When it comes to beauty, most of the rules were made to be broken. But some of those rules, well, let’s just say they weren’t meant to be broken, but most of us end up breaking them anyway. We’ve all pored through the magazines before, skimming those articles that warn of some fairy tale misfortunate that will befall you if you have the audacity to commit the beauty sin of the month. We can all pretend we’re doing all the “right” things, but what does that even mean? Is there a distinct right and wrong when it comes to beauty, or are we all just trying to do what we can to get by and look and feel as beautiful as we possibly can, regardless of whether some glossy, authoritarian entity informs us that we’re doing everything wrong?
I think these beauty rules, faux pas, no-nos, mistakes or whatever else you want to call them have as much legitimacy as those rules that caution against eating ice cream after 8 p.m. or taking three shots of tequila in a row. I mean, yeah, that guidance is probably right in the boring, safe way that prevents belly aches and bad hangovers, but that’s not how we should live our lives all the time. Sometimes, you just need to say, “Advice be damned, this is what works for me, and I’m going to do it,” and that’s never truer than when it comes to beauty. I’m guilty of breaking the "rules" myself, and I’ve regretted it more than once, but I can’t promise I’ll never do it again. Here are a few beauty mistakes I think we’ve all made at least once:
1. Overplucking Your Eyebrows
Plucking always starts the same: You’re dreading it, because you know every eyebrow you extract is going to hurt, and it’s a guarantee you’re going to pinch your skin going for one of those eyebrow hairs that’s one millimeter long. Yet, once you get past the chore phase of plucking — usually when your arch becomes clean again — plucking starts to feel good. And you get greedy. You start plucking a group of hairs at a time, using your tweezers like you’re a kid wielding a machine claw to grab stuffed animal. You get addicted to making your brows neater and neater, getting closer to the fleek eyebrow status you’ve always dreamed of but have never successfully reached!
That’s when it happens. You take too much off, and now you have an eyebrow bald spot. You try to brush the other hairs to fill it in, but you know you’re going to be penciling it in for at least a week. Even though I know I should always exercise caution while grooming my brows, this still happens to me at least once a year.
2. Using Heat Products On Wet Hair
Of all the hair care obligations, drying one’s hair is probably the most tedious. As if working your biceps to hold up a tiny, heated fan near your head isn’t bad enough, we all know that the hair-drying phase is the only thing that separates us from styling our hair, which is clearly the best part of the whole process. The whole time the hair dryer is roaring in our ears, our curling or flat iron is just laying there, fully heated and ready to tango with our tresses. So it’s been two hours in Hair Dryer Time (which translates to ten minutes in regular time), and you decide that your hair is officially dry. But that’s a lie. In the back, your ends are still damp, but you can’t resist. The hair drying process just takes too long, and you’re ready to style it now. So you endure the menacing sizzle when the heat hits your wet hair, and when you promise yourself next time you’ll be more patient, you know it’s not true.
3. Painting Over Old Nail Polish
You're enjoying a nice glass of wine, and you decide that maybe this is the night you finally address the chipped nail polish you've been wearing around for longer than you'd care to admit. You pick out a polish and gather your supplies, but it's not long before you realize you're all out of nail polish remover. Okay, maybe that's a lie. Let's just say — hypothetically, of course — you just don't want to remove the old nail polish. Maybe you don't have time! Perhaps you don't want to deal with the mess of cotton balls and stained finger tips and that awful smell. Instead, you decide to drown your nails in 3-5 coats of new polish, and revel in the glory of your little manicure secret. You know you're going to pay for this eventually, but for tonight, you're content to sip your Pinot Grigio and feel accomplished.
4. Sleeping In Your Makeup
Look, there are just some nights where crusty mascara eyelashes, a stained pillowcase and potentially clogged pores just sound a lot more appealing than using any makeup remover or splashing water all over your face. It's pretty bad, sure, but some nights you just can't. Sorry skin, but you can breathe again in the morning.
5. Applying Eyeliner With Your Eyes Open
I know it's not the standard procedure, and maybe I'm breaking 30 eyeliner bylaws in doing so, but I find that my eyeliner consistently turns out better when I apply it with my eyes open. I've read the warnings about not getting close enough to my lash line and how the line proportion might be all off, but it works for me. Closed eyeliner application may be how you're supposed to do it, and maybe I'm walking around thinking my eyeliner is on point and I really just look like a fool, but I'm sticking with it. Deviating from the norm isn't a mistake if it works, right?
6. Using Too Much Top Coat
Some of us women will never master the art of a perfect nail polish application. It will elude us for our entire lives. Guaranteed, every time I give myself a manicure, at least one finger is going to turn into a pigmented glob of doom just waiting to smear on something — usually my favorite sweater or my hair. Most of the time, I sabotage myself during the final top coat layer.
See, I will be forever be under the impression that top coat has the supreme power to not only protect my nails, but also to correct all of my manicure mistakes while helping everything dry faster. An hour later, when my fingers are still spread out like I just got my fingerprints taken, I remember once again just how untrue that is. Nailing the perfect nail polish application is tricky, and you are not alone in your struggles. I'm right there with ya, re-lacquering my thumb.
7. Not Cleaning Your Brushes As Often As You Should
I know, it's bad, but cleaning those dirty makeup brushes is like the beauty equivalent of flossing: You know you need to do it for your own well-being, but somehow you always manage to put it off as long as possible because it's time-consuming and generally gross. We should all be more diligent because this a legitimate health thing, but if your resolve wanes, know that you're not the only with some funky brushes. Maybe a joint flossing/brush cleaning effort is what really needs to happen.
8. Curling Your Lashes With Mascara On
Have I ever curled my lashes with mascara on? What?! Where did you hear that? Okay. Yes. I've done it, and I'll probably do it again. I know it puts my eyelashes in grave danger and completely gunks up my eyelash curler, but it's just so effective. Curling your lashes post-mascara is totally frowned-upon, but there's no denying it's like freezing your lashes in their perfect, curly state. I'm trying to cut back, because I definitely don't want an eyelash accident on my hands, but let's just say sometimes I "forget," and if you do it too, we can both say we "forgot" together.
9. Aggressively Combing Or Brushing Your Wet Hair
If your hair is prone to tangling, chances are you have — at least once in your life — taken out some unrelated aggression on your innocent hair. It starts with a knot that completely sabotages your combing experience. Normally you'd handle this situation with care, but there are some days where the errant tangle brings to mind every moment in your life where your hair has betrayed you. And so you pick up that fine-tooth comb like a weapon and forcefully tug it through that nebulous entanglement with no regard for the strands you're breaking in the process. It's an emotional experience, and it's happened to more women than you'd probably think.
10. Suffering The Tight Hair Headache
If you've ever worn your hair in a high bun or a tight ponytail, chances are you've experienced the tight hair headache before. Yesterday, my hair was too greasy for anything other than a messy bun, and the headache started setting in around 10 a.m., but my hair was simply too dirty to remedy the situation. We suffer the tight hair headache for lots of different reasons. Maybe you have cute headband, but it kind of feels like a vice squeezing your brain into oblivion. Maybe you just love tight, clean up-dos. Whatever the reason, suffering the tight hair headache is pretty silly when you think about it, but it's probably not going to stop us anytime soon.
11. Using Too Much Product
Whether it's hair styling creme, blush, foundation or moisturizer, every single one of us has used too much product at some point. When exactly something passes the threshold of "just right" into "too much" territory is subjective, but usually you know it's happening as you're doing it. One of the leave-in hair products I use advises using a quarter-sized amount. I usually start with a quarter-sized amount, and then another, then three more helpings of a nickel-sized amount. When my hair starts getting heavy and slick, I know I should have followed the directions, but sometimes you just can't resist.
It's no different with makeup. You get to that point where your look could be complete, and you could totally stop right there, but you don't. You keep going. You layer on more eyeliner, eyeshadow and lipstick and soon you realize you may have gone too far. Trust me, it's not just you.
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