Makeup Mishaps That Can be Avoided

by Paulla De Souza, Makeup Artist, Trinidad and Tobago and Woman to Woman Contributor


Paulla, working her magic

As a professional artist with over 14 years experience I am always questioned on several aspects of makeup artistry by everyday women who are looking to master the art of makeup at home, as well as upcoming makeup enthusiasts pursuing a professional career.  I felt compelled to have a discussion on the topic when I started receiving invitations to groups hosted by upcoming makeup artists. I have an eye for the art and so I’m usually able to spot the mishap at first glance. 

Let us discuss what makeup really is. The idea behind makeup is to enhance a woman’s feature with the use of beauty products. A good skin care routine should be an integral part of woman’s daily routine. Cleanse, tone and moisturize every, day twice a day. Skin should be treated with love and special care and there are products available for all skin types.

As a makeup artist, you need to be aware of all the different skin types and what products you need to use to get the best results for your clients. Sometimes it would be necessary to use a primer along with your moisturizer, before foundation is applied so that you achieve a long lasting finish. 

If you understand products and the various ways they can be used then you should be able to avoid some of the mistakes that are commonly made. Let us start by looking at the three main products and why they are used.

FOUNDATION: – A foundation is used to even out the skin tone and disguise minor blemishes. It can also be used for protection against environmental elements. They are available in different texture—from liquid to cream, and can provide light, medium or heavy coverage, depending on the skin’s needs. When selecting a foundation, the color should never be compromised. Foundation should be tested along the jaw line and should blend in with the skin for a natural finish; sometimes it might be necessary to use two shades of foundation in the case of an uneven skin tone, or for creating contrast.

CONCEALER:- A concealer is used to cover dark circles around the eyes and disguise blemishes. They are also made in different textures and are usually heavily pigmented, thus differentiating from the foundation. A concealer should never be used over the entire face. Outside of disguising minor blemishes, a concealer can also be used as a highlighter. If you want to cover and or disguise blemishes then concealer should blend with the skin tone. If used as a highlighter then it is okay to use one that is a shade or two lighter than your skin.

POWDER:- Powder is used to set the foundation and matte the skin. The best type of powder to use in this instant is a translucent powder. Its texture is sheer and is usually not heavily pigmented. A press powder is recommended for touch ups. The powder used to set the foundation should never change the color of the foundation so choose wisely.


Now that the canvas, your face, is ready and looking flawless and natural, it’s time for further enhancement with the use of eye shadows, eyeliner, brow pencil, lip liner, lip gloss, lip stick, bronzer, blush and eyelash extensions.

Let us look at eye shadows, bronzers and blushes. It is important to note that these are made in different textures that give you different finishes from matte to metallic, satin to frosty. It is important to comprehend the results that will be acquired from their uses. When using eye shadows, mastering the art of color placement is important. The use of color and where it is placed can create illusions of smaller, bigger or sexy eyes. Droopy eye lids, deep set, and wide set eyes can be corrected. Here is where the artist should pay more attention to detail. Color should be used to enhance the eyes. Watch out for shadows that finish chalky, these do not look natural; furthermore they belong on a stage not on the eyes of a gorgeous woman walking the streets. Pay attention to blending techniques. Color coordination is also important and should not be taken for granted. Learn the difference between warm colors and cool colors. Using colors that complement each other gives the best result.

Armed with a pencil, you can change the shape of any feature on the face. That is the purpose for your liners, to enhance and or change the shape of the chosen feature, eye brows, eyes or lips.

Here is a list that can guide you from some of the most awful mistakes made.

  1. Theatrical makeup belongs on stage. Avoid overly dramatic make up. Chalky looking eye shadows is not attractive either. The average female loves natural colors.
  2. Pinks, blues, greens, oranges and other bright colors were never meant to be worn over the entire eyelids. Even in the very colorful Caribbean, we have to remember that we should not look like kaleidoscope paints. Carnival time may be an exception because that’s what Carnival is all about—excitement and colors!
  3. Foundation that is too light shows up like a mask especially in photos.
  4. There is no such thing as using a light foundation with a darker powder, it may look good with your naked eye but it is not complementary when photographed or in good lighting.
  5. Powder should complement the foundation not change its color.
  6. Colors that do not complement the skin tone looks tacky.
  7. Uncoordinated colors are very unflattering. Learn what colors complement each other, it is important.
  8. Not blending and fading colors into each other can be a major disaster. Blend, Blend, Blend is a technique to become intimate with.
  9. Failure to fade foundation into the hairline and under the jawline creates a ring of color around the face, especially if you are wearing a scarf while doing your makeup.
  10. Eyeliner with a space between the lash line and the line curl my toes. The purpose for lining the eyes is to create definition, ensure the line is close to and between the lash line according to the look that you are trying to achieve
  11. Mascara should be applied from the base of the lashes all the way to the tip.
  12. When using false eyelashes, ensure it is centered and attached as close to the lash line as possible; if there is a space use your liquid eyeliner to fill
  13. If you choose to line the lips, ensure the color of the lip liner and the color of the lipstick or lip gloss complement each other. Blend, blend blend—to fade harsh lines
  14. Eyebrows are the most important feature on the face. The idea behind using a brow pencil is to add definition and to create a full-looking brow, not to make it darker, so please do stay away from jet black eyebrow pencil, unless you are doing theatrical makeup.
  15. Lighter brows soften up the entire face. Learn the brow shape that is appropriate for the different facial shapes. For example a high arch on a round face helps to create the illusion of an oval shape face
  16. Lip gloss should not be applied around the edge of the lip line, it makes the mouth look greasy.
  17. At the end of makeup application do a final check. Use a cotton swab/q-tip/makeup wedge to clean up smudged mascara, blend and soften harsh lines, clean up lip line. Remember makeup should complement and look flawless.
  18. Note, eye makeup should not compete with what is worn, but colors used should definitely enhance, complement, and be appropriate for the occasion.


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