Poor Uma Thurman—her photo is splashed all over the internet today with powder caked on her face in what was clearly a makeup mishap at an event last night in New York. Hey Uma, we've all been there—you just have the unfortunate distinction of being a celebrity so your mishap is broadcast around the globe. For the rest of us, it's usually a friend, a stranger, or—worst case scenario—our boss who points out the lipstick on our pearly whites or the mascara smeared under our eyes. But there are some tricks you can employ to prevent the common cosmetic faux pas.
1. Keep lipstick off your teeth. I cringed during the recent Mad Men episode in which Peggy went through an entire client pitch before being told she had lipstick on her teeth. If only there were a universal hand signal to silently alert someone of this! But since there isn't, here's a preventative trick I learned during my editor days: After swiping on your lipstick, put your finger in your mouth, pucker your lips, then drag it out. This removes just the color that's on the inside of your lips.
2. Prevent raccoon eyes. Otherwise known as when your undereye concealer is too pale or too heavy and you end up looking worse than had you never applied it at all. For starters, never use a magnifying mirror when putting on concealer because you'll often apply too much. When possible, apply your concealer in natural light, which makes it easy to see when you've gone overboard. If it's nighttime, take a quick digital photo of yourself—the camera picks up details we don't often see at first, so you'll be able to easily spot where you've over-applied (or under-applied) your makeup.
3. Avoid caked-on powder. Let's hope Uma's makeup artist is reading this one... Switch from a colored face powder to a translucent one such as Lancôme Ageless Minérale Translucent Loose Powder—these formulas have very little pigment so they're less likely to cake. Use a brush to apply (a puff tends to deposit too much product), and after you swirl it in the powder, tap the brush handle once or twice on your arm to shake off the excess and help ensure a light application.
4. Stop mascara smudges. Surprisingly, the solution isn't waterproof mascara—while it's good for the occasional beach excursion or teary wedding moment, you don't want to wear it every day because it can be drying. A better method is to wipe your mascara wand across a tissue before sweeping it through lashes, which helps remove the clumps that can migrate on to your cheeks. And dust the faintest amount of translucent powder under your eyes—this helps prevent the oils that cause running from seeping to your skin's surface.