LEIGH CAMPBELL: The 9 most common mistakes people make with their beauty routines.

The good news is there’s no actual official rules when it comes to beauty, like there are with driving and sport and... crimes. 

If it feels good and you like doing it, the Beauty Police are not going to arrest you, so carry on.  

BUT! There are some best practices that make the difference between good and great skin, or nice and amazing makeup.  

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I've been able to work out what the most common ones are through the questions listeners ask on You Beauty, what fills my Instagram DMs and what pals ask me in my WhatsApp groups.

So without further ado...

1. Trying to fit too many products into the one regime.

I appreciate the irony that this is mostly my fault, but I see so many women trying to cram 16 products into their nighttime routine because they want to use all of the good stuff. I get it - I often wish I had more than one face just so I could use more products, but you really don't need that 12th serum. Finish the ones you have first, please.  

2. Self-diagnosing your skin type wrongly.

It’s said that there are four skin types; normal, dry, oily, combination. But in reality it’s more complex than that. Skin can be dry OR it can be dehydrated (one lacks oil while the other lacks water). Skin can also be sensitive OR sensitised. If you’re not really sure what skin type you have you might not be using the right products. A facialist (or even a visit to a skincare counter in a department store if you’re able) will set you straight.  

3. Overusing chemical exfoliants.

I feel like I’ve said this 89 times but here’s number 90 - overusing chemical exfoliants will cause the exact skin concern you're trying to treat. It’ll make skin feel tight and dry, and maybe even flaky, and you’ll feel like you need to exfoliate again. It can be a nasty cycle. Keep it to two, three times a week, max.  

4. Not moisturising oily skin.

Those with excess oil are often (understandably) afraid of using face creams or oils because they think it’ll make their skin even slicker. But the opposite is true - oily skin needs hydration so that it can send a signal to the oil glands to chill out and stop producing so much oil. It’s all about finding the right hydration for oily skin, but don’t skip it altogether or it'll just get worse.  


5. Giving up too quickly.

This one is pretty general but I hear it at least once a day. Women will always tell me they can't curl their hair with a straightener, or use liquid eyeliner, or apply fake lashes. When I ask them how long they've practiced for it’s generally once, for about five minutes. I’m only decent at these things because I practiced over and over. Doing your hair and makeup is a learned skill, not inherent. 

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6. Skipping sunscreen.

Women spend in the hundreds on fancy serums and creams to make them look younger and glowier but argue with me about wearing sunscreen. The fact is that sunscreen is the number one single most effective anti-ageing skincare product there is. Don’t wait to wear it? Up to you. But facts are facts - I don’t make the rules. 

7. Using the same concealer for everything.

When I’m asked for a concealer recommendation I always enquire if it's for spots/pigmentation or for under the eye. Because concealing these two things needs a very different approach. For pimples, marks and brown spots you want a thicker matte consistency with long-wear staying power. For the under-eye area you want dewier, medium coverage with light-reflecting particles to create luminosity.

8. Blowing on your makeup brushes.

Swirling a brush into blush and bronzer deposits too much colour directly to the face, so I often see women blowing onto their brush to avoid this. The problem is that tiny particles of saliva transfer onto the brush bristles, which can cause product to drag. It can also transfer bacteria which can build up in the brush over time. Instead of blowing, tap the brush on your forearm (or edge of the sink) first before applying it to the face.

9. Not washing brushes frequently enough.

I am the WORST at this, so do as I say, not as I do. You really should be washing your brushes weekly, and for a few good reasons. Mostly because bacteria could cause a nasty infection, but also because dirty brushes will ruin your makeup, both on your face and in the palette. Ever find that you can't pick up much blush or bronzer or shadow on your brush because the palette seems to have gone a bit hard on top? That’s because a dirty brush containing old foundation and oil has created a film on top. Not nice.

Okay, I am going to stop now as it seems I’ve started to write War and Peace. But as I was typing I thought of so many others, so stay tuned for part two.

Feature image: Instagram/@leighacampbell