I Tried 11 Beauty Faux Pas In Everyday Life & This Is What Happened — PHOTOS
This world is full of supposed beauty faux pas peppered with no-good reputations. From smudged eyeliner to overdrawn brows, some makeup looks have been deemed no-nos simply because a glossy magazine or culture at large has decided they are "ugly" or "a mistake." I'm not one for ruling things out as faux pas until I try them, though, so I was curious to know whether sporting 11 unconventional looks would actually elicit the cringe-worthy reactions they're branded with.
It's not unusual to come across looks we're told to avoid. Greasy hair, ill-blended makeup, and faded lipstick have long been established as beauty mishaps. But coming from a fashion and beauty writing background, I believe that it's those same faux pas that make headlines, runways, and fashion campaigns, helping folks stand out rather than blend into a crowd. This is precisely why I was interested in learning exactly how those same faux pas would play out in a normal person's day-to-day.
I took these established and supposedly cringe-worthy beauty faux pas into my daily life and documented all that I discovered. Rocking one faux pas per day, it was pretty fascinating to see how these "embarrassing" beauty methods encouraged subtle yet visible reactions from the people around me. Here's how it went.
1. Smudged Eyeliner
Since smudgy eyeliner is something of a trend these days despite still being deemed a faux pas, I didn't expect to receive too many reactions to my first look, if any. But to my surprise, I actually got quite a few compliments after smudging my liner on both my upper and lower lash lines.
Both of my roommates said I looked pretty and done-up, and then proceeded to ask me where I was going. Although I was only headed to the mall, their comments definitely gave me a boost of confidence. Once there, I felt like I received some strange looks, but I couldn't decide whether that was because I looked like I had been crying or because I looked cute and trendy.
Faux Pas Verdict: Smudged eyeliner is hardly a faux pas. Judging from the reactions I received, it's obviously a chic-in-an-undone-kind-of-way look. The compliments I received definitely prove it's more of a beauty trend than a no-no.
2. Overdrawn Eyebrows
If you thought smudged eyeliner was bad, just wait until you hear about my overdrawn brows. I'm not a huge eyebrows-on-fleek person, but I definitely know the beauty benefits of having a good set of brows. Nevertheless, I messily drew in my own with every brow product I could find.
I rocked the look at my local Starbucks. Once there, I didn't notice any major reactions from the people around me, even though the horribly filled in brows were making me cringe. The same was true in yoga class later in the day.
Faux Pas Verdict: Since my brows are naturally dark and thick, I don't think overdrawing them made a huge difference in my life. But it just goes to show that having a heavily filled in set of brows doesn't offend the masses.
3. Greasy Hair
In all honestly, greasy hair is a "faux pas" I commit on the reg. Because my hair is rather oily, skipping just one shampoo day will usually make it look slick and shiny — and not in a good way. But when looking for reactions, I realized it wasn't a big deal at all.
I spent my greasy hair day around my S.O. and his male friends. I was expecting to get some snobby looks and maybe the occasional expression that read "you're gross," but my supposedly offensive hair went relatively unnoticed.
Faux Pas Verdict: If I was attending an event or going to work, I can imagine my greasy hair might have posed more of an issue. In truth, it wasn't nearly as much of a beauty faux pas as I expected.
4. Too Much Blush
I'm sure we've all applied "too much" blush at some point in our lives. Generously applying rouge to my cheeks was quite a change from my usual careful application meant to avoid looking like a doll. But I sort of liked how flushed and youthful I looked — and people definitely noticed.
When my boss requested my help on a project, she asked me and my "cute little rosy cheeks" to join her in her office. I admit I chuckled, and I was convinced that if she noticed it, so did everyone else in my office. They were probably just too nice to say anything.
Faux Pas Verdict: Maybe too much blush is a beauty faux pas, in terms of looking younger than you might want. Most folks aren't used to blush looking so potent and red, so there's a chance that putting on a bunch might lend itself to some questionable feedback.
5. Faded Lipstick
Despite often being deemed a faux pas, I've been noticing that faded lipstick is actually quite a popular trend in the beauty scene today. I applied quite a bright lip pencil shade to my lips and dabbed it with a tissue to create the faded look above. I liked the way it looked, and the fact that I didn't need to worry about it fading was very lazy girl-friendly. I felt confident and pretty, and didn't seem to offend any of my co-workers that day either. In fact, I even got a compliment from someone who told me I looked nice.
Faux Pas Verdict: This is not a faux pas at all. It's low maintenance and trendy. What more could you ask for?
6. Dramatic Eyes And Dramatic Lips
For as long as I can remember, the rule of "never wear a dramatic lip with a dramatic eye" was an unbreakable guideline. But my findings prove that it's a totally irrelevant one.
Sure, the dark eye makeup will compete with the bright lips for attention. But I felt glamorous, and loved creating something eye-catching and dramatic. Plus, my roommate complimented me on my makeup, and I couldn't stop taking selfies.
Faux Pas Verdict: Hardly a faux pas! Rules were clearly meant to be broken. My word of advice? Definitely consider rocking a dramatic look.
7. Clumpy Mascara
I'm a little bit of a mascara snob, so willingly applying clumpy mascara was always going to be a challenge. In the end, I found the look to go quite unnoticed for the majority of the day.
That is, until my significant other pointed out that I was wearing "a lot" of makeup. He commented on my mascara, saying, "You have so much stuff on your eyelashes. Why do you wear that? You don't need it."
At first, his retort made me angry. Not only are clumpy lashes actually "in" right now to the point where there's a mascara that's meant to make lashes look clumpy, but being told I shouldn't wear something just isn't my cup of tea. Upon further reflection, I realized he probably just meant that this beauty method didn't feel like me. And I had to agree on that front.
Faux Pas Verdict: This one's totally up to you, but I'm not the biggest fan. Use your mascara carefully, because clumps might feel a little sticky and physically heavy otherwise.
8. Overdrawn Lips
I expected my take on overdrawn lips to raise some eyebrows given the popularity of lip plumping these days. And that's exactly what happened.
My barista at Starbucks gave me the most uncomfortable look, while a girl I saw outside the shop looked me up and down and shot me a glance so dirty I felt like I'd genuinely committed a heinous crime. I didn't take it personally. Even I couldn't take myself seriously with this overdrawn pout.
Faux Pas Verdict: There's no denying that overdrawn large lips might be out of the comfort zones of many. But that doesn't mean you can't pull them off well (ahem, Kylie, ahem) if you find yourself curious. Just beware that you might elicit a lot of staring.
9. Cakey Foundation
When I first became interested in makeup, my face basically looked like this every single day. So I revisited my middle school beauty days when I was applying this cakey foundation look.
I loved how flawless my skin looked in photos, but I hated the heavy feel of product on my skin. Leaving it unblended and rather thick, I got a few odd looks when I went out to the grocery store, but nothing too noticeable. Admittedly, I probably would have starred at someone whose neck was a completely different color than the makeup on their face, too.
Later that night, my S.O. asked yet again, "Why are you wearing so much makeup?" He clearly wasn't too keen on the heavier beauty looks.
Faux Pas Verdict: OK, faux pas: You win this time. While it definitely looks great in selfies, cakey foundation can appear harsh and heavy in real life. Wearing this come warm weather would be a total nightmare.
10. Too Much Glitter
I love anything that sparkles and shines, so I was extra pumped about going full-on glitter.
Using glitter eyeshadow, highlighter, loose powder, and lines, I loaded up. I thought I looked like a disco ball (a fabulous one at that!), but my co-workers didn't seem to notice that anything was different. Stopping by the grocery store after, I received no comments about my face — and felt oddly disappointed that my interpretation of glitter didn't get the sparkling reactions I thought it would.
Faux Pas Verdict: If you love glitter, let your sparkling-shiny-self show. Consider steering clear of rhinestones and unblended patches, but remember that a little bit of glittery makeup never hurt anybody.
11. Ill-Blended Face Makeup
Not blending your face makeup enough is often hailed a surefire way of looking like a clown. IMO, my un-blended foundation, bronzer, blush, and highlighter certainly proved as much.
I visited my local Target and felt like I was secretly getting judged by all the women around me. It was especially bad in the beauty section, where I encountered some serious side-eye in my peripherals.
Faux Pas Verdict: I guess this is a faux pas if there ever was one, in the sense that some people will likely react negatively. Keep your makeup blended and clean if you want to avoid the meanies.
Can Faux Pas Be Rocked?
Based on the reactions I received while committing so-called beauty faux pas, I can definitely understand why they are labeled as such. Sure, clumpy lashes and ill-blended face makeup aren't the beauty norm. But that's precisely why these rules are complete ludicrousness in the first place.
Beauty cannot be defined by what has been hailed a "mistake." It would seem these faux pas reflect what's generally considered attractive by mainstream forces, but that should never affect how someone applies their makeup or does their hair. Makeup is a creative outlet that should allow every individual to express themselves. Just like style, cosmetics, and hair preferences are unique to every person. So if you want to rock super rosy cheeks, do it. If you love glitter, go ahead and sparkle. No one, especially not cultural beauty norms, should ever tell you how to express and present yourself.
I know social standards might be ingrained in some people's minds, but they don't have to be ingrained in yours. Consider beauty as a form of creativity, and be sure to go wherever your unique, individual self takes you.
Even if it is down a road of greasy hair!
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Images: Melodi Erdogan