Makeup Mistake: Holding Your Brush the Wrong Way
When applying foundation with a brush, hold the very end of it. You will have slightly less control but a much softer touch that'll give you a more natural finish. Bonus tip: Use one pump of liquid foundation for sheer coverage and two pumps for medium.
Makeup Mistake: Powdering Without a Plan
Loose powder (try Chanel Poudre Universelle $52, chanel.com) is ground super fine, which helps it minimize shine and diffuse light to blur imperfections. But that doesn't mean you should go nuts and put it everywhere. Use a large brush to powder the T-zone, or take a more detailed approach and use an eye contour brush like the Roque Cozzette S165 Large Eye Contour Brush ($19, roquecozzette.com) to powder under the eyes, along the sides of the nose, and across any skin you want to look smoother.
Makeup Mistake: Using Too Much Concealer
With concealer, you want to get the most coverage with the least amount of product. Use your finger in a tapping motion to build thin layers of concealer under your eyes, close to your nose. Then use a concealer brush (try It Cosmetics Airbrush Blurring Concealer Brush #103, $16, ulta.com) to buff out the edges.
Makeup Mistake: Not Really Cleaning Your Brushes
Creamy products like foundation and eyeliner build up in your makeup tools, and brush cleansers, soap, and shampoo don't always get it all out. Instead, put several drops of waterproof eye makeup remover into a cup or the palm of your hand. Swirl the brush in it to loosen old makeup. Rinse. Then, swirl the brush in a drop of face wash to remove the makeup and remover. Rinse again. Extra credit: Comb through the brush with a fine-tooth comb to remove even more product.
Makeup Mistake: Complicating Your Eye-Makeup Routine
Practically every (actually wearable) eye look includes a smudged dark eyeliner, a medium-shade neutral shadow, and mascara. Like an LBD, your perfect eye trio, can be dressed up or down in a million ways. One example? Accessorize with winged liquid eyeliner, a dark shadow at the corner, or false lashes for a night out. We guarantee if you keep the basic three items on hand, getting ready for anything will be a snap.
Makeup Mistake: Filling in Your Eyebrows With Only One Color
Whether you're blond or brunette, perfect your brows with a gray-brown shade of taupe, and a cool shade of dark brown. Use an angled eyeliner brush to fill the entire brow with the lighter shade. Then fill in any sparse areas, or even accentuate the arch with a pointed eyeliner brush and the deeper shade. Comb through with brow gel or a clean mascara wand to blend it evenly. Note: This tip works for those deeper skin tones as well—the deeper shade darkens the entire brow, and the lighter shade will add softness.
Makeup Mistake: Ignoring Your Upper Waterlines
Lining your upper waterline doesn't have to involve weird eyelid contortions. Apply liner (we like a gel pencil like CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eye Liner, $6, drugstore.com) to your lower lash and waterline. Now blink—hard. When you squeeze your eye shut, some of the liner will transfer to the upper waterline. Repeat to add intensity and you're done!
Makeup Mistake: Putting Blush in the Wrong Place
Blush can make you look instantly more energized. Apply color on the apples of the cheeks using a smaller brush like the MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face ($42, maccosmetics.com) in a circular motion. Blend it out or soften it using a larger clean brush. But be careful: Blush swept all the way up to the hairline or under the cheekbones can go '80s-in-a-bad-way fast.
Makeup Mistake: Using a Death Grip on Your Eyeliner
Applying eyeliner is one of the most awkward things to do when it comes to makeup. To make it easier, notice how your hand is positioned. If it is clenched around the pencil for dear life, your fist will get in the way of being able to see what you're doing. Instead, hold the pencil as if you were going to sign your name. You want your fingers to look elegant, so keep them stretched long. Then, when you look in the mirror, make sure your hand is rotated toward the side of your face so it doesn't block your reflection. Use a long, freshly sharpened pencil and draw with the side of the point. Press and drag the pencil instead of using the tip for better control.
Makeup Mistake: Using the Wrong Lip Liner
Lip liners are an essential in any makeup artist's kit, and they should be in yours too. Here are three you need:
1. A lip pencil that's the same color as your lipstick. Create crisp lines or fill in the entire lip with pencil before layering lipstick so the color lasts longer.
2. A lip pencil that matches your natural lip color. Use this shade of pencil to line just outside your lips to create a plumper look.
3. A lip pencil one shade deeper than your nude lipstick. Nude lipsticks can blend into your skin tone, making lips seem to disappear. Line lips with this pencil before applying lipstick for stronger definition or after for softer definition.