FLAKING SKIN, A broken nail, an angry spot on your chin - they always seem to happen just before you walk out of the door for a special night out - or worse still - the day before your wedding. But there are ways to make it less of a diva dilemma. We have sought the tricks of the trade from beauty professionals who tell us how to solve several common complaints at home or in the salon. Puffy eyes Susan Yarburg, owner of SE Spa and Salon (tel: 2530 3898), says a 45-minute eye treatment called Vital Eyes is available at the salon. 'It's a relaxing treatment that helps to combat puffy eyes and dark circles,' she says. 'We use digit-pressure massage movements that are designed to relax and smooth the eye contour. It also drains excess fluid.' It costs $620. She also recommends an intensive eye mask twice a week. Jenny Brewis from Retreat at The Firm (tel: 2525 6696) recommends the gel-filled eye masks that go in the freezer (from SaSa stores). 'And the good, old cucumber slices on the eyes do work if you've got nothing else, as long as they come straight from the fridge,' she says. 'As it heats up, make sure to replace it. It has to be cold.' Amy Chan, education and operations director of mineral-based makeup and skincare group Franche, says to soak a flannel in hot water and bathe the eyes. 'This increases the circulation and gets the blood flowing. Put on eye gel afterwards using pressure-point massage. That also helps increase circulation.' Blemish blues You know you shouldn't squeeze, but if you can't help yourself, there are ways to make it look less angry. Website ivillage.co.uk quotes Barbara Daly, former makeup artist to Princess Diana, recommending a dab of drying lotion (such as TCP) and to wait for the area to dry. 'Then apply concealer to the red area and over the base of the spot. See how this looks before applying loose powder - you don't want it to look crusty. Minimising the redness is the best way to disguise a blemish - and wait until it's stopped 'weeping',' Daly says. Chan says if you have time, get a professional treatment. 'They'll see if it's squeezable [if you haven't already done the deed], and if so, remove some of the congestion. They will then use a high-frequency machine to reduce the inflammation. It's quick,' she says, adding it could take about half an hour with a deep-cleansing facial and mask included (about $400 depending on what's required). 'The machine speeds up the healing process and dries it up more quickly. It's about a minute on the pimple. You'll find that in 24 hours, the pimple has gone down,' Chan says. Dull skin Serina Lui from Indulgence Spa (tel: 2815 3273) advises those with dull skin to first look for the cause - such as dead surface skin or poor circulation. If it's the former, scrub with Dermalogica's Daily Resurfacer ($650) and apply its booster product ($558). If the problem continues, use a hot-stone facial ($750/ 90 minutes), because the stones increase blood circulation, 'detoxify and harmonise the skin', Lui says. Chan says products containing vitamin C do the trick, such as boosters or serums. Franche's antioxidant facial ($750) can also help. 'Or, at home, apply a quick brightening or whitening mask as they're a pick-me-up,' she says. 'And we do say that if your skin is looking a bit lifeless, put more colour in your makeup - eye shadow, lipstick and blusher.' Broken nails Anna Orvay, owner of Sense of Touch (tel: 2517 0939), says the first thing to do is secure the nail by wrapping it with a Band Aid - until you get to a nail salon. 'If it is just a slight tear on the side, you may get by using nail glue, then filing and buffing to smoothen sharp edges. Apply extra coats of nail strengthener. If the nail is completely broken, shorten using nail clippers.' Weak nails can be strengthened using OPI's Nail Envy Treatment ($220). OPI Chip Skip ($120) also primes nail surfaces, so lacquers adhere better and remain chip-free longer. Orvay says a hang nail occurs when the skin around the nail becomes dry and there are small tears or splits in the nail plate. Hang nails can be caused by dryness, nail biting, too much cuticle cutting or injury. To prevent this, have regular manicures and pedicures, eat foods that contain calcium, iron, vitamin B and potassium, protect hands and nails when washing dishes or gardening, she says. 'You can also try Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Oil Treatment [$145], rich in avocado oil and vitamin E, grapeseed, sunflower, sesame and kukui nut oils.' Oily skin Yarburg promotes products containing rosehip, which is high in vitamin C, lemon for toning, and salicylic acid, which removes impurities from the surface. Brewis says: 'If you're going out, wash your face again and reapply all your makeup as it'll be less shiny.' Chan recommends using products with more water than oil. She says it's a myth that oiliness is caused by too much moisture. 'We tend to be oily because we're not hydrating enough. The matte products can be drying or block the pores and this creates more oiliness.' Blotting paper can be used, but 'don't overdo it as this will take away too much moisture'. Frizzy hair You can do something about it - for a while, anyway. 'This is a subject that many people in Hong Kong deal with every day,' says Darrin Usher from The Hairdressers (tel: 2973 0512). 'Too many hairdressers mislead their clients where frizzy hair is concerned. There are certain things that can help, such as a straightening iron with a silicon-based product such as De Frizz from Fudge [$145]. The use of product alone just isn't enough. But even with these great products and a little help from an iron, they are only going to help for a period of time. 'There is no long-term quick fix, but if you can avoid the open air and any moisture, you're going to be in much better shape towards the end of an evening.' Dry, flaky skin Yarburg says if the skin has peeled from being in the sun, a body scrub can even it out. 'This is very good, especially for sensitive skin.' But she says for flaky skin from dryness, a peeling salt treatment ($580) can help, or, at home, a body lotion with extracts of honey dew for intense moisture, calendula - an antiseptic and soothing agent - or carotene-based oils to soften. Brewis suggests a light scrub to take off the flakes and then follow up with a moisturiser if it's peeling from sunburn. 'But if it's peeling skin that keeps coming back, it could be a case of eczema, so then you'd need a treatment cream,' she says. Splotchy fake tan Unfortunately, there are no remedies for tiger-stripe skin, but you can improve its appearance. 'I would suggest to exfoliate hard and try to even it out. Then reapply,' Brewis says. There's also St Tropez Tan Remover ($160, from Elemis Day Spa, tel: 2521 6660), which is a safeguard against a botched home job (even though St Tropez makes its own best-selling fake tan). It works up to four hours after an application of self-tan. Overplucked brows Yarburg says misshapen, too-thin brows have to be left to grow back - then shaped by an expert. 'We can shape them to match the eye. If needed, we'll recommend an eyebrow tint,' she says. Daly recommends an eyebrow pencil as close to your brow colour as possible and lightly pencil in, following your natural line. 'Then go over with an old toothbrush to soften the line and make it appear more natural,' she says. Brewis favours using an eyebrow stencil to get the right shape. 'Then go over the brow with some eyebrow powder to create an even brow [you can buy the powder and stencils at SaSa stores, Bobbi Brown and MAC],' she says. 'If you use the stencil, you can make the eyebrows look even and natural, and the powders come in various shades.' Brewis says after that, leave them for two to three weeks and then see a professional. 'Then you can start plucking them on your own,' she says.