Let’s face it: Makeup makes us look and feel good. But if you’re applying it incorrectly or using the wrong products, makeup may just be aging you — rather than making you look fresh and youthful. From neglected brows to over-made-up eyes, we found 10 easy ways to nix the mistakes you just might be making.
Here are dos and don’ts to improve your makeup game and easy ways to get out of a beauty rut. Celebrity makeup artist Carol Shaw, creator of LORAC Cosmetics, offers her advice and expertise on common culprits. Are you guilty of some of these beauty blunders?
DO skip face powder
Here’s why: Most of us reach for powder to set makeup, but it also tends to magnify lines in the skin, aging us. If you can’t give up powder, try switching to a sheer translucent powder or a mineral-based one, which illuminates and brightens the skin. Expert Advice: Carol Shaw says: “As we get older skin can get very dry. Powder absorbs oil and moisture, which can be drying for women with dry skin.”Try this instead: Skip the powder or opt for a more moisturizing mineral version.
DO opt for brown eyeliner over black
Here’s why: Eyeliner is an excellent tool to open up the eyes and make them appear wider, but the color black can be too harsh. Switch to a softer shade of brown and avoid lining the lower lash line which can look overdone. Avoid a heavy hand with eyeliner – a thick liner can make upper lids look heavy.
Expert Advice: “Brown eyeliner is soft and natural-looking. Dark makeup can sometimes make you look older,” says Carol.
Try this instead: Opt for a light color liner or a neutral brown shade that’s universally flattering. We like CARGO Swimmables Eye Pencil in Pebble Beach, $18, available at Ulta.com.
DO make blush your friend
Here’s why: The right color blush can add a youthful look to a tired face, but the key is finding a shade that is just right. Women with fair and medium skin tones should look for rosy pinks and peaches, and darker skin tones look best with coral and berry shades.
Expert Advice: “A pop of healthy, rosy color on your cheeks is very youthful-looking —like a young child’s flush or like you have been working in the garden,” notes Carol. “But bright blush can look a bit harsh and unnatural, if not applied properly.”
Try this instead: Avoid bright colors and looks for a shade that is neutral, soft and sheer. We like Neutrogena Healthy Skin Custom Glow Blush & Bronzer Duo, $12.49, available at drugstore.com.
DO wear the right foundationHere’s why: No one can claim to have “perfect” skin, and foundation can work wonders on uneven skin tones. The key is the right product and the right amount of it. Using too much foundation, especially one that’s too thick, can cause the product to settle into fine lines. Avoid anything matte and be sure to prep the skin with a moisturizer and primer before applying. Expert Advice: “Choose a foundation that is right for your skin type (moisturizing, oil-free, good for sensitive skin, etc.) with the coverage you desire,” says Carol. “If you want a very natural look with sheer/medium coverage, try a CC Cream or a Tinted Moisturizer. If you want to cover imperfections look for a medium/full coverage foundation.” Try this instead:For a product that provides natural coverage and offers sun protection, we like Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation, $55, available at PerriconeMD.com.
DO fill in sparse brows
Here’s why: Eyebrow color fades as we age, so filling in over-plucked spots or fairer hair is a must in any makeup routine. Keep brows shaped and defined, and choose a pencil or gel shade that is one or two notches lighter than your natural brow color.
Expert Advice: “Brows are the frame to your face and complete your look. A fuller brow is modern and youthful,” says Carol.
Try this instead: Pencils are great for precision, but gels have longer lasting staying power. We like Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (offered in 5 shades), $18, available at Sephora.com.
DON’T over-conceal under eyes
Here’s why: While concealer seems to be the answer to erasing under eye circles and combating the look of fatigue, if used incorrectly, can actually make you look older. Too much makeup around the eye area can highlight wrinkles and lines in this delicate area. Be sure to prep the skin with a moisturizing eye cream and keep the touch light.
Expert Advice: “I like to use my finger to melt the concealer into the skin. If you pile on the concealer without blending it in, it can settle into fine lines and wrinkles,” Carol advises.
Try this instead: Look for a concealer with a lightweight texture and bonus points if it offers sun protection. We like Physician’s Formula Youthful Wear Cosmeceutical Youth-Boosting Spotless Concealer SPF 15, $12.95, available atPhysiciansFormula.com.
DON’T skip primerHere’s why: Primers are just what they sound like: They create a base by smoothing skin and ensuring that makeup stays put. Mix with foundation or tinted moisturizer or apply a light layer as the first step in your makeup routine. Expert Advice: “Primers help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a silky-smooth finish, plus it helps your makeup last longer,” notes Carol. Try this instead:A thin layer of a silicone-based makeup primer can fill in lines and pores, but so can natural ingredients like oatmeal and cocoa butter. We like Lush Feeling Younger skin tint, $18.95, available at Lush.usa.com.
DON’T overdo lip liner
Here’s why: Not only is the look of heavy lip liner dated (hello, ‘90s!), it can also emphasize the fine lines around the mouth. Soften the look with a liner that closely matches your lipstick or use a creamy lipstick pencil for easy application.
Expert Advice: “Overdoing lip liner can look harsh. Choose a shade that is a little darker than your natural lip color,” Carol says. “Follow your natural lip line, and if you want to make your lips look bigger, just draw slightly outside your lip line.”
Try this instead: Keep your application clean and easy with a chubby stick that has the precision of a pencil, but has the staying power and look of lipstick. We like Flower Kiss Me Twice Lip & Cheek Chubby in Rosie Posie, $9.98, available at Walmart and Walmart.com.
DON’T skip lip color
Here’s why: As we get older, we lose the pigment in our lips making lipstick that much more indispensable. That said, steer clear of anything metallic, glittery, or too dark and avoid a heavy hand when it comes to applying. Less is more.
Expert Advice: “Lip color instantly brightens and changes your whole face! Lip color is the fastest and easiest way to make yourself look pretty,” says Carol. “If you have very small lips, then darker colors might make your lips look smaller. Otherwise, I love dark lipstick for fall and winter.”
Try this instead: When in doubt, opt for a nude lipstick and look for one that offers sun protection, anti-aging, and collagen-boosting properties. We like LORAC Cosmetics Breakthrough Performance Lipstick, $22, available at Amazon.com.
DO go easy on the eye shadowHere’s why: While we’re not opposed to adding color to eyelids, it’s best to avoid bright or dark eye shadow shades, which can draw the wrong attention to the eyes. A more subtle way to play up your peepers is to play up the lashes and a precise wand ensures a non-clumpy, non-spidery lashes. Expert Advice: To be sure, Carol isn’t against shimmer or shadow on the eyes, “I think wearing eye shadow with a little soft, reflective pearl or shimmer is very pretty on the eye, at any age. And matte eye shadows are very wearable without accentuating any fine lines or wrinkles.” Try this instead: Play up your eyes by emphasizing lush lashes, but skip mascara on the lower lashes. We like CoverGirl Last Exact Mascara, $7.29, available at drugstore.com.
Meet the Expert
Having worked on the faces of Naomi Watts, Teri Hatcher, Nicole Kidman, and Debra Messing, Carol Shaw is one of Hollywood’s most called-on makeup artists. As a teenager growing up in the beauty business, Carol knew makeup artistry was her calling, and later developed a makeup and skincare line, LORAC (Carol spelled backwards). LORAC launched with 10 shades of oil and fragrance-free foundations back in 1990, and Carol’s products have built upon a reputation for being both effective and easy-to-use.