Whether you’ve been applying makeup every morning for the past two decades or only the past two weeks, there are always new tricks to learn. But more importantly, there are mistakes to unlearn. The beauty landscape has evolved so much in just a few short years, and there’s a chance that you’re using old information that is sabotaging your makeup routine. For example, are you pumping your mascara wand to get excess formula onto the brush? Are you picking a lighter shade of concealer than your complexion? If so, it’s time you got schooled. We consulted Nick Lujan, a Make Up For Ever pro educator, who debunked 10 beauty myths to ensure your face always looks flawless.
If you’ve sworn by doing this in the past, you’re not imagining things — it really does pack more of the formula onto the brush, as the extra oxygen is “thickening” the product. But in the long run, it’s a bad move.
“You’re reducing the lifespan of the mascara,” explained Lujan. “The formula will dry out quicker.” If you’re hoping to extend the life of your favorite tube, Lujan suggests adding a few drops of a liquefying formula Make Up For Ever Aqua Seal ($21), which intensifies pigments and makes products more durable. “In addition to reanimating a dry mascara, it will also increase the waterproof hold,” he said.
Lighter unfortunately does not equate to brighter. “By going too light, you run the potential of creating an ash-gray tone under the eyes,” he warned. Instead of picking a too-pale concealer, opt to color correct. Lujan advises looking for a formula that closely matches to your skin tone but is a bit warmer. “Opposite colors on the color wheel, like orange, are a great way to cancel out the blue/purple undertone of dark circles,” he explained.
“You are never too mature to look radiant,” insisted Lujan. He admits that shimmer can accentuate aging skin’s texture (in particular, fine lines and enlarged pores), but you can still incorporate a more luminous formula into your routine. “Think in terms of radiant creams, liquids, and powder that are very refined and smooth,” he said. “Stay clear of larger-particle glitters.”
Regardless of your age, it is of the utmost importance to be strategic when applying these kinds of products. Lujan recommends focusing on the high points of the face: brow bone, nose bridge, and upper cheekbone.
This is completely untrue. In fact, if you believe this myth, you are likely contributing to your excess sebum. “Skin will overproduce oil as a response to dryness,” remarked Lujan. Cleansing can strip your complexion of its natural oils, and if you don’t restore much-needed moisture, your skin will react by getting oilier.
Avoid this by nourishing your skin with lightweight hydration. Lujan suggests looking for skin care formulas that contain hyaluronic acid. “Hyaluronic acid is known to capture a thousand times its weight in water,” he said. By drawing water into the skin, you’ll keep it soft, healthy, and less greasy. Try an overnight treatment like Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask($92). It’ll infuse your complexion with deep moisture while you sleep.
While you want to control shine and extend the wear of your look, you shouldn’t pat powder all over your face. When you do this, you bone structure appears less defined and your foundation’s radiance falls flat. Lujan recommends using a small eye shadow buffing brush to set oil-prone areas, which he referred to as “hot spots.” These include your T-zone and the front of your cheeks.
To fully set your makeup after you’ve applied powder to those trouble areas, use a setting spray. Lujan likes Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Setting Spray ($30), which will add an extra layer of shine protection.
It’s possible that you could be having a bad reaction to your favorite formulas, but poor hygiene and contaminated products are usually to blame. “Always, always use a makeup remover prior to using your face washes and skin care,” pleaded Lujan. “Don’t rely on a face wash to remove all makeup from your skin.” Besides, if your cleanser is loaded with active ingredients, they may not be able to fully penetrate the skin if there’s a layer of makeup on your face.
Be sure to clean your brushes religiously, especially if they’ve touched congested skin. (Learn how to effectively clean your tools here.) Lujan also recommends wiping the top layers of your favorite pressed powders before applying. This can remove potential bacteria.
“The best place to match a foundation is on the area that you are placing it,” noted Lujan. If you hold your wrist up to your face and look at the two areas in the mirror, it is likely that the inside of your wrist will be much lighter than your face, and the outside will be a bit darker (all because of varying levels of sun exposure). Try to match on your jawline instead. And don’t get frustrated if you need to test many colors! “Typically, you need to try three colors before deciding on a perfect shade,” he said.
Sorry to say it, but this is highly unlikely. That’s because your complexion’s color can vary wildly due to factors such as weather conditions, sun exposure, and hormones, which is why makeup artists tend to use multiple foundation hues on one client. “You can typically find two or even three shades of skin on one face,” explained Lujan.
“By having two shades of foundation on hand, you are able to apply shades that match the different colors in your skin, then soften the transition between the two by blending,” he said. At the very minimum, you should have two foundations in your stash — a lighter tone and a darker one — and mix them accordingly.
We applaud you for being diligent about your antiaging routine, but those nourishing treatments can present problems with the wear and smoothness of your eye makeup. Focus on slicking on that eye cream at night instead.
“By applying at night, you’ll see better benefits,” said Lujan, who explained that your makeup could reduce the potency of your skin care formulas. You’ll also need less moisture under your eye during the day if you wear your treatment to bed, improving your concealer application. If your under-eye is still dry, opt for a moisturizing primer or creamy concealer.