Whoa! Look at that, I blink and a week goes by and I haven’t posted anything and it’s like I never even started this little blog. Apologies, dear reader (I think I’m back down to one). With two cross-country jaunts and crazy amounts of work and a serious lack of sleep getting in the way, I just haven’t had the time or the zeal to muster a post.
But here I am, a new week has begun and I’m ready to PAAARTAAAYYY. Just kidding, I did plenty of that this weekend (hello, two-day hangover). But I am ready to blog, and today it’s all about ‘what not to do’ when it comes to your makeup. Listen, we all make mistakes in the realm of beauty products (please refer to the several years that I had a passionate love for white eye shadow), but now that I’m a grown-ass woman, I find it relatively easy to avoid major beauty blunders. I’m here to help you do that too. Here are a few of my biggest ‘please don’t’ makeup moments and how to avoid them.
Where we go wrong: oh boy, this one’s a doozy. I see so many women out there who do themselves such a disservice by choosing the wrong shade of foundation. It’s either too dark or too light or too orange, and it can be the easiest way to derail your entire look (and age you, which no one wants, am I right?). The function of foundation is in its name — it is the foundation for the rest of your makeup, which means it should only serve one purpose, to naturally even out your skin (both in texture and tone). It’s not meant to add color (that’s a job for blush and bronzer), it’s purely meant to give you the best version of your skin so you can more easily enhance your features with the other makeup that you apply.
What to do instead: for foundation to do its job, it should be as close to your natural skin tone as possible. It will take a little work to find the right shade, but you will be all the better for it. The best way to do this is to grab a friend (for moral support and because shopping for makeup is fun), head to your local makeup store, choose a few shades that you think might work and test them on the skin just below your jawline in natural light. The shade that disappears when applied is your match. Easy peasy.
Where we go wrong: women go wrong in so many ways here. Tell me, who really enjoys clumpy, spidery eyes? Anyone? Bueller? I didn’t think so. I know that most women would love to have those thick, long perfect lashes that don’t need a hint of mascara, but for most of us, that’s merely a pipe dream. But applying layer after layer of mascara in search of volume just makes you look like a messy clown, especially if you apply equal amounts to the tips of your lashes as you do the base. It’s also worth noting that most mascara wands if used straight out of the tube carry way too much product on them and can send you immediately to Clumpy Town.
What to do instead: getting mascara right is all in the application and in layering. Before applying to your lashes, blot the wand with a tissue to remove any excess product. When you’re ready to apply, place a mirror on the table below you (looking down into the mirror will help to limit mascara getting on your eyelids) and place the wand at the base of your lashes. In an upward motion, wiggle the wand back and forth and then sweep up. This will apply the bulk of the mascara at the base of your lashes, where volume is important, while still coating the rest of your lashes with the right amount. Once you’ve coated your lashes once, let dry for a few minutes, then apply a second coat (you can skip this step if you prefer a natural, ‘no makeup’ look).
Where we go wrong: I’m going to blame this one on Angelina Jolie and her perfect lips. We all want what she has and about 2% of us actually have it (myself not included). In an effort to pump up our pout, we go crazy with the lip liner and the gloss, and in extreme cases, the collagen; and instead of looking like a hollywood starlet, we end up looking more like an ’employee’ of Hollywood Blvd…if you know what I mean.
What to do instead: there are perfectly easy ways to add a bit of volume to your lips without looking like this (First Wives Club, such a classic). First, when you’re applying lipstick or lip liner, smile while keeping your mouth closed. This stretches the skin slightly and allows you to apply product to the full canvas of your lips. If you want to slightly expand your lip line using lip liner, do so only on your bottom lip in the center for the most natural look. If you want to amp up the volume even further, apply lip gloss to the center of your lips — at the cupid’s bow on the top lip and the center of your bottom lip. This amplifies the shape and creates the illusion of plumper lips.
Too Much Makeup, Period.
Where we go wrong: I think this one comes from a few different places, but the biggest offender is lack of self-confidence. When women wear too much makeup, often they’re trying to compensate for or hide something about their face that they don’t like. I know I’ve had plenty of days where I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror (can those bags under my eyes really be that big?), but the problem with applying too much product is it tends to highlight those areas you don’t like instead of hiding them.
What to do instead: listen, don’t get me wrong here, the answer to wearing too much makeup is not not wearing any. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I love a great smoky eye or a bold lip, but the key to pulling these looks off without looking crazy is all in the balance. If you’re going to wear a smoky eye or a bold brow, pair it with a nude lip. If you want to try a bold lip, go for more natural eye makeup. By focusing your pop of color in one area of your face instead of everywhere, you’ll look made up in a chic, understated way, while still being able to have some fun with it.
The moral of the story
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, makeup is only meant to enhance what is already there. Each and every one of you is beautiful in your own unique way, and makeup is a really fun way to amplify that beauty. But. Less is more, people. Makeup is not meant to be a mask, so don’t use it as such (unless you enjoy looking like a clown…or maybe you are a clown, you know, as a profession…no judgment). Find something about your face that you really like and focus your beauty efforts there — that will ensure you really like what you see in the mirror each day. And remember, we’re all in this together. So let’s help each other out and celebrate our beauty! It’s the only way we can hope to escape the horrors of white eye shadow.