4 Popular Makeup Hangups You Need to Get Rid Of

As I continue to reiterate in my posts, I have a real distaste for misinformation being provided to people about beauty, makeup and skincare. Most magazines and blogs seem to spurt the same few tips, ideas and how-to guides every few months… the problem with this is that some of the advice that is given to the public is not necessarily true (or at least not to everyone) and the makeup wearing public become afraid of using techniques that might actually be helpful for the look they’re trying to achieve or may be more flattering to them than the path most trodden.

I think it’s important to break down these tips that people follow that are actually doing them a disservice, so here are a few of the “pearldrops of wisdom” that my clients swear by, and are surprised by how great they look by breaking these rules.

1. You can only focus on eye makeup or lips, not both.

This is the number one most common “rule” that I keep hearing from customers and clients.

“Oh no, I can’t wear bright lipstick and have a smokey eye- I’ll look like a drag queen” is pretty much word for word what I hear. Here’s a quick newsflash for you: yes, you can. 

You can wear a shade of lipstick that isn’t a “nude” shade with smudgey eyeliner and glamorous dark eye makeup. You can wear red lipstick with a black smokey eye. You can add more liner and some false lashes with a deep plum lip. This concept that it’s somehow “balancing” to only have one focal point is nonsense. If you really like dark mysterious eyes and nude lips, that’s awesome. If you really like bold pop lips and nothing but mascara on the eyes, that’s fine too. If you wish you could wear both, stop wishing and do it. Who doesn’t want their whole face to look great, not just one feature??

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From my own portfolio. Model: Erica Rose.

See in the above photo how the girl pictured doesn’t look like a drag queen? Notice how she still looks glamorous and not like she’s been shot in the face with Homer Simpson’s infamous makeup gun? It’s about balance. Not the balance that the beauty editor in some teen magazine told you about to sell magazines and perpetuate myths, actual balance.

If you want to have intense eyes and intense lips, you need to match the intensity between both. Choose colours that work well together instead of clashing- blue eyeshadow and coral lipstick looks garish and definitely over the top, but a brown/black smokey and a deep shade of plum or red does not. The reason being that you’ve picked a colour scheme for the whole face, nothing clashes, nothing tries to compete.

Here’s how you can pull this off:
– Pick eye and lip colours together and see that they complement eachother
– When applying your makeup, take breaks and look at your face as a whole and not just the feature you’re applying makeup to
– You only look as stupid as you feel. If you want to clash colours and don’t give a damn, you’ll look great. People will compliment you on being able to pull off such a daring look. If you look embarrassed, people will point out ways you could have done better- rude and embarrassing.

2. Brows need to be pencilled in darker or completely re-shaped to look good

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Look at this picture of Miranda Kerr and hang your head in shame.

In fact, look at any runway beauty shots. Unless you stumble upon the Chanel statement brows from the last few seasons or an especially colourful collection by Galliano, most models, actresses, etc keep their brows looking pretty natural. They’re not pencilled in darker than they usually are, they’re not shaped to be perfect Marilyn Monroe shaped brows, they keep them the way they are.

Celebrities are meant to look like themselves, having an interesting mole on your face or straight brows instead of curved ones adds to their appeal. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. Filling in lightly with a shadow the same colour as your actual eyebrows will show off your natural shape and keep brows from looking sparse or unruly.

Here’s how to live without a brow pencil:
 Fill them in with an angle brush and eyeshadow
– If you absolutely must use a pencil, pick one shade lighter than you think you’ll need
– Small, light-handed strokes will prevent you from looking like Malibu Barbie
– They’re seriously just eyebrows. They are literally pieces of hair that grow on your head, considering how much hair women actually remove from their bodies, it seems ridiculous to rave about 2 small patches of hair that sit above our eyes.

3. People with smaller lips should wear nude lipgloss (and not dark lipstick)

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Notice how Dita Von Teese doesn’t have lips like a cod fish? She wears red lipstick every day without over drawing them to oblivion. Again, part of this comes under the “you only look as stupid as you feel” speech I made earlier, but realistically, if you’re filling in your lips correctly and lining them correctly, your lips will look no larger or smaller than they normally do.

I personally have tiny little lips like a cat’s bum. However, I over draw my lips just slightly. With a nude lip, it’s hard to actually see the genius correcting I do on my lip shape to give them a more Marilyn like appeal, but the second I’ve got a nice red, a deep plum or even black and the liner contrasts obviously against my face, my lips look huuuuuge in comparison to how they normally look. A lot of clients literally assume that I just have perfect lips (which I don’t)

Here’s how to wear whatever damn shade of lipstick you want:
 Find the colour that you want
– Fill in lips with liner to keep a cleaner colour and a longer lasting result
– Apply lipstick with your preferred method.
– Check your teeth a thousand times with a touch of paranoia
– With the same lip pencil you used earlier, draw in the shape of your lip line. Do this with your mouth closed once you’ve finished that precarious spot on the sides of your mouth where one wrong move means a clown face. The reason you should do this with your mouth closed is that you’ll get a more natural result and it’s easier to see if your lip shape is even on both sides. Symmetrical lips look fuller.

4. False eyelashes are for strippers and drag queens and look totally fake.

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Katy Perry in her recent Eyelure ads

Katy Perry is pretty rad looking, so I can understand your confusion here, but bear with me. She wears out there outfits, not out there makeup. Her makeup is surprisingly demure for someone who shoots whipped cream from her boobs on stage. False eyelashes, when chosen and applied properly, will not instantly make you look like an extra from a B-grade porno. They won’t transform you into RuPaul if you weren’t already wearing drag makeup. They will, however, open up the eye a lot and make you look awake and alluring and super feminine.

Here’s how to overcome your fear of glueing foreign objects dangerously close to your eyes:
– Pick the right kind of lashes for the occasion. If you find strip lashes easier (most people do) then find some which have the hairs spaced out instead of compacted very tightly.
– Pick lashes which are not all completely the same length. These always look fake.
– Lashes which are soft and moveable will always look more fluttery and siren-like than rock hard, too-shiney ones cut into bizarre geometric shapes. These are the cheap party wigs of the false eyelash world- great for costume parties but not for convincing anyone that you’re just actually a complete fox.
– Go with your bad self and wear whatever the hell you want on your face.

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Styling short hair

I’m one of those people who never stops playing with their hair. I grow it out, get extensions or cut it super short without much thought as to why I feel a need to change it constantly.

Short hair is great and definitely not boyish when it’s cut well. It defines your jawline and lifts the cheekbones, plus it’s easy to still have a fringe to hide wonky hairlines or larger foreheads.

A lot of people are under the impression that short hair is low maintenance and easy to style, this is simply not the case. Anyone who copied Victoria beckham’s bob before will know what I’m talking about. It grows out quickly, meaning it’s easy to look messy, plus unlike longer hair which can be tied up off the face, it’s always hard to think of ways to style it. I’ve complied a guide of easy styles for my fellow short-haired women who are stuck for ideas.

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1. Straight and textured
This is a fairly simple one. After washing hair, blow dry straight with a comb (pixie cuts), or a paddle brush (heading nearer bob territory). Straighten out any kinks or fluffy parts with your favourite hot iron and smooth through some serum or Argan oil to add shine.

Next, apply a pea sized amount of hard wax or styling putty to your fingertips. Rub your fingertips together to spread product to both hands and warm it up. Then run fingers through the ends and mid lengths of your hair to make the ends nice and piecey. If you want a messier edge, mess up your hair, literally scrunching and rubbing it in any direction you see fit. You’ve used too much product if you can see the product in your hair (it will look dirty, oily or hard) or your hair feels sticky.

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2. Quiff

Like the above style, your hair will need to be relatively straight to work. Depending on your hair’s natural texture, you will need to either blow dry or straighten the hair.

These styles work better on slightly dirty hair, so leave this for day old hair.

Using pomade or styling putty, palm through hair and then flip hair forward, back comb the section of hair from the middle of the front of your hairline using a teasing comb or tail comb if you’re desperate. Then, brush hair backward again, being sure to smooth the front of any visible teasing unless you’re after a more punk rock look. Set with a tiny amount of pomade/wax/putty/hairspray and smooth over.

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3. bouncy vintage hair

This style is easy to achieve for growing our bobs or shoulder length hair. The less layering you have in your hair, the easier it will be to achieve.

First, blow wave your hair with a round brush. After blow drying each section, roll it into a Velcro roller (smallest at mid and bottom layers nearest face, small-medium at bottom layers, medium in middle layer, large at the top layers and crown). With your fringe/bangs, roll the hair backwards in the roller, towards your crown, for the vintage look.

Lightly spray the lot with hairspray. Once it’s cooled completely, gently roll (don’t pull or drag through the hair!!!) out the rollers. Run your hands through the curls to gently smooth and separate and mist with more hairspray. For a super 50s-60s style look, back comb the fringe and crown for extra height.

Alternatively, curl hair with tongs and brush out or use hot rollers. Too easy.

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4. rockstar style

For a totally cool rock and roll look loved by Kate moss, debbie Harry (pictured) and pretty much every English “it-girl”, rough dry hair using your fingers to comb it relatively straight. Push the hair forwards slightly as you blow dry it to achieve semi straightness. Next (and this depends on length), add a texturising powder to the roots and scrunch hairspray through the mid lengths or simply scrunch in soft to medium wax through the hair. It will stop looking so crazy after about ten minutes and sit in a more straight style with a defined, messy edge to it. If you have ridiculously thick hair like I do, it’s better to blow dry with a paddle brush instead of your fingers before following the other steps.

Beauty advice for job seekers.

Those who know me personally would be aware of the fact that I’m seemingly constantly going into job interviews. It seems like a never ending job hunt, even if I’m currently employed in a regular job outside of my freelancing. The reason? I take life advice from rockstar and business mogul Gene Simmons who states that you should always be looking for work so that you’re never out of work.

The thing that baffles me is that many people in their teens, 20s and 30s seem to have only a vague concept on etiquette for job interviews. This is one of those times when first impressions mean everything, yet I’ve seen people look surprised and hurt after interviewers have commented on their wearing leggings to interviews or with way too much makeup on for a professional environment (the sort of stuff you’d wear out clubbing on a saturday night). Even if you’re applying for roles in the fashion or beauty industry. Hell, even if you’re applying for jobs in fast food, it is general courtesy to look neat, professional and put your best self forward. Turning up looking like you’ve wandered in from a music festival is rude as you’re literally telling the interviewer they weren’t worth the effort it would take to put on something a little more chic when they are most likely wearing corporate wear.

Makeup is one of those factors that can make or break a professional image. Women are generally expected to wear cosmetics in the workplace (the sexism apparent in this is another topic for another day), yet most employers have no clear guidelines as to what that actually entails until you turn up one day and are told you look unprofessional. Prospective employers (again, fashion industry or not) still expect a corporate edge to your presentation as this is a more formal setting than being in your normal work environment. They’re designed to be intimidating to see how you perform under pressure. Here’s a list of a few makeup looks that will suit almost any job interview.

1. 60s revamp

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pictured: Lana Del Rey

The 60s style nod we’ve been seeing on runways and in the streets alike is a great way to look polished very quickly whilst still looking fresh, young and stylish.

– A clean, dewy base is essential for this look, so pay extra attention to colour matching your foundation correctly and buffing it in with a duo fibre brush, beauty blender or your favourite foundation brush.

– Conceal carefully under the eyes and over any blemishes, then powder lightly to eliminate any shine. A very light touch of dusty pink or peach coloured blush will give a nice glow, try to avoid over contouring unless you simply can’t leave the house without contouring. If so, keep it light and well blended so it looks natural. Minimalism is the key here.

– Eye shadows should be left to light, neutral colours and a shadow 1-3 shades darker than your base colour can be swept through the socket with a fluffy blending brush to accentuate the eye more.

– Next, a flick of black liner (note: for those with an unsteady hand, an eyeliner pen will be your best friend here) for a cat like look. Try to keep it close to the lashline and the wing should end fairly close the the outer corner of the eye to avoid the Amy Winehouse look, which is great, but doesn’t scream “hire me” to prospective employers.

– Leave the lower lashline clear of any colour to keep the liner from being overpowering and apply lashings of mascara to both upper and lower lashes.

– Keep your brows neat and avoid over filling them: once you’ve balanced out the shape, you’re done. No gradient shaded looks or waxy cartoon brows here. Better still, play it safe and use a shadow and angle brush to fill them in to avoid going overboard.

– Finish the look with a nude or natural lip colour, like a dusty pink, peach or a light coral colour to keep it fresh and youthful.

2. Completely neutral

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From the Louis Vuitton SS14 campaign.

This is the ultimate safe option for a job where you’re unable to figure out how conservative your prospective employer will be. Natural makeup suits everyone so it’s the best bet if you’re not confident enough (or you have a more androgynous style) for a 60s look or a red lip. A clean, fresh base is essential and special attention needs to be paid to the smaller details so it looks classy and neat instead of like your makeup has rubbed off on the way there.

– A sheer to medium coverage foundation (or BB cream if you’re blessed with clear skin) is going to make this look a lot more eye catching; full coverage foundations can come across as mask-like unless they’re balanced with the same amount of makeup everywhere else. Pick your favourite foundation, ensuring a correct colour match, and buff into the skin like a crazy person.

– Conceal very carefully under the eyes to eliminate darkness without creasing up underneath and adding ten years to your life. Blend thoroughly before concealing any blemishes, pigmentation, etc.

– Apply a light dusting of powder to the entire face to set your foundation without looking cakey or too matte- it will make you look dull and pasty.

– Next, lightly sculpt the face with a matte contouring powder or bronzer (or powder foundation) 1-3 shades darker than your foundation under the cheekbones (the hollow of your cheek, suck them in to find them), sweeping from the temples to the side of the forehead and against the jawline. Use a small fluffy brush for more control if you’re new to this, otherwise a chisel-shaped blush brush (or contour brush, fan brush, etc) will do just fine. You must blend the contouring out correctly- watch your hairline for any pooling bits of colour that haven’t blended in properly. Always contour slightly less than you think you need to so you avoid looking freakish. Matte powders are important for neutral looks as any pearlescent colours will bring light back to these areas, rendering your hard work pointless…. plus it looks completely obvious, which will clash with this look.

– With a medium sized powder brush, apply a natural shade of blush that suits your skintone working from the apples of your cheeks and sweeping up toward the temple. Blend well to avoid the 80s stripes. Even if you can rock them, this isn’t the time to get your Pat Benatar fix.

– Highlight the tops of your cheekbones, under the brow bone and up the centre of your face using a highlighting powder, powder foundation 1-3 shades lighter than your base or even an eyeshadow a few shades lighter than your foundation. Like the contouring, use a small fluffy brush if you need the extra control, otherwise a soft medium powder brush will work just great. Unlike the contouring, you can be a little bit more heavy handed so long as your chosen highlighting product doesn’t shine like a beacon (this will make you look oily instead of glowy and fresh) as it will continue to lift your best features and give a healthy glow to your skin. Can you tell I love highlighting?

– Using the same product you used as a highlighter (or an eyeshadow 1-3 shades lighter than your skin), fill in the centre of your eye using a flat eyeshadow brush, blending lightly at the corners of your eye and socketline.

– Using the same product you used to contour (or an eyeshadow 1-3 shades darker than your skin), create a darker socket/crease line, being sure to stick close to your actual eye socket and blend in well. Use a fluffy brush for this if, like me, you have a tendency towards heavy handed application.

– Invest in a brown eyeliner. Seriously. It will be your best friend on days when you’re hung over, tired, have cried all night or when black liner will look too over done. A gel liner has the added benefit of being near permanent until you decide to remove it yourself.

– Carefully trace this genius shade of eyeliner around your lashline. Be careful not to make the lines too thick, but rest assured that it will still look amazing if you make a slightly bolder line than what you intended to. If it looks too dark, blend with a cotton tip or a bullet brush by lightly buffing over the line in tiny circles until it becomes a soft line. Notice how big your eyes look right now. Much bigger than when you use black eyeliner. Gloat a little and praise your good sense to buy a brown liner. Repeat this process of admiration until you need to move on to the next step.

– Curl your lashes to add more lift to your eyes before finishing with a generous amount of mascara. Comb through any clumps.

– Do not finish with a nude lip. You will probably look washed out like that ridiculously good looking zombie in “Warm Bodies’. Instead, use a soft natural pink or peach which is close to your natural lip colour. Using a lip pencil, fill in your lips before applying lipstick and then trace and perfect the outline after applying lipstick for a perfect shape that won’t bleed.

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Moschino AW14

3. Classic red lipstick

This look can be made in conjunction with either of the two above looks so long as:

a) The eye makeup is played down so it doesn’t compete with the lips for attention
b) You can line lips easily and will remember to bring a lip pencil, emergency concealer and the lipstick with you for a touch up pre interview
c) You don’t eat or drink anything between applying it and the interview if you’re not 100% certain it won’t end up all over your chin, teeth, cheeks, nose etc.

Red lipstick is only job interview appropriate if the rest of your face is soft and understated. If you want to mix it up with the 60s style makeup, make sure your liner is thinner than normal to keep it balanced.

If you have a warm skintone, stick to orange based reds such as NARS heatwave (my old faithful) or Limecrime’s Suedeberry Velvetine. If you have a cool skintone, stick to blue based reds such as MAC Ruby Woo or Limecrime’s Red Velvet Velvetine. If you have dark skin, stick to coral or pink toned reds.

To recap:

– Your base needs to be flawless regardless of the style you’re going for

– Cartoon eyebrows are bad news and do not belong in the workplace.

– Soft neutral colours are your best friends

– Keep black liner to a minimum

– Keep one key focal point

– Minimalism is key

– You really need brown eyeliner.

Any other soft, smoky looks in neutral colours like soft greys, browns and copper will work out great. Dark lipsticks are not recommended for 99.99% of all job interviews, trust me. 

This post is part of a series, so please look forward to more beauty tips for job seekers.