30 Makeup Mistakes You're Probably Making

by Julia Teen

I know there’s probably been a time in your life when you’ve looked back over your Facebook photos and cringed at the sight of your own face. I know this because I’ve done it. Many times. What was I thinking going out in that turbo-tan foundation/face full of makeup/blush that took over my whole cheek? There are those types of mistakes (the ones you delete IMMEDIATELY), and then there are the ones that you might be still doing every day without even realizing it. Here are 30 of them — with easy fixes, I promise.

Wearing the Wrong Shade Of Foundation

We all do it one point or another. According to makeup artist and founder of her eponymous line, Ellis Faas, it’s an easy fix: “Just choose two shades that come closest to your skin tone, apply each of them to your jawline, and then go outside to natural light and look in a mirror.” Use your own judgment to see which one looks most natural.

Ellis Faas Skin Veil , $90, Amazon

Applying Makeup To Dry Skin

This is a huge no-no, says Barbara Guillaume, a makeup artist who has worked on celebs like Colin Farrell and Kellan Lutz. “You should be exfoliating once a week because applying foundation onto dry skin will accentuate flakiness, and it will sit on the top of your face instead of blending in.” Heed her advice by exfoliating weekly, then applying a rich moisturizer after.

Rejuvi Exfoliating Mask, $26, Dermstore

Wearing The Wrong Shade Of Blush

Blushes should complement your natural blush tone, says Osmosis Color Cosmetics makeup artist Alejandro Falcon. “If you are wearing a bolder lip, pair that with a subtler shade of blush.”

Stila Custom Color Blush in Coral, $20, Amazon

Applying Too Much Bronzer

Mari Shten, a makeup artist who has worked with Mariah Carey and Christy Turlington, nominates the over-liberal application of bronzer as one of the biggest makeup blunders. “Applying all over the face instead of just the forehead, temples and nose” is a big no-no, she says. She also warns us not forget to apply to the neck.

Not Cleaning Your Brushes

“My number one mishap I see: women applying makeup with dirty brushes or old, unwashed sponges and then wondering why their makeup doesn’t look fresh, or even breaking out,” says Rachel Wood, makeup artist to celebs Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Olivia Palermo, and Lily Cole. She says to wash your tools with a mild shampoo or instant brush cleaner and replace your sponges regularly.

Japonesque Makeup Brush Cleaner, $11, Amazon

Not Switching Your Makeup Seasonally

Finding that your eye makeup keeps running now that the season has changed? “Switch over formulas during spring and summer to waterproof pencils and mascaras as well as cream eye shadows to stop your makeup [from] melting away,” says makeup artist Gita Bass, who has worked with Keira Knightley, Cate Blanchett, and Katie Holmes.

Cargo Better-Than-Waterproof Mascara, $20, Amazon; Stila Smudge Pot, $20, Amazon

Wearing The Same Foundation Year Round

Much like your color cosmetics, your foundation needs to be switched up during the summer months. “You have a summer wardrobe and winter wardrobe — the same applies to your face,” says Wood. “Nine out of 10 people have a complexion that is one to four shades darker in the summer time.”

Lorac POREfection Foundation, $36, Amazon

Testing Makeup Shades On The Wrong Areas

It’s common to use the back of your hand to color-match a new foundation or lipstick, but Wood says this is the wrong way to go. “Your hands can have more redness than your face.” she says. “Apply foundation on your jawline, and for lip colors, ask for the counter sample to be disinfected with alcohol and then apply with a lip brush to sample.”

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Fairest Nude, $5.99, Amazon

Not Testing Makeup At All

You wouldn’t just hold up a pair of jeans to see if they fit. You have to try on your makeup, too, says Wood. “You can’t trust what it looks like in the bottle as liquid products oxidize on the skin and in the air, changing the color and texture.”

Forgetting To Prime

“Taking the necessary steps to prime the skin for [makeup] application is one of the biggest opportunities you have to impact your application,” says makeup artist and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics founder David Klasfeld. After moisturizing and before foundation application, apply a Skin Primer to create a smoother, more hydrated surface that’ll hold your makeup in place for longer.

Lorac Mattifying Primer, $32, Amazon

Getting Your Concealer Shade Wrong

A common mistake is using an under-eye concealer that’s two or three shades lighter than your foundation,” says MAC senior makeup artist John Stapleton. “It doesn’t do anything to diminish darkness and only brings attention to the area.” He notes that when trying to hide dark circles, you need a color corrector, usually in a peach tone that’ll counteract dark blue and purple under eye tones. Unsurprisingly, Stapleton recommends MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Bright Forecast (for light to medium skin tones) or Peach Luster (for darker skin tones)

MAC Prep+Prime Highlighter, $26, Nordstrom

Applying Too Much Powder

“Over powdering throughout the day can make your face appear heavy and cakey,” says Stapleton. “The best way to avoid over powdering is to use blot film papers throughout the day to absorb oil.”

NYX Matte Blotting Paper, $3.99, Amazon

Powdering In The Wrong Places

If you are partial to the powdery-fresh look and feel, though, make sure you aren’t swirling it onto your whole face — just use where needed. “Just because the powder says translucent doesn’t mean it is invisible!” says L.A. makeup artist Christina Henry, known for her work on Lady GaGa, Estelle and Fergie. “Apply powder only where needed, which is usually in the T-zone. It’s best to use a brush, tapping away excess product and gently pressing into your face.”

Real Techniques Powder Brush, $7.99, Amazon

Shading Your Brows Too Dark

“Go a shade lighter or use a less intense touch to fill out your brows,” says Wood. “Using a brow pencil that’s as dark as your natural brow will make it look too heavy or intense.”

L'Oreal Brow Stylist Pencil, $6.99, Amazon

Getting Stuck in A Rut

We all have one staple product we have worn for years and won’t give up, says Illamasqua makeup artist Spob O'Brien. “We buy it time and time again, and it could be holding you back from updating your look. If it’s a particular shade or texture of lipstick, take it to a makeup counter and ask to try out lighter and darker tones, or examples of that tone in a different hue or finish.” Instant style upgrade!

Wearing Too Much Makeup

Let your skin show, says makeup artist and founder of men’s grooming brand EvolutionMan, Marco Berardini. “Unless you have severe acne, foundation should only be used to correct minor redness and imperfections. Being heavy handed will actually make you look old.” He says to only apply a light coat of foundation and then use concealer to target specific problem areas.

Not Matching Your Eye Shape To Liner Style

The shape and placement of your eyeliner is just as important as the color, says makeup artist and annual director of The Makeup Show, James Vincent. “If your eyes are closer set, the thickest, boldest part of the liner should be at the outer corner to widen them,” he says. “Whereas for eyes that are spaced further apart, the thickest part of your eyeliner should be concentrated at the inner corner.” Try an eyeliner that lets you control how thick or thin you can paint on your liner angle.

Stila All-Day Liquid Liner, $22, Amazon

Over-applying Lip Gloss

It’s not 2004, guys. Vincent says that lip gloss should only be applying in the center of your lip for maximum impact and shine, while maintaining the perfect pouty shape. “Applying lip gloss across all of your lips does not provide shape, it just makes the lips look overdone.” Try a blue-based lip gloss — like Ardency Inn Modster Lip Vinyl in Club Remix — that'll brighten your complexion and give the appearance of whiter teeth.

Try ARDENCY INN, Modster Lip Vinyl, $12, Amazon

Curling Your Lashes Last

Curlers work best usually on clean lashes so there’s no chance of ripping any out, “ says Wood. “Then apply mascara and wait for it to dry. You can go in and re-curl after (carefully!), but if the mascara is still wet or tacky all you can expect are stuck together, sticky lashes.” Never a good look.

Japonesque Eye Curler, $12, Amazon

Over-Exaggerating Your Eyebrows

Yep, bold brows are in, but only if they suit you. “Women with thin eyebrows try to create a fuller brow with a pencil that’s much darker, and this can look very harsh,” says Henry. “If you are a brunette, try a shade lighter than your natural color, and for blondes and redheads, go a shade darker.” She says to brush hairs up with a clear brow gel and then fill in the blanks.

CoverGirl Clear Mascara, $8.45, Amazon

Getting Your Contouring All Wrong

We gave you a guide to contouring, but many of us still can’t get it right. “Most don’t blend their shades enough or get the placement wrong, “ says film, TV, and theater makeup artist Sarah Fab. “Instead, use two shades of your foundation for the most natural look — your usual foundation and one shade darker.”

Over-Powdering Up

Fab also hates the over-powdered look, but offers up an easy way to fix it. “It makes the skin look so dry and flat, but you can use a light mist of Evian spray water to set the powder and give the skin back its dewy look,” she says.

Evian Mineral Spray, $17.98, Amazon

Not Blending Your Face to Your Neck

Aside from using the wrong shade of foundation for your face, editorial hair and makeup artist Kerrie Urban thinks that seeing the line of foundation at your jawline is one of makeup’s biggest sins. “Always blend down so your face is the same shade as your body. If it’s not, you are using the wrong color.” If this is a habitual problem for you, she suggests using a tinted moisturizer — try Laura Mercier — that is easier to blend and avoids a caked on look.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $44, Nordstrom

Going Crazy On The Blush

We’ve all done it before. “Applying too much blush can leave you looking clownish,” says Henry." Blush is supposed to give you a healthy glow and add life to your complexion. Smile and focus the color on the apples of the cheeks, [then] blend backwards towards your temples, making sure there are no harsh lines.”

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso, $9, Amazon

Wearing Lip Liner That’s Too Dark

It was cool in the 90’s, not so much anymore. Guerlain celebrity makeup artist Marcus Monson says the key to blending your liner perfectly is choosing one that’s just one shade darker or brighter than your natural lip color.

Applying Too Much Mascara

Hello, clumped-up lashes. To avoid this, Monson suggests taking the time to separate your lashes. “First apply by holding the wand horizontally at the base of the lash and wiggle out with your first coat,” he says. “Then hold the wand vertically for thee second coat to build up length, curl and separation.”

Wearing The Wrong Shade Of Eye Shadow

Go for the opposite of your eye color, not the exact match. “This’ll bring the color of your eyes out more,” says Falcon. “For blue eyes, try shades like brown, copper, bronze, plum or terracotta, and for brown or hazel eyes, blue, purple, green or mahogany will enhance.”

Using Too Much Glue on False Lashes

Plus trying to fit your lashes on when the glue is still wet, says Wood. “You only need a minimal amount of eyelash glue,” she says. “Gently coat the rim of the lashes and wait 30 seconds for the glue to become too tacky.” Any less time, and the lash will slip around and won’t stick.

Applying Matte Lipstick on Dry Lips

We all know how that’s going to end… “Exfoliate your lips every day to remove dead skin and follow up with a lip balm for hydration,” Monson says. “Matte lipsticks are really on-trend but your lips need to be in the proper nourished condition to wear them.”

Jane Iredale Sugar and Butter, $25, Amazon

Letting Tired Eyes Give You Away

There are easy tricks for this. Makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci — who has worked with Allure, Lucky and Teen Vogue — says to use a pencil on your water line (the watery, inner rim of your eyelid) to brighten up your eyes and remove any redness. “If you’re fair, use a white or cream pencil,” she says. “Medium-skin girls can use a nude liner like Nars Larger than Life Eyeliner in Rue Boneparte, whereas olive skin could try a gold pencil for brightening. Dark-skin types can try a dark brown eyeliner."

Nars Larger Than Life Eyeliner , $22, Amazon

Images: © Valua Vitaly -