When it comes to makeup, creativity reigns supreme, especially in the age of Instagram, where anyone with a deft hand can become Insta-famous. But what makes the pros cringe? Here, a makeup artist gives you her don't list of things she wishes the rest of us would keep in mind.
Makeup is fun. It's about creativity, and I'm not big on “rules” as they're made to be broken. Get someone beautiful or talented enough and just about every former “don't” can become a “do.” However, there are some things that are just not a good idea in general.
1. Don't overdraw your lips
You might be foolin' someone on Instagram with just the right angle and the perfect filter, but the rest of us in the real world can see where your natural lips start and end. The way overdrawn lip looks a lot more like a toddler that went to town on a fudgesicle and a lot less like masterful subterfuge. You can draw on the very outermost part of your natural lip line, but going further than that puts you in trout — not pout — territory.
2. Don't overdo those gradient brows
Another Instagram-born travesty. The heavily drawn Insta-famous gradient brow looks great on film and translates poorly into everyday life. The harshness of the brow dominates the face and can look cartoonish. It looks a whole lot prettier to grow out your brows as much as possible and then enhance that with a brow mascara or fill in the sparse spots with a pencil. Drawing on a whole new shape rarely works out unless you've got serious skills.
3. Don't forget to blend
I'm not going to sit up here and pretend I don't contour, highlight, low light, bright light, flash light, neon light, whatever light till I drop. You know damn well I do. But the secret to doing it and looking great in person is blending. Blend it out, girl! Blend, blend, and when you think you're done, blend some more. What looks good on camera does not usually work for everyday life. The key is blending it all out until it looks like natural shadows and sunlight, not like a silent film star.
4. Don't be afraid of the eyelash curler
I know that some people are very intimidated by the curler. We have all heard the stories of that someone who sneezed while curling and ripped all her eyelashes out. The only way to learn to curl is to do it. Practice until it no longer freaks you out. A well-curled lash will open up your eye like nothing else. If you don't believe me, curl one eye and leave the other uncurled. The difference is marked.
One thing that will make the process easier and safer is to invest in a quality curler. The mechanism will be smoother and the padding will be thicker, delivering a dramatic curl with less pressure. Fit the curler over your lashes and give it a gentle squeeze for 10 seconds, then slide it out a bit and give it another curl. Practice makes perfect, and curled makes for gorgeous.
5. Don't drag down an eye with a misplaced wing
Winged liner is meant to give the eye an elongated, elegant look. A misplaced wing can make you look droopy, drunk, or insane, depending on the placement. If the wing starts and ends too high it clips the length of the eye and looks like an errant clump of lashes. If placed too low, it looks like a long crow's foot (unless you're doing a puppy eye, which is a version of the cat eye that slopes downward and joins your lower lash — that's a whole different thing, as seen in this video).
The best place for a wing varies for every person and eye shape, but a good rule of thumb is draw it as an elongated extension of your upper lashline that ends with a slight uptick. It takes a lot of practice, but once you learn how to do it, it will be like second nature to you. Muscle memory for the win!
So what do you think? Do you do a cat eye or puppy eye? Have you mastered the eyelash curler? Are you over the whole gradient brow thing? Let’s talk about it!
Coco Park is an author, beauty journalist, blogger, podcast host, and all around oddball living in Montreal Quebec with her family. Originally from the southern USA, she worked for several years in the makeup industry as a professional makeup artist and holds a certificate in esthetics. She is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Want to know more? Check her out on the Beauty Beyond Basics podcast, on her blog TheBeautyWolf.com, on Instagram @thebeautywolf, and in her book "Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup."