Whether you’re an influencer with a makeup kit to make even the biggest cosmetic moguls jealous or your average Josephine who relies on a lick of mascara to get through the day, there are beauty rules that we should all be following to make the most out of our makeup and to keep our skin healthy and glowing at all times.
When it comes to actually wearing makeup, I’m a keen breaker of rules and I love to experiment with different styles and colours, but there are definitely a few rules that are more than just guidelines that even I shouldn’t break as some of them can cause havoc on the skin and eyelashes. Now these mistakes can easily be fitted into three categories – Preparation, Tools and the Makeup itself, and by covering all three means we cover all ground, so keep a few of these tips in mind next time you are prepping for a face full of makeup and you won’t have to worry about your skin again.
Not Cleansing Properly – Probably one of the biggest mistakes people make is not removing makeup after a day of wearing it. Whether it’s a full face or just a bit of eyeliner, wearing makeup to bed can cause more damage underneath the skin and to the eyelashes than you would even realise. Not only that but it can look pretty unsightly too! Don’t tell me you’ve never woken up after forgetting to cleanse your mascara and caught your reflection in the mirror… That is one look that no one can get away with unless you’re going for the ‘partied all night and haven’t had a wink of sleep’ look.
Not cleansing your makeup each night isn’t just aesthetically displeasing, it can cause your skin to break out, become lumpy, inflamed and dry. The reason for this is that the dead skin and dirt that builds up stays on the face and in the pores, which can lead to pimples and blemishes. Our skin has a way of naturally repairing itself and it usually does this while we sleep, the outer layers of the skin are essentially dead and can become matted and stuck to the newer layers underneath. If you have even noticed your skin is a bit dull and lacks the smoothness it did previously, it could be a result of sleeping in makeup or not going through a cleansing routine thoroughly.
It is arguable whether a good bar of soap or the most high end cleansing products are the best way to get rid of the daily build up of grime from your face, but if you haven’t really given much thought to what you clean your face with then I say soap is always a good place to start! It is good to get into the habit of getting rid of your makeup at the end of the day and if you find it your skin needs a little extra care, keep it moisturised lightly and exfoliate it a couple of times a week gently with a scrub to be clear of impurities that sit on the top of the skin.
Not Using a Primer – So, this mistake works on a few different levels as priming your face before applying makeup can help with various issues. The main one is of course providing a base for your makeup that helps it stay put for longer and acts as another layer to your makeup without having to go heavy on foundation.
Primers are also good for evening out your skin tone, as you may well know the skin on your face is not the same colour all over, there are lighter parts, darker parts and skin that is thinner like around your eyes. By using a primer beforehand, it helps to even out the tones ready for a coat of foundation, and there are even better options now with colour correction which focus on darker circles around the eyes and blemishes on your face that foundation alone won’t cover. If that wasn’t enough for you, further options include mattifying and smoothing properties in primers. For those with oily or combination skin, this is a godsend as it not only helps the appearance of your skin overall but provides more base for makeup to adhere to.
Primers are also designed to smooth out skin, now they are not the same as intense moisturisers, but they do provide the same qualities and are light, so it doesn’t overpower the skin. Where there are thin lines, using a good primer will help so much to even the texture making your makeup look even better than before. If you are not in the habit of using a primer yet, have a look into one that suits your skin type and does what you need it to, whether that is colour correcting, mattifying or just for brightening your skin, as this it would be a real beauty mistake to not see the benefits first hand.
Using Concealer Incorrectly – Concealer can be confusing to those who aren’t really sure what to do with it and it can be a big makeup mistake if applied without checking what you are doing first. It used to be that if you bought concealer you did it to hide a blemish or an untimely spot that no amount of natural remedies could fix. Those teenage days from years past have thankfully gone now and there are more purposeful ways to use concealer to make your finished look very even and smooth.
There are a many tips about how and where to apply concealer and all of them may be true, but the main use is under the eyes where the skin is thinner and the tone tends to be darker than the rest of your face… especially after a long night and early morning. But this doesn’t mean you should pile on the concealer with no order to it, as this can end up looking waxy or uneven compared to the rest of the skin and finish your makeup look in a worse way than when you started.
When you apply concealer under the eyes, it should be dabbed or dropped on and then worked in with a beauty blender in a patting motion rather than rubbing or dragging it. Rubbing it in basically does nothing but move the makeup from where you want it to be and increase the look of creases in the skin in the one place no one wants visible lines or creases.
Another concealer mistake people make is using the same one as you use to cover spots. I think this one is self-explanatory, you don’t want to share the same brush, blenders or concealer that you would use for under your eyes as this is how infections can spread and lead to worse problems down the road. But not only this, you are dealing with different textures of skin and therefore should use different types of concealer. For under the eyes it is better to use something smooth to help with any lines or creases and won’t create an additional texture that isn’t there and for spots and blemishes you need something richer that won’t budge throughout the day. If used with care, concealer will help correct mistakes, not make them.
Not Cleaning Makeup Brushes or Sponges – This is such a crime in the makeup world, but also for anyone who even owns a makeup brush. Why is this a big makeup mistake? Unfortunately, once anything is out of its packaging it is susceptible to collecting dust, dirt and bacteria, even more so when it has had contact with the skin and any potential bacteria hiding out there. We can clean our faces five times a day, but there will always be something waiting to cling onto our brushes and sponges such as dead skin cells or oils. If these oils are transferred to your brush, then all you are doing is transferring it back to your face again each day, so do yourself a favour and give them a clean or purchase a new set.
The other downside to not cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges is that it has a negative effect on your makeup, not only the quality of it but the way it is applied to your face. Think about foundation and powders for a minute, and all those oils that have collected and even other shades of makeup. When you then use this to apply your fresh makeup for the day the colour and texture may not translate as well as it did when you first got it. If you are in the business of not making mistakes when applying makeup, then clean brushes are the best place to start.
Using the Wrong Lighting – When you think of the tools your use to do your makeup, you think of brushes, applicators and curlers, but did you ever think of lighting? If not, its time to start putting it up there with the best of them as its definitely one mistake a lot of people make. Now fine, we can’t all afford a Hollywood dressing room complete with mirror lights and our own makeup artist, but we should have somewhere planned in our houses that provides the perfect lighting for our own makeup rituals.
Bad lighting could be the difference between you thinking you look great and then stepping outside and actually looking like an Oompa Loompa! I’m sure at some point we’ve all had to try to get ready in a hurry, under the dim lighting inside our cars, stretching our necks to use the rear view mirror to apply what we thought was our favourite shade of blush to then get to work and find out it was actually a lot brighter than we expected. Its not a sin, but it is a mistake and one we can all avoid if we take lighting seriously when applying makeup.
The best lighting is soft and natural, so day time is ideal and preferable somewhere with face on natural light that doesn’t give you shadows These shadows can distort what you see against what it actually there and are more likely to make you misjudge lines and colours. If natural light isn’t available, then it’s a great investment to buy a ring light for your mirror. Sure, they don’t come cheap if they are good, but they do provide a perfectly even ring of light so that your face is shadow free, and you can see to it that you get even coverage from your makeup.
If you need to use any other lighting to apply your makeup, then just make sure you avoid bright yellows and florescent lighting. Harsh yellow lighting will give you’re a different impression of what you are putting on your face and they can get quite hot which is the opposite of what you need when you’re trying to get makeup to stick to your face! Florescent lighting is everyone’s worst nightmare as it shows up every blemish and imperfection which can lead to over-doing it with the foundation. Get your lighting right and avoid these mistakes for a flawless face of makeup.
Curling Lashes Incorrectly – Eyelash curlers are either your best friend or your worst enemy and even if they fall into the best friend category, they can betray you from time to time! But is this because you haven’t been using them properly? Who knows! All we know is there are many makeup mistakes out there and using eyelash curlers without proper care is definitely a mistake your eyelashes are not going to be happy about you making.
The number one rule when it comes to your eyelash curler is to curl BEFORE applying mascara and not after. So many people get this wrong because they don’t think about what harm it can do. Well actually, it can cause your lashes to become weak and start to break. Mascara is designed to hold your eyelashes in place and keep them firm until you remove it later on in the evening. If you try to change their shape while mascara is on you are essentially trying to make something flexible that isn’t supposed to be flexible. Do yourself a favour and get curling before mascara time and your lashes will start to feel stronger in no time.
Also, as with makeup brushes, this important tool needs cleaning too. Eyelashes contain oils and bacteria that can be transferred to your eyelash curler and then back to your lashes again. As there are tiny follicles to think of here, the last thing they need is to collect anything that may cause an infection on or near your eye. Healthy curler, healthy eyes and eyelashes! Simple.
Not Throwing Makeup Out – So there are probably hundreds of makeup mistakes being made all over the world that are enough to have professional makeup artists cringing at the very thought. But there are a few of them that are very important, not just to the experts but to everyone who even wears even just a bit of foundation. Keeping makeup for longer than you should if a definite mistake and a lot of people tend not to even realise that it has a use by date. Foundation, mascara, eyeshadow, creams and lotions, they all have an expiry and it isn’t just there as a guideline.
Have you ever gone to put some mascara on and noticed the texture has ended up really clumpy and it doesn’t seem to apply like it used to when you first bought it? That probably means its time to throw it out and get a new one. In fact, you should try to stick to the three-month rule with mascara and things like foundation and concealers. The containers should tell you on the side how many months from being open your makeup will be good to use so definitely try to follow this.
As we’ve already covered, the transference of bacteria to and from your makeup brushes to your face is bad enough, but then to have it mix in with your makeup too means you are just constantly reapplying oils and dead cells to a clean face. Not only that, but most makeup stops having the desired effect after a certain amount of time once it has been opened. Foundations tend to lose their mattifying qualities, mascaras tend to lose the ability to glide over lashes, so if you want a flawless face of makeup, new items are usually the way to go rather than trying to squeeze every last drop out of something after six months.
Wearing Too Much Waterproof Mascara – Mascara is fine, we all love it and it is the perfect finish to any makeup look so we tend to wear it more than any other product. Its easy to get excited about different types of mascara that promises to do different things, such as volumise, lengthen and enhance. But waterproof mascara is different and is best saved for weddings, beach days and the odd rainy-day outing.
Wearing waterproof mascara every day is just going to damage your lashes in the long run so keep it to those occasions if you have to wear it and keep your lashes moisturised in between applications. As waterproof mascara is designed to stay put and not move until you really cleanse it, it can involve a lot of tugging and unnecessary stress on your eyelashes which will cause them to fall out earlier than they should in the eyelash growth cycle. This can then lead to your lashes looking less than full until new ones grow back in.
Eyelashes should really be taken care of in this respect as they do take around 6 weeks after the end of the growth cycle to grow back in and the only real way they can be faked is with extensions, which is a very expensive mistake, if you ask me, so try and leave the waterproof mascara to those special days that call for it and be really careful when cleansing before bed. Apply an eyelash serum after cleansing which will keep them strong, hydrated and healthy in the long run.
Matching Foundation to the Back of your Hand – Where did this advice even come from? Or was it a lack of mirrors in beauty stores that lead to people trying it out. We’ve all done it at some point, and unless you have sought advice at a beauty counter about what shade suits you best then you will probably do it again.
Skin tones are completely different all over our bodies, and the back of our wrists tend to be a different tone to our faces so you should only be matching colour there if that is where you are going to wear it. Your jaw is a better place to match your foundation as this is where you should see if blend in and not stand out at all, if it does then it is not the right shade for you.
Lighting is also important when finding the right shade of foundation, remember a shop’s florescent lighting can be very unforgiving so try and find a natural light source or somewhere that won’t create shadows and when it is lightly applied to your jaw, you should be able to blend it with your natural skin tone. Also, equally as important, but one everyone forgets is not to apply test foundation shades on top of your existing foundation. It seems obvious but as we tend to wear makeup when we go shopping, it is very easy to forget, and all you will be left with is a shade that falsely represents what you saw when you bought it. As far as makeup mistakes, streaky foundation that is too many shades darker than our natural skin is definitely up there with the worst of them.
Now you have some of the basic tips down, your new makeup, clean makeup brushes and fresh face are the perfect starting point for a flawless face of makeup. Don’t let mistakes from your past rule your future!