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13 Makeup Myths You Should Really Stop Believing

It's time to ditch the bad beauty advice that's keeping you from reaching your full gorgeous potential.


Makeup myth: Your concealer should be lighter than your skin tone

We get the idea behind choosing lighter shade of concealer—to balance out dark undereye circles, but sadly, a lighter shade will only make the skin under your eyes appear ashy and blue, according to Vanessa Ungaro, makeup artist with the dynamic New York-based beauty duo Lauren + Vanessa. Instead, she says, choose a tone that matches your skin exactly so the concealer blends seamlessly into the rest of your skin. (Related: Fake flawless skin with these pro makeup tips.)


Makeup myth: Always line your lips before applying lipstick

Pre-lipstick liner is supposed to create definition around your kisser and keep your lipstick from feathering. Unfortunately, the liner, which tends to outlast the lipcolor, can leave a ring around your lips once the lipstick wears off. “First apply your lipstick, then use your liner to define the outside rim of your lips,” Ungaro suggests. Looking for a chemical-free lipstick option?


Makeup myth: Pumping your mascara wand helps spread the product

Attention long lash-lovers: Do not pump your mascara wand into its tube! You may think this strategy helps to get more mascara on the wand—or distributes it evenly across the length of the wand, but according to Ungaro, the pumping action just pushes air into the tube, which dries out your mascara faster. Check out these other tricks for extending the shelf-life of your beauty products.


Makeup myth: Apply concealer before foundation

“In some cases, applying concealer before foundation can wipe the concealer away,” Ungaro warns. Try her trick instead: Apply foundation all over first; then assess your face in the mirror. You may not need as much conealer as you think! Dab it only to the areas where it’s needed. “Plus,” Ungaro adds, “concealer is thicker than foundation, so this technique will look much more natural.” Check out professional makeup artists’ best tips for looking younger.


Makeup myth: Dust your whole face with bronzer to look tan

Bad idea, unless you want to look like a Barbie doll who swapped heads with a friend. Thing is, brushing bronzer onto your entire face creates that dreaded line of demarcation between your face and your neck—like an orange mask, says Ungaro. For a more natural, believable glow, dust bronzer over the areas of the face that the sun would naturally hit, like the bridge of the nose, forehead, cheeks, and chin.


Makeup myth: All-natural products are safest

Not so fast. “A product might be 100 percent au naturale, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a bad reaction to it,” says Samantha Jozic, a makeup artist at Rouge New York makeup salon. If you’ve experienced discomfort or reactions to beauty products in the past, Jozic suggests visiting your local allergiest and getting tested to find out what really does (and doesn’t) work for you. “The truth is that a product from your dermatologist might work better for you than the one from the local organic market, depending on your sensitivities,” Jozic says.


Makeup myth: Women over 40 can’t do shimmer

“Go for it!” says New York-based makeup artist and beauty expert Amanda Christan Burran, whose celebrity clients include beauties Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalie Portman, and Sheryl Crow. “Gold, peach, brown, burgundy—all look amazing and sexy on the eyes, ” she says. No matter what age you are, Burran has this trick for keeping your eyeshadow on point: Apply a matte base color and blend a colored shimmer shadow over it. Focus on the lower part of your eyelid and blend up into the crease of the eye. Then brush a super-light highlight shadow under the brow to bring the whole look together. Voila! These flawless makeup tips will help you look less tired.


Makeup myth: You need foundation for a complete look

If you take good care of your skin, you probably don’t need a thick spackling of foundation to pull off a flawless finish. In fact, it could easily just make you look overdone. Burran says to skip the foundation and try a tinted moisturizer, a rich nourishing face cream, or a very sheer, dewy foundation (just a few drops) to let your natural skin shine through. “It’s beautiful to have healthy skin and show it,” Burran says. “A tinted moisturizer gives the face a sheen that looks youthful.” For an extra-special touch, apply a light shimmer highlighter on the outer corners of the eye to brighten the whole face. Skip the powder if you want to keep your natural glow, and try one (or more!) of these 19 “no-makeup” makeup tricks.


Makeup myth: Real women can’t pull off a smokey eye

Believe it or not, a dark, sexy smokey eye isn’t just for models and movie stars. According to Burran, the best way to achieve a professional-looking smokey eye is to blend eyeliner with a great eyeshadow brush or Q-tip and use a high quality eyeshadow that blends well. “A dark brown or even black smokey eye is modern and fun!” Don’t miss the makeup tips that make you look amazing in photographs!


Makeup myth: Expensive brands work better

No need to break the bank to get your beauty on—there are good and bad products in all price ranges, says Michele Green, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City. In fact, many of the active ingredients in anti-aging skincare products are the same, no matter where you buy them or how much they cost. “While sure, expensive products are going to work for you, so will some of the much cheaper options,” Dr. Green says. “Don’t just look at the price tag and assume you’re getting what you pay for.”


Makeup myth: You don’t need sunscreen if it’s in your foundation

Makeup products have come a long way in guarding your skin from the sun—many foundations and tinted moisturizers now offer SPF protection. That may be enough if you’re sitting in a windowless cubicle all day, but if you’re heading outdoors for more than 10 minutes, you also need real sunscreen. “Makeup alone does not provide enough protection from the sun,” Green says.” You want to wear sunscreen underneath your cosmetics.” Bonus: Sunscreen provides a great base for makeup application.


Makeup myth: Lip plumpers work

Don’t be fooled by the pouty lip advertisements. Lip plumpers don’t actually make your lips fuller. Rather, these products irritate your lips with ingredients like menthol and hot pepper so they become swollen temporarily, says Dr. Green, which can be harmful. “The only products that can plump your lips are injectable fillers containing hyaluronic acid, like Juvéderm’s Volbella,” which was just FDA approved this year. Pass on the OTC plumpers and fake luscious lips with a pretty lipstick and liner. While you’re at it, learn how to use contouring to create the illusion of a slimmer face.


Makeup myth: Makeup harms the skin

Chemicals and ingredients in beauty products are often scrutinized for being potentially harmful to the skin and body. But Linda Mason, a makeup artist from England who has worked with an impressive array of A-list clients including Kate Moss, Brooke Shields, and Cameron Diaz, says makeup protects the skin from pollution. And at least a few makeup lines, such as Oxygenetix, provide legitimate skincare benefits. But to keep skin as clean and clear as possible, Mason recommends gently wiping off makeup every night and rinsing with warm water and a creamy cleanser.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest