Like many zillennials, I got my start with beauty through YouTube. At this point, I’ve watched thousands of beauty videos: tutorials, hauls, favorites, empties, and influencer drama (OK, that’s not technically beauty). YouTube beauty experts singlehandedly taught me how to do makeup, not my mom or a book by a makeup artist. And while it’s the reason I even have this career right now, I’ve had to unlearn quite a few outdated beauty rules YouTube taught me along the way.
Some beauty rules exist to make sure you don’t get hurt (like not mixing certain skincare ingredients), while others are just about trends and styles that are meant to be broken at this point. Here are beauty rules I no longer follow:
1. Only use a cool-tone bronzer to contour
Contour and highlight had their 2015 heyday, and while contouring is softer and more natural these days, there’s still this lingering idea that you have to use a cool-tone, grayish shade to get those shadows to appear on your face. While using a cool shade will make the shadows look more realistic, this isn’t an end-all, be-all. For starters, if you have a very warm skin tone, adding that gray shadow will do the opposite of what you’re looking for and look extremely harsh and muddy on your face, not resembling anything close to the word “natural.” But it’s also about the look. Sometimes, you can add a warm bronzer in the hollows of your cheeks to add some dimension and also give you a sun-kissed glow.
2. You can’t use powder if you have dry skin
Some makeup rules were created before we had the technology to develop game-changing beauty products. If you have dry skin, you’ve probably heard over and over again that you have to skip powder or you’ll look cakey and drier. But that was before we had blurring, smoothing, finely milled powders that could glide over dry patches without sticking right to them (and it was also probably when we all were caking up our under-eyes with triangles of Tarte Shape Tape, but I digress).
3. Don’t pair dramatic eyeshadow with a bright lip
Have you seen Euphoria? Lady Gaga? Makeup artist extraordinaire Danessa Myricks? Clearly, no. Gone are the days of thinking that makeup was all about defining your features and “looking pretty.” Makeup can also be about expression and can be fun and editorial, even if you’re just heading to the grocery store. You don’t have to choose just one feature to play up when you’re doing your makeup. Bright shadows paired with bright lips are so trendy, the rule can basically be thrown out the window.
4. You can’t mix powders and creams
New beauty launches, especially in the cream department, are a lot more sophisticated than they were in the past. Beauty products required a bit of finesse to get them to work, which usually meant you had to apply all of your cream and liquid products to your face first and then follow with powders, or else your powders wouldn’t apply or your cream would be patchy. Not anymore. Now, many creams are made to go on top of your setting powder or your powder blush and bronzer. Mixing creams and powders will give you shine and dew exactly where you want it while diminishing it in the places you don’t.
5. Match your perfume to the season
So what if you use a spicy, woody fragrance in the heat of summer? Fragrance is so personal that it shouldn’t be tailored to the season—it should be all about you. While you might prefer a fruity scent in the spring and summer, it shouldn’t deter you from wearing your favorite scents all year long.
6. You can’t use oils if you have oily skin
We’ve all been told that if we have oily or acne-prone skin, everything we use must be oil-free. This might curb breakouts and clogged pores for some people, but others need oil to balance, moisturize, and cleanse their skin. Oil likes oil (we all took high school chemistry!), so if you really want to remove all the sebum from the day before, a cleansing oil is your best bet. Also, there are clarifying and balancing oils you can add at the end of your routine that are specifically made to heal and work with oily skin.
7. Shimmer will make you look older
Many people stray away from using shimmery, glittery eyeshadows and blushes in fear of looking older when, in fact, it adds a youthful, healthy glow to your face and eyes. Using a shimmery or metallic shade on your eyelid will open it up and make you look more awake—even with just one swipe.
And a few rules you must follow…
1. Never forget sunscreen
2. Always remove your makeup before bed
Do I need to say more? Sleeping in all that dirt, oil, foundation, mascara, and lip gloss is just gross and can lead to breakouts, clogged pores, brittle lashes, and more.
3. Do a patch test before using new acids or active ingredients
To make sure a product won’t break you out or cause an adverse reaction, always make sure to test it on the back of your hand or on a little patch near your ear. Try it for one night and then see how your skin reacts in the morning. This will prevent major redness, allergic reactions, and massive breakouts—trust us.
4. Get regular haircuts
Getting regular trims from your hairstylist to help your hair grow isn’t a myth. All those dead ends weigh your hair down, making it look flat and stringy. Plus, your hair often grows differently, resulting in botched ends that never look as good as when you first get them cut. You don’t have to chop off your hair bi-annually, but a half-inch or so once or twice a year will keep your hair looking in tip-top shape. The key to this is finding a hairstylist you trust and feel comfortable with.