11 Makeup Mistakes You Don’t Realize You’re Making

11 makeup mistakes from Susmeta Patel to stay away from when inhancing your natural beauty and protecting the health of your skin. Schedule your free consultation with our highly trained Aestheticians for tips on looking Fabulous with Jane Iredale Cosmetics “The Skin Care Makeup”

Plus, in the spirit of sisterhood and community, we’ve each ‘fessed up to the makeup mistakes we’ve committed. Join in and share which ones you’re guilty of — no judgment. After all, your confessions will make us feel a bit better about our own misguidedness.

Mistake No. 1: Wearing the wrong foundation shade

“Foundation isn’t supposed to give your skin a bit of a tan,” Patel says. After all, that’s what bronzers are for. Instead, “it’s supposed to create a perfect, smooth complexion and cover-up any imperfections. This is why you should always use a foundation which blends in with your skin.” Patel recommends testing on your jawline (not your hand!) before buying, and when possible, ask for a sample first. That way you can try it at home — and look at your skin in various lighting situations — to make sure the shade you choose looks natural.

We confess: “Being naturally light-skinned, I’m always trying to look more tanned,” says assistant editor Jane. “So sometimes I pick a foundation that’s a bit darker than my skin tone, which (of course) leads to my face and neck being two totally different colors. I think it’s time to embrace my natural coloring. Who wants to look like Snooki anyway, right?”

Mistake No. 2: Applying makeup on dry, flaky skin

Patel describes the results of slathering on foundation over chapped skin as “horrific,” and we have to agree. Foundation will only emphasize the flakes by sitting on top of them instead of blending in with your skin. Fix the dryness by exfoliating regularly (to get rid of flakes) and following that up with a rich moisturizer. Smoother skin means a much smoother application and finished look.

We confess: “I’m in my 30s, and I don’t exfoliate as much as I should,” says executive editor Meghan. “While most experts recommend I do it at least once a week, preferably twice, I’m probably more in the exfoliate-twice-a-month category. As a result, I’ve fallen prey to putting makeup on too-dry skin — and I end up looking less than cute. Note to self: Take an extra couple minutes to exfoliate twice a week before bed. It takes more time to fix makeup that looks awful after it’s been put on parched, flaky skin.”

Mistake No. 3: Wearing blue eyeshadow

“Blue eyeshadow works for some people,” Patel says. “Little girls in dance recitals. Guests at 1970s-themed parties. Ethereal looking supermodels. If you aren’t one of the aforementioned people, don’t wear it. Enough said.” Harsh, but truer words have never been spoken.

We confess: “In middle school, I had a friend who was born with dark brown/black hair and light blue eyes that I was super jealous of,” says intern Stephanie. “She wore electric blue eyeliner and managed to make it look so edgy that I wanted to give blue a try too. I tried a bright blue shadow instead, but as a girl with black hair and brown eyes, the color is all kinds of wrong on me. Luckily, my mom was quick to point out that I looked like a clown before I headed off to school that day, and I haven’t touched a pale blue palette since.”

Mistake No. 4: Trying to “plump” your lips

You’ve probably heard, or tried, the trick of lining just outside your natural lip line to make your lips look bigger. But it’s way easier said than done. One wrong move and you’ll end up looking like Pamela Anderson circa 1993. If you are going to attempt it, Patel says to use a lip liner the same shade as your lipstick on the outer line of your lips, without passing over it. Fill in your lips as well — that way if your lipstick fades, you don’t wind up with only a line around your mouth.

We confess: “The makeup artist for my wedding drew lip liner outside my lips — I guess it was to make my lips look fuller, but all I kept thinking was ‘porn star,'” says editor in chief Beth. “Not exactly what I was going for. When she packed up and left for the day, I dialed it way back with a Q-Tip and vowed never again.”

Mistake No. 5: Over-tweezing (or ignoring) your eyebrows

“When [brows are] well groomed they can enhance your eyes and your entire look,” Patel says. So head to a professional to get an ideal shape. While you do want to tame overgrown brows, Patel stresses that you don’t want to tweeze too much. “As we get older, our brows naturally become sparser, so if you tweeze your brows too thin they might never fully grow back,” she says. So just stick with cleaning up the area around your brows and follow their natural arch for your best shape.

We confess: “I’ve totally over-tweezed my eyebrows,” says associate editor Alexis. “What usually happens is this: I try to clean up the strays and notice a few stragglers on the end. I remove a few hairs from the end, and then think it looks uneven. Before I know it, half my eyebrow is missing. On both sides. This is why I get them threaded — professionally.”

Mistake No. 6: Wearing an entire eye palette on your lids

“Just because your compact came with four or more colors packaged together doesn’t mean you have to paint them all onto your eyelids at once,” Patel says. Instead, she recommends wearing no more than three shades at a time: a medium one on your lids, a lighter one near your brow bone and a dark one as liner. But for everyday, you really only need a sweep of one shade across your lid.

We confess: “Yes, I had delusions of grandeur and thought I could get all fancy on my eyelids,” says senior editor Sarah. “I had a different shade of liner on my top and bottom lash lines, a brow highlighting shade, crease shade and at least two shades on my lids. Had this been done by an actual makeup artist I’m sure it could have been quite beautiful — but since I’m so not one — it looked like a hot mess. The only saving grace: I had enough time before going out to wash it off and start over.”

Mistake No. 7: Trying to “sculpt” your face

Yes, we would all love chiseled cheekbones and a dainty, ski-slope nose, but if nature didn’t deliver, makeup isn’t going to help. Patel says contouring is best left to professionals, and only for photography or film. “No matter how skilled you are with the makeup brush, it’s nearly impossible to use dark colors that aren’t glaringly obvious when viewed in person, especially in broad daylight,” Patel says. “Focus instead on pretty, soft makeup that plays up your best features.”

We confess: “OK, so I have a round face and therefore use whatever means necessary, i.e. makeup, to help slim it,” says associate editor Anna. “It’s safe to say I have gotten a little heavy-handed with the bronzer under my cheekbones on more than one occasion.”

Mistake No. 8: Using pencil on your eyebrows

“A penciled eyebrow looks painted and weird (hello Joan Crawford),” Patel says. Nevertheless, many women still go this route to fill in brows. A better option: “Choose an eyeshadow color that matches your hair color and apply with a thin, stiff, angled brush using tiny strokes,” Patel says.

We confess: “I used to use pencil to fill in my brows and I recently switched to a waxy powder,” says Meghan. “I can’t tell you the difference it makes! With the pencil, you could totally tell that I did some filling in work. This waxy powder is so much easier to use, easier to fix if I mess up, and looks way more natural.”

Mistake No. 9: Wearing black eyeliner in the daytime

“Here is a general rule: dark colors shrink and recede,” Patel says. “Light colors advance and bring forward.” That’s why she recommends skipping black eyeliner (especially underneath eyes) during the day, so your eyes look more open and awake.

We confess: “Yikes, I do this almost every day,” says Sarah. “I do like how the liner defines my eyes. I think I look tired without some liner on. But I will admit that black can be a bit harsh for daytime, so maybe a switch to brown liner is in order. Same effect without the goth undertones.”

Mistake No. 10: Wearing glitter

“The thing that bothers me the most about glitter in makeup, besides the fact that it shouldn’t be worn by anyone over the age of 14 (fabulous club kids get an exception here), is that it travels on your face, leaving strange sparkly spots where they shouldn’t be,” Patel says. Instead of chunky glitter, she recommends shadows with finely milled shimmer — used sparingly, of course.

We confess: “I got super into glitter in junior high when I discovered Tony & Tina, this fabulous line that specialized in glitter-packed makeup,” says assistant editor Sharon. “While their products were amazing (sadly discontinued), I unfortunately used glitter on more than one area at a time. So … glittery eyeshadow, glittery eyeliner, sparkly blush, and glitter-infused lip gloss. Yowza. In hindsight I probably looked like I got into a fight with a tub of glitter — and lost.”

Mistake No. 11: Going nuts with “luminizing” products

“Luminous particles have been added to everything in the past few years, most notably foundations, powders, and highlighting products,” Patel says. “One or two such products can make a woman look fresh and glowing. Too many can make her look very, very strange.” Think glowing head on a matte body, or like you spent your morning leaning over an oil vat — not exactly sexy. Patel suggests limiting your illuminating products to these areas: cheekbones, inner eye corners, and (if used sparingly) under the eye.

We confess: “I had this great Stila luminizing powder — I wore it everywhere, every day,” says Beth. “It was part of my uniform. Then I caught my reflection in really strong daylight one time, and I realized how it was highlighting every bump, scar, and wrinkle on my face. From then on, it was a nighttime thing only — and even then, only when I was going to a darkly lit place.”


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