Makeup Myths Exposed

I’ll be the judge.

Advice given from non-beauty professionals can often be garbage. Sorry, women’s magazines–I stand by that statement. Sometimes, articles and posts are written to promote certain products from lines that are paying for the placement. And just because someone is a beauty editor or a beauty writer doesn’t mean they have any education or training in skincare, makeup or hair. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read articles that tell me that to get beachy waves, I should go to bed with my hair wet and braided. Do you know what happens to someone with naturally tight, curly hair when they do that? It sure ain’t beachy waves or anything close.

I meet a lot of clients who tell me about makeup myths they’ve read/heard. I mean, they don’t say “Hey, have you heard this makeup myth?” (Although I would love that conversation.) They say it more in terms of what they think they are supposed to do, based off advice from a magazine, website or misguided friend. Like “I know I’m supposed to wear pink eyeshadow because my eyes are blue, but I don’t like the way it looks.” I’m here to crush the most common myths I’ve heard, because you deserve a better makeup life.

I’m going to stick with makeup myths only here, because that’s my forte. Recognize any of these?

Purple Eyeshadow Is The Best For Brown Eyes. I blame this on the Almay “enhance your eye color” eyeshadow trios that came out in the late 90s. (I believe Almay was the first ones to do this, or at least the most popular.) These trios and others like them are based off the color wheel. The idea is that since each color on the color wheel has a complimentary color, using the complimentary color will enhance your eye color. In a general sense, that’s true. But there are other factors that can throw this. For example, if you have hazel eyes and get a tan or spray tan, your eyes will look lighter and often more green. Hair color changes can make your eye color look different too, as can the color of the shirt you’re wearing. And many people have a few colors in their peepers. You may look at someone at first think and “Blue eyed baby,” but upon second look you see hints of green, gray or yellow. Now which trio do you chose?!?! Purple eyeshadow is touted as the best complimentary color for brown eyes, and it can look good on some shades of brown. Because of that and because brown eyes are the most common, I think this myth got real popular. But it’s not accurate. In general, purple is a tough color to pull off on the eyes. It can look garish on some skintones and hair color combinations. It also pulls the purple from undereye circles–even after they’ve been concealed–and makes them look more purple/dark. So yes, purple can look good on some brown eyes, but it’s not going to work on every brown eyed girl.

Oh, would you look at that! Kerry Washington and her brown eyes looking STUNNING in blue.

You Can Wear Waterproof Mascara Every Day. Ooooh, no, no, no. Waterproof mascara is fine on occasion, but it’s tough to remove at night, which means more wear and tear on your eyelashes. What does repeated wear and tear cause? Breakage. If you want to create the potential for stubby lashes, go for it. But if you want to give your window-treatments-to-the-soul the love they deserve, lay off the waterproof.

Smokey Eye = Black Eyeshadow. I think a few of the New Jersey-themed shows from earlier in this decade helped perpetuate the myth that a smokey eye is all black shadows (and maybe some silver if you fancy). A smokey eye can actually be done using any color. A true smokey eye consists of three or more shadows in the same color family. Those shadows are applied in a gradient, with the darkest color at the lashline, the medium color above that on the lids and the lighter color above that (into the crease on non-hooded eyes or above the medium color on the lids on hooded eyes). It also tends to have two or three colors at the bottom lashline, with the darkest being closest to the lashline, the medium below that and the lightest below that. This is not what many people think a smokey eye is, so when a client requests one, I always ask “What do you mean by ‘smokey’?” Sometimes they actually want a darker color in the crease, or a black liner in the waterline.  A true smokey eye can be done with any three (or more, if you’re feeling ambitious) colors in the same family. So bring me your browns, your greens, your blues, and I will smoke you up.

You Have To Contour Under The Cheekbones. First of all, you don’t have to do anything with your makeup. But if you do want to go the contour/face sculpting route, the first thing you need to do is identify your face shape as well as the features you want to emphasize. If you already have prominent cheekbones or a thinner face, contouring under your cheekbones will potentially make you look older, gaunt or a little on the drag side (not saying that’s bad, but not what I’ve found the average woman is going for). So before you place that contour product into the hollows under your cheekbones, think “Do I need to do this? Will this bring out what I want to bring out?” Just because a Kardashian does it doesn’t mean you should too. And maybe take that as general life advice.

You don’t need to go full Maleficent, especially if your CBs are already prominent.

All Foundations Are Heavy. Back in the day, all foundations were heavy. If I was writing this in 1988, this would not be a myth. (And I’d have more issues than heavy foundation if I were writing something called a “blog post” in 1988. You mean a “chain letter,” lady?) Luckily, there are 23,046 (rough estimate) foundations on the market now, with plenty of sheer and lightweight options. And for me, sheer and lightweight options are where it’s at. I look at foundation as a product that evens the skintone, often with a little help from color correctors and concealers. I’ll never understand the appeal of heavy foundations, because I like skin to look like skin. So if you’re with me, there are plenty of foundations out there for you to chose from.

Match Foundation To Your Hand. If you’ve got no face makeup on at the moment, hold your hand up to your face. Yes, right now. Is it the exact same shade as your face? Probably not. So why would you match your foundation to your grabbers? The best place to match foundation is on your jawline. The center of the face is more likely to have pigmentation (including freckles), so you might choose a shade that’s too dark if you match based off that. Your jawline will give you a better match, and it will help you see how far off your face shade is from your neck shade. Things can get a little complicated if your face, neck and chest are different colors due to a tan or spray tan, but that’s for another post. I do want to mention that sometimes deeper skintones can be lighter in the center of the face and darker on the edges, so in that case, you do want to match separately on each area.

Powder Foundation Is Best For Oily Skin. I get the idea behind this–powder absorbs oil. However, I think that kind of absorption works best in a touchup way. My technique with oily skin is to use a mattifying lotion, liquid foundation, longwear concealer in the T-zone, powder to set and then setting spray. My issue with using powder foundations on oily skin is that the oil can sometimes break through the powder, leaving dark spots or streaks that darken the powder foundation. I will say that tends to only happen with very oily skin, but why chance it?

Damn it! Now what am I supposed to name my documentary about powder foundation?

Concealer Goes On Before Foundation. This myth makes zero sense. The idea of concealer is to mask skin imperfections. Foundation already does that to varying degrees, depending on the foundation type. So why in Biggie’s name would you not put foundation on first? If you do that, it may fully cover or start to cover your areas of concern. Then you go in with concealer for more targeted coverage. Not only do you end up using less concealer–so less makeup on your skin and more money in your wallet–but if you are using a buffing brush to blend your foundation on, you are likely rubbing off some of the concealer as you buff. That’s more waste! Be smart and base first.

Concealers Are All The Same. Concealers can come in squeeze tubes, pump tubes, twist pens, cute little pots and palettes. And that’s because different concealers have different consistencies. Some are thin and liquid-y, some are thick and solid and some are in the middle. That’s because different types of coverage are called for at different times. For undereye concealer, I recommend a thin consistency concealer, because a thick one will cake up on ya real quick. But for blemish coverage, you often need the thickness of a heavier concealer to get the job done. Also, there are both matte concealers and luminizing/light reflecting concealers on the market. The latter are meant for coverage of darkness under the eyes (which you should be using a color corrector for first anyway), as the pigment helps conceal and the light reflecting particles bounce light off the area, which cuts some of the darkness. But put a luminizing concealer on a blemish and all you’ve done is draw attention to it when the light hits it. So the exact opposite of what you want. When you are or buying or trying concealers, keep your coverage goals in mind so you can choose correctly.

Makeup Wipes Remove Makeup. Laziness at its finest! And you know it. Makeup wipes can take some makeup off the surface of the skin, but the ingredients don’t dissolve makeup then remove it, so some makeup can still be left on the skin. I’m a firm believe that the only thing that fully removes makeup is oil (in the form of a pre-cleanse or cleanser). Get rid of the wipes, get yourself some oil, and watch your skin improve.

And that was probably AFTER she used a makeup wipe!
Photo: Benny Lukas Bester

Bronzer Is Supposed To Be Applied To The Entire Face. Bronzer is a product intended to mimic a tan. And when we tan (for those of us whose sunbathing lives weren’t ruined by seven months in Esthetics school), the majority of the color we get hits the high points of our faces (at the hairline, across the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose and around the edges of the face). So not all over the face. I notice a lot of women do this, and the ones who admit it to me tell me it’s because they like to look tan. But what it really looks like is that they put bronzer all over their face, and their neck and chest are two shades lighter. If you want to look tan, use a sunless tanner or get a spray tan. If you want a natural, sunkissed look, put bronzer where it is supposed to go. I know some of you don’t like this advice, but I will not lie to you.

Makeup Can Cover Breakouts. Makeup can work wonders bringing out eye color, emphasizing features and making the skintone more even. But it can not cover raised texture. Yes, some pore minimizers can mostly fill in pores and fine lines so that the makeup applied on top of those areas does not sink in and highlight them. But a blemish, scar or bump that is raised can not be covered completely. Because that would mean finding a product that was thick enough to match the rest of the skin to the height (what else would you call it?) of the raised area. That would be the only way to make the makeup all level, if you will. But it would also mean looking like a maniac. What makeup can do though is cover any discoloration on that area so that the eye is not drawn to it. I feel confident that every pro makeup artist would agree with me here, so you should too.

Do you feel like I’ve cleared some stuff up for you? Good! (I’m imagining you said “Yes! Thank you! You’re the best.”) If you’ve gotten any beauty advice that you think sounds a little off, comment away and I’ll give you my take.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

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