Are You Guilty of These Super Common Makeup Mistakes?


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Whether you’ve been obsessed with eyeshadow since grade school or you just discovered what a cat eye is, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve made your fair share of makeup mistakes over the years.

We all have, and there’s no shame in it, either.

That’s kind of the beauty of makeup, right? Learning the craft, getting better at application, figuring out what works for you, overcoming your fear of liquid eyeliner. Ya know? We actually reached out to some pro makeup artists to ask which makeup and beauty mistakes were the most common among people of all skill levels. Here’s what they told us.

1. Not Applying Eye Cream Under Your Eyes and On Your Lid

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Every single makeup artist on the planet will hold their finger up and say, “Good skincare is the key to great makeup.” That means exfoliating once or twice a week to buff away flakey and crumbly bits and applying an awesome moisturizer before your primer.

A lot of people forget to apply eye cream, though, which can help plump fine lines, nix undereye creasing, and make for a smoother makeup application process. If you have oily skin, you can use an oil-free moisturizer.

“You want the skin around your eyes to be moist and plump. Eye cream should be applied under your lash line and below your eyebrows right on the lid. Most people apply it to just the area under the lash line and forget their lids,” says Marcia Vanessa Williams, makeup artist and founder of Embellish Beauty. “Eye cream helps with fine lines and creasing, and skipping this step will cause other skin imbalances and make makeup application more of a challenge.”

2. Choosing the Wrong Brow Shade

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Over the years the ultra-harsh “Instagram brow” has lost its luster, but there’s still room for improvement here. Whenever you’re filling in your brows, repeat this mantra: the right shade is king.

“While beautifully groomed eyebrows are key to framing the face, picking the wrong formula or shade can look severe and unflattering. For example, reddish tones tend to look harsh and can make you appear angry,” says Suzy Gerstein, a NYC-based makeup artist.

As for application, you should be able to see the space between the hairs versus a completely filled in look, notes Kate Stromberg, senior makeup artist at the Color Solon by Michael Boychuck. She adds, “Brows should be less defined at the front so that the hairs look soft and fluffy and to mimic how they naturally grow.”

3. Mismatching Your Lip Liner and Lipstick

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Lip liner can make a huge difference in how well your lip color lasts throughout the day and it can even emphasize the shape of your lips or create the illusion of more volume. That is the power of makeup! However, you’ve got to make sure your liner and lipstick work together cohesively, otherwise you could have a lip disaster on your hands. That 90s look (above) is only for the very daring!

“A good rule is to pick up a lip liner that is one to two shades lighter than your lipstick. Don’t go much darker than that since it can start to look unrealistic,” says Williams. “You must also be sure that the lip products belong to the same color family [and are of similar warmth or coolness]. For example, a plum lipstick should be paired with a mahogany lip liner.”

4. Going Cray with Highlighter & Not Blending it In

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Let’s be real: highlighter is hella fun. Instant glow even though you got three hours of sleep last night? Sign. Us. Up. Because it’s so fun and effective, it’s way too easy to go overboard with application and/or to not blend it well enough.

“Think of a Renaissance painting. The skin looks glowing and even, and while there are glistening bits, those areas seem as though they belong on the face and are coming from within,” says Gerstein. “Under-blended and over-applied highlighter ends up looking sweaty and jarring.”

She recommends mixing a touch of foundation in with your highlighter to sheer it out so that it looks more realistic on your face. An alternative is to apply it before your foundation (yup) to get more of a subtle sheen. Whatever you do, buff out the edges with clean fingertips, a damp beautyblender, or synthetic brush.

We know it’s tempting to get that popping glow that’s all over YouTube (and it’s so hard to resist), but it often looks better on camera than in person.

We’re curious if you’re guilty of any of these mistakes. If you decide to try these pro-tips the next time you apply, make sure to share your feedback with us in the comment section!