The Ultimate Makeup DOs and DON'Ts!


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At Paula’s Choice Skincare our goal is to help you achieve the best skin of your life with products that really work. In addition to skincare, we know firsthand how beautifully makeup can accentuate those results. In fact, many of us at Paula’s Choice (including Paula herself) started out our careers as a makeup artist.

With that in mind, we’ve set out to reveal the best makeup tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years. Here we go beyond the normal step-by-step information you routinely see in magazines and beauty blogs, to share our most helpful and unique makeup advice.

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Complexion Perfection

DO match your foundation shade to the skin on your neck, but also take your décolletage into consideration. The skin tone on your face often is slightly lighter or darker than skin on your neck, so matching your foundation to the neck avoids the dreaded noticeable line of demarcation where your foundation starts and stops. If you’re wearing a low-cut top, take the color of your décolletage into consideration as well. If your chest is darker than your face/neck, you can strategically use bronzer around the edges of your face to complement the undertone of your décolletage without making your whole face look too dark.

DON’T use under-eye concealer that’s two shades lighter than your skin color. A concealer that’s half or one shade lighter than your foundation (or, if you don’t wear foundation, your natural skin color) will brighten the under-eye area without creating a strong, distracting contrast. White-ish looking circles around the eyes are never the goal.

DO prevent under-eye concealer from creasing by using a lightweight serum/moisturizer around the eyes during the day, as opposed to a rich eye cream, which can cause concealer to slip into lines. You want that area to be hydrated, but not slick! A light, and we mean very light, dusting of powder can help too.

DON’T smile as you apply blush to the apples of cheeks. Doing so raises them, so when you stop smiling and cheeks return to their normal position, the blush color ends up being lower on the face and closer to the mouth.

DO strategically illuminate skin for a youthful glow. Before applying makeup, prep your skin with a lightly hydrating toner, serum, or essence and then up the glow by adding a subtle luminous radiance to your complexion with your makeup. Enlivening skin can be as simple as infusing cheeks with a soft, slightly shimmery blush or restoring radiance in key areas by applying highlighter over your cheekbones, bridge of nose, and cupid’s bow.

All Eyes On You

DON’T assume your brow filler needs to be a shade darker. Using a shade that either matches or is slightly lighter than your brow color will give you full-looking, naturally defined brows without the severe, heavy contrast. Pale blonde eyebrows are the exception. Try a color that’s a shade or two darker to prevent brows from looking washed out or nonexistent.

DO add a dab of a lighter and softly light-reflective shade to the center of your eyelid for a bright-eyed look. Use a small, flat eyeshadow brush, knock off the excess shadow, and lightly press/dab it in the middle of the eyelid. Even if you have already applied a dark shade there, this extra touch can make all the difference. This also works for over your lipstick.

DON’T always match your eyeliner on your upper and lower lash line. For softer-looking results, line the lower lashes with a lighter shade than the upper lashes. For example, dark brown for the upper line, and light brown for the lower line.

DO prep eyelashes for mascara touch-ups. When you go to apply another coat over the mascara you’ve already been wearing all day, you end up fighting your way through dried mascara. The result? A flaky, clumpy mess. Resolve this issue by wetting a clean spoolie brush and combing through lashes before applying the next coat of mascara.

Lust-Worthy Lip Tips

DO one shade lighter or darker than your natural lip color for the perfect nude lipstick. If it’s too matching or beige, it can end up looking ghostly on certain skin tones!

DON’T do dark-hued lipsticks on thin lips. Dark colors make already-small lips recede. Brighter, richer colors are a beautiful alternative to accentuate lips.

DO apply concealer to the outer corners of your lips to give your lips a lift, and then apply concealer or highlighter around the edge of the lower lip to enhance a pouty look.

Paula’s Pro Advice

DO use a magnifying mirror to check or apply your makeup. This is especially true if you don’t have the best vision. What you can’t see, you can’t fix; for example, makeup settling into the fine lines or eyeshadow fallout on your cheeks. Depending on your eyesight any mirror of 4X magnification or greater will do the trick (Paula uses a 10X magnification that she jokingly calls her scary mirror).

DON’T follow a trend just because everyone else is doing it. The style of heavy brows or stripes of blush or smudged messy dark eyeshadow may be all the rage, but before you jump on that bandwagon be sure it makes you look beautiful and not like a caricature of yourself.

DO buy sets of eyeshadow, blush and lipstick for an easy way to create new colors. Rather than always buying a new eyeshadow or blush color, sets of colors allow mixing to create new shades.

DO get your makeup done professionally at least once a year. It never hurts to get someone else’s viewpoint on how your makeup should look. At the very least, there is always something new you can learn or a bad habit you can change.

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of in-depth research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! See Paula's Choice Makeup.

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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