10 Makeup Mistakes to Avoid: Go from Being a Makeup Mess to a Makeup Maven

1.         Foundation: What is my top foundation pet peeve? When people choose the wrong shade, cake it on, and fail to blend it properly, revealing the dreaded visible jawline “peel-off mask” mark. Your skin tone changes with the seasons; you can lose or gain colour when it’s cold, and go up a shade or two or pick up a tan over the summer. Even now, as you start to reveal more skin in your new spring wardrobe, you might want to make sure your foundation matches your neck. BB creams are more forgiving than more opaque or heavy-coverage foundations and tinted moisturizers; though they make “mixers” when you find yourself in between shades. When shopping for a new foundation, try the closest two–three shades on bare skin on and down your jawline, or across the side of your nose and onto the panel of your cheek; the least visible shade is the one you want. Remember to blend, paying particular attention to creases and areas around your eyes and the tip of your nose, along and under the jawline, and into the hairline. Blend down on areas where you don’t need as much coverage, and use clean fingers or a clean makeup sponge or brush to blend visible edges away.

2.         Concealer: Over-applied or too light in shade, so that you end up emphasizing what you want to hide. Aside from scars and blemishes, the areas we often want to conceal are usually darker areas (under-eye circles) or areas that are a bit red (broken capillaries around the nose and cheeks). Ultimately, you want to match your skin tone, not go lighter. Decide where you want or need to apply concealer when you are choosing the right shade. Over-applying or using too much concealer will only draw attention to what you’re trying to de-emphasize or hide. Use a little at a time, blend edges away, and set with powder. If you wear foundation, apply concealer on top. You may find that your light to medium (or full) coverage foundation was enough to conceal some of the minor blemishes on its own.

3.         Not Blending Enough: This applies to all makeup applications, but let’s focus on streaky blush and obvious contour lines. Powder blush can appear patchy on skin that hasn’t been prepped before colour is applied. I like to apply powder blush on powder base, cream blush on cream foundation, or liquid tint on a liquid/cream base for ease of blending; as long as you know how to blend with a good blush brush, it shouldn’t matter. Don’t put too much pressure on your cheeks; let the brush do the blending. Brush out harsh, visible lines in short, downward strokes. Stand back and check your contour lines at arm’s length and up close, blending the edges away. Before any powder cheek colour brush touches your face, take a second to run a clean finger over the blush to even out the pigment. Use a clean brush dipped in translucent powder to diffuse any hard lines. Blend, blend, blend!

4.         Eye Shadow: Not using a clean blending brush or overextending with harsh strokes to create messy or droopy looking eyes. Blending brushes are usually dome-shaped and wider than detail or crease brushes. Use a clean one after applying your main shadow colour onto the lower lid/lash line to avoid a muddy finish. Look into a mirror and try to picture an imaginary line between your outer eye and the end of your brow. Use this as a guide when you blend and sweep eye colour across and upwards. Blending away any build-up on this area will help you avoid drawing your eye shape downwards. This will give you an instant “facelift,” de-emphasizing droopy eye shapes.

5.         Eyeliner: Not set and blended enough and creasing or smudging, so you end up with raccoon eyes. It can be hard to find a good longwearing pencil or liquid liner. I personally swear by MAC Fluidline, Annabelle SmudgePaint, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes, and Smashbox Longwear Eye Pencils. That said, eyeliner should stay put when applied correctly and set with a small, tight brush and translucent setting powder. Prime your eyelids with a matte eye shadow base, like NARS Pro-Prime or Laura Mercier Eye Basics. Apply eyeliner close to the lash line and blend over the line with a slanted eyeliner brush that helps make even wobbly, uneven lines appear smoother. Smoke out with a small detail or smudge brush and a matching or darker eye shadow shade and/or set with translucent powder. Reapply liquid liner over the powder for a deeper definition and finish.

6.         Mascara: Clumpy and not applied evenly to fan out and lengthen or volumize lashes. We usually throw on mascara as a quick afterthought and brush it on over and over again. There is an art to well-applied mascara. Hold the brush horizontally and give it a slight jiggle to get right at the base of your lashes. You should see a fine, tight line between the roots of your lashes; this alone will make your lashes appear fuller. Then, give the mascara wand a twist as you brush it through your lashes, fanning out your lashes up at the centre and out along your outer lashes. Repeat with a second coat and comb any clumps through. I like to hold the mascara wand vertically and use the tip to coat any of my shorter lashes and comb the mascara out, holding the wand horizontally again.

7.         Lip Liner: Too light or too dark and sloppy. Trendy, bold, red, or bright lips look better when applied with a lip liner. If you can’t find a lip liner in the same shade as your lipstick, opt for a shade that is slightly darker, not lighter. Try applying your lipstick first, then line the lips from the outer corner to the centre/cupid’s bow on your top lip, and from corner to corner along your bottom lip. Finally, use a lip brush to blend darker lip liner into the lip colour. Blot and reapply lipstick for longer wear.

8.         Brow Pencil: Brows drawn in too dark and not brushed through on over-tweezed eyebrows. Start by drawing in brows with a sharp brow pencil, then blending over it with a brow brush and a brow powder. Once you’re happy with the shape and application, use a brow brush or disposable mascara wand to brush your brows through—upwards and out, then down to the tip of the brow. Fuller, naturally bold brows are in—drawn-in brows, thin or full, are unflattering. Get your brows waxed or threaded by a professional, and maintain them yourself once you’re comfortable with their shape.

9.         Pearlized/Shimmer Highlighter & Bronzer: Pearl highlighter on the arch of the brow bone shouts 1980s (or stripper) and is seriously outdated. Opt for a more subtle peachy or cream shade in a matte/satin texture, or apply high-shine highlighter with a smaller applicator or brush just under the arch of the brow and on the peaks of the cheek bones. You can even brush down the nose line. Apply bronzer on more precise areas; I like to use the side of a powder or bronzer brush and apply bronzing powder in number three shape on my temple, down to my cheeks, and just under and along my jawline on either side of my face. Then, I brush over my nose and neck with what may be left on the brush. Don’t apply bronzer all over the face, or it may start looking like you have the wrong shade of foundation on. Use it to warm the lighter shades of your skin, which may be visible against your face, like down the sides of your neck and on the décolletage.

10.       The Makeup Rut: Not wanting to try new shades of eye or lip colours because you think they won’t suit you or they’re too bold. Makeup usually looks more vivid and bright in the tube, bottle, or pan; it’s best to test it on your wrist or jawline to see how the shade and product reacts to your skin.  Start by choosing shades in the same shade family as your go-to-colours first—go for sheer colours on the lips before you jump to a bigger, bolder new shade. A subtle pop of colour along your lash line is also an easy way to add interest and to update your everyday look. If you’re an earthy-tones kind of girl, add a blue liner along your top lash line on top of your usual brown shadow to help anchor the new colour; it will still brighten up the look and add a modern twist. Don’t be afraid to try out new shades and textures—it washes off, anyway. Have fun; it’s only makeup!

Merry Carlos-Baguio is a Toronto-based makeup artist and hair stylist who specializes in creating lasting memories that are as unique and beautiful as her clients. With more than 15 years of international experience, Merry received the majority of her training in the U.K. and Philippines, where she was Makeup Artist, Trainer and Brand Manager of The Body Shop Makeup. She later took on the same role for Laura Mercier and Nars. Over the years, Merry has mentored with and worked alongside some of the fashion industry’s most talented artists.  Most recently, she was featured in Cosmopolitan magazine’s “Makeup Mavens” and Good Housekeeping’s “Making Merry.” To learn more about Makeup By Merry, visit the company’s web site at www.makeupbymerry.com.

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