We all know makeup can be magic (just ask any Kardashian), but in less skilled hands, it can be a force of evil. Scarier still, many of us don’t even realize when we’ve crossed over to the dark side. To make sure we use the powers of makeup for good, we talked to three top-notch makeup artists who have seen it all — from minor misdemeanors to major facial offenses. Here these beauty bosses dish on the most common makeup mishaps, and how to steer clear.
Mishap #1: Living in the Past
Nika Vaughan, lead makeup artist and owner of the bridal and beauty company Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists, has worked her magic on hundreds of faces and seen her share of makeup missteps. A frequent mistake: holding on to makeup rules long after they’ve expired. What you’ve been calling your signature look may just be a tired makeup rut. “I see this most often with women who learned a few makeup tricks in college … but both their looks and lifestyles are completely different now,” Vaughan says.
Vaughan suggests treating your makeup routine the same way you do your wardrobe: check in and update it every couple of years. “You don’t have to completely change your makeup routine, just see what new products and techniques might help evolve your current look,” she says.
Mishap #2: Working Over-Cover
Nicole Rogers, a makeup artist and licensed hairstylist, has been enhancing pretty faces for print, commercial and bridal applications for a decade. Rogers says using too much makeup to cover your blemishes is a major no-no. “We all have our moments with acne,” Rogers says, “but you don’t have to wear a full face of foundation to try to mask the situation.”
To conceal blemishes and still achieve a natural look, Rogers recommends a three-step process: first, apply an oil-free moisturizer to the blemish and let sit for one minute. Wipe off the excess and then with your finger or a cosmetic sponge, stipple a full coverage concealer directly on the blemish (Rogers likes CoverFX Cover Cream). Finally, pat on a loose powder to set. “This method will ensure a seamless transition between makeup and skin so you won’t have to wear a full face,” Rogers says.
Mishap #3: Shaky Foundation
Kristina Feyerherm, a Chicago-based makeup artist and licensed aesthetician who specializes in print, editorial and bridal makeup, says a lot of women don’t know how to use foundation in a clean, modern way — leaving them with a flat, heavy application that isn’t flattering. “Modern makeup is meant to be fresh and undetectable,” says Feyerherm.
“When I want my client to look naturally flawless and radiant,” Feyerherm says, “I apply a full-coverage foundation with a dampened sponge.” The added hydration allows the product to melt into the skin. The result, she says, “is an effortless appearance.” To give some luminance to dry skin, Feyerherm suggests adding a few drops of facial oil to your foundation (she loves Josie Maran Pure Argan Oil).
Mishap #4: Stuck in a Rut
Vaughan says sticking to a single routine regardless of the occasion can be a big mistake. What looks perfect for work can be dullsville on a night out. “So many women find a safe “go-to look,” Vaughan says, “but then get stuck when it comes to changing things up for a special event.”
Vaughan suggests adding a few new products to your routine that will allow you to maintain your comfort level, while giving you a little more flexibility. “For someone who lives in tinted moisturizer and lip balm, that might mean … jumping from a brown liner to black, adding in a sheer foundation, and a slightly deeper lip stain or lipstick so that you still look defined and polished in a formal setting,” says Vaughan.
Mishap #5: Fake and Bake
That J-Lo glow can be gorgeous, but the widespread misuse of bronzer “has created a lot of unflattering and unnatural orange complexions,” says Rogers.
“First,” Rogers says, “you have to be sure to choose a bronzer that fits your skin tone.” Check the color of the veins on your wrist. Green veins mean your skin tone is warm, blue veins indicate a cool skin tone. Rogers tells us warm-toned gals can feel free to use most bronzers. But if your skin tone is cool, Rogers warns you should probably stay away from any product labeled “bronzer.” “Try using a pressed powder one shade warmer than your current foundation,” she says.
Mishap #6: Ring Around the Eyes
While rimming the eyes in black liner might seem like an obvious choice for show-stopping peepers, Feyerherm says, “There are so many more flattering and subtle ways to call attention to your eyes!”
For a pretty daytime look, Feyerherm recommends a dark gray or chocolate brown liner along the upper lash line (reserve the blacks for special evening occasions). “These colors have oomph to give definition,” Feyerherm says, “but are not overwhelming.” For the lower lash line, Feyerherm prefers a mid-tone gray or brown eye shadow rather than a liner. “Gently smudge [it] into the root, just through the center of the eye,” she says.
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