Through my work especially as a beauty coach I’ve discovered that there are some makeup products (almost) everyone seems to use the wrong way.
Looking at women’s makeup bags, I make often very surprising discoveries: Products which everyone seems to get wrong.
When booking a makeup class with me, clients may bring their makeup bags. Together we look at all the products and decide what’s useful and suited to her, and which ones of her products better be discarded. Many of my clients turn out to have a more useful choice of makeup items than they thought. Sometimes we find real gems.
However, even women who have very high-quality makeup products, often don’t know how to best use them. They don’t understand the purpose for which the products were designed, which leads to a lot of disappointment. Because even the best makeup products, if used improperly, will do nothing for you.
That’s why I wanted to compile a list of the most misunderstood products that I come regularly across, along with explanations and tips on how to use them.
DON’T wear bronzers all over your face
Guerlain’s Terracotta and similar bronzing powders are the makeup products I see most often used wrong. Lots of women swipe it generously all over their faces, using huge brushes, with the idea in mind to create a healthy, sunkissed look.
But, instead, they usually end up with a very big color difference between face and neck, making them look really heavily made up.
Also, and even more disturbingly, this makeup will very quickly look patchy and blotchy. The reason is that these powder products are quite volatile and not longlasting and smudge-proof at all. Bits of sweat or oil produced by your skin will make the color fade and melt. Visible spots will appear very quickly.
Bronzing powders just aren’t designed to go over the entire face. They’re meant to accentuate and shape, for example your cheekbones, and create structure and add depth. Brushing them all over your face will make you completely lose this effect.
So how do you use bronzer the right way?
Using a soft brush (which isn’t too big!), you swipe it in a slanted oval just under the highest part of your cheekbones. Then blend it carefully in all directions, but without losing the intensity in the center of the oval.
I also like to sculpt and intensify eyes by brushing bronzer lightly over your eyelid, in a horizontal motion. Very little product will do the trick, I usually just use what’s left in my brush after having worked the cheekbones.
Makeup artists tend to prefer matte bronzers to those with glitter particles, because they look more natural. For the same reason, I always suggest to for for more neutral tones rather than the very orange or reddish ones.
My favorite bronzers:
Tom Ford, Shade and Illuminate
The Touche Eclat brush is NOT a concealer
Second on my list of makeup products everyone uses wrong is the classic Touche Eclat by Yves Saint Laurent. Many women try to use it as a concealer, but it really doesn’t conceal much.
It might veil rosy spots ever so lightly. What it’s not designed for however, is to cover up real blemishes. You might in fact obtain the opposite result, making spots stand out more.
Lots of women use it for the under-eye area and find the result disappointing.
While the Touche Eclat might indeed be a good idea when you want to “lift up” a sunken inner corner or under eye area, it won’t do anything for you when your problem is dark coloring. Here you need a real concealer with high coverage.
If you want to know more about concealers, especially anti-aging ones, check out my dedicated post here.
How to use the Touche Eclat
Le Touche Eclat is basically a very soft and subtle highlighter. Its lightweight texture contains tiny reflecting pigments which brighten up the skin.
What it’s designed for is to accentuate and bring out the “high points” of a face, like the cheekbones. It’s also excellent applied under and over eyebrows, on the upper lip bow or even along the bridge of the nose.
Another way I like to use the Touche Eclat pen, is to smoothen and flatten out deeper lines and folds like naso-labial folds. Apply a thin line right in the center of the fold where it’s deepest. Then blend it carefully. You’ll see the line visibly diminished.
(Sidenote: YSL has actually released a whole line of products around the Touche Eclat, one of which is combining a light concealer with a Touche Eclat. The product I’m referring to is the original Touche Eclat.)
Black eye pencil on the inner eye rim does NOT make your eyes look bigger
Balck eyepencil is another makeup product I see very commonly used wrong. So many women apply it on the inner eye rim without realizing that they actually make the eyes look much smaller!
It’s in fact an optical illusion: by lining the inner rim in black, you optically move the lower rim up, and thereby “shrink” the eye.
Also, black pencils on the inner eye rim tend to smudge and fade, the black line will turn into a grey shadow under the eye, making you look drawn and tired.
What you should do instead is this:
Draw a soft line (I very often make it even a dotted line) up to 1-2 millimeters under the lash-line. Using a soft blending brush, blend it out until it fades completely. This technique will make your eyes look bigger and more awake.
Instead of a black pencil try dark brown which will blend more “invisibly” into your skin and will be more flattering. Two of my favorite brown eye pencils are Victoria Beckham’s Cocoa and Mac’s Coffee pencil.
Black mascara under eyes does NOT enhance under eye rings
I see a lot of women shy away from applying mascara under their eyes. The reason is often that they believe it creates shadows under the eyes and makes them look tired.
But in most cases the opposite is true: the dark lashes give the eyes more definition, make the eyes look more open and therefore more awake.
Also, If you think, black mascara accentuates under eye dark circles and bags, you should know that there is another optical trick happening: By applying the dark mascara onto the lashes around the eyes, and emphasizing hereby the outer corners, by contrast the inner corners will appear brighter. 😉
If your mascara smudges a lot and you fear you’ll end up looking like a panda, try waterproof formulas or tube mascara, like the one from Eyeko.
The reason for very smudgy mascara might also simply be a too rich eye cream. Try a gel instead of your cream for daytime use. You can still apply your richer cream at night.
For more tips around mascara, please have a look at this post.
Sunscreen in foundation does NOT protect you
To me SPF in foundation is a great contradiction! When wearing foundation you will always want to use a minimum of product in order to achieve a transparent skin-like look. But in order to obtain a proper protection from the sun you actually need to apply a lot. Something like a teaspoon just for your face. The bit of SPF in your foundation won’t protect you at all.
What you should do instead is use a specific sun product, preferably with a high protection factor like 50+, and with a formulation that’s not to oily and makeup-compatible, like the La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios spray. Apply it generously over your face. Wait a minute or two and then go about your foundation application as usual.
Darker foundation does NOT look tanned
There’s actually a lot of misconception about what foundation is supposed to do. What it is not supposed to do is change your skintone. (I admit, we makeup artists do this for photo and film shoots but in real life it’s just not viable)
In order to considerably alter your skin tone you would have to apply lots and lots of product, which will never look nice and transparent. Also, more often than not the resulting color will be dull and unnatural.
Foundation is supposed to even out and smoothen your complexion and hide redness and small blemishes and should be chosen in exactly the same color as your complexion. (To find out how to find the perfect shade, please have a look at this post here.)
For a fresh and healthy-looking face try applying blush in a rosy or peachy tone (depending on your skintone) or use a bit (!) of bronzer over your cheekbones (see above).
More makeup questions? Drop me a message or book a Beauty Coaching session. Looking forward to hearing from you! 😊
By Louise Wittlich