Makeup artists the world over agree that makeup should accentuate, not hide, your natural beauty. Unfortunately, most of us have at some point or another been guilty of the mismatched foundation or clumpy eyelashes. We all make mistakes – sometimes for years without realizing it! Never fear; we’re here to help with our guide to avoiding those cringe-worthy makeup no-no’s.
Foundation & Concealer
- Un-moisturized skin
Applying foundation – liquid or powder – to dry skin gives your face a flaky look and keeps the makeup from looking natural. To make sure it blends into your skin, exfoliate your face weekly to shed the dry skin and rub in a good moisturizer to make your face radiant and ready for foundation. Check out Glamour’s guide to picking the right exfoliator for your skin type. We also recommend using a primer to help the makeup go on smoother and stay on longer.
- Wrong Shade
Picking the right shade of foundation for your skin color isn’t always easy. It’s great that we have so many options out there, but makes it even harder to choose the one that’s going to match your skin perfectly. Make sure you test the shades beforehand, but not on the back of your hand! We see a lot of women do this at makeup counters, but since your hands often have more redness than your face, it’s not an effective place to test foundation. We recommend testing shades on your jawline, and taking a look at how it blends into your skin in natural lighting.
- Wrong season
You don’t wear a parka in the summer or spaghetti straps in December, so why would you wear the same foundation year-long? Most women need a foundation that’s at least a shade darker in the summer. To avoid buying tons of bottles of foundation, Lauren Conrad’s Beauty Beginners Guide has a helpful tip for mid-season makeup: “Don’t be afraid to mix colors. I use two different foundation colors for summer and winter (depending how much sun I’ve gotten), and mix them together in between those two seasons.”
- Too-light Concealer
Like the common mistake of testing foundation on the back of your hand, a lot of women have been told to buy under-eye concealer that’s two shades lighter than their foundation. This is a makeup sin, since too-light concealer is only going to draw attention to the area and accentuate, not hide, the dark circles. Use a peach-toned color corrector to cover those unfortunate blue and purple circles. (And make sure you’re getting enough rest, which is the best way to counteract tired eyes!)
- The Jawline Line
If there’s a noticeable difference between your jawline and your neck, you’re not using the right foundation and/or not blending your foundation from your face to your neck. This line is a big makeup no-no that has several fixes. Unless you have severe acne, consider applying less foundation or switching to just tinted moisturizers, with concealer for problem spots. Less is more in the world of makeup! Don’t walk out of the house with your face caked in foundation and your neck a whole different shade.
Eyes & Brows
- Curl Before
Even though they look like alien artifacts, eyelash curlers can be a girl’s best friend to make her lashes luscious. But beware: they’re best used before applying mascara, on clean, dry eyelashes. If you put mascara on first, and don’t let the mascara dry, your lashes will stick together, giving them a hard, tacky look.
- Clumped No More
If you’re applying four or five coats of mascara, your lashes are likely a clumped-up mess. No point in beating around the bush; we’d rather tell you to keep you from committing one of makeup’s worst sins. Take your time when applying mascara! For the first coat, start at the base of your eyelashes, with the mascara wand held at a horizontal, and wiggle it out to the ends of your lashes. For the second coat, turn the wand vertically and separate your lashes while curling and lengthening them. You may decide you need a third coat, but trust us – stop there.
- Too-Bold Brows
We get it; the Kardashians and other celebs have shown us the sexiness of bold eyebrows. But it doesn’t work for everyone, and we see a lot of women over-exaggerating their brows. To avoid the harsh, drawn-on look, brush your eyebrow hair with a clear gel to hold it in place and then fill in with an eyebrow pencil a shade lighter than your actual brow color.
- Matchy-matchy Eye Shadow
To bring out your eye color, don’t try to match your shadow to it – find the colors opposite of it instead. Best on blue eyes: coppers, bronzes, browns, plums. Brown or hazel-eyed women, go for blues, greens, and mahoganies.
- Dark Lip Liner
It worked for Rachel on Friends two decades ago… best to be avoided now. You want to accentuate your lip shape by picking a liner a shade – not two or three – darker than the natural color of your lips.
- My Lip Gloss is… Not Poppin’
Speaking of outdated trends, we can’t help but cringe when we see the early 2000s full-on glossy lips. If you want a little shine, that’s fine – but keep it to the center of your lips for maximum shape and pout. Applying it all over your lips just makes you look like you’ve stepped out of a music video circa 2002.
- Matte on Dry
For the ladies who are more of the matte lipstick persuasion, be careful not to apply your lipstick on chapped lips. Just like foundation applied on dry skin, you’re going to get a flaky effect. Luckily, there are plenty of good lip exfoliating techniques and nourishing lip balms that can save your trendy matte look. One cheap trick? Putting Vaseline on a toothbrush and softly rubbing it across your lips to get rid of that dead skin!