When it comes to beauty, there can be a fine line between right and wrong. Take makeup, for example. The right foundation can transform your face into an image of poreless perfection and the wrong one can morph it into a masky mess. Here are the most common self-inflicted grooming catastrophes and how to avoid them.
Worst Beauty Move #1: Wearing Foundation on Flaky Skin
Not unlike paint, foundation needs a smooth surface. Otherwise it looks cracked, dry, dull and—worse—obvious, which is the exact opposite of what you want your foundation to do for you. “Foundation should absorb into the skin, disappearing into it,” says Fabiola, a makeup artist who works with Emma Stone and Mila Kunis. To even out the surface of your skin, gently scrub it to remove dead cells and flakes. Try:The Body Shop Aloe Gentle Exfoliator. Then spritz on Kiehl’s Açaí Damage-Protecting Toning Mist. Finish by applying a moisturizing lotion or, if you have extremely dry skin, suki oil. Avoid zinc-based makeup and powders, since they have a mattifying effect that draws even more moisture out of the skin.
Worst Beauty Move #2: Not Blending Your Makeup
This issue applies to everything you put on your face, whether it's foundation, blush, eye shadow or eyeliner. “No one looks good with hard lines on their skin, eyes or lips,” says Heather Cummings, a makeup artist who works on So You Think You Can Dance. “My motto has always been blend, blend, blend." Use brushes or fingers to gently massage color into the skin everywhere you put it. Don’t forget your jawline, chin and other areas of your face that may be slightly hidden when you look in the mirror.
Worst Beauty Move #3: Using Concealer That’s Too Light
If you want to draw attention to something, you shine a light on it, right? The same goes for the way-too-light undereye concealer that’s supposed to be softening those dark circles but is making them even more obvious. “That’s how you get raccoon eyes,” says Fabiola. “Setting it with powder makes it even worse.” To avoid an ashy, grayish effect, opt for a pink-toned concealer to brighten or a peach-toned one to cancel out the bluish hue of undereye circles. Most important, choose a creamy, easy-to-blend cover-up that’s an exact match to your skin tone.
Worst Beauty Move #4: Applying Too Much Luminizer
Who doesn’t love the look of glowing, dewy skin? But next time you reach for that shimmery highlighter, think twice. “It is definitely not for everyone,” says Cummings. “If you have oily or problematic skin, luminizer can highlight acne and make you look greasier.” She prefers using a liquid formula like Benefit Cosmetics Moon Beam, which gives a more natural glow. Stick to just one or two areas, such as the top of your cheekbones or bridge of your nose, and use your fingers for more control. Remember, less is more. There’s a huge difference between looking radiant and just plain shiny.
Worst Beauty Move #5: Clipping Your Cuticles
That little bit of tougher skin is there for a reason: to protect the root of your nail from bacteria and other infections. To keep cuticles looking neat and clean, push them back with an orange stick, says Essie Weingarten, founder of nail brand Essie. “Be sure to use cuticle oil every day," she explains. "You’ll never get hangnails, and your nails will always look like you just walked out of a salon.” If you’re on the run, the Essie Cuticle Pen is a convenient option. It goes everywhere and delivers oil that doesn’t drip.