Makeup can be a great way to enhance your natural features and express your personal style.
However, it’s important to be aware of some of the most common makeup mistakes that can sabotage your results. In this blog post, we’ll discuss nine bad makeup habits to break up with, so you can achieve your best makeup look ever.
As a makeup artist and educator, I’m passionate about teaching people how to wear makeup in a way that enhances their natural features and makes them feel more confident. While I understand that everyone has different makeup habits, there are some techniques that may be working against you. That’s why I’m here to help guide you in the right direction, without any judgment or guilt.
Here at nataliesetareh.com, I’ve created tons of educational resources on makeup, including my cosmetology-curriculum used book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist. My book is perfect for beginners or for those who are looking to restart their makeup game. I also offer 1:1 makeup coaching at Create Your Signature Look. No matter where you are on your makeup journey, I’m here to help you learn at your own pace and in your own time.
Okay, now let’s dive into some of the common makeup mistakes you might not even realize you’re making!
Your makeup brushes are like the tools of a painter. If you don’t take care of them, they’re not going to produce good results. When you use your brushes, you’re transferring natural oils, makeup residue, and even bacteria from your skin to the bristles. If you don’t wash your brushes regularly, this buildup can lead to breakouts, clogged pores, and even infections. This includes your pillowcases! You need to wash them regularly as part of your skincare routine.
Here are just some of the bacteria that can live on makeup brushes and skincare tools:
These bacteria can cause a variety of skin problems, including breakouts, infections, and allergic reactions.
PSA: If you don’t have my Makeup Sanitation Guide, grab it now. It’s a great reference checklist for all the things I do to keep my personal kit clean. I include a lot of the information in the post and even more inside the guide.
If you use your brushes every day or have oily skin and apply makeup daily, try to wash your makeup brushes at least once a week. My personal brush-washing day is always Sunday.
Beauty sponges should be replaced every 1-3 months, depending on how often you use them. If you start to notice that your sponge is getting moldy or smelly, it’s time to replace it. The good news is, most beauty sponges can be recycled!
This is my favorite sponge (and brush) cleanser.
I have a seven-year-old daughter who is obsessed with makeup! I’ve even developed a series of makeup coloring books for her (lip art coloring book and eyeshadow looks coloring book). They are the perfect gift for kids who want to play with makeup… and whose parents don’t want to ‘clean up’ the makeup. Aside from teaching her how to hold brushes, blend makeup gently, and apply shimmery eyeshadow — the number one thing I teach her about makeup is hygiene. And for reference, she’s one of those kiddos who will touch her mouth to the water fountain faucet (gross) or share a milkshake with three or more of her friends (ew).
And yes, while I’m working on teaching her not to participate in these germy activities, I’m proud that she knows never to share her makeup with her friends… including her play makeup!
Even if you’re clean and your brushes are clean, the germs listed in Bad Habit #1 can easily be passed onto others. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to share or borrow makeup, be sure to disinfect the product with 70% isopropyl alcohol before using it. (just know that this won’t work for wands that dip in and out of tubes, like mascara or lip gloss).
If you’re an aspiring makeup artist or a professional makeup artist…
You already know that you have to clean and sanitize your brushes, tools, and makeup between each client. You cannot use dirty brushes on a client or a used makeup sponge. And you also know not to double-dip that mascara wand or liquid liner! There are industry standards for isopropyl and how to keep your kit clean and sanitized. If you are not familiar with how to clean and sanitize your professional kit, let’s see how we can work together. I’ll teach you everything you need to know to keep your reputation awesome and keep your clients safe!
I had a reader ask me years ago how to know when it’s too much makeup. You can read the entire post here.
Over-applying makeup can make you look unnatural and it can often feel (and look) cakey and heavy. But here’s the deal, there’s no such thing as too much makeup or too little makeup. The amount of makeup you wear is deeply personal to your style and preferences. Some people want to allow their natural beauty to shine through, while some people want to cover up their dark circles or dark spots. There are also those who love rocking an entire face. You have to figure out how to do you 🙂
A lot of the fears of makeup clogging pores and irritating your skin aren’t necessarily because of wearing more makeup. It’s likely because you are using the wrong products or formulations for your skin type or using dirty makeup or brushes.
Makeup technology has improved significantly over the years. Today, there are many high-quality makeup products available that can provide natural-looking coverage without clogging pores or irritating the skin.
Some of the biggest advancements in makeup technology include:
The real problem is that the beauty industry is great at convincing us we need to apply more products than we need in our day-to-day makeup application! Many people learn how to wear makeup from watching makeup tutorials on YouTube and social media. These tutorials are often created by influencers and content creators who need to use pro lighting (not natural lighting) and heavy makeup to look their best on camera. Read this post as to why online makeup tutorials don’t work >
It is important to remember that these tutorials are not always realistic for everyday life or for achieving a natural look. Remember, the goal of these influencers is to sell products or build relationships with brands, so they may use more makeup than necessary. They are in the content-creation business, not the makeup education business.
A good makeup educator can teach you how to apply makeup in a way that enhances your natural features and looks good in real life. For example, I’m committed to teaching people how to wear makeup in a way that makes them feel their best and I don’t answer to beauty brands. If you’re ready to break up with over-applying makeup, or any of the other common makeup mistakes mentioned in this post, I can help. Here’s how:
Tips on how to apply makeup more naturally:
Just remember, the older we get, the less makeup we need! It’s about using less product but more strategically.
When you sleep, your skin repairs itself and produces new cells. Leaving your makeup on overnight can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. It can also damage your skin over time. And hello dirty pillowcases!
Here are some tips on how to remove your makeup gently and effectively:
If you wear heavy makeup or waterproof makeup, especially waterproof mascara, you may need to use a double cleansing method. This involves using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser.
The oil-based cleanser will dissolve your makeup, while the water-based cleanser will remove any remaining dirt and oil. If you remember my interview with Kim Baker Beauty, she describes from an esthetician’s point of view why oil cleansing is her favorite beauty hack. You can listen to that interview here.
Here are some additional tips for removing makeup gently and effectively:
Taking care of your skin at night is one of the best things you can do for your overall complexion. By following these tips, you can remove your makeup gently and effectively, ensuring that your skin is clean and healthy.
This habit is also in my post 4 Things A Makeup and a Makeup Artist Can’t Do for You. Applying makeup to naked skin is a common makeup habit because it’s nearly impossible to achieve a natural finish without first prepping your skin for makeup. When you apply makeup to naked skin, it’s more likely to settle into fine lines and wrinkles, and the pigments won’t blend as well.
For example, if you have dry skin and you skip skin prep, you’ll have dry patches come through in your makeup application. If you have oily skin, the makeup will literally melt off your face or look splotchy. It won’t matter how much powder or how much foundation you apply, the makeup will never wear nicely or comfortably.
Additionally, the pigments in makeup can irritate your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. You’re far more likely to experience irritation and redness without a skin prep barrier to protect your skin from makeup.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between your skincare routine and skin prep, I’ve written an extensive blog on this you can reference here. Just remember though, you always want to prep your skin before applying makeup. Not only does this help to create a smooth, even canvas for your makeup (yes, you can even skip the primer if you do this!), but it also helps protect your skin from the harsh ingredients in some makeup products.
How you prep your skin depends on your skin type! For a guide on what types of formulations work for you, grab a copy of my book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist — or you can download my free Skin Type Guide. It’s not as comprehensive as my book, but it’s a great DIY place to start.
Bottom Line: By prepping your skin before applying makeup, you can avoid some of the common makeup mistakes listed above and achieve a flawless, natural-looking finish.
There are so many more common makeup mistakes I see on the regular that I’m not covering here, including:
Bad habits are hard to break and yes, it will take time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end. By following the tips in this blog post, you can avoid the most common makeup mistakes and achieve a flawless, natural-looking finish.
If you’re ready to learn makeup and be done with it, check out all the ways to learn makeup with me here:
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P.S. If you asked me a beauty question, if I don't immediately know the answer, I must thoroughly research every question I receive, and sometimes do not have an immediate answer or I need clarity on unlisted ingredients in certain beauty products, sometimes getting a clear answer takes up to 3 weeks... have patience, it'll be worth it!
Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.