11 Mistakes Almost Every Woman Makes When Applying Makeup

If you wear makeup, chances are you’ve committed a few makeup mistakes. Some, you may have corrected. Some, you might not even know about. But the more you know, the better your makeup will be. In that spirit, read on for 11 common missteps ladies make when it comes to painting their faces.

You may find yourself guilty of one — or possibly all. Lucky for you, we have the easiest ways to correct each one, too.

1. Failing the test

Contour and highlight makeup

Your foundation should match your skin complexion. | iStock.com/llhedgehogll

The incorrect foundation shade is often a universal problem among females. We’ve all done it: Testing foundation on the hand or wrist as if that will magically show the perfect shade. But no matter how closely you think your face and hand match, they usually don’t. Unfortunately, this makeup misstep will be written all over your face — especially if you’re outside in broad daylight.

To avoid an off shade, and the dreaded foundation line that divides your jaw and neck, test the product on your neck and cheek. Even the décolletage is a good place to test. Choose the shade that disappears into your skin the best. And remember to always blend your foundation from your jawline into your neck.

2. Not priming your pout

Woman putting lipstick

Give yourself time to put on your lipstick. | iStock.com

You apply primer to your face before applying foundation, but why not your pout? Don’t let your lips get left out; they need a little TLC, too. A light face moisturizer or a lip balm can work wonders in plumping up your lips and preparing them for lipstick to glide on smoothly and evenly. And while it might be tempting to just use your foundation primer on your lips, don’t. It’s not formulated for that use and can leave your lips dry.

3. Being a powderpuff girl

woman applying makeup

You don’t want to look like you coated your face in baby powder. | iStock.com

Don’t get carried away when it comes to powdering your nose. While face powder is an effective way to deal with oily skin and get an even finish to your complexion, too much can create a flat and far-from-radiant look. It can even look ghostly. Plus, it can age you by settling into fine lines and wrinkles. Make powder your superpower by only applying it down the T-zone of your face and lightly on the cheeks.

4. Being a bronze medalist

crushed bronzing powder with makeup brush

Applying too much bronzer will make your face look orange. | iStock.com/pogrebkov

Put down the brush and step away from the bronzer. Over-applying bronzer is a common faux pas, but it really just leads to a faux look with the complexion appearing many shades darker than the neck. At its worst, the Oompa Loompa orange effect comes out to play. The best way to avoid this makeup mistake is to very conservatively brush bronzer only on places the sun would naturally hit — so, the forehead and cheekbones, with a light dusting of the nose and chin area.

5. Clowning around

woman face powders

You don’t want your makeup to remind people of Bozo the clown. | iStock.com/deniskomarov

Blush can be a beautiful way to add a youthful glow to your complexion while softly highlighting the cheekbone area. However, the flush factor should look as natural as possible. In other words, it shouldn’t be noticeable. A common problem among many women is an overly rouged cheek that has an aging, if not clown-like, quality.

The mistake comes in two primary forms. First, is the overzealous application of blush on the apples of the cheeks, creating blotchiness. And second is the mouth-to-ear blush stroke that looks like a line of color. Instead, lightly swirl a powder blush over the apples of the cheeks coming just a little on the higher side and blending well. It should look like a nice flush and nothing more.

Also, it’s important to make sure your blush is the right shade. Fairer skin tones should stick with rosy pinks and peaches, with darker complexions opting for more coral, orange, bronze, or rich red berry tones.

6. Getting too much sun

Woman wearing hat applying sunscreen

You will damage your skin if you don’t wear an SPF under your makeup. | iStock.com/LiudmylaSupynska

Many foundations and concealers now come equipped with SPF protection to shield against the damaging UV rays of the sun. But, skimping on the SPF is still an all-too-common mistake. Make sure to get the SPF you need — especially if you’re going to be out in the sun — by applying moisturizer with SPF 25 (at least) underneath your foundation for an extra sun-shielding boost. You can also find setting powders with SPF for regular application throughout the day to keep the protection going strong while taking care of any oily spots.

7. Ignoring the seasons

Set of professional brushes for a make-up of eyes

The makeup you wear in the summer shouldn’t be the same as what you wear in the winter. | iStock.com/Bubbers13

You switch out your closet at least twice a year between spring/summer and fall/winter. But are you doing the same thing with your makeup? If you’re like many women, probably not. Here’s the thing: Everything from the color of your complexion to the condition of your skin changes by the season — your makeup should mirror these changes. Make sure you’re testing your foundation regularly and ensuring it’s still your color. Your skin is most likely drier in the winter, so creamy versions of shadows and blush can serve you well. In the summer, light powders are optimal to avoid melting streaks.

Bonus points if you also update your makeup wardrobe to include seasonal colors. Dark, rich hues such as an oxblood lip and a more dramatic eye are great for fall and winter. Lighter, luminescent hues along with rosy pinks and corals are nice for spring and summer.

8. Overdoing your brows

Cropped shot of eyebrow correction procedure

Dark eyebrows are all the rage, but they can easily turn into an overdone situation. | iStock.com/YakobchukOlena

A gallery frame can make all the difference in how the art within is perceived. And, much in the same way, your brows act as the frame of your face. Don’t compromise the masterpiece that is you with brows that aren’t living up to their full potential. Over-plucking the brow is a common mistake that many have made, as too-thin brows are no longer in vogue. However, another bungle is filling in the brows the wrong way with the wrong shade, thus creating an unnatural or forced look.

If you have darker hair, one or two shades lighter than your locks is usually a safe bet. As for blondes or those with lighter hair, go one or two shades darker for your brow. As for the application, make sure you’re not just drawing a faux line in for your brows. It’s important to keep them shapely and well-defined by filling them in with quick, short strokes using a brow liner or brow pencil. And don’t try to sub in eyeliner instead; it’s too harsh of a line and a color for the brows.

9. Walking on the wild side

woman doing makeup in front of a mirror

Raccoons might be cute, but you probably don’t want to look like one. | iStock.com

Walking on the wild side is fine, but not when it comes to sporting raccoon eyes. We aren’t talking about the shadowy effect that comes from sleeping in your eye makeup (which is a no-no, too). Rather, this particular breed of raccoon eyes comes out to play when your eyeliner is too thick. Eyeliner should be used to define and enhance your peepers while creating the illusion of a fuller lash line. But moderation is key.

Some dramatic looks — such as a cat eye — require a more liberal use of liner. But many women go overboard with an unnatural black ring around their eyes. Not only is this artificial, it can make you look older. Make sure you’re blending in the liner to your lash line to avoid the ring-like effect. You can also try out a liner in a brown hue, or even a dark blue or green, to bring out your eyes in a manner that’s less severe than black.

10. Getting lippy

woman applying lip liner

You probably don’t want to look like you just stepped out of a ’90s pop video. | iStock.com/VladimirFLoyd

Overdoing lip liner and/or applying it incorrectly is a common makeup misstep. Visible lip liner is not only very dated, it is aging as the liner can bleed into the fine lines around your mouth and define them. This is an easy mistake to fix, though. Either match your pencil to your lipstick, or use a liner that matches your lip color. Also, color in your lips with the lip liner, then apply lipstick on top. No lines!

11. Getting overzealous with concealer

Woman applying concealer

It’s common for women to wear concealer that is too light or dark for their complexion. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Concealer is meant to, well, conceal. But, too often, women slip up on the right shade and the right application and the product ends up causing negative attention. For example, you might be trying to cover dark circles, but the concealer you’re using is too light in color. So, you end up with bright half-moons under your eyes. Match your skin tone or only go one shade lighter for best results.

The other blunder comes down to application. Caking on the concealer to cover up fine lines and wrinkles just doesn’t work. In fact, it works in reverse, drawing attention to those wrinkles as it dries and cracks, settling into the lines. Instead, keep your skin moisturized to plump it up and help fill in fine lines and only use concealer in the inner corners of your eyes to create a bright, youthful gaze. A concealer with a luminous, light-reflecting quality is great for this area.