What’s Your Beauty Pet Peeve?
This may sound ironic coming from someone who writes about beauty, but there are certain cosmetic products I loathe. I’d rather go without mascara than deal with clumpy lashes, for instance, or suffer dark circles under my eyes instead of attempting constant upkeep with some smeary, creasy concealer.
According to an informal survey (e.g., quizzing a table of friends over nachos and margaritas), I’ve discovered that most women have that cosmetic “red line” they refuse to cross: “Foundation just feels heavy and gross,” announced one friend. “I can’t wear eyeliner without looking like a goth hooker,” another pal glumly declared. (Did I mention we were on our second round of margaritas?)
Overcoming your makeup peeves requires a smart technique and the right product. Here are affordable suggestions and useful tips that may just help you change your mind.
Peeve: Foundation That Feels Heavy and Fake
To combat the feeling that you’re wearing a mask, think of a mousse foundation as the Goldilocks of foundations: unlike too-light watery foundations and too-thick cream foundations, it feels just right. Try Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Makeup, a steal at $8.99.
Tip: Apply foundation with a damp sponge, which enables you to better control coverage, and focus only on areas that need evening out (think nose, chin, forehead, etc.).
Peeve: Cakey, Drying Powder
Powder often tends to get the “Granny effect” when it contains too much tint, or when the powder particles are too large. Try Boots No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder in Translucent ($11.99), which is one of the finest-milled affordable powders around.
Tip: Any powder can look cakey when it’s applied to dry, flaky skin. Make sure to regularly moisturize and exfoliate to keep things looking fresh.
Peeve: Creasy Undereye Concealer
Waxy stick concealers contain oils that can bleed and highlight creases. Look for a light-reflecting, lighter under-eye formula like L'Oreal Paris Magic Lumi Concealer ($12.79), instead. It comes in an easy-to-apply pen applicator.
Tip: Instead of applying concealer across the whole undereye, focus application closest to, and slightly down, the side of your nose. This will open up your eye area and give you a fresher look.
Peeve: Disappearing Eye Shadow
A good eye shadow primer can make even the cheapest shadow last several times longer than it should. While there are plenty of high-end primers out there, e.l.f. Natural Mineral Eye Shadow Primer in Sheer works its butt off for just $3!
Tip: To make your shadow last even longer, don’t forget to top it off with a swish of translucent powder to set.
Peeve: Smeary, Hard-to-Apply Eyeliner
If your eyeliner goes everywhere, both when you apply it and hours later, it’s too soft. If you’re not looking for the smudgy look but can’t stand liquid liner, try an eyebrow pencil. Not only is the texture firmer, it also comes in shades that accents your eyes without being overly dramatic. Maybelline Expert Wear Twin Brow & Eye Pencils come two-to-a-pack for less than three dollars, which means one for home and one for your purse.
Tip: Avoid anything with the word “kohl” in it, which just translates to “smudge.”
Peeve: Too-Bright Blush
Even if the thought of bronzer terrifies you even more than blush, the two make a perfect pair. Find a compact with side-by-side blush and bronzer, and swirl together with a brush before applying for a look that’s simply healthy. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Custom Glow Blush & Bronzer ($11.59) features both tints in a single pan, making combining them even easier.
Tip: Apply blush along your cheekbones, not across the “apples” of your cheeks that you get when you fake a big smile, unless you intend on walking around like that all day — the color will “drop” when your face does, making placement less than ideal.
Peeve: The 5-Minute Lipstick
Just like eye shadow, lipstick lasts longer when it has a base to cling to. Line your lips with a pencil that similar in shade to your lipstick or your natural lip color, then fill lips in with the pencil. Blot and apply lipstick to keep it sticking around for longer. Revlon ColorStay Lip Liner ($8.49) is soft enough that it won’t rough up your lips when you apply it, but it definitely stays put.
Tip: Lip pencil can be drying; lightly exfoliating lips with a washcloth and applying a moisturizer every night before bed definitely helps keep them soft in the long run.
Peeve: Sticky, Hair-Catching Lip Gloss
Fortunately, we no longer have to choose between gloopy drugstore gloss or Chapstick. There are several great, affordable options out there that add a bit of shine and plenty of moisture without getting all over everything. NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Gloss ($5.99) comes in beautiful shades and is worth a try
Tip: If lip gloss tends to bleed on you, try blending a bit of concealer along the lip line before application.