3 makeup errors that do you NO favours.

Taylor Momsen overdoing the black eyeliner

1. Using a dark shade of foundation to appear more tanned.

Some of you, especially the clever makeup artist-y types might disagree with this, (but they are much more talented than us at everything so we forgive them) but I do agree with it being a faux pas, “it” being using a darker tint of foundation to tan one’s face. You see, foundation exists to match and even out the skin tone and lightly conceal imperfections (and in some cases add radiance or mattify shiny skin) and make you look, well, better, as well as create a uniform canvas for the colour cosmetics you’ll apply next. By using a shade that is too dark for your skin you risk looking muddy and all of the great benefits of foundation listed above don’t really work. A better way to go about it is to either apply face self tanner (I like Lavera Faces Calendula Summer Glow) to cleansed skin under your skin care (let it sink in for 20 minutes or so before applying your skin care) and let that bring on a more natural, all over tan, or, finally and as most of us do, gently use bronzer on the points of the face where the sun would naturally touch, were we stupid enough to let it. I think liquid or gel bronzers (such as The Body Shop Honey Bronze Face Gel or Dr.Hauschka Translucent Bronze Concentrate) are the most subtle and “skin-like” and look terrific and gleaming when buffed in gently with a fluffy blush brush. Set with a translucent powder or a soft wash of powder bronzer.

2. Going overboard on the luminisers.

Glowing skin is terrific. It’s a beacon for wide-eyed, vaguely envious compliments and a sign of skin that is in buoyant health. And if you’re clever, you’ll fake all of this with illuminators and luminisers as the final touch of your makeup. The risk is, sadly that some of us think more is better, because more gleaming skin = even more proof of great skin. But this is as wrong as Crocs with socks. Illuminating and luminising products work best when applied subtly and sparingly: on the high points of the face, (I did a video on how to apply them here) or a teeny bit mixed in with your liquid foundation and used all over. (I like the NARS liquid illuminators and Clinique UpLighting for this.) Otherwise they start rebelling and making your skin look WORSE than when you started. Too much shimmer and shine on the face will make pores more pronounced, exacerbate fine lines and wrinkles and highlight blemishes. (Like some mineral makeup, which is why you should tread lightly and apply thin layers, rather than one big smack of powder that is too full of sparkly mineral pigments and will do your complexion not only no favours, but actually create a deficit of favours). So, go easy. Simple.


3. Too much eye makeup during the day.

There is a lot to be said for the ‘right amount’ of eye makeup during the day. One of the things that might be said is that too much black eyeliner and heavy shadow work around the eye will make your eyes look smaller, and in a lot of cases, more tired than they are. Also, it’s a fairly dramatic look, and one I recommend keeping more for the evening. (A simple lap of gel of liquid liner around the eye to define is fine, but keep in mind that black liner on the lower lashline closes your eyes in, and doesn’t give that “freshness” daytime makeup is so great for.) Maintain your love of kohl and shadow AND keep it daytime-appropriate by sticking to the top lashline, and not extending up further than the crease of the eyelid. Unless you enjoy the full on makeup as worn by the Kardashians, and a lot of women do, and we certainly do not judge them for that. Another thing to keep an eye on (zzzing!) is too much shimmer during the day, which looks unnatural, can drop down and is generally best left for night-time, (or kept in check by just using as liner, rather than all over shadow). By all means embrace colour and exciting textures, but keep it moderate, and subtle. A lick of amethyst or cobalt as a liner wing is magnificent, and a touch of shiny glossy shadow on the eyeball is terrific. My pick for no-fail, low-maintenance daytime eye makeup is a slightly metallic cream shadow as a base (to open up the eyes, act as a primer and bring out the true colour of your subsequent eye shadow) and 1-2 matte or satiny shadow shades; one as a wash over the eyelid up to the crease (say, grey or lilac or latte), and one darker shade (say, charcoal or plum or chocolate) along the lash line, and to define the outer corner of the eye. Add liner and mascara, and you’re done, peaches.

Next week I’ll do the same thing, but (as requested) specifically for dames that exist in that possibly inaccurate and mildly offensive group vaguely referred to as “over 40s”. Terrific stuff!

Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. She was beauty director of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s BAZAAR and PRIMPED and then collated all the best tips and tricks from her time in these roles for the beauty bible, Amazing Face. She is currently the dating columnist for Cosmopolitan magazine, although her best advice in this arena can probably be found in the dating and relationship guide, Textbook Romance , which she co-wrote with Hamish Blake. Zoe has published three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man, and she rates them among the best novels ever written in the history of the written word. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.

What tricks do you use to fix your make-up errors?