My mom has a chest of drawers full of makeup, and I'm not exaggerating even a little. She could probably even have two chests-full if she wanted everything organized neatly. I got into wearing cosmetics at a young age and can still recall the struggles of wearing makeup for the first time all too well. There was that stage when I wore solid black eyeshadow and nothing else; another in which I sported kohl black eyeliner and nothing else; and that time I accidentally trimmed half of my eyebrow off.
Every person who has ever worn makeup or experimented with beauty likely has stories like these. When YouTube makeup tutorials didn't exist, we just had to wing it based on advice from older cousins and preteen magazines. I don't know if it's bitterness or jealousy of the 14-year-olds who can contour when I can't, but I mourn this period of looking absolutely terrible that many modern teens will miss out on.
Beauty struggles build character, IMO. Having no idea that makeup brushes exist while grappling with those sponge eyeshadow applicators and having unblended shadow throughout your formative years are essential. These faux pas are a rite of passage and make looking back on all the daft makeup decisions we make when starting out all the more fun. Here are 15 universal struggles of experimenting with makeup for the first time.
1. Wearing The Wrong Foundation Color
Being either bright orange or literally as white as paper was how I spent most of my teenage years. Now I've been using the same brand and shade for three years and I will never have to look like Donald Trump again.
2. Only Using Sponge Eyeshadow Applicators
Icy Blue Eye Glitz Palette, $5.70, claires.com
I don't mean beauty blenders, which actually changed the makeup game forever. But the crappy hate sticks you still get inside a lot of palettes that never, ever allow you to blend.
3. Not Blending Eyeshadow
I vividly remember wearing two eyeshadows on my lids and having a distinct line down the center of them that I thought looked great. It didn't.
4. Using Too Much Blusher
For a while in the early 2000s, this was genuinely fashionable. But that doesn't mean it looked good.
5. Too. Much. Bronzer
This wasn't so much a "sun kissed glow" as "two stripes of golden brown on my face." It wasn't a good look for anyone, let alone the palest girl in the land.
6. Not Removing Makeup Before Bed
Aveeno Makeup Removing Wipes, $6.99, walgreens.com
Today, I can't even imagine committing such a crime against my own skin. (OK, maybe when I'm really drunk, but that's it. I swear). Just keep some baby wipes tucked into your bed, so you'll never have an excuse to sleep in a full face of makeup again.
7. Having No Skin Routine
Clinique Great Skin, Great Deal Set for Combination Oily Skin, $26, sephora.com
And on that note, not having a skin routine seems unimaginable to me now as well. Exfoliating honestly saved my life, and my pores.
8. The Chin Line
Again, it all boils down to blending. Having a distinct line where your foundation ends and your neck begins is a telltale sign that someone is a beauty novice.
9. Crappy Winged Eyeliner
My eyeliner is still pretty crappily execute, if I'm being honest.
10. Not Using Lip Liner
Before lip liner, I had no idea how to stop my lipstick from bleeding onto the skin around my mouth.
11. All Those Clumpy Eyelashes
Nothing makes me feel more ill than seeing mascara applied so that a person's lashes appear to be three hard and pointy sticks.
12. Badly Shaping Our Eyebrows
Thin eyebrows, overdrawn eyebrows, half an eyebrow missing: You'd probably be lying if you said you didn't totally screw up your brows in those early days.
13. Putting On Too Much Powder
"Your makeup isn't meant to look thick or cakey," is what I want to yell at baby me. "Light coverage is all you need!"
14. Not Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes
There are a hell of a lot of germs on your makeup brushes, you know. No, no we did not know.
15. Not Moisturizing
I'm giving this its own category simply because it deserves it. As a dry skin owner, the years I missed out on moisturizing haunt me to this day.
Sure, there are people out there who think makeup is vapid and dumb. But when I look back on my progress over the years, I can't help but see makeup as an art form. It takes skill, and it's a skill that we should all be proud of possessing.
Images: Georgina Jones; Courtesy Brands; Logo TV