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Lessons I Wish I Knew: 4 of My Major Makeup Mishaps


Four makeup application mistakes

After regaling tales of several of my personal fashion mishaps (and laughing at them together), I thought this week I’d continue this trend by sharing my worst makeup fails.

Now, I’m not sure about you, but I can name numerous instances where I wish my mom had stopped me and said, “You are not leaving the house like that.” My fashion sense was easier to hide; my pants weren’t as noticeable while I was in a desk. However, my makeup was out for the world to see.

Here, I’ll share four of my worst makeup mistakes that I made, most of which occurred in HS. Scroll down to see them all:

1. Eyeliner

Makeup application mistakes eyeliner
Product Information: Left to right – Chantecaille, Yves Saint Laurent, and Maybelline

Now, I’m not even going to talk about the era when my belief was “the thicker the eyeliner, the cooler the wearer” (that’s a tale for a different day). This documents my first experience applying eyeliner on myself.

My biggest mistake was trying to imitate my friends’ placement of eyeliner. They were placing it along their bottom waterlines, but I didn’t quite grasp what a waterline was. With this in mind, I placed it on the skin right beneath the waterline… and could not understand why my makeup looked different than theirs. You can imagine just how much my thick lower-only eyeliner smudged throughout the day… especially after track practice.

2. Foundation

Makeup application mistakes
Product Information: Liquid – NARS, Compact – Bobbi Brown, Swatch – ELF

Foundation taught me the importance of applying makeup in good lighting. Unfortunately though, to learn said lesson, I had to first apply makeup in not-so-good lighting.

I still remember this as if it were yesterday: I walked into school, and within a minute, I had a girl ask, “Why is your chin so much lighter than the rest of your face?” I had thought the foundation was similar to my shade (I mean my mom’s colors must be somewhat similar to my own…right?), and I had only wanted to cover an extremely red blemish with a dab of product. 30 seconds in the bathroom mirror and I was ready to go! Or so I thought.

After being alerted to this supposed chin situation, I grabbed a compact mirror and took a peek at my face in natural lighting – lo and behold, my chin was practically white! I scrubbed it off and swore a solemn vow to improve my foundation skills going forward.

3. Eyebrows

Makeup application mistakes brows
Product Information: Powder – NYX,  Gel – NARS, Brush  – Shu Uemera

Before we dive into this topic, let me first state that my eyebrows have a life of their own. Think a slightly thinner version of Joe Jonas’s. I’ve learned how to manage them now, but my first experience with controlling them resulted in having extremely patchy brows that desperately needed to be filled in every morning.

I have black brows, and I thought “Black brows…black eyeliner… it’ll work.” Thinking back, I now realize that I resembled a cartoon character, most obviously to the makeup counter worker who asked “Honey, are you here for eyebrow products?” I can only imagine her thoughts when I declined her offer.

4. Blush

Makeup application mistakes blush
Product Information: Left to right – Marc Jacobs, Maybelline, and H&M

This was the one and only occasion I had let my friend apply makeup on me during a school day, and this also happened to be the only day I didn’t bring a compact mirror to check my makeup. My well-meaning friend had noticed I lacked blush, and I always noticed how put-together her makeup looked. Nothing could possibly go wrong, I thought.

What I failed to take into account, of course, was that said friend was a few shades darker than me in skin color, and she had placed too much blush on the brush without noticing. When I finally saw myself in a mirror, I looked like a clown, yet I somehow made the decision that looking like a clown was better than not wearing makeup at all. So I went with it. All day. Looking back, my priorities were definitely skewed.


What’s was your biggest issue when learning how to use makeup? Did you make any of the same mistakes I had? Leave a comment and let us know!

Posted on on January 24, 2014 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , , , ,

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9 Responses to “Lessons I Wish I Knew: 4 of My Major Makeup Mishaps”

  1. 1
    January 24th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I totally relate on the eyeliner part. When I was in high school I was a bit of a tomboy (and still am now, but I know a bit more about makeup now than I did then), and I didn’t really know that much about makeup. When I did put makeup, it’d just be eyeliner and mascara, and I’d see girls line their top and bottom lashes, so I would do the same. I never took into account that they had different features from mine (I have dark brown hair, olive skin and brown eyes, while they were all significantly paler and lighter haired, and my eyes were much larger than theirs) so I would always end up looking goth when I applied my makeup the way they did! Now, I don’t line my bottom waterline or lash line at all, or if I do, I line the bottom with a shadow instead of a pencil and make sure to smudge it out well so it doesn’t look too harsh. As for foundation, I definitely have some embarrassing pics of myself wearing the wrong foundation shade. So glad I know better now!

  2. 2
    January 24th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I’m a bb cream and mascara girl these days. That being said, I made these same mistakes when I first started wearing makeup. My worst was too much bronzer! Yuck

  3. 3
    January 24th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I’ve never made a makeup mistake. This isn’t bragging. It’s only because I’ve yet to use makeup. If I were to try this exact moment, I’d probably be committing a crime against makeup. Maybe I’ll try one day and we can all laugh at my first time together.

  4. 4
    January 24th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I want to start wearing makeup, but I’m kind of afraid to. I don’t know anyone who can teach me, and I really don’t want to walk around with a “make-up mistake” face. This article is a good starting point, thanks!

  5. 5
    January 24th, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Holly- check out youtube tutorials or the forums on makeuptalk– there are plenty of those who love and want to love makeup :)

    And I think my biggest mistake was this one lip product I took from my mom in 8th grade. I think it was a Revlon or Maybelline longwear lipgloss or stain. It stained my lips this maroon/purple color and I remember being teased by my friends for it, and trying in vain in the bathroom to scrub it off. To this day I barely wear lip color because I’m wary of something I can’t get off!

  6. 6
    January 24th, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    As a younger teen my mom would only let me wear mascara and lipgloss, (And I thought that was so mean, LOL) But it probably kept me from making some hideous blunders until I’d developed a sense of aesthetics. I think my worst was a super shimmery frosted purple lipgloss that made me look like a Bratz doll, according to my older brother. :P

  7. 7
    January 24th, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Oh dear. I would have to say that my biggest make-up mistake was not wearing foundation for years and years and years. Now don’t get me wrong, I have decent skin, and I know foundation isn’t a requirement, but I only wear make-up for special occasions, so I would skip foundation while putting on lip gloss, mascara (top AND bottom), blush, and eye shadow, in three different shades because I only felt confident wearing the purple eye shadow combination that said it was for people with green eyes. (Otherwise how would I know what color to wear??) It was a look I would not recommend.

    There was also a memorable occasion when I asked a friend to do my make-up for a dance type performance, without looking in the mirror afterwards, obviously. I thought it went well until my dad saw me later and just sort of made a face he tried to cover up. I ran to the mirror and realized my friend had done full on stage make-up, which was probably more make-up than I had worn in the past year. Ounch.

  8. 8
    January 25th, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I feel you on the eyeliner! I thought it would be cool to be “punky” in middle school/high school but I actually gave myself raccoon eyes. I thought I was so cool back then!

    The other mistake I made was the whole black eyebrows thing, my sister told me I looked like an angry clown, haha. I wish I wasn’t so stubborn about wanting to be allowed to wear makeup, it would have saved me a lot of embarrassment!

    Thank goodness for the internet and youtube videos, or I never would have learned how to properly apply makeup because my mom doesn’t really wear any.

  9. 9
    January 25th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Well considering I learned to put on makeup for theatre productions, I can tell you I went through a phase of much clownish looking makeup. My foundation for everyday wasn’t two shades darker like it had to be for theatre, but I can tell you I definitely had some clown blush days. Probably some crazy eyeliner days too, considering how think the line has to be. I probably had some hooker looking days in there as well. Theatre is not the place to learn to put on makeup, for sure. So glad I learned my lesson.

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