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7 Sneaky Ways You’re Applying Makeup All Wrong, According to Top Makeup Artists

Makeup artists reveal the biggest makeup mistakes you might be making—and share how you can get the right look with ease.

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You don’t apply makeup in natural light

Nothing is worse than putting on a complete face only to step outside and realize you need to start all over. “Bad lighting can affect the way you see color, because you overlook an unwanted smudge, and most often encourage an overload of unnecessary makeup,” says Sonia Kashuk, makeup artist and founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty.
The fix: First, choose the right location, preferably near a bright window or at least in a room where natural daylight shines in. If you don’t have a window to sit by, use a cosmetic mirror with good lighting. “This will give you the best read on what your face will look like to the rest of the world when you step outside your house,” says Kashuk.

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Your neck and face are different colors

“Besides not properly blending, I think the biggest mistake I see is women using too dark of a shade for their skin tone,” Kashuk says. “You should never be able to tell where color is ending or beginning—it should all be seamless.” What you risk is your face and neck being two different colors. “The beauty of having everything blended well is that it looks most natural—plus you don’t have to make everything else look so perfect.”
The fix: “First, find out what your undertones are—pink or yellow,” suggests Vanessa Ungaro, co-founder of LAUREN+VANESSA Salon in New York City. “Then apply a dab or foundation to your neck and blend away until you can no longer see a difference in color.” If your neck is slightly darker than your face, you can always go with a warmer foundation to bring everything together under one tone. These makeup stocking stuffers are perfect for the beauty lovers in your life. 

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You’re using the wrong color foundation

Often women go into a store and test a foundation on the back of their hand. While this works for convenience sake, it won’t give you a proper read on color, as the skin on your hand is different than the skin on your face. And this rule applies even more so when it comes to choosing a concealer. “Women tend to follow the old rule of going with a concealer that’s a couple shades lighter, but in reality, it should only be slightly lighter to brighten the under eye area,” says Kashuk. “Anything too light will look artificial and give the appearance of reverse raccoon eyes—drawing more attention to the area.”
The fix: Always test foundation on the face or jaw line. “When the color fades to nothing and you can no longer see it, that’s when you’ll know you have the right color,” says Kashuk.

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You’re using too much foundation

How do you know it’s too much? Not just when it’s all over your hands and clothes, but when it’s drying your face out. “Most foundations and cover-ups—especially those created specifically for hiding blemishes—contain either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide,” says Ungaro. “These ingredients help finish your imperfection, but they’re also very drying so be sure to apply a moisturizer onto the skin first.”
The fix: Ungaro recommends dipping a wet beauty blender into your foundation. “The wet sponge will transfer the foundation onto the skin and then remove whatever you don’t like.” Finish up with a translucent powder, which acts like a light veil over the skin. “Use only a light dusting powder to set it in, as using too much will create cracks.”

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iStock/Eduard Lysenko

You’re using the wrong makeup brushes

While there are hundreds of options out there—for every type of beauty need—always keep in mind that you should be using a tool made for the size of the area you’re working on. “Skin in its most natural state has an inherent brightness, so targeting specific areas only will eliminate shine while keeping the skin looking breathable and pretty,” Kashuk explains.
The fix: “If you have a bit of shine, don’t dust the whole face with a large brush—instead, take a small fluffy brush and apply it directly to the shiny area,” she says.

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You’re clumping your mascara

Clumpy, spider lashes: Once a thing of the past; once again a thing of the present. “I know this has been ‘on trend’ for a few runway seasons, but in my opinion it’s not the most flattering,” says Kashuk.
The fix: “When going for big volume, always finish your mascara application with a swipe of a lash comb to separate and lift the lashes,” she says. “Also, never use your lash curler after your mascara application—it will grab at the wet product and damage your delicate lashes.”

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You’re using the wrong lip shades

You should always keep your lip liner shade as close to your lipstick as possible. “The point of liner is to create your perfect lip shape and act as a base for more intense color,” says Kashuk. “Think of it as a starting step in the lip-color process, not as something that’s meant to be seen.”

The fix: Ladies, don’t be afraid of a dark or bold lip color just because it’s hard to apply—simply use the right brush made specifically for this area. “A lip brush is your best friend—it will help you slowly build the depth or intensity of a shade until you get to a place you’re comfortable with,” she says.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest