5 professional makeup artists on the mistakes you’re probably making


For most of us, no one ever sat us down and taught us exactly how to do our makeup. We first learnt the basics from magazines, sisters and girlfriends, before graduating to YouTube tutorials in later life.

Alas, given this ad hoc approach to information, odds are you’re probably making a few mistakes in your beauty routine. 

So instead of consulting the Internet for even more advice on how to makeup, we went straight to the experts. Here are five professional makeup artists on the mistakes they see us normies keep making.

Mistake #1: Taking foundation down your neck and into your hairline

“Unless your skin is discoloured, there’s really no need to do this. And it’s an obvious giveaway as to how much makeup you’re wearing. If you need to warm up your skin to match your body, use a bronzer to warm your neck and hairline. It’ll look more like your skin and won’t wear off onto collars/necklines like a foundation does. Always start your foundation application in the centre of your face and blend out to nothing at the jaw and hairline, then colour correct with blush and bronzer as needed.” – Kate Squires

Mistake #2: Poor skincare

“The most common beauty mistakes I see have been the same for years. The old saying from my counter days was ‘your makeup can only look as good as your skin’ and the line still sticks. Make sure you have a skin consultation every six months with someone who knows your skin history.”  –  Shella Martin

Mistake #3: Overfilling your brows

“I see a lot of people filling in their brows very heavily and using colours that are too dark. I prefer to use a product that’s a little lighter than the person’s hair colour. The key when filling in brows is to not be too heavy-handed and also to ensure you comb through the brows afterwards. Use a clean brow brush or disposable mascara wand to distribute the colour evenly, blend into the hairs and soften the overall look. You can finish by combing through with a clear brow gel to keep the brow hairs in place.” – Cat Smith

Mistake #4: Picking the wrong foundation shade

“Instead of matching a foundation to your cheek or the back of your hand, wear an open V-neck top and find your shade by sight. Then pick one above and one below that colour, and place the three stripes of colour between your collarbones and on your chest. You will find your perfect shade.” –  Shella Martin

Mistake #5: Extreme contouring

“The biggest mistake I see is with contouring. There are a lot of makeup tutorials on the internet showing extreme makeup applications, but most of these applications should be toned right down and worn only at night. It’s just too heavy as everyday makeup. These tutorials have masked (no pun intended) when it’s appropriate to contour and when it’s OK to be subtle with your application.

I would suggest, if you want to contour, try using a softer tone like a taupe or a sandy beige hue. This will give you a nice shade on the cheeks, without a dramatic finish. I love Rae Morris’ Ultimate Cheekbone Brush. It’s the perfect contouring and shading brush. With one sweep under the cheekbone, you’re done. Then, with a very light touch, press your brush into your highlighter. Dab lightly on the back of your hand to get rid of any excess product (you’ll be surprised how much product will still be on your brush), then dab it lightly on and above the cheekbones. 

Go easy on the highlighter, it can very easily turn your makeup application into a theatrical mask. You want your skin to look healthy.” – Bradwyn Jones

Mistake #6: Not knowing your face shape

“Surprisingly, lots of my clients have never actually looked at their own face shape. So, they might not know where to shade or where to highlight. When I apply makeup, it is to create the ultimate face shape. You don’t want to just shade the same shapes as the person before you. If you learn how to read your shape, you might find it easier to apply your own makeup.” –  Shella Martin

Illustration by Twylamae.

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