When applied correctly, makeup and other beauty products can work wonders on a woman’s appearance. When applied incorrectly, however, makeup can actually distract from a woman’s natural beauty. Most os us first learned how to do our makeup in the late stages of elementary school or the early years of high school. When you’re first introduced to makeup, you want to experiment as much as possible. That means loads of color, layers of makeup and shimmery shadows. The bad news: those beauty blunders are a detriment to your natural beauty. The good news: we’ve all been there.
Every woman, at some point in her life, has been guilty of at least one (most likely more) of the following beauty blunders. Hopefully we’ve all learned our lesson and these mistakes will never happen again:
1. Fake Tanning
Using an enhanced or tinted moisturizer can most definitely give your skin a natural and radiant glow. Most self-tanning products on the market, however, make your skin look orange and fake. Applying countless layers of fake tanning lotion over your body and face will not make you look sun-kissed–it will make you look like an Oompa Loompa from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Do yourself (and your significant other) a favor and toss your tanning lotion in the trash.
What’s more is that these products don’t just give you an unnatural look, but research suggests that they may also pose some health risks. Many of the chemicals in these products are indicated for “external use only,” though many women accidentally ingest trace amounts in various ways, and this can be dangerous. Recent investigations also show that tinted moisturizers and tan-enhancing topical treatments may also damage your body’s DNA, leading to potentially serious consequences.
2. Lip Liner
Not long ago, many women fell victim to a fashion trend that had us convinced that lining our lips with a pencil two shades darker than our lip gloss or lipstick would give us a pout similar to Angelina Jolie’s. It didn’t take us long to realize that wasn’t the case. Luckily, most of us have removed the lip liner from our makeup bags. If you haven’t, trust me – it’s long overdue.
Remember that using lip liner correctly can be challenging, even to makeup experts. Generally speaking, beauty experts recommend that you stick to a shade of lip liner that’s close to your lipstick or lip gloss if you decide to continue using it. Even so, remember that less is more, and none is probably even better.It takes a lot of practice to get good at applying lip liner, and chances are you’ll see the light and ditch it altogether before your skill set reaches that level.
3. Eye Shadow Overdose
It didn’t look good on Mimi from Drew Carey and, to be honest, it didn’t look good on any of us. Excessive, vibrant colored eye shadow is bad enough on its own, but that phase in the 90’s where it was cool to elongate the shadow line all the way to the bottom of the eyebrows was, by far, one of the worst makeup trends of the century. The only time makeup should be used in this manner is on Halloween.
If you like the effect of eye shadow, remember that the less you use, the more natural its effect. Begin by applying an undercoat, using a neutral shade to lay your foundation. Then, put the applicator in the darker shade, tap it on the edge of the box or the sink to loosen any excess, then confine it to your eyelash line and the accompanying crease to finish off.
4. Sunburned Skin
Remember beach weekends in high school and college when you’d plant yourself on the shoreline for 8 hours straight without applying any sunblock? The damage those weekends did to our skin was probably more detrimental to our health than anything else we did in our teen years. The worst part of it all? Leaving the beach literally crisped from baking in the sun all day didn’t make our skin look any better (and everyone knows how painful a sunburn can be).
Of course, unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you also know that you’re taking serious risks with your long-term health by baking in the sun for hours on end. Excess exposure to UVA and UVB radiation is linked to skin cancer, and that’s certainly not a risk worth taking just to give yourself a bit more of a bronze glow during the summertime.
5. Too Much Blush
The appropriate amount of blush swept along your cheekbone can really enhance the shape of your face and make you look fresh and vibrant. However, when applied incorrectly (which blush often is), this type of makeup can make you look way too overdone. An appropriately-blushed face will not show a noticeable line where the makeup has been applied. It should also only be one or two shades darker (or brighter, depending on the look you’re going for) than your skin.
More winning blush application tips: customize your technique to match the shape of your face. If you have a long face, start on the insides of your cheeks and work your way up towards your temples. If you have an ovular face, confine the blush to the “apples” of your cheeks. The same goes for round faces. Using these techniques will create a more natural overall appearance; done well, hardly anyone you’ll notice that you’re wearing blush at all.
6. Nail Biting
Even if you don’t wear a lot of makeup, you might still be guilty of this common beauty blunder. Nail biting is often the result of nerves, stress or excitement, but the toll it takes on the health of your nails is noticeable. There’s no reason to shell out $30 for a beautiful manicure if you’re going to bite and chip your nails the next day, and there’s nothing trashier than a woman with chipped, uneven nails.
Sure, we’re all guilty of biting of our nails from time to time but making a conscious effort to keep your fingers fabulous will go a long way in perfecting your beauty regimen. You can kick this habit by covering your nails with bandages so you end up with a mouthful of medical tape if you try to nibble them. Another technique is to set aside one finger that you won’t bite, then repeat until you’re no longer automatically putting your nails in your teeth.
7. Too Much Foundation
Most of us struggle to keep our skin looking smooth and clear, and we’re all guilty of relying too much on our foundation to fix our skin problems. If you suffer from redness, blemishes or other skin imperfections, the answer does not lie in more foundation. Too much foundation is very noticeable to other people (and in photos), and the more you use, the less your face will match the rest of your body.
Here’s a tip to keep your foundation levels in the optimal range: When you’re done applying your makeup, put your arm in front of your face and look in the mirror. If your arm is a significantly different color than your face, you’re using more foundation than you need – it’s not supposed to have a pronounced effect on the color of your skin. When it comes to foundation (and most other types of makeup), less is more.
8. Over Plucking
This was another makeup trend that became popular in the mid-1990s. Someone influential picked up a pair of tweezers, and suddenly, every woman between the ages of 15 and 40 was plucking here eyebrows down to nothing. The end result? Many women ended up drawing their eyebrows back onto their faces, creating a look that was as unnatural as it was tacky.
When you’re plucking your eyebrows, concentrate on “runaway” or “flyaway” hairs that are much longer than the rest of them. You’ll also want to keep the bridge of your nose clean and free of hair, and make sure that your eyebrows are uniform in thickness and appearance. If you prefer thinner eyebrows, that’s fine; just avoid removing so much hair that there’s practically nothing left. People looking at your face will notice something seems amiss…but they probably won’t quite be able to put their finger on it, and because your eyebrows will be no more, neither will you.
9. Too Much Eyeliner
In small doses, eyeliner can be a very effective way to make your eyes appear big and beautiful. Unfortunately many women abuse eyeliner. Too much eyeliner, especially if you’re an older woman, can give you that “overdone” look – and that’s something all women want to avoid. Eyeliner is also known to draw attention to imperfections around the eyes, which is the last thing you want. Young teens who overdo the eyeliner end up looking trashy, fake and desperate for (the wrong kind of) attention.
Here’s a winning tip from the pros: If you can’t (or don’t want to) throw away your eye liner altogether, use a very small amount of dark brown makeup. It has a much more subtle effect than black. Apply it only to the outer parts of your eyes. This will make them look bigger without completely burying them under thick cakes of makeup.
10. Red Lipstick
For those of you who swear by your red lipstick, I’m sorry for what you’re about to read, but the truth is that very few women look good in red lipstick. There are many reasons why. First, unless you have incredibly white teeth, red lipstick is going to make your pearly whites look dull and yellow. Second, every time you apply that ruby red gloss, you run the risk of getting it all over your teeth. Third, if you don’t have just the right skin tone, red lipstick will create an unseemly counterpoint between your lips and the rest of your complexion.
So what’s a better option? Generally speaking, most women look much better in nude or light pink lip gloss than they do in lipstick. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make your lips look healthier and fuller, and neutral colors will accomplish that much more naturally than any shade of red lipstick on the market.
11. Sleep with Makeup on
This beauty blunder is probably one of the most common and something almost all women have probably done at least once or twice. This is the ultimate sin because it’s terrible for our skin! Washing off makeup after a long hard day or maybe a few cocktails can seem like a tedious task, but it’s extremely important. Sleeping with makeup on will not only wreck your nice pillow cases, it will clog up your pores and cause dirty, oily skin, as well as bacteria growth which causes acne. Just like you, your skin needs to be able to breath and recoup after each day.
12. Paint Over Old Nail Polish
If you’re someone who wears nail polish frequently you’ve probably noticed that nail polish can sometimes discolor nails. This happens if it’s left on too long or the wearer doesn’t use a base coat. It can be a little embarrassing because it’s quite noticeable and the only way to hide it is to just lather on more nail polish. Unfortunately, that just makes the problem worse because the only way for it to go away is to allow the nails to breath, and then they will usually clear up on their own.
Both of these mistakes are typically made out of laziness. More often than not, people just don’t want to take the time to remove nail polish, and instead they just keep re-applying a new coat overtop or they don’t apply a base coat before lathering on their colorful polish — both of which are important things to get in the habit of doing.
13. Not Cleaning Brushes
You wouldn’t use a dirty cloth to wash dishes or walk around with dirty clothes, so why would you use a dirty brush to apply makeup on your face? The most obvious reason for cleaning brushes is hygiene. We know it’s tedious, but Southern Living advises washing makeup brushes as often as you would wash your dishes. We understand that’s not really realistic, so a more attainable goal is to aim to wash them once a week. Use a little gentle clarifying shampoo or baby shampoo to clean them.
You can’t see it with the naked eye, but if you were to look at dirty makeup brushes under a microscope, you’d see a build-up of bacteria, oils and product and these can cause all kinds of skin issues, including blemishes.
14. Not Wearing Moisturizer
Moisturizer is like sunscreen, it’s something we tend to forget to put on underneath or makeup, but tis’ super important! We know it can be tedious to remember, but not wearing it will cause dry skin, and there’s nothing cute about that! The best thing for our skin is to drink lots of water and wear moisturizer.
Like many things to do with makeup, the amount of choices can be overwhelming. Southern Living notes that even though there are so many different moisturizers out there, a lot of them offer something different, so the best thing to do is decide what you’re in the market for. If your skin is dry, choose a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid. If you want one that will offer protection and hydration, choose one with anti-aging properties. Once you get into the habit of putting on moisturizer every day, it will get easier. Ideally, you should be wearing it underneath makeup during the day, a night cream and a serum.
15. Straightening and Curling Wet Hair
We’ve all been there before, you’re short on time so instead of waiting for hair to completely dry or leaving the house with it un-styled, you give into the temptation and use a heat product on some damp hair. Yikes! You’ll know when the damage is done cause it’ll smell and likely give off quite a bit of steam. Blow drying hair is totally tedious and annoying, but it’s also completely necessary.
Before using any kind of heat whether it be a blow dryer, straightener, or curler, you should always use a heat protector. There are many different kinds to choose from. “Heat styling from hair-dryers as well as irons, tongs and wands can frazzle your hair if it’s not well shielded with product. The result is frizz, dryness and brittle locks,” writes Cosmopolitan.
16. Mascara on Lower Lashes
I remember having this debate with my sister growing up, do we put mascara on the lower lashes? A lot of women probably couldn’t answer that question with total certainty. The correct answer is no. Mascara is used to accentuate the eyes, so when there’s mascara on the lower lashes it pronounces things we don’t want like crows-feet and dark circles.
According to Allure magazine, this same rule goes for eyeliner too. Do not put eyeliner on the lower lashes because it will just make your eyes look smaller and again, draw attention to dark circles under the eyes. The rule for mascara is to apply a nice dark mascara on the upper lashes because “it will make the whites of the eyes look clearer and whiter,” says makeup artist Sandy Linter to Allure magazine.
17. Clumpy Mascara
Another common mascara problem is clumpy mascara. We understand that makeup is expensive and it can be hard to justify spending a lot of money on something as superficial as makeup, but just remember, you get what you pay for. Mascara is a staple. Even people who don’t wear a lot of makeup wear mascara, so it’s something that should be worth spending a little extra money on.
A lot of women have trouble with clumpy mascara. After a few hours of wear, it ends up on their eyelid or with big sections of their eyelashes stuck together. Be sure to avoid using a thick mascara that will become clumpy and hard to separate once its applied. To start, remove the brush from the tube and wipe off any excess mascara on the brush. Then gently apply it onto the lashes and wiggle the wand from side to side to separate the lashes as it goes on. To ensure there aren’t any big sections of eyelashes stuck together, before the mascara dries, comb through the eyelashes again with an old toothbrush or an eyelash comb. This should also help remove any excess gunk on the lashes. Everyday Health advises to also do another coat after this and comb through once more.
18. Washing Hair Too Much
I always look at women with really nice long, luscious hair and wonder, how do they do it? It might sound strange, but the answer is always the same from these women — don’t wash your hair every day! Washing hair too often actually has the opposite effect that you’d like. While we don’t want our hair to be so dirty that it smells and looks awful, every hair type has a different threshold. For example, I have fine hair that gets greasy a lot quicker than someone with extremely thick hair.
Despite all our different types of hair, we all have one thing in common. All hair produces natural oils that are actually good for it. When we wash our hair too frequently it strips our hair of these natural oils. The best guideline to follow is to wash hair every two to three days when possible. You can hop in the shower and wash the rest of your body, just don’t use shampoo and conditioner every day.
19. Drawing Eyeliner on Past the Eyelid
This particular look is referred to as the “cat-eye” or sometimes the “Cleopatra,” and let’s just say ladies, let’s leave this one to the professionals. It’s not exactly an everyday beauty look, but I’ve definitely seen it treated that way. Women will use it to spice up their makeup and it can look good at times, but it’s easy to go overboard and it’s not exactly appropriate for daytime wear.
The mistake that people commonly make when trying to do this look is that they’ll take the eyeliner out too far from the eye and create a winged effect. Everyday Health advises people (especially beginners) to use a pencil instead of the more common liquid liner. This is because even though liquid liner looks better with this particular style, it requires a very steady hand and a lot of skill. To get the proper effect, “draw a line along the root of the lashes from the inner to outer corner. At the outer edge, subtly slant the line upward. Extend the line no farther than a quarter-inch past your eye (or just a tad bit farther for a more dramatic look),” writes the source. As a guide, follow your eyebrow. Don’t take it past the edge of your eyebrow.
20. Using Old Makeup
Like we said earlier, makeup is super expensive so a lot of people don’t like to spend a lot of money on beauty products. We totally get that! Unfortunately this causes people to hang onto products much longer than they were intended to be used. Makeup products are like food products, they have a shelf life. This can also be a problem for people who don’t necessarily mind the price point, but tend to over purchase and then don’t want to be wasteful by throwing products out before they are finished. The whole not being wasteful part of the equation is great, but using old expired products on your skin isn’t healthy.
Southern Living gives a useful shelf life guideline for some basic products: blush, powder, and eye shadow should be thrown out after two years. Mascara can only be used for up to three months after it’s purchased and most lip products will only last up to one year. Products like foundation, concealer, and eyeliner should be thrown out after six months.
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