Common Makeup Bloopers, Solved!

We apply our lotions and creams, our colors and glosses, with all the best intentions. But sometimes when it's all put together it doesn't work. Usually, says New York City makeup artist Laura Geller, small changes can make all the difference in the world. Here, she breaks it down into four common bloopers.


Your lips are too pale.

Neutral makeup colors and pale glosses are all the rage, but women over 30 need to be careful about looking too pale, says Geller. "Women want to look natural, but sometimes they end up looking washed out," she says. "You need color; it doesn't have to be red or hot pink, but look for products that have some pigment. Stop reaching for 'safe' colors. Be daring, because even the darkest colors can be sheer, and those that aren't may surprise you."


Your eyes are unfinished.

If you use the wrong kind or color of eye shadow, or if you apply it incorrectly, your eyelids can look dry, even crepey, warns Geller. "A lot of women don't finish their eyelids," she says. "They apply a little shadow without primer and wonder where it goes in two hours." Apply a lid primer first. This will keep shadow in place, and it will help brighten your shadow, which is especially necessary if you use pale shades like champagne, tawny beige and brown. "The lighter the shadow, the dryer it can look on your lid," says Geller. "It just doesn't have a smooth look to it. If you love pale colors, try adding deep, dark liner, even black. Just make sure to apply it as a nice defined line at the base of the lash." Well-placed eyeliner enhances the upper lash so it looks fuller and strengthens the shape of the eye. Try new shadow colors, Geller says. "If you use the same shade as your hair, or dark blue, your eyes pop more than you can imagine."


You wear way too much mascara.

Geller calls this the ultimate preventable makeup blunder. "Too much mascara makes lashes look hard as a rock," she says. "Your eyes may be beautiful, but your lashes are dried out, look hard and flake under the eyes." To prevent the hard-lash look, always work with newer mascaras. If your mascara is older than three months, Geller says, it's already drying out, so it will go on uneven, thick and gloppy. "The creamier the mascara, the better," Geller recommends. "If you put on two or three coats and you don't have enough, you're using the wrong mascara." Check out conditioning products that can give your lashes a fuller look without clumping.


Your face is greasy.

"Let's not confuse luminosity with grease," says Geller. "Greasy skin is dirty looking. Luminous skin glows." Geller's tips to avoid the greasy look:

  • If you wear cheek stains, apply them quickly over foundation, blending with a sponge. Do not put them directly onto your skin, because they will seep into your pores and look splotchy.
  • If you tend to get oily, apply a loose, translucent powder lightly over your makeup. Geller has an oil-control pressed blotting powder in her line, which works on all skin types and shades. Go to for more information.
  • Know your "hot spots" and dab them with blotting papers throughout the day. These spots may include the forehead, tip of the nose, chin and eyelids.
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