Getting a younger, healthier look is a reasonable goal and one that many men and women share. Unfortunately, many people engage in practices that have the opposite effect. If you want to look more youthful and vibrant, avoid the following ten beauty mistakes.
1. Thick Makeup
When it comes to most makeup, less is usually more. This is especially true when applying foundation. Thick makeup will actually settle into fine lines and, through some optical effects, enhance them. Foundation is intended to even out color, not fill in lines and wrinkles. It isn’t even intended to cover every millimeter of your skin, but to be used only in problem areas.
When applying foundation, choose one that is sheer and that diffuses light. Never pick a matte, velvet, or flat finish. Apply the foundation sparingly to areas where you would like to even out the color. When you are done, press a moistened (not wet) makeup sponge into areas where there are wrinkles to remove excess powder. Remember to moisturize every time you take your makeup off.
2. Shimmery Eye Shadow and Heavy Concealer
The eyes are one of the first places you will start to show wrinkles and other signs of aging, so they deserve special attention when it comes to avoiding makeup mistakes. Anything that can settle into the fine lines around your eyes or that emphasizes those fine lines will increase the appearance of wrinkles and make you look older.
The eyelids are the place to go for a matte powder, while a shiny finish is best for below the eyes. The area under the eye requires only a thin application of sheer concealer over the darkest shadow areas. Don’t try to cover up the entire area under your eyes. This will only serve to draw attention to fine lines. Many experts recommend using a brush-on highlighter pen with illuminating particles. As an extra tip, avoid bronzer near your eyes. It can actually enhance darkness.
3. Face Powder
Powder is used to reduce shine, but should only be used on the prominent areas of the face. These areas include the nose and chin because the skin is taught and wrinkle free in these locations. These areas almost never include the cheek bones (there are exceptions for very prominent cheek bones.) Powder in any other area of the face will exaggerate wrinkles (powder is a matte product, so refer back to tip 1).
4. Dark Lip Color
Avoid dark lip colors and instead choose light pink, beige, or a color closer to your actual lip color. Dark shades create shadow effects when they collect in the creases along your lips, particularly your upper lips, that enhance the appearance of lines and wrinkles. A light coat of a clear gloss can help to diffuse light, obscuring lines and making your lips look fuller and more supple.
5. Lipstick from the Tube
Never apply lipstick from the tube like is done in every commercial and in every movie. The better way is to use your finger or a lip brush to keep the application light and to have greater control. You want more pigment toward the center of your mouth, so start your application there and blend that color out toward the edges of your lips.
6. Over-tweezing Eyebrows
Pencil-thin eyebrows are a terrible idea. Tweezing is fine, but the area tweezed should be moderate and restricted only to shaping the brows to mimic the shape of the eye. Full brows are in style, so there is no reason to reduce size drastically. Remember that tweezing prevents brows from growing back, so the effect is permanent (even though it takes repeated applications.) That means you need to take extra care in this area.
7. Making Eyebrows too Dark
Brow hair color fades just the same as the hair on your head, so using the same color eyebrow pencil at 50 that you used at 20 is a bad idea. You want your brow pen to blend with your existing brow, not stand out against it. The best rule of thumb is to choose a color that is one or two shades lighter than your natural brow color.
8. Avoid Black Eyeliner
There are three rules to using eyeliner. First, choose a less dramatic color like brown instead of black. Brown will look more natural and will help ease the transition between skin and a dark mascara. The second rule to eyeliner is to never apply it in hard lines. Go for a diffuse, soft, blended color. Smudging the edge of the line farthest from the lashes with a Q-tip will help create a natural look. Finally, never apply liner to the lower lid. This will only serve to emphasize wrinkles and make the eye look smaller.
9. Mascara on Lower Lashes
Mascara applied to the lower lashes can actually enhance the appearance of crow’s feet. The same is true of thick or matted mascara. A dark color applied only to the upper lashes will emphasize the whites of your eyes and make you look more refreshed. Just leave the lower lashes alone.
10. Blush Strokes
Blush can either make your skin look taut and youthful or it can draw attention to sags. Which of these effects blush has comes down to where it is applied and the strokes used. Avoid putting blush on the fleshy parts of the cheeks. Apply it at the highest point of your cheekbone or, alternatively, find the fleshy part and apply the blush just above it. You want to brush from the center of your face out, but don’t start too close to the nose. Always lift upward with each stroke, using a brush large enough to cover your whole cheekbone. Avoid dark colors as well. Go for natural skin tones or more neutral rose colors. Remember not to use a flat or matte finish.
To maintain a healthy, radiant, youthful look, follow the tips above. When you doubt, however, follow the general rules of youthful beauty. First, play with light and shadow. You want to lighten darker areas around your eyes and you want to reduce glare and soften light on the brightest areas. Second, remember that powders, particularly matte powders, will emphasize lines and wrinkles. Less is more with powders, so use sparingly. Follow these rules of thumb and the ten tips above to achieve a youthful, sophisticated look.