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 soon ditched the clown face and went for a more natural look.
I went through a phase in my early adulthood when I only wore face powder, blush, mascara and lipgloss.
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 little blogging hobby started giving me opportunities to get professional makeup touchups for various events and gigs that I figured out that I was making a LOT of mistakes with my makeup.
I’m still learning. I feel like every time I have my makeup done I learn another new trick. And of course, makeup application is more art than science, but there are some basic rules that are just good to know, especially as we age and we can’t get away with as much as we used to.
So here are eight makeup tips and/or mistakes you might be making that you can fix right now! Product links are provided through my affiliate partners.
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. 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 cakey 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.
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.
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 one time to many. 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 that hits the highlights. I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any more to add to this list.