Are You Making These 5 Makeup Mistakes?

August 16, 2016

I was 30 before I learned how to wear makeup. Before that, with the exception of mascara, most of my attempts were somewhat frightening. I remember when I was in junior high school, my mom finally told me I could wear lipstick to school. I was so excited. Remember, this was the 1970’s—light lipstick was in. I wore a pale pink color that was truly dreadful with my coloring, but it was all the rage.

I wore it proudly!

And, then I arrived at school.

The kids made fun of me so much that the lipstick lasted barely 3 days. I didn’t wear it again for 15 years (and then, believe me, it wasn’t pink!).

I am a very fair skinned redhead—my eyelashes and eyebrows are so light you can barely see them and my skin is warm with very faint freckles. As a result, even the smallest amount of makeup can look garish if not properly applied.

Mascara was my makeup of choice until I met Nevena. She was glamorous and her makeup was flawless. She changed my life in many ways and makeup was one of them. One of the first things she said to me when she observed my barely visible but totally untamed eyebrows was, ‘You’ve been fooling a lot of people for a long time with those brows.” Who knew!

I had figured that since no one could see them they didn’t really matter.

I was wrong. Once my brows were nicely groomed they became slightly more visible and they certain framed my eyes more effectively.

I felt like a new woman.

Ever since then I have worn makeup daily with the exception of a handful of days each winter when it’s snowing or I’m not going out.

Don’t get me wrong I actually love my light brows and eyelashes—they go with my skin and hair. And, after having terrible acne as a teenager, I have spent decades taking really good care of my skin. I appreciate coming back to my natural look at the end of each day. But, makeup is fun and I love the idea of creating transformation with the wave of a sponge or brush.

While I like the effect of makeup I have zero interest in spending a lot of time applying it. My application has been consistent over the years and takes less than 5 minutes. That said, after nearly 30 years of wearing makeup regularly, I have had to make a few adjustments to my routine.

I want to share with you a few oversights I have seen on others or experienced myself as I have gotten older. I hope they will be helpful to you.

1. It’s All About the Blend

Often we are in a hurry as we slap on our makeup. It can be hard for us to see the telltale signs of unblended foundation on ourselves. I generally see it on others in two places:

  1. Along the hairline back by the ear continuing down along the jawline.
  2. The other place is along the sides of the nostrils.

To remedy this, be sure to pay close attention to your application. Perhaps keep a hand mirror handy so you can check the sides of your face (preferably in natural light) before you finish. And, be sure you are wearing the right color foundation since your skin color can change over time or even between seasons. You are better off wearing no foundation than makeup that is obvious and not well blended.

2. Heavy Lids

The purpose of eyeliner is to define and enhance your eyes. The focus should go to your eye color and not to the eyeliner. Heavy pencil or liquid liner needs to be subtly applied and blended well which can be harder than it sounds. Liquid liner, for instance, can look extremely harsh as our skin ages. It adds drama but no softness. And, unless you can expertly apply colorful eyeliner or have it done professionally, keep eyeliner color neutral and leave the ‘fashion’ colors to the teenagers. I highly recommend using powder eyeliner like the ones at for a softer, more natural look.

3. Too Much Glow

As long as we are talking about eyes, let’s talk eyeshadow. Sometimes it seems like all eyeshadows are sparkly, shiny or have at least a touch of shimmer. If the skin on your eyelids has even a hint of softness or crepiness, forgo any shimmer at all. Shimmer highlights any delicacy in the skin and draws all the focus there, especially light colored shimmery eyeshadow. Choose matte colors instead and keep them relatively neutral.

You can still work with light and dark colors to create depth and enhance your eyes, but the focus will go to your eyes instead of the eyeshadow.

4. Eyebrows That End Too Early (or are not well groomed)

You heard my story about my eyebrows. I have been diligent about maintaining them ever since. I highly recommend good eyebrow grooming for everyone, even men. As you can see in the photo below I also use a powder to define my brows AND extend them. My natural brows end somewhat early so I use powder to recreate and extend them in a soft, natural way. Nicely defined eyebrows frame your eyes.

Here are before after pictures of me from a few years ago – you can see how light my eyebrows and eyelashes are (even with the leftover traces of eyeliner). (And, I really should have brought my eyebrow in slightly closer to my nose.)

And, you can see an example of eyebrows that end a tad early (and look great in a slightly darker color) on Jackie:

5. Wayward Lipstick

I’ll admit it. I am envious of women who have full lips, especially if they are over the age of 50. My lips were never full to begin with and in the past 5 or so years they have gotten thinner, especially my upper lip. And, now, to compound the distress I have vertical lines along my upper lip so my lipstick has a tendency to bleed. Nothing screams old like bleeding lipstick!

My lipstick tips:

  1. If bleeding lipstick is an issue, line just outside your lip line with a transparent lipliner. It helps contain the color.
  2. Keep your lips moisturized at all times and notice if you are licking your lips (this dries them out) so you can stop doing it. Dry, chapped lips are never attractive and certainly don’t feel good. And, lipstick will only make the dry skin on your lips more noticeable.
  3. If your lips are on the thin side wear softer colored lipsticks. Dark colors draw more focus to your lips and it makes your lips look thinner. Of course, what color is right varies from person to person and is affected by how much natural color you have in lips as well as the color of your skin. Experiment with colors and see what works for you. And, if you don’t have thin lips the sky’s the limit!

As you can see below, I follow all of the tips I mention above.

Need more help?

Recently, I had been asked by several of my clients to make an instructional video. So, I created a 30-minute instructional makeup video, walking you through each step in great detail and with very specific suggestions. You can find it here (with a special coupon code): 

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