Who among us hasn’t been a little heavy-handed with the blush at one time or another? Or realized too late that a new foundation is two shades too dark?
Makeup slipups happen.
Local makeup artists Sharon Tabb, who has worked with celebrities Selena Gomez, Kathy Ireland and Felicity Huffman, and Jack O’Dell, a former longtime artist for MAC and now freelancer, shared some common makeup mistakes and how to correct them.
Tabb said blush often is overdone and placed incorrectly on the face, extending into the hairline or too close to the nose. “Use it on the apples of the cheeks and blend.” Both Tabb and O’Dell said good lighting helps. If possible, check application in natural light.
O’Dell said many women load up their brush with too much blush, then sweep color across their face. Follow the lead of professionals and tap the brush to remove excess. A dense brush will hold and deposit more color; a big but loose brush will deposit less. It’s easier to add more blush than take away.
If you go overboard, blend with a sponge or brush. Tabb also said as women age and lose pigment in their faces, they need less foundation and more color on cheeks and lips. “Just make sure it’s not crazy,” she said.
Often brows are over-tweezed, ignored or look like they’ve been painted on. A natural, fuller brow is popular now. “You’ll be surprised how much more approachable you’ll look with a natural brow,” O’Dell said.
If using a pencil to define and shade, soften with an eyebrow brush so you don’t get that harsh brow popularized by actress Joan Crawford in the 1940s. For a softer look, try brow powder or mousse. Tabb suggests matching the powder to your brow color or going a shade lighter. A woman with black hair will not want black brows, she said. Blondes and women with gray hair should use a taupe color.
A professional should be able to match your foundation to your skin tone correctly, but if you’re on your own, test it on your jaw — not the inside of your wrist — and check it in natural sunlight. Many stores have fluorescent lighting, which doesn’t always reflect true colors.
O’Dell said it’s best to match foundation to the neck, not the face. If your foundation matches the neck but looks a bit too light, use a bronzer to warm it. And be sure to change foundation color if you get a tan.
Many women don’t even need powder. Tabb said too much powder can give the appearance of too much makeup. And, yes, it does settle into fine lines. Either stay away from powder or be light-handed, with just a dusting so it sets makeup rather than sits on top. And don’t put it near the eyes. It immediately makes you look older, she said.
“Powder isn’t as necessary as it used to be,” O’Dell said. “Most foundations don’t even need to be set.” If powder is used to control oil, use a blotting or translucent powder, she said.
Both Tabb and O’Dell like to match concealer to foundation, though sometimes dark circles need a darker color to camouflage. Concealer too light looks chalky and gives the effect of raccoon eyes. O’Dell prefers warm-based concealers with a hint of pink because they don’t look ashy or gray. She also likes under-eye brighteners that brighten the area rather than cover it up.
A lined lip shouldn’t be apparent. Lip liners aren’t as popular as they once were, Tabb said, but when used, the line needs to be blended very well. Tabb said she seldom uses a liner, preferring instead a lip brush for precision. O’Dell said she thinks nude and red lips still look best when lined, but again, it’s all about blending or learning how to use a liner without producing a harsh line.
Kim Kardashian’s contoured face is well documented on blogs and video, but it’s not a look for most women. “On a day-to-day basis, you do not need to be doing all that contouring,” Tabb said. When contouring is done expertly with different color foundations and concealers, it can work for photo shoots, but how many of those are on your schedule? O’Dell said it’s a look women want to see on themselves, but it’s so much makeup and usually looks fake.
Hydrated skin is the canvas for your makeup, Tabb said. Dehydrated skin will soak up foundation and color. If skin is oily, use a primer to help makeup go on smooth and last longer.
Tabb and O’Dell agree that black eyeliner is best as an evening look. “It’s overused during the day, and it can be a little harsh,” Tabb said. For day, she’s all right with a defined cat eye if the black liner is just on the top lid. But too much black eyeliner makes eyes look small, both makeup artists said.
When black liner is used on top, Tabb prefers to line lower lashes with gray or bronze for a softer look that also makes eyes looks bigger. O’Dell said she likes to use brown on lower lashes and tries to get it as close to the lash line as possible. To make eyes seem more open, dab a cream-color shadow on the inner corner of the eye near the tear duct.
Tabb said she sees too many women who stop their makeup at the jaw line, leaving their neck and under the chin area white. It can happen with a suntan, too. “I notice it in pictures and on television,” she said. Blend makeup onto the neck or warm it up with bronzer. That also helps a double chin recede a little bit, she said.
For many women, it’s all about shimmer on the face. Mattes often get a bad rap, but O’Dell said matte shadows can add definition on the eyes. It’s all about placement, she said. If an eye is made up with all shimmer shadows, it loses depth in the crease. Opt for a light brown matte shadow in the crease.
“I don’t feel like people blend enough,” O’Dell said. “When in doubt, blend it out. Blending is everything. If you’re going to buy one brush, buy a good quality blending blush.”
Overall, women don’t need to wear so much makeup, O’Dell said. “They think it’s the only way they look pretty.” Take good care of your skin, know your skin type so you can purchase products best suited for your skin and use makeup to enhance your features, not just sit on your skin or cover what you think are flaws. Sometimes less really is more.