that looks awkward, but it’s better for you.

“Otherwise, you’re putting too much pressure on your knees and shins,” says Carson. “It might feel like there’s a lot going on down there, but there’s no benefit.” Watch him in the FIGURE 8 SQUAT for perfect form.

For more workouts with Michael Carson or to check out Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease workouts, go to

© 2008 ExerciseTV LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Flatten Your Abs Without Hurting Your Back

Which exercise can help without hurting?
By Martica Heaner, M.A., M.Ed., for MSN Health & Fitness

Q. I have a herniated disc. What is the best way to flatten and strengthen my upper and lower abdomen, but avoid straining my lower back?

A. A common misconception is that specific exercises will “flatten” the abdomen. Another common misconception is that different abdominal muscles need to be worked—upper vs. lower, for example. Here’s the truth:

If you wish to flatten your abdomen, this suggests that you have extra fat in the area. You can lie on your back and do zillions of ab crunches, V-sits, bicycle moves, reverse curls, curls on the ball, and so on—and not make a dent in the fat on your belly. Why? Because lying on your back and contracting your abdominal muscles burns very few calories. It burns about as many as lying on your back and watching TV (OK, maybe half a calorie per minute more).

To reduce body fat, you need to burn more calories—and a lot of them. This is best accomplished through a combination of eating fewer calories than you normally do, and burning up more calories with greater-than-normal amounts of exercise. The best calorie-burning activities are cardio or highly vigorous workouts such as walking, running, cycling, cardio machines, dancing, and vigorous, quick-paced heavy-weight-lifting circuit routines.

What’s deceptive about ab exercises is that they feel like something is happening. The more you lie on your back and pummel away at those muscles, the bigger the burn. But, don’t be fooled—that burn is not burning fat. It’s simply the result of the occlusion of blood flow and muscle fatigue from the repeated muscle contractions.

You can’t feel fat burning. When you walk for an hour, even at a slow pace, you are burning extra fat, but you can’t feel it being sizzled off your thighs or arms. When you eat less, you also burn extra fat. But again, you can’t feel this happening. What you might think is happening to your abs as you pound away at them with core exercise, is not. So what is happening? You’re strengthening the muscles, or developing increased muscle endurance. This is beneficial, as long as the type of ab training you do is not stressful to your back—especially if your back is already vulnerable from a previous injury or weakness.

To reduce your waistline, do more cardio. You can improve the strength and endurance of your core muscles by making sure that you have good posture during any cardio that you do. Stand up tall, lengthen your spine, and engage your abs—but don’t suck them in too deeply, because then you flex the lower back and increase the pressure on it.

I’ve written extensively about the best exercises for strengthening your lower back. Ab muscles work synergistically: When you work one, you work them all. Also, there are no separate upper and lower muscles. The rectus abdominis (your six-pack muscle), for example, is one long muscle that spans from your ribs to your pubis. When you do a reverse curl that targets the “lower” area, the upper area still contracts. When you do a curl and feel it more in the upper area, the lower area still contracts.

But these moves may not be the best way to help your spine. Instead, concentrate on exercises that stabilize, rather than mobilize (or move) your spine. Pushups, planks, and hands-and-knee ab-tightening exercises are best. Check out my columns Six-Pack Abs, As Seen On TV and Are Crunches The Wrong Move? And try these exercises in MSN’s Fit Zone: Build a Better Back Now and Flat, Sexy Abs in Five Moves.

Find all articles by Martica.

Do you have a fitness or weight-loss question for Martica? Send e-mail to Please include Ask Martica in the subject line.

Each of our experts responds to one question each week and the responses are posted on Mondays on MSN Health. We regret that we cannot provide a personalized response to every submission.

Martica is a Manhattan-based exercise physiologist and nutritionist and an award-winning fitness instructor. She has written for a variety of publications including Self, Health, Prevention, The New York Times and others. Martica is the author of seven books, including her latest, Cross-training for Dummies. (Read her full bio.)

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Romantic Ideas for Everyday

20 romantic ways to show your sweetie you care no matter what the occasion.
By The Nest

Valentine's Day, First-Date Anniversary, Tuesday — when you're in love, just about any day is a perfect excuse for sparking romance. Any time you feel the need to connect with your sweetheart, these ideas are perfect — no holiday necessary.

1. Stuff a little love note in your sweetie's pocket, sock, or shoe. For maximum impact, try email.

2. Secretly load a photo of the two of you as the desktop wallpaper on your honey's computer.

3. Burn a CD with tunes from your dating days and include your first dance (or favorite) song.

4. Buy a heart-shaped cookie-cutter and use it to make toast the next morning.

5. Look up the date of the next full moon and celebrate with a champagne toast.

6. Learn to ice skate or in-line skate together. This works best when both of you are beginners — the more clinging to each other, the better.

7. Hate basketball and your main squeeze is addicted to it? Get tickets to a game. Despise musicals? Surprise your sweetie with tickets to a show. Go against the grain, and endure with grace and cheer.

8. Spend the day at a museum, holding hands.

9. Forget breakfast in bed. Have dinner in bed (and don't worry about the crumbs).

10. Go to bed early. No books, no magazines, no remote control.

11. Tell a secret — it'll bring you closer.

12. Create your own cocktail together. Then make up a name for it by combining your two names.

13. Write "I Love You" on the steamy mirror while your beloved is in the shower.

14. Go to a bookstore or music store together, then split up. Your mission: Buy something you know your sweetie will love. Then, wrap and exchange.

15. Have a picnic. It doesn't have to be outdoors, it can be on your living room floor.

16. Absence is an aphrodisiac. Spend a weekend without each other (substitute your best pal, your sister, your old college roommate) and plan to meet back at your place after 48 hours apart.

17. Teach each other about something the other knows nothing about. He can teach her all the rules of chess, or how to make a perfect omelet. She can teach him ten phrases in French and how to use the digital camera.

18. Get away from it all close to home — spend a night in a very luxurious hotel or cozy bed-and-breakfast in your own city.

19. Get dressed together — choose each other's attire (for work, for dinner out, whatever). Then, later, get undressed together.

20. Find your sweetie's car in the parking lot and tuck a love note under the windshield wiper.

[via MSN]

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