28 Makeup Mistakes Most Of Us Don't Realize Are Actually Mistakes

Like any art form, mastering makeup involves a lot of trial and error. Thankfully, half the fun of doing makeup comes from mastering new techniques and tossing away old silly ones.

TBH, I'm guilty of several mistakes on this list — and according to Reddit, so are many others. But it doesn't matter because we're all here to learn and to keep on glowin' up.

1. Holding your eyeshadow brush too tightly and too close to the tip.

YouTube | Tati

"You don't want to be blending things out holding up at the base of the brush head because you'll have too much pressure," says makeup guru Tati.

Instead, lightly grip your brush near the end and apply shadow using soft, delicate strokes.

You'll get a much smoother blend that way.

2. Not using a transition shade before applying eyeshadow.

Instagram | @sebaebarberi

Applying a skin-toned eyeshadow on and above your lids before applying a darker shade will allow that shade to blend more smoothly.

"This is going to help things to have almost an ombré effect," says Tati.

3. Not applying blush according to your face's shape.

Instagram | @gemini_makeup

Much like contouring, blush application should be based on the shape of your face, which is news to me because for the longest time, I thought "apples of the cheeks" was the golden rule.

4. Not tightlining your eyeliner.

Instagram | @allimeier

Tightlining is when you apply eyeliner on your upper waterline. When done correctly, the technique makes your eyeliner appear much fuller.

If you have very sensitive eyes or they tend to water easily, then Reddit user thegingercutie suggests Jordana Retractable Eyeliner. Whatever you do, just be careful with this technique!

5. Applying your makeup under poor lighting conditions.

Instagram | @heyitsjuliev

"I made the mistake recently of putting makeup on in a darkened room and then when I went outside I realised I'd gone HEAVY on the contour and blusher," says Reddit user Blacknarcissa.

You wouldn't paint a work of art in a dimly lit room, so why do your makeup in one?

6. Adding on more layers of mascara when you really should stop.

Instagram | @youniquefail

"I'll look into the mirror and say, 'This mascara is making my lashes look bomb! Better add some more.' And it's always the wrong decision. ALWAYS," says Reddit user unpoquitomas.

I know that feeling all too well.

Resist the urge to apply that sixth layer!

Plus, there's certainly such thing as too much of a good thing.

You never ever want to reach the point when your lashes stick to each other because of the layers. It's not a good look, and probably not good for your eyes.

7. Wearing waterproof mascara every day of your life.

ChickAdvisor | ChickAdvisor

Obviously, waterproof mascara has a stronger formula. This makes it harder to remove, which can be pretty rough on your lashes.

Instead, only wear the waterproof stuff when the day requires it (i.e. it's raining outside). Not all products are for everyday use.

Or you know, if you know you're going to have an emotional day.

There's no shame in being prepared for a little bit of waterworks.

8. Using concealer underneath your foundation.

Instagram | @kimkardashian

I used this technique for, like, 12 years before I realized how much concealer I was wasting.

"If you use concealer over foundation, your foundation is already doing half the work so you need less concealer," explains Reddit user SkuubaSally.

"Also, if you use concealer first, there's a good chance you'll end up wiping some of it away when you apply foundation."

Instagram | @mncosmeticss

I always wondered why it never worked well!

9. Not prepping your lips before applying product on them.

Twitter | @sophiegracel94

Just like every other part of your face, your lips need to be primed before product is applied to them.

Lip scrubs are a great example of something you can use before, say, a matte lipstick or shimmery gloss.

10. Forgetting to groom your eyebrows before filling them in.

Instagram | @dana_kfir

First of all, brushing your brows with a spoolie first will help product apply more evenly.

Also, trimming your brows before filling them will make your brows' shape more obvious and therefore easier to fill.

Trust me when I say that a groomed brow can make you at least FEEL like you have your life together.

Maybe you do have your life together, but I mean, even when you don't.

11. Expecting your brows to be absolutely perfect.

Instagram | @mlsacbc

After seeing so many immaculate brows on Instagram, a lot of us have come to expect the same from ourselves. However, unless that's your intended look, brows don't always have to be perfect.

A natural, fluffy brow is just as beautiful and far less time-consuming!

12. Contouring the top of your jawline instead of its underside.

Instagram | @iamxcleobeauty

Remember, contouring is all about creating shadows.

If you want to create the illusion of a sharper jawline, you'll want to apply contour just beneath it, since that's where a shadow would naturally lie.

13. Using face setting spray after you apply your mascara.

Instagram | @buffybelinda

To avoid all mascara-related catastrophes, it's best to apply your setting spray before you put on mascara.

Anyway, it's not like the setting spray is going to do anything for the longevity of your mascara. Quite the opposite, actually.

14. Forgetting that there is a "right" and a "left" false eyelash.

Instagram | @scandal.lashes

Before you take both lashes out and forget which is which, hold the box up to your nose with the lashes facing outwards. That's how you'll know left from right.

15. Not buying foundation according to the undertones in your skin.

Instagram | @emilykender

Everyone has a primary skin tone and an undertone. Pink, yellow, and neutral are how most undertones are defined.

If you're not quite sure what your undertone is, ask a beauty professional.

16. Using powder foundation when you have dry skin.

Alibaba | Alibaba

Most of us began with a powder foundation since it was much easier to apply. However, if you have dry skin, it's probably not the best choice.

"I have dry skin and I was using a powder foundation for years before I finally asked someone at Sephora to help a girl out," says Reddit user moozidog. "World = changed."

17. Lining your lips with a harsh, solid line.

Gifer | Gifer

You want to line your lips with a smudged outline, as opposed to a harsh and solid line.

Lining is meant to help define your lips, not build a border around them.

Instagram | @jamiegenevieve

Think of it as shading rather than outlining.

18. Falling asleep with your makeup on. 

Gif Free | Gif Free

Everyone has fallen asleep with their makeup on at least once, but it's important to get into the habit of removing all traces of your makeup before you go to bed.

Your skin will thank you for it!

Try to think of it this way: skin first, makeup second.

You need to take care of what's under your makeup because that's really the canvas you're painting on! And leaving makeup on overnight is a huge no.

19. Never washing your makeup brushes, or washing them poorly. 


You need to wash your makeup brushes regularly, and that's just a fact.

Try mixing a little olive oil (to keep your brushes moisturized) with some dish soap, and swish your brushes around in the mixture.

20. Using expired products.

Instagram | @theaestiediary

Just like most things, makeup has an expiry date.

I know it can be tough to part with a product you've invested in, but wearing expired makeup is good for no one. Check your expiration dates every couple months and replace the products that are past their prime.

I KNOW it's hard to let go of your fave products sometimes, but it's for the best.

I struggle with this one, but I always pay the price after using a foundation that's seen better days.

21. Forgetting to wear sunscreen.

Instagram | @wandabadwal

It's super important to wear sunscreen because it will protect your skin from long-term damage.

Wearing sunscreen is an easy way to keep your skin looking healthy and amazing in the future.

22. Keeping your makeup in the bathroom.

Instagram | @lazymompreneur

I know it's convenient, but keeping your makeup in the bathroom can actually damage your products.

The humidity and heat caused by showering can actually make your makeup less fresh.

23. Blending your eyeshadow with the same brush you used to apply.

Giphy | Giphy

Avoid ruining your look by using a fresh brush to blend your eyeshadow after it has been applied.

If you use the same brush, you run the risk of inadvertently applying more eyeshadow than you actually want.

24. Applying foundation with a flat brush.

Instagram | @dottsybeauty

It's tough to break bad makeup habits, but if you're applying your foundation with a flat brush, you need to stop.

Flat brushes can leave streaks — and that's the opposite of cute. Try using a large duo fiber brush instead.

25. Not allowing your eyelash glue to get tacky.

Instagram | @makeuptutorialsx0x

After you apply glue to your falsies, it's best to let them sit for roughly 30 seconds.

If you don't, the glue will likely be too wet and very difficult to adhere to your skin.

I don't feel complete until I have my lashes on, but patience is so key.

Or they'll be even harder to apply than usual and it's not like they're easy to begin with!

26. Using shimmery eyeshadow to fill in your brows.

Instagram | @rileyrose

"I remember I had this eyeshadow trio from Rimmel or something and it had all chunky glittery shimmer shades. It was all I used on my brows for ages," says Reddit user bexynolan.

Brown eyeshadow is absolutely a great replacement for eyebrow filler. Just make sure it's a matte shade.

Unless, of course, you're going for a shimmery look.

27. Using bold colored eyeshadows without applying a primer first.

Instagram | @tylerxaveri

If you want to maintain the hue integrity of a bold shadow, be sure to use primer first. Otherwise, your neon green eyeshadow might turn into plain old green eyeshadow in a matter of hours.

28. Using a dry beauty blender.

Twitter | @Laurewboo

"I realized a few months ago that I needed to wet my Beauty Blender," says one Reddit user. "Before that, I never saw why people loved it so much because it was so hard to use."

That's right — you're not using your BB to its full potential if it's not damp!

After all, you don't want your sponge to just suck up whatever product your using.

And it blends SO much easier when it's damp! You can even use a face mist instead of water if you want to up your glow factor and give your skin some lovin'.

29. Not paying attention to your makeup formulas.

Annie Spratt | Unsplash

Coordinating the ingredients of your facial oils, primers, and foundations is super important to be sure you avoid the dreaded patchiness that comes from mixing silicon-, oil-, and water-based products.

I know we don't usually think of science and makeup together, but we should!

Different formulas work differently on different skin types because we sure don't all have the same skin. And if you pay attention to what your skin reacts to, your skin will love you for it.

30. Not letting liquid foundation dry before applying other layers.

Instagram | @nikkietutorials

Life is busy, and makeup takes time — so the natural inclination to fly through your makeup routine is tempting. But it's only going to ruin your look! Let that base dry or else suffer the consequences of terrible blending.

31. Wearing the same foundation all year round.

Youtube | TheMakeupChair

Seasons change, and the amount of sunlight our face gets changes with it. That means we need to adjust our foundation shades to match our tan/pale complexions throughout the year.

After all, you want to look #flawless every single day of the year.

My shade changes drastically between summer and winter. There's no way I could use the same foundation all year!

32. Testing foundation shades on your hand.

Youtube | The Brown Girl Swatches

We've all done it, or had it done to us — we take that foundation and swatch it on our hand, bring that hand up to our face and go. But the skin on your hand isn't the same shade as the skin on your face, so that can provide inaccurate results.

33. Powdering the wrong areas.

Youtube | Lovette Jallow

PSA: translucent powder is not invisible! If you're slathering that stuff all over the place, it IS going to show, and you're gonna look hella washed out.

You want to take away the sheen, but you do NOT want to look like you bathed in the powder.

Less is more, and making sure you get a tinted powder versus a stark white one can make a huge difference.

34. Not matching your eyeliner style with your eye shape.

The Blondeshell

Everyone loves a sharp cat-eye, but it isn't entirely flattering on everyone's face! Try out a few styles to see what makes your eyes pop.

35. Curling your eyelashes last.

Youtube | Gia Nasim

Curling lashes is a delicate, high-risk art form that requires a clean slate for minimal lash loss.

Curling those babies after doing the rest of your face can add residue, making the curling less effective and more likely to snag some out!

36. You share your makeup with your BFFs all the time.

Sharing is caring...except when sharing your makeup without sanitizing means that you're sharing a heck of a lot of germs, which can lead to infections. Gross.

37. Matching your eyeshadow color to your eye color.

Youtube | Sabina Hannan

While outright matching is super in right now, coordinating the color of eyeshadow to eye color will only dull your eyes. It's best to use contrasting hues to get a nice pop of color.

38. Not following the instructions for a proper fake tan.

Listen, the instructions are there for a reason, and every brand is completely different.

Following the instructions is your best bet for looking glowy and not baked.

Or else this could happen to you.

Twitter | @alexvinklarek

While it's important to completely buff in your fake tan so that there aren't any streaks, it's equally important to try not to cry.

Poor gal.

39. Pumping your mascara wand.

Instagram | @covergirl

While it may seem like moving your mascara wand up and down in the tube is the best way to coat the brush, it can actually dry out your mascara altogether.

Instead, try gently swirling it around in the tube.

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