No-one's immune to mistakes

BRONWYN WILLIAMS
Last updated 12:21 27/09/2012

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It's hard to get makeup right all the time, especially if you're into trying new things. Here's a heads-up on makeup mistakes to avoid.

Lip liner that's too dark for your lipstick

The issue: Nude shades of lippy paired with a lip liner that doesn't match. This ghetto-born look was a trend in the 90's, but it's not something we need to see again.

The culprits: Pammy Anderson, Nicki Minaj

The solution: Choose a lip liner to match the exact colour of your lipstick, or better yet go one shade lighter - just to be on the safe side.

Brows too heavy

The issue: Despite all the banter about big eyebrows being in, there's a difference between big, and too big. A big trendy eyebrow is soft, romantic and delightfully dishevelled. A not so hot eyebrow is so large that it dominates your face.

The victims: Katie Price, Camilla Belle.

The solution: Before you go crazy with your brow pencil, take a step back and work out how much you really need to fill in. Pick a brow pencil or shadow that's no more than a shade or two darker than your hair colour. A black brow with blonde hair just looks wrong. Once you've filled in your brows, look in the mirror. If your eyebrows are taking over your face then wipe them off and start again.

Brows too thin (aka Sharpie Brows)

The issue: On the flip side of the brow issue are anorexic brows. These mean looking brows look like they have been drawn on with a Sharpie (hence the nickname). Sharpie brows are over-plucked and - more often than not - over-extended as well. Over-extending your brow can be flattering, but draw the line too far down your face and you'll be dragging your eyes down. 

Note: Also in this category falls strangely shaped eyebrows, otherwise known as comma eyebrows. Brows should be natural in shape, not a stick with a ball on the end.

The victims: Pamela Anderson and Margaret Cho, and in strangely shaped eyebrows, Kaley Cuoco.

The solution: If you're plucking for the first time, or changing your brow style dramatically, it pays to have them done by a professional first. After an initial shaping it's simple to keep up the maintenance yourself at home. When plucking at home it's easy to get carried away and end up with no brows at all. A few tips to avoid over-plucking: Never pluck from the top, only underneath. Draw your desired brow shape on your face (nice and heavy so it'll be easy to see) before you pluck, and use this as a guide. Only pluck one hair at a time, and pause at regular intervals to monitor your progress.

Dirty looking bronzer

The issue: Despite how expertly it's applied, a bronzer that doesn't suit your skin tone can actually make your skin look dirty.

The victims: Lady Victoria Hervey, Lindsay Lohan, and at times Jennifer Lopez.

The solution: Find a bronzer that doesn't compete with your skin tone. Your bronzer should be just a few shades darker than your natural skin tone - if it's too dramatically different it will look fake. Yellow toned skin needs a yellow based bronzer, and pink toned skin needs bronzer with a pink base.  If in doubt ask the makeup artist at the beauty counter for help in finding your right shade.

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Lipstick on the teeth

The issue: We all love lipstick, but it seems the brighter the shade, the more chance we have of smearing it on our teeth.

The victim: Ziyi Zhang.

The solution: Try this old fashion trick before you leave the house. Open your mouth wide, and pop you entire ring finger in it. Now close your mouth around your finger and slowly draw your finger out of your mouth. Any lipstick that's dangerously close to the inside of your mouth will be smeared off onto your finger.

Foundation in the wrong shade

The issue: It's you'd think would be an amateur mistake, but it can happen to anyone - even Rihanna. Foundations that are the wrong shade for our natural skin tone not only make you look unhealthy, but the skin on your face will never match your body.

The victim: Rihanna.

The solution: When testing foundations and concealers in the store, always take a mirror outside in the daylight to test your matching there. The fluorescent lighting in stores can often give a false impression of what the makeup really looks like on your face. Also - scrap the old tips about matching your foundation to the back of your hand - some hands get more sun that your face. Instead match your foundation to the side of your jawline.

Heavy-handed use of highlighting powders

The issue: You only have to glance at our culprits to see the issue - powdery white dust beneath the eyes is not all that flattering. Consider also in this category is concealers that are too light.

The victims: Christina Aguilera, Zachary Quinto (yes, the boys do it too), Eva Longoria, Uma Thurman.

The solution: When dusting with powder of any sort - whether it is illuminating, oil absorbing, mineral powders or highlighting - it's imperative to blend. Blend your powders with a clean brush or your fingers. In mismatching concealer news - it seems the wondrous YSL Touché Éclat is often the culprit. This fantastic highlighting wand is often overused and not blended as well as it should. As you can see from Aguilera's example, the results can be disastrous.

Panda eyes (also known as owl eyes)

The issue: Over-enthusiastic applications of the 'smoky eye' look will leave you looking less sexy and more scary, not to mention incredibly tired.

The victims: Taylor Momsen, Avril Lavigne.

The solution: In theory you can take your smoky eye as high up into the brow bone as you like, but drop it down under the lower lid too far and you'll look like a drug addict.  Be very careful not to take your smoky eye too low on your bottom lid - try to work only within the lashes. When working with dark eyeshadows it's very likely you'll get fall-out (makeup artist's name for the bits of powder that drop on your lower lids and cheekbones). Avoid this messy look by dousing a heavy dropping of translucent powder under the eyes before you start with your eye makeup to catch any fall-out. After your look is done simply sweep off the excess translucent powder off your face and the fall-out will come off with it. And one more thing - avoid taking your dark eyeshadows too far into the inner corner of the eyes. A little is fine to add intensity, but take it onto your nose bone and you'll end up looking owlish like Momsen.

Red eyeshadow

The issue: Red eyeshadow makes its victims look like just that - victims - from a vampire flick.

The victim: Taylor Momsen.

The solution: The devilishly dangerous product looks good about one in 100 times it is applied. It's one of those looks that is hard to pull off, and is best done by a trained hand. Keep this look for the professionals.

Lipstick that dances about more than you do on a night out

The victim: Courtney Love.

The solution: There are a few ways to stop this disaster from happening. Apply a lip liner in a matching shade to your lippy around the natural lip line and feathered into the lip. Now apply a coat of lipstick, blot away the excess and apply again. Matte and specially designed long-wear lipsticks are more likely to stay in place than silky glossy products. And remember it when you're wearing it - keep a n eye on your lipstick's movements throughout the night, and keep popping to the loo for touch ups.


Totally unflattering makeup

Makeup that doesn't flatter your face is worse than all of these crimes put together. Cue Leighton Meester looking like a corpse, and Catherine Zeta Jones in eye makeup that makes her eyes look piddly and small. Never wear a new makeup trend just for the sake of wearing it - if it doesn't look good on you, avoid at all costs.

If you want to try a new trend but unsure of how to wear it, head to your nearest makeup counter - staff are always helpful and will give you tips to wear the look in a way that will be both fashion forward and flattering.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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