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The most common makeup mistakes - and how to avoid them

Feb 02, 2018

There are some beauty mistakes we all make, writes Denise Smith. From applying foundation that’s too dark, to overdrawn eyebrows, and let’s not forget the false tan — well, we’ve all done it. So we’ve enlisted the help of four professionals to ensure we get it just right every time.

Make-up can be an armoury of sorts, a slick of red lipstick can leave you feeling empowered, while winged eyeliner can be as essential to your daily routine as an early morning coffee.

Whatever make-up does for you, there’s no question that your skills in the beauty department should evolve over time.

Of course, that’s not always the reality. If you’re feeling the pressure to perfect this season’s power brow or are hit with a low-level sense of dread every time the word contouring comes up in conversation, fear not, you’re not alone.

Which is why we’ve enlisted the ultimate make-up masters to reveal the most common beauty fails, and their go-to make-up tips that will have you looking like a professional MUA in no time.

Birmingham beauty Nadine Reid, who works in Preen Hair and Beauty salon on Dublin’s Dame Street’ has been in the game long enough to know that true beauty comes from embracing the raw materials you’ve been gifted with. That and introducing colour to your life.

EYES — "Irish women are so beautiful; you guys have the most stunning shades of icy, sea blue eyes to tropical greens that I’ve ever seen. Instead of your basic brown and gold eyeshadow that most women go for, I would love to see more Irish women experimenting with eyeshadows that really emphasises their eye colour. So, if your eyes are green; the warm, red undertones like maroon browns will look incredible. 

"If your eyes are blue, then rusty, orange browns will give your eyes the wow factor. Explore the red or more orange browns and watch your eye colour game explode. Remember to focus on your best features, everyone loves an engaging eye.

"At work, I’m loving the Vintage Vamp Charlotte Tilbury palette for green eyes and Sleek’s Flame pallet to warm any basic brown shade.

SKIN TONE — "Now we need to talk about skin tone. I’ve learnt this is an issue all over the world, not just in Ireland. In many parts of Asia paler skin is worshipped and tanned skin is frowned upon. This side of the world, the aim for the most flawless caramel/toffee skin tone is a constant goal. I’ve been working in Ireland for a year now and tend to find that many Irish women consistently wear tan. I do meet many beautiful Irish women with pale skin and freckles. I love it when I find a natural Irish face.

"Some Irish women love the tanned look and seem to hate the skin they were born with. I’m often told: ‘My skin is translucent without tan.’ I see icons like Dita Von Teese and think her skin tone is stunning. That classic peaches and cream look that Marilyn Monroe had was flawless. If I could introduce a beauty class in Ireland it would be to love the skin you’re in.

"If you wear tan or naturally develop a tan, you will need at least two foundations. One to match your natural skin colour and one slightly darker. Invest in a bronzer that is closer to the tan shade that you apply to your body. The rule is to keep your face lighter than your tan and then use your bronzer to merge the shades together.  At Preen I love to use Give Me Sun Bronzer, from Mac for the more sallow tones and the fabulous new XIP Professional 24 Karat Glow Blissful Bronzer for darker tans. 

"Finally, if you love the way you wear your make-up and it makes you feel great, never let anyone stop you. Love yourself, you are beautiful even without make-up. Come in and see me at Preen for more make-up advice. 


The expert - Donna Conlan

With Twlight’s Edward Cullen-esque highlighter and crayon-coloured eyebrows trending, many of us need an intervention when it comes to how we’re applying make-up. Which is why we’ve enlisted Make Up For Ever’s leading make-up artist Donna Conlan to break down the most common beauty mistakes.

HIGHLIGHTER — "Sometimes less is more especially with highlighter. Too much can emphasise fine lines and wrinkles. You should use a soft brush to apply highlighter, and focus on areas where light will hit the skin.

LIPS — "I blame Kylie Jenner for this one. I’m all for emphasising lips and adding volume, but you need to know when to stop. Instead of over-lining, highlight the centre of the lips or use a highly pigmented gloss.

MASCARA — "If your mascara starts to flake on your face then you need to get a new one. A common mistake that people make with mascara is applying too much on the lower lashes, commonly known as the spider leg effect. To avoid this, apply to the tips of the lower lash line and take care not to over apply the product. Sometimes I like to apply it on clients using a small tapered eyeshadow brush.

CONTOUR — "For anyone blessed with amazing bone structure, just apply your bronzer like a soft shadow. For the rest of us, use a fluffy angled brush for a softer and more natural look. Hard lines will only create a point of focus in the wrong area. Avoid any lines down the sides of the nose. It’s more pleasing to the eye to highlight the nose than to add contour and depth, which will only leave your nose looking like a 100-metre runway.


The expert - Aimee Connolly

Creator of the Sculpted palette, Aimee Connolly runs her own successful make-up school. The go-to celebrity make-up artist has the following beauty hacks.

"I think a lot of us are on the go doing our make-up — myself included, and with that time pressure there is a tendency to apply too much product. I always say that applying too much make-up is just as bad as not enough. Going really heavy on your lip liner or dipping your brush into your bronzer and popping it straight onto the face without tapping any excess off is a no, no. It just means that the product builds and gathers and looks very unblended. Regardless of how rushed you are, be light handed and layer the make-up for a flawless finish.

Just remember my top make-up tips and you will never go wrong.

•  Don’t try a flicked liner for the first time in a rush — it will end in disaster.

• A swipe of blusher instantly injects colour and health.

• On days you’re feeling a bit tired, reach for your nude liner on the waterline.

• Spend a minute shading your cheekbones every day it literally lifts your face.

• Make sure your foundation colour is matched to your skin or get an expert to match you.

• Know your skin type and choose products accordingly.

• Everyone needs a lip liner in their life. Everyone.


The expert - Jade Mullett

Real Techniques brand ambassador and award-winning MUA Jade Mullett, talks through her clients’ biggest make-up mishaps.

EYEBROWS —"“Our eyebrows will never be twins but we don’t want them to be distant cousins either. Over-drawn eyebrows are something we have all been guilty of one time or another, the key is to use a minimal amount of product and build only as required.

Comb your brows with a spoolie brush to rid excess product and to focus on more of a brow balayage effect. Arm yourself with a small glass of water and a bar of soap, dip your spoolie brush into the water and graze it over the soap, then brush through your brows after you’ve applied your product. It’s a great trick to give a fluffier appearance and sets your brows so they won’t budge.

SETTING SPRAY — If you want to avoid a war-paint effect, don’t be overly generous with your setting powder. It is important to set your make-up so that it lasts but you if you want a J-lo glow, the trick is always in the setting spray. Once you’ve completed your look, use a dewy setting spay like MAC’s Fix Plus spray or an Inglot mist.

Lastly, we have all experienced the devastation of finishing a make-up look and blinking to see small black dots/fallout of mascara under the eyes. The trick is to do your eyebrows and eyes first and then apply foundation last so that if you make mistakes you can just sweep it away and your foundation will always look fresher because it’s the last thing you’ve applied.

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