I caught up with three professional makeup artists to chat about the most common makeup mistakes we make, and how to fix them.

1. Going overboard with foundation

“Beyond mismatching their colour, women tend to go for a full coverage, matte-finish foundation, and then apply a lot of powder over it,” says Lucoh Mhlongo, Elizabeth Arden Celebrity National Makeup Artist. “This can create a very dull, flat and unnatural finish.”

The fix

“Rather choose a foundation which also caters for your skin type,” says Lucoh. “Drier skin types should use a foundation with more moisture and a soft luminous finish. This gives the skin a healthy glow and feeds it too. Oilier skins should use a more matte-finish foundation that helps to control the oil, but still looks natural. Be wary of over-powdering your face.”

2. Using too much concealer

A bad concealer application can look incredibly unnatural, particularly thick makeup under your eyes that have settled into the fine lines.

The fix

“Avoid ‘creping’ by applying a small amount of liquid concealer with a domed concealer brush after (not over!) foundation,” advises David White, makeup artist for Urban Decay South Africa. “Avoid foundation under the eye, the pigment is too heavy. Instead, work your foundation onto the cheekbone and up to the outer corner of the eye, while keeping the under-eye area free of foundation. Blend the bulk of your concealer onto the darkest, innermost corner of the under-eye zone and then gently work the product outwards, blending seamlessly into the foundation. Remember to opt for a slightly lighter shade/ hue concealer than your foundation.”

3. Over-applying your blusher

Even after all this time, women still seem unsure where and how to apply blusher. I often see heavy application of harsh shades that don’t match that person’s natural blush tones.

The fix

“To avoid your cheek area from looking ‘burnt’, always apply blush to the apples of the cheeks and soften the colour out, as opposed to applying blush right up to the temples,” says Zipho Ntloko, makeup artist for L’Oréal Paris.

On the flip side, don’t avoid using blusher altogether either. “Do not avoid blusher if you are afraid of high colour,” says David. “Should you have naturally flushed cheeks, opt for a browny-gold blush to accentuate the cheekbone. Apply your blush under the apple of the cheek, sweeping upwards. Experiment with different hues and different zones of application to create your desired look.”

4. Choosing the wrong bronzer

“Some bronzers are warmer, some a little cooler and some shimmery, while some are more matte, or matte with a hint of shimmer,” explains Lucoh. “I’ve seen over-use of shimmer bronzer which gives the skin a disco-ball effect.”

The fix

“I advise women to use a more matte bronzer on the perimeters of the face which warms up the complexion, and shimmer bronzers on the high points of face which attracts light and gives the skin a healthy glow,” advises Lucoh.

A good tip is to set your foundation with translucent powder before applying a browzer. “The darker pigment of the bronzer may catch on certain areas,” says David, “creating unwanted shadows and resulting in a heavy appearance. Using a powder to set your moisturizer or foundation will prevent this and allow for even distribution of the bronzer’s darker pigment.”

5. Harsh contouring

“One of the trends I’ve been seeing recently is that of very hard contouring,” says Lucoh, “such as creating two lines on the sides of the nose without blending, or a line from the ear to the corner of the mouth with little blending to contour the cheekbones.

The fix

“It’s so important to properly blend your products in order to achieve a seamless, believable look,” explains Lucoh. “Also bear in mind that the most natural contour travels around the outer edges of the face as well. In that way it looks connected, as if it belongs to you. I also suggest building the contour gradually instead of making it super defined and chiseled.”

6. Heavy eyeliner

Avoid a heavy eyeliner along the bottom lash. “A very heavy black line under the eye droops the eye, accentuating shadows and creating a tired, aged appearance,” says David

The fix

“Apply liner on the top eyelid, close to the base of the lash-line,” advises David. “Blend this with a mono eyeshadow in a near-black shade. You can also apply some shadow on the outer part of the lower lash-line for a lifted, fresh and clean eye look.”

7. Skipping your eyeshadow primer

Eyeshadow primer might sound like an unnecessary extra step but a good product will prevent creasing, improve pigment quality, and prevent fading.

The fix

“Eyeshadow primer is the only solution for fading and creasing eyeshadow,” says Zipho. “A good-quality eyeshadow primer will absorb oils sitting on the surface of your lids and create a perfectly-matte skin surface. This will assist in extended eyeshadow wear.”

8. Creating super dark, defined and waxy brows.

Eyebrows might be all the rage right now but that does not mean you should create overly defined, large or dark brows. “This is a common mistake and creates a very unnatural look,” says Lucoh

The fix:

“I suggest we ease the pressure a bit when filling out the brow; seeing the natural fluff of your brow hair gives beautiful, natural texture,” advises Lucoh. “It keeps us guessing ‘are those her own eyebrows?’. Remember to fill in only where it is needed. You can achieve the perfect eyebrow with those subtle touches and by understanding your own unique brow shape.”

9. Picking the wrong lipstick shade

A good lipstick can give your look instant lift but take time to find a shade and texture that works for you and your skin undertone. A ‘warm’ lipstick on someone with cool undertones can look very orange and harsh, while a cool lipstick on someone with warm undertones will make them look pale and washed out.

The fix

“The most important advice I can give with regards to lipstick is to pick colours that work for your skin tone,” says Lucoh. “A nude lipstick for a lighter skin is different than a nude for a darker skin tone. A red lipstick for a warmer skin undertone is different than a red lipstick for a cooler undertone.

“Lipstick texture is also very important. A lot of women love matte lipstick, but these often leave their lips dry. Go for moisturising matte lipsticks or moisturise the lips well before applying that particular matte lipstick.”

10. Curling your lashes with mascara on

“This is an absolute no-no,” says Zipho. “Mascara formulas harden the lashes so if you make use of a lash curler moments after applying your mascara coats, you’ll increase the chances of breaking a few lash hairs.”

The fix

Curl first by pressing the lash curler at the base of your lashes and gently pumping it together a few times. Follow with two coats of mascara. For perfect application, David recommends a two step process: “Use the classic sideways wand movement as well as the tip of the brush for separation and lift at the very base. Make sure you pull the formula through to the very tip of the lashes for clean volume, separation and magnificent curl.

Do you have any additional questions, tips or recommendation? Pop them in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.



I am a lifestyle blogger from Cape Town trying to find the best ways to spend my time, take care of my body and express myself. I am slightly obsessed with fragrances, sneakers, Jamie Oliver and Masterchef Australia. Oh, and I probably drink way too much wine.

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