As legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath said “Makeup is malleable and mercurial: The biggest joy I have every day is the opportunity to create, to play, and to invent with something I’ve loved forever.”
There’s so much joy to be had with makeup; whether you’re playing with fun makeup looks like the “I’m Cold” or Douyin aesthetic, or simply playing with some funky eyeliner. For me, makeup can be as simple as putting on a bold red lip for a pop of color or as necessary as applying color corrector and concealer when my skin is just not having it. But as much as makeup is, it can be a bit intimidating to get the handle on when you first start out.
For as glam as my Ukrainian grandmothers were, their beauty routines were primarily focused on lipstick and a great manicure. My mama, a natural beauty, was no fuss, no muss when it came to makeup while I was growing up, and to this day applies a bit of eyeliner and a nude lip at most for special occasions. So that meant that I had to figure out makeup on my own and looking back on photos, I wish someone had given me these tips that I’m about to share with you.
Here are some common makeup mistakes and how you can fix them.
1) Don’t Cry Because of Mascara Under Your Eye
Such a simple but common makeup blunder is having mascara smudge on the skin below your eye line, and sometimes below your brow, right after you apply it.
One way to avoid the dreaded smudge is to wait until you’ve primed, painted, powdered and set your face with a setting spray to apply your mascara. Place your hand a few centimeters away from your lashes as you spray away.
If you already smudged your mascara, don’t worry. Wait for the mascara to dry, then with a slightly damp q-tip, gently wipe away the mascara. If there is a patch missing where the mascara had landed, go in with a teeny-tiny bit of concealer, preferably on a concealer brush for more control, and pat in place.
2) Flushed With Too Much Blush
Went a little heavy-handed with the blush?
If you went in a bit too hard with a cream or liquid blush product, just go in with the beauty sponge or brush you were applying your foundation with and lightly tap over the product to tone down the flush on your cheeks.
If you went in with a powdered blush, just take a face powder or a tinted setting powder and buff away the blush until you’re satisfied with the hue.
3) Face Looking Out Of Place
Applied your foundation but feel like something seems… off. Chances are you’re not properly prepping and priming your face before you layer on the makeup.
Before anything begins, you want to make sure you go in with a clean base so wash out with a cleanser of your choice. The next steps strongly depend on your skin type, but always make sure that the last step you go in with before applying your foundation is two finger lengths worth of sunscreen.
If you are on the oily side, go in with a lightweight moisturizer and mattifying primer, like the Joah Beauty Super Sidekick Mattifying Primer ($11.99), to make sure your base doesn’t slide all over your face throughout the day.
If you are on the dryer side, go in with an ultra-hydrating moisturizer and even an essence, like the Missha Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essense ($25), to be as hydrated as possible before going in with a dewy primer, like the Joah Beauty Super Sidekick Hydroglow Primer ($11.99).
4) Looking A Bit Shady?
One of the biggest mistakes I kept making over and over again was picking foundations that simply ended up looking like a mask on my face. This kept happening over and over again because I simply didn’t realize how important or how to tell my skin’s undertone was. A simple trick is if you tan easily, you most likely have a warm undertone, burn easily is usually a cool undertone, and those whose burns fade into tans have a neutral undertone.
The second part was that your face color, especially if you’re in the sun a lot, doesn’t always match your neck or chest color.
I’m pale so my face tends to flush pink, yet I still have a neutral to warm undertone. What kept happening was that when I tried to match my makeup simply to my face color and undertone, I kept looking like Casper, or on the opposite side was that I ended up resembling a Simpson character for how yellow my foundation was.
When you’re matching a foundation, apply the swatches to your neck or chest to get a more accurate read of what color will blend in the most naturally.
5) Over-Powdered Presentation
One of the biggest mistakes I catch in photos of when I was just starting to learn how to do my makeup was seeing how cakey my skin looked. This was partially due to how heavy foundations were of the early 2010s, but also in part due to how much I layered on my setting powder.
I mistakenly applied too much setting powder in hopes of keeping my skin from looking too oily throughout the day, big mistake. What ended up happening was that I still looked oily but cakey, and trying to apply powder throughout the day ended up with a snowball effect.
This is where proper skin prep comes in handy (read above) and where products like blotting papers or lightly dabbing with a tissue can keep you looking dewy instead of greasy throughout the day. Blotting strategically, like in the middle of your forehead and on the sides of your nose, can help you use your naturally glowy skin to your advantage, built-in highlighter!
We reached out to Kim Roxie, makeup artist and the founder and CEO of LAMIK Beauty, on the most common mistake they see and how to fix it.
Mistake: Using a Liquid eyeliner application to make a cat eye, but it is not as sharp as you like.
Fix: Take an angled brush (normally used for brows) dip it in your foundation/or concealer and swipe it underneath the eyeliner, it will make it look more defined and slanted for the cat eye liner.
Additionally, Tasha Renee, makeup artist and founder of MUA Assist, pointed out a few makeup application tips as well.
For a heavy coverage/cakey foundation, Renee recommended to “use a damp makeup sponge to blend out the foundation or try to use a lighter coverage foundation.”
And for clumpy mascara, the Texas-based artists suggested to “use a clean spoolie brush to comb through your lashes and remove any clumps.”
MEET THE EXPERTS
Kim Roxie is the founder and CEO of LAMIK Beauty, a vegan makeup line made with natural and organic ingredients for multicultural women. “LAMIK” stands for “Love and Makeup in Kindness”, a philosophy that Roxie carries out in both her professional career and personal endeavors.
Tasha Renee is a Texas-based makeup artist and founder of MUA Assist, a makeup tool and lashes brand catering to the everyday and professional makeup artist.