1. Not cleaning your makeup brushes.
We’ve all been guilty of this from time to time. Even most makeup artists confess that the time-consuming brush-cleaning process is their least favorite part of the job. But even if you don’t care that dirty brushes can make you break out, don’t forget that they’re affecting your makeup application. Not only will the colors be all muddled together, but a precise technique is rendered way more complicated — the bristles are already overloaded with pigment, blurring that perfect cut crease to oblivion.
- Putting bronzer on your whole face.
If you want to fake a sun-kissed glow, use self-tanner on your face, not bronzer — your pale hairline and neck will be a dead giveaway. Lightly apply a subtly shimmery bronzer to the bridge of your nose, cheekbones, chin, and forehead to mimic a real tan.
- Matching foundation to the back of your hand.
This seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve all done it. Why would we test foundation on our hands when we’ll be wearing it on our faces? Your face and hand are often not the same color as they don’t receive the same amount of sun exposure. Try foundation on your jawline for a perfect match.
- Sleeping in your makeup.
es, you know that this is bad. After all, it’s probably why the beauty industry invented cleansing wipes! But it doesn’t just cause breakouts — falling asleep with a dirty face can make you look older sooner. Makeup settles in your pores and stretches them out, which is permanent over time. Enlarged pores = rough, aged skin. Trust us, if we knew all along that a clean face was the key to keeping our skin dewy and youthful, we would have created better habits long ago.
- Applying concealer wrong.
While it seems like it’d make sense to just apply concealer on top of your dark circles, applying it in an upside-down triangle shape below the eye creates an overall brightening effect that looks much more natural.
- Applying lip liner just to the edges.
Unless your desired look is a throwback to the ’90s, don’t do this. Even if you apply lipstick on top, your lip color will fade, leaving an unflattering ring around your mouth. Instead, forgo liner entirely or fill in the lines for a durable, last-all-day pout.
- Wearing waterproof mascara every day.
Unless you’re a very sweaty individual or a synchronized swimmer, you shouldn’t wear a waterproof formula regularly. It’s very drying on the lashes. And since these mascaras are hard to remove, you’ll probably rub your eyes a lot during the cleansing process and end up losing some lashes.
- Skipping base coat.
If you wonder why your at-home manicures never last more than a few days without a major chip, it’s for this reason. Base coat grips the lacquer, resulting in a more durable, glossy paint job.
- Using the wrong blush formula.
If your blush looks unnatural, reconsider switching from cream to powder (or vice versa). While powder tends to last longer, cream leaves the most natural-looking flush — but both skin type and season come into play when picking a formula. Cream blushes will likely slide off oily skinned beauties (especially in Summer!), while powder can call attention to dry or wrinkled skin.
- Wearing too much foundation.
Unless you’re hiding discoloration or blemishes, there is no reason to apply foundation to your entire face — it can make you look as if you’re wearing a mask. Instead, focus on trouble areas like the T-zone, around the nose, and under the eyes, leaving the rest of your skin fresh.
- Not using primer with glitter eye shadow.
If you hate glitter eye shadow because of all the fallout (translation: glitter all over your face postapplication), you’re doing it wrong. Dampen a brush with redness-relieving eye drops, swirl it in your shade of choice, then apply to the lid. Sounds weird, but glitter is more likely to stick using this technique. Any stray glitter particles can be snagged with a strip of tape.
- Not setting your concealer.
If you think you’re done hiding your blemishes or under-eye circles with just a dab of product, think again. Even with primer, concealer can shift and reveal your darkest (or reddest) skin secrets. Lock the look down with a light dusting of translucent powder.
- Curling your lashes with mascara on.
This is a huge no-no. Not only will you ruin your previously perfect mascara application, but the curler can stick to your gunky lashes and yank them out.
- Applying your blush incorrectly.
Hopefully you’re not calling it a day after swirling two clown-like circles on your cheeks! Smile, then apply blush from the apples of the cheeks along your cheekbones to your temples, making sure the color is blended.
- Adding nail polish remover to thin out older lacquers.
This is serious sabotage — and also why some salon manicures never seem to last. The chemicals in remover break down polish (which makes sense, as it’s made to do that), rendering the bottled shade unusable. Use a nail polish thinner instead.
- Applying your makeup in the wrong lighting.
It might feel silly to do your makeup sitting on your porch, but that could give you your best results! Always aim to put your face on in not just a well-lit room, but in a space with lighting most similar to your destination. If you’re heading to your sunny office after a slapdash makeup application in your dark bathroom, we guarantee your co-workers will see your blending errors.
- Keeping makeup for too long.
If you’re using an eye shadow you had in high school and you’re anything but a college freshman or sophomore, throw it out! Makeup expires in anything from a few months to less than two years.
- Applying the wrong shade of concealer.
It may seem like applying a lighter shade makes sense, but in reality, it’s just drawing attention to what you’re trying to hide. Match your concealer to your foundation, which should match your natural skin tone.
- Pumping the brush in an almost empty mascara tube.
When you do this, you’re not actually scooping up every last trace of mascara; you’re pumping air into the tube, which dries out the formula. Unless you want clumpy, spidery lashes, just buy a new tube. After all, there are plenty of high-quality, affordable mascara options.
- Using the wrong primer for your foundation formula.
This is a huge mistake that we were making up until a few months ago. If you use a water-based foundation (look in the ingredients!), don’t pair it with a silicone-based primer. It won’t work nearly as well and can even cause the product to pill up. Use water-based foundations with water-based primers and matching silicone primers and foundations for best results.