I grew up in southern Virginia in the eighties. Like a good Southern girl, I started wearing makeup when I was about 13 and never looked back.
I wore a ton of makeup in high school, but once I got to college in New England, I ditched the clown face and went for a more natural look. I even went through a phase in my early adulthood when I only wore face powder, blush, mascara and lipgloss.
But as I got older, the natural look just wasn’t so cute anymore. I gradually began wearing more makeup again, but I didn’t really know what I was doing.
It wasn’t until my blogging hobby started providing opportunities to get professional makeup touchups that I figured out I was making a LOT of mistakes with my makeup.
I’m still learning, and of course, makeup application is more art than science, but there are some basic rules that are good to know, especially as we age. Let’s face it, we can’t get away with as much as we used to.
Here are eight makeup tips and/or mistakes you might be making that you can fix right now.
8 Makeup Mistakes You’re Making Right Now
1. You’re wearing the wrong color foundation.
I read somewhere that 75% of women are wearing the wrong color foundation. This is definitely a product that is better off purchased at a makeup counter with a knowledgable makeup artist to help you. If you are trying to match foundation on your own, apply it to your jawline and make sure it blends in. You will need to reassess the color of your foundation with each change of season. I always go a shade darker in the summer, and then I often use bronzer on top of that to adjust my face to match my body.
Lately I’m in love with this Supergoop CC Cream. It goes on easily and looks so natural and blends in with any complexion. (There are only 3 shades to choose from.) It doesn’t provide a ton of coverage, but I like to layer a mineral powder on top. It’s great for summertime. Read my full review for more info, photos and a video.
2/15 UPDATE: I still use the Supergoop CC Cream, but if I want a super polished look, I use my MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation. It is a fantastic product that provides great coverage without looking caky. I recommend going to a makeup counter and having a professional help you choose the right color.
2. You’re putting on your foundation too thick.
I know, we’re all getting older and as my grandfather has been known to say, it takes a lot of paint to cover that old barn. We want to cover those age spots, fine lines and acne scars. But packing on the foundation is NOT the way to do it. That just causes it to look caky and it tends to sink into your fine lines and make them more pronounced, which only makes you look older.
You’re better off applying a light layer of cream or liquid foundation and then building it up in the problem areas where you need more coverage. Then if you still have areas you want to disguise, try applying a mineral powder with a big brush in those areas.
2/15 UPDATE: I also recommend using a foundation brush to apply liquid foundations. I have this one by Clarins, and I love it.
3. You’re not using foundation primer.
This goes along with number two. Again, when we reach a certain age, our foundation tends to gather in our lines and pores. A good foundation primer will smooth out your skin tone so your foundation goes on evenly and doesn’t sink into your lines and pores. It also allows you to use less foundation so you don’t look unnatural.
I’ve used many primers over the years and I’m not super particular. They all work. For an affordable product, I like Sonia Kashuk’s Priming Vitamin Serum (read my full review) and Laura Mercier’s Foundation Primer is always a good one. I wore that for years.
4. Your eyeliner is too thick and/or isn’t applied close enough to your lash line.
Make sure you can’t see your eyelid between your eye liner and your lash line. Apply your eyeliner right into the upper lash line with a soft pencil, or better yet, use a smudge brush and eye shadow to achieve the same effect. Then make sure to blend so you don’t have a harsh line. Also, go easy on lining the lower lash line. Heavy liner on the lower lashes looks dated, and it’s just not flattering. See how I use eye shadow and a smudge brush as eye liner. I also did a video.
You may also like my Easy DIY Eye Makeup Tutorial.
5. You’re not wearing lip liner.
Lip liner is a life saver, but you definitely want to apply it properly. Be careful not to make it too harsh; your lip liner should blend into your lipstick, not be a different color. Choose a color that is just a shade darker than your natural lip color. Use your lip liner (Stila Long Wear Lip Liner comes highly recommended) to outline your lips and then fill in the lip area. This helps your lipstick adhere and stay on longer. Next, apply your lipstick or gloss. Done!
6. You’re not curling your eye lashes.
I know no one wants me to start another paragraph with “as we get older…” lol. But really, it’s true. I didn’t need to curl my eyelashes when I was younger, but now it seems to make a big difference in how my finished eyes look. It really opens them up and makes them look bigger and bolder. You don’t need anything fancy. I just use a Sonya Kashuk eyelash curler from Target. Make sure to curl your lashes BEFORE applying mascara, not after.
Bonus tip: apply two or three coats of mascara, and allow it to dry between each coat. This keeps it from clumping.
2/15 UPDATE: I have discovered that not all eyelash curlers are created equal. Mine was getting glompy, and I’m lazy, so rather than figuring out how to clean it, I just went and bought a new one. I picked up this Tweezerman LTD Great Grip Eyelash Curler at CVS. Life changer! My eyelashes have never looked longer or prettier. It works so much better than the flimsy one I had before. I even find myself wearing less mascara now because of this little tool. It takes all of 10 seconds to use. DEFINITELY a must-have any any woman’s beauty arsenal.
7. You’re not filling in your eyebrows.
Our eyebrows tend to thin out over time, plus some of us may have gotten over-zealous with the tweezers, not that I would know anything about that!
Too-thin eyebrows are aging, so be sure to fill them in with a soft pencil or eye shadow (see my video above) that’s a shade lighter than your hair color. Then use an eyebrow brush to blend so it’s not too harsh.
8. You’re not blending your blush.
Be careful that your blush isn’t too dark and that you blend it so it practically disappears into your skin. Start by applying to the apples of your cheeks and then sweep it up towards the hairline, just above your ears, making sure to blend it out so there are no harsh lines. If you get too much blush, you can tone it down with some loose powder. I like using a big fluffy powder brush to apply my blush so it doesn’t go on too dark.
I could keep going, but I think this hits the highlights. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, so if you haven’t updated your makeup routine in a while, consider going to a makeup counter somewhere and asking for some suggestions. I find the ladies working the makeup counters are usually very knowledgeable, and I always learn a new trick or two when I let them do my makeup.