I read an article on The Everymom about “mom confessions” recently, and it got me thinking about my own confessions. Of course, I had to relate it back to my beauty routine. I forget to do my morning skincare most days of the week, meaning I rarely apply moisturizer under my makeup. I only recently realized my skin texture had changed enough that I actually have to start wearing powder now, so I’ve been rocking shiny face for probably a few months at this point. I curl my lashes after my mascara is already on to give them even more “va-va-voom”—makeup artists would cringe. I grab for products that aren’t always the best for my skin type in the honor of “trying new things.” Trust me: I consistently do the wrong thing when it comes to beauty, and I write about it every day for crying out loud!
I’ve been watching makeup tutorials and reading every “Beauty” section of a magazine since before I can remember. So, you’d think I’d have some natural skill when it comes to applying my makeup. While I definitely don’t object when someone compliments my makeup (It’s a whole thing—I’ll gladly take ownership over how bomb my eyeshadow looks, but tell me you like my outfit, and I’m all “It’s from the clearance rack at Target!!!!”), I also don’t have all the answers.
My makeup routine has gotten pretty stale and repetitive over the last few months, so in an effort to learn some new techniques and boost my creativity, I took stock of my routine and scoured the Internet, Instagram, and YouTube to figure out exactly what I’m doing wrong in my routine and where I can improve. If you’re also doing these things wrong, I hope we can both learn from my mistakes. And now, we roast me! Yay!
1. Not using eye cream before concealer
As stated above, I’m not necessarily good at remembering to do my skincare in the morning. I assumed there would be no difference in how my makeup applied. Welp, after reading pretty much every single article from a makeup artist, I decided to actually try it. To the surprise of probably no one but me, adding eye cream in the morning made a world of difference. My concealer stayed longer, it looked hydrated at the end of the day, and it limited creasing. Adding that layer of hydration before going in with a concealer provides a barrier between the makeup and your skin, so there’s less possibility of the product sinking into the skin instead of sitting nicely on top.
2. Not using setting powder
When I first moved to Chicago, I had normal-to-dry skin. My cheeks would get a little flaky or patchy in the winter, but overall, my skin type didn’t affect how I wore makeup. Then, after an allergic reaction, my skin went uber dry. I’d wake up with tight, cracked skin that was irritated and itchy. Then (this is a real saga here), somehow in the last six-to-eight months, I’ve entered the realm of combination/oily skin. Excuse me? I barely knew how to take care of my normal-to-dry skin; how the heck do you expect me to deal with this thing I’ve never dealt with before?! It’s sabotage if you ask me. Anyway, makeup for oily skin is something I know absolutely nothing about.
Because my skin has always been prone to looking and feeling dehydrated at the end of the day, I’ve skipped powder for the last few years. I’ve been noticing my foundation disappears halfway through the day anymore and tried primers and setting sprays to stop the problem. Turns out, my oily skin just needs that one product back in it to keep my makeup in place.
But how do I keep the dewy skin look I love while getting rid of the shine? Celebrity Makeup Artist Katie Jane Hughes understands this problem, and in all of her Instagram tutorials, she sets the center of the face (under the eyes, the nose, the sides of the nose, center of the forehead, and chin) with powder to keep the makeup in place and get rid of shine in the areas you don’t want it. A gloss on the cheeks is gorgeous and healthy, but glossiness on your forehead and chin tends to look like you dipped your face in a fryer at McDonald’s (no judgment, girl, we love those fries). You can use a sponge to help blur your pores in these areas or use a small, fluffy brush to make it look like you’re not wearing powder at all.
3. Applying contour too low
Priscilla Ono, Global Makeup Artist for Fenty Beauty, has a special technique that helps you apply contour in the perfect place for your face. Instead of placing your contour right in the hollows of your cheeks, Ono suggests placing it just slightly above wherever you want the contour to be. You’ll blend the contour down, whether you’re using a sponge or a brush, which will place it in the exact spot you want it. As soon as I tried this trick, my contour immediately looked better. Beforehand, my contour always looked heavy and never actually made my face look slimmer; it just added extra product for no reason. Once I started using Ono’s tips, I started believing in the magic of contour yet again.
4. Not tailoring bronzer to your skin tone
It’s common for your skin tone to change a little bit once winter rolls around. Mine changes to an extent that is laughable. I have olive skin that tans easily in the summer—like, two hours in the sun, and I have to move up two foundation shades—but my skin goes back down to “Fair-to-Light03” by December. My skin feels like it’s always a different color, and I can’t buy a new bronzer every week for my different skin tone! So since the winter started, I’ve been forgoing bronzer in an effort to not look insane.
Celebrity Makeup Artist Delina Medhin (whose client-list includes Issa Rae, Ilana Glazer, and Phoebe Robinson) and Beyonce’s MUA Sir John suggest that the most important part of bronzer is the undertone. If the product is easily blendable, it can be a little too dark or light if the undertone is right for your skin. Focus on finding a product that matches the undertone of your skin instead of something that washes you out. Bronzer is supposed to look like natural shadows and natural color from the sun; so, using a shade that doesn’t match the undertone of your skin is a dead giveaway that you’re wearing a bronzer. It also can do more harm than good using something that doesn’t match. Adding a grey-toned bronzer to yellow/warm skin can make you look muddy and dirty rather than like a glowing goddess, whereas an olive or warm bronzer looks orange and like a bad self-tan accident on cool or pink undertones.
5. Using too light of a lip liner
Lip liner can be an art-form. Makeup artists—like Ariel Tejada, who works with Shay Mitchell and Kylie Jenner—and beauty gurus have shown how to make it look like you have lip fillers just using different shades of lip liner, and it’s a reminder that makeup can basically do anything. Whether you’re just adding lip liner to add a lil’ somethin-somethin’ to your overall lip look or want to overline, using the right shade is imperative.
I’ve typically been using a light pink lip liner under most of my lip glosses, but MUAs have shown that using a shade slightly darker than your natural lip shade basically acts like a contour for your lip line. Opt for something with a brown hue to really add to the contoured lip look. This can accentuate the lips you already have and blends perfectly with lipstick and lip gloss.