13 Surprising Mistakes You’re Probably Making When You Apply Makeup

If you have ever performed the traditional feminine ritual that involves assembling random powders, pastes, and gels, and rubbing them all over your face in order to enhance your conventional beauty (AKA “applying makeup”) chances are good that you already know that this is something that is easier said than done.

I mean, certain things are easier than others–pretty much anyone can apply, say, blush, or rub a tinted moisturizer on their face–but the overall act of applying makeup isn’t something that exactly feels natural. Because of this, if you have never taken a makeup calss (or are simply new to the workd of makeup) it is fairly likely that, while you apply your makeup, you also make some mistakes. So, check out these surprising mistakes you’re probably making when you apply makeup–and, of course, how to prevent them:

1. Using dirty brushes:



When was the last time you washed your brushes? If you can’t remember–or you know it’s been longer than a month–you need to wash them, stat. Using dirty brushes can make prevent your makeup from looking fresh or cause you to break out. Get a gentle brush cleanser (or make your own) and commit to cleaning your makeup brushes once a month.


2. Storing your makeup in the bathroom:



When you first think about it, keeping your makeup in the bathroom makes sense, since it’s probably the place where you store the rest of your toiletries. But you might, uh, not want to do that–the moisture from the showers can actually cause your makeup to dry out and run out faster. Plus, storing makeup in the bathroom makes it more prone to collecting bacteria. So, to be on the safe side, try to keep your makeup in your bedroom.


3. Not exfoliating:



Exfoliation isn’t strictly a makeup tip, I guess, but it can seriously impact the way your makeup looks. If you don’t exfoliate, it can make your skin collect patchy, dry spots that can prevent your makeup from settling smoothly over the face. So, just try to exfoliate your face once a week or so–but no more than that, as doing so can irritate your skin–and you should be good to go.


4. Applying foundation to totally bare skin:



Another way to get uneven-looking makeup is by putting it on totally bare, dry skin. To prevent this, you should be using a primer, but, at the very least, make sure you’re moisturizing before putting on foundation–this will help create a smooth surface for your foundation, which will make it look more natural overall.


5. Not switching your foundation based on the season:



Even if you’re not, like, super committed to tanning during the summer, your skin tone probably varies slightly based on the season. So, make sure your foundation choices reflect this–if you’re using the foundation you usually use in the summer in the winter, it’ll probably look a little too dark.


6.  Matching foundation to the back of your hand:



One common makeup blunder is using the back of your hand to find your foundation shade. This doesn’t work because, if you hold the back of your hand up to your face, it’s probably not going to match. So why should you be using it to find your foundation shade? So, if you can, try to swatch some foundation beneath your jaw to find a true match.

7. Wearing waterproof mascara every day:



Waterproof mascara is great for occasions when you’re, say, going to a water park or watching a movie that you know is going to make  you cry. But you shouldn’t wear it every day! Most waterproof mascara formulas are pretty drying, which will cause your lashes to become brittle and break off.


8. Using too much product on your eyebrows:



When you’re filling in your eyebrows, it can be tempting to treat them like something you’re filling in in a coloring book or something. But this can cause your eyebrows to look block-y and almost disruptive on your face–instead, start at the base of your brow and gradually brush it out for a more natural look.


9. Applying concealer straight underneath the eyes:



If you have dark circles beneath your eyes, your first instinct is probably to dab some concealer over them in a semicircle. But this can actually make dark circles seem more pronounced. Instead, apply the concealer in a “V” shape–this helps cover up any dark marks you might have much better.


10. Applying concealer underneath foundation:



A lot of people think that the best way to make concealer effective is by applying it before foundation. Don’t do this! This will just make your makeup look heavy and, in some cases, can make your pimples more pronounced. Instead, apply your foundation, then dab concealer over any blemishes you might still be able to see.


11. Curling your lashes after applying mascara:



If you use a lash curler after putting on your mascara, it can cause your lashes to bend unnaturally. Instead, curl your lashes before you put on the mascara–this will make them look much more natural.


12. Applying makeup in the wrong lighting:



We’ve all been there–you put on some makeup at home and think it looks great, only to go outside and see that your foundation or lipstick or eyeliner is all wrong. The truth is that lighting makes a big difference in the way your makeup looks, and, usually, doing your makeup in “unnatural” lighting (like the kind in your bathroom) is a good way to ensure that it won’t look so great later in the day. So, when you’re applying makeup, try to do it in as natural lighting as possible–this way, you’ll look great inside and outside.


13. Putting too much powder on your face:



Powder is important for setting makeup, but you don’t want to overdo it–if you do, this can make your face look unnatural and cakey. Instead, just brush powder over your T-zone (and maybe a little bit on your cheeks), and deal with any excess oil you may have later in the day by using blotting sheets.


You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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