From beauty gurus to makeup newbies, all of us fall victim to the inevitable makeup faux pas from time to time. Whether it’s because you’re short on time, short on skill, or you live in an easy bake oven, sometimes it feels like the world is conspiring against our perfectly airbrushed faces. And that’s okay – no one has perfect makeup all the time! Luckily for you, we’ve done our research and figured out the top makeup mistakes – and all the tricks of the trade that will make sure you’re looking (and feeling) fresh from morning until night.
Get foundation matched
One of our biggest pet peeves is mismatched foundation! It can make even the most flawless application and coverage look dirty, cakey, and just plain amateur. Many big makeup counters (such as Sephora or Ulta) will match your foundation free of charge, and then recommend brands for you to try – you can even take home some samples! It’s very important that your colour is matched to your neck – this is because your neck is not exposed to sun and is unlikely to have hyper pigmentation or blemishes – so it will be the most true to your ‘real’ colour. Also, make sure you change your foundation seasonally! Even if you’re religious about sunscreen, most people have at least a slight change in colour from summer to winter. No one wants to start fall with a bad Jersey Shore impression.
Q-Tip Makeup Remover
So simple, so effective. Whenever you’re planning to put a little artistry and time into a more complicated makeup look, grab some Q-tips and makeup remover. If you make a mistake, you can spot-correct easily without having to remove and reapply your entire look. This trick works especially well with brows, winged liner, and bold lipsticks.
It has happened to all of us – you spend many, many minutes blending and fading shadows to create the Sistine Chapel of smokey eyes…and then you see the fallout of powder underneath your eyes, all over your perfectly applied concealer and foundation. Of course, one solution that many makeup artists use is to apply dramatic eye makeup before applying the base (i.e. foundation, concealer, and any contour or highlight). However, another simple fix is to apply a veil of loose translucent powder liberally underneath the eyes, and wherever you may usually find eye shadow fallout. The eye shadow particles will stick to the loose powder, not your perfectly applied concealer. After you finish your masterpiece, you can use a fluffy brush to simply sweep away all the powder – and you’re left with a clean, flawless face.
The lipstick trick
With the rise of highly pigmented liquid lipsticks and stay-all-day colors, it’s important that your lipstick application is immaculate – or the beautiful dramatic effect can turn out not quite so beautiful. Bright lipsticks are also prone to transferring elsewhere before they dry and set – often to places they know they aren’t allowed to be, like your teeth, chin, and new white cashmere top. To set your lipstick more quickly, blot with a tissue, and set with a translucent powder. To avoid lipstick on your teeth, place your lips around your index finger and slowly pull it away. Your trusty finger will safely remove all the lipstick that would end up on your teeth!
Err, lipstick bleeding that is. We don’t claim to be medical experts! We have already emphasized the importance of an impeccably applied lipstick, but let’s go into detail. Lipstick bleeding occurs when your lipstick travels with the moisture around your lips, and fades the crisp line between your lips and the rest of your skin. The solution? Lip liner to the rescue! Always apply lip liner around your lips, and then fill and blend. For extra protection, apply a clear lip liner directly around the edges. Once you have applied your lipstick and let it set, you can clean up the corners with concealer, and admire your masterpiece!
Blend, blend, blend
There is nothing that looks sadder than unblended makeup. Instead of the intended smooth finish, skin ends up looking worse off – splotchy, muddy, and dull. To blend concealer and foundation, invest in blending brushes or a beauty blender. Blend until every single edge is invisible…and then blend for five more minutes! We’re exaggerating, but seriously – blend! This rule applies tenfold for the edges of eye shadow. When in doubt, start with a small amount of product and add more slowly. This way, your finish will create a perfect smoky gradient.
Take dry skin, and add winter weather and foundation – and you have a perfect recipe for some very flaky and unappealing coverage. Now, a good skincare routine will address the problem, and not just the symptom. It’s incredibly important to moisturize properly, and exfoliate to remove excess dry skin. In the short term, it’s very important to apply a good moisturizer and let it soak into the skin for a few minutes. Next, apply a primer, and let that sit for a few minutes as well – we’re giving you a great excuse to do your morning scroll through Instagram, guilt-free! Finally, apply foundation and concealer gently, using either a beauty blender or (for particularly flaky skin) your fingers in a dabbing motion. The less you disturb your skin, the better.
Clean your brushes!
We know, the custom-made lines of makeup brush ‘shampoo’ and ‘conditioner’ on the market now are kind of absurd. It’s expensive enough to buy nice shampoo for your hair! However, Sephora is kind of onto something. Makeup brushes can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and as we’re all unfortunately aware – bacteria love to cause breakouts. To mitigate this issue, clean your brushes with a gentle soap (or a cheap antibacterial face wash) on a regular basis. Your brushes will do a much better job, and your skin will thank you.
Feather your brows
Bold, thick brows have become less of a makeup technique and more of a religion these days – but so many attempts mean many failures. Eyebrows are an important part of your face, and if they are well groomed and look natural, you don’t need much else. With so many brow products on the market (gels, pencils, liners, and powders), it’s important to place extreme importance on one key rule: less is more. Start to fill in your brows with short, light strokes. These will mimic the natural brow hairs – it’s called feathering. The darkest point of your brows should be the arch, and your brows should get gradually lighter towards the inner corner and tail. Perfect the technique, and no will know there’s product there at all!