Make-up misdemeanours

Ladies beware! Your efforts to look younger may have just the opposite effect

Woman applying makeup

You’ve spent hours in front of the mirror, delicately doing up your face for that smashing party you have to attend. As you stroll in, you receive your first comment, “You look a bit tired, dear!” Sadly, all that hard labour has gone waste and instead of covering up the blemishes and dark circles, you’ve probably only highlighted them.

Make-up is a tool to enhance your God-gifted attributes [or underplaying faults], to give you a fabulous looking face. But a wrong move when applying make-up can do more harm than good. Here are a few such blunders that you should avoid while applying make-up.

Baseless cover

Foundation, as the name suggests, is the first step towards a well-made up face. But the rule of applying foundation is ‘less is more’. If you overdo it, it may add years [instead of beauty] to your face. A thick layer of heavy foundation enhances wrinkles and creases instead of concealing them, besides giving the face a mask-like appearance.

Excess foundation when spread unevenly on the skin emphasises the open pores and settles in the skin folds, especially on the neck, making them appear more prominent. Apply as little as possible. Use your fingers instead of a brush to apply as this prevents excess use and helps blend the foundation well into the skin. After applying, lightly dab the skin with a wet sponge. This draws out the extra foundation that has settled in the wrinkles.

“Use a liquid or water-based foundation especially if you have dry skin. Too much dry make-up on the skin makes it look caked and the fine lines get pronounced,” suggests Shalini Vasisht, a Delhi-based makeover specialist. Opt for a moisturiser-based foundation.

Often, women use a foundation that is a shade lighter than their skin tone in an elusive bid to look fairer. This boomerangs as it draws attention to the fine lines. Therefore, use a foundation shade a touch darker. You may also use a base with shimmer particles to add that glow. Gouri Kapur, Bengaluru-based make-up artist, has a solution for easy foundation shopping, “Foundation is the most critical aspect of make-up as it makes or breaks your look. Apply foundation testers and leave them on your face. If they look great even after an hour, go ahead and buy them! Foundations tend to change colour after a while so be certain about the shade before you buy. If it’s making you look grey or ashy, you are using a wrong foundation—this is generally a problem for those with wheatish, pigmented and dark skin. Find a foundation with a yellow undertone and half your battle is won.” Use a silicone-based primer to tone up your skin. It fills in the fine lines and makes your face appear smoother.

A concealer hides the blemishes on the skin. When buying one, match its shade exactly with the foundation to avoid a patchy face.

Topping the foundation with tons of powder is another no-no, especially around the eyes. Not only does it dry the skin, but it also brings out the wrinkles. If you have to use powder, do so sparingly and only around the nose.

Remember, a well-nourished beautiful skin looks much better than a thickly-covered one.

Eye spy

Nothing sets the party tone like shimmer eye shadow. But the same fashion highpoint can turn into a disaster when applied to ageing eyelids. The metallic tones encrust in the folds, magnifying sagging skin. “You can get away with metallic shades in the evening but they look garish in the day. Women with darker skin tones should avoid the cooler metallic colours like silver and go for warm earthy tones like bronze,” suggests Shalini. If you have ageing skin, toss away the blue and silver shades. It’s better to go for softer, more natural shades of eye shadow like peach, lavender and grey. Choose matte over shimmery tones.

“Eye liners drooping at the outer corners can make your eyes look more aged—they make them look droopier. Use soft/pastel eye shadows and eyeliner shapes that lift one’s eyes at the edges,” explains Aakriti Kochar, a Delhi-based make-up artist and hairstylist.

Applying thick coats of mascara or generous doses of eyeliner on the lower eyelids tends to draw attention to the sagging eye bags, crow’s feet and dark circles. It also makes the eyes look smaller. The contrast gives a harsh look, making you look older and shrew-like. Also, using extra-thick mascara causes the lashes to clump.

“If you have big, round, prominent eyes, a dark double liner would make the look jarring and scary. Using liner on the lower lid also makes the face look older. Use a smoky smudged kohl stick instead,” suggests Renuka Pillai, a bridal make-up specialist.

For a younger look, enhance the upper eyelid, curl up the eyelashes and apply coats of mascara on them to bring them in focus. Doing so makes the whites of your eyes appear brighter and fuller. Outline the upper lids with a thin stroke of eyeliner. You can thicken it up at the outer corners.

Over-plucked eyebrows make the face look harsh. Try and keep the eyebrows medium-thick. If you have thin and patchy eyebrows due to hair fall, fill in the gaps with a soft eye pencil.

Cheeky issues

Applying blusher on the apples of the cheek makes the face look sunken. Focus on the top of your cheekbones for maximum effect. Use natural tones, not stark colours. Often, women make the mistake of disregarding the shape of their faces while doing this. “Contouring, a technique where a dark blush is used under the cheeks, gives the face a more chiselled look. But if the face is thin, you get a gaunt and sunken-cheek look, which is unappealing,” explains Shalini.

Each skin has its own undertone that should be kept in mind while choosing the blusher or else the colours do not blend well. Those having yellow undertones should choose orange; pink undertones go well with peach and olive with brick.

Dated hairdo

Nothing ages a woman more than awful hair. The swish haircut that was the rage a decade ago should be treated as such—a thing of the past. It’s time to move on. Styles change and a smart woman learns to keep up with the changing times. Grey hair may show your wisdom but they also spell age in bold letters. Take up a rinse in a natural shade. Too brassy or dark colours will clash and make you look haggard. Light highlights can also soften up the look. Change your hairstyle to a more conventional cut.

“Cheap hair extensions, ready-made curly switches and artificial hair extensions look tacky. It is better to get the hair curled or extended instead of using these accessories,” feels Renuka.

According to Gouri, “Dry and unkempt hair say a lot about a woman’s personality. Regular conditioning, hair spas and oil massages are a must. Don’t give excuses for bad hair days—fix them. Accessorise, tie, dry, shampoo…do whatever you have to, but add style to it.

Avoid getting a treatment at unprofessional places to save money. Think judiciously before you choose to do permanent hair straightening and colour treatments. Bad hair jobs can look disastrous and worsen ageing.”

Tips on lips

Luscious lips in bold hues of red symbolise the enchantress since eternity. However, as the lips start losing their fullness, such bold dark colours make them appear thinner than they are. With the appearance of pucker lines along the lips there are more chances of a deep red colour bleeding out.

Also, the contrast may bring attention to the not-so-sparkling teeth. Go for sheer overtones of lip colour with a slick of gloss. Use a defining lip liner to avoid lipstick bleeds. However, this has to be done skilfully.

“Dark outlines can make the lips look thinner and the face more mature than it actually is. Wear a lip gloss to make lips look plumper, especially if you have thin lips,” suggests Aakriti. And remember, red might still be okay but wear maroon and you’ll age by 10 years, according to Renuka.

This was first published in the March 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Sia Mitra is a New Delhi-based freelance science writer.


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