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The 5 Most Common Makeup Mistakes (& How to Fix Them)

From drawing a fierce pair of cat eyes to applying dark eye shadow without making yourself look like a panda, applying makeup well is a pretty hard skill to master. With so many different kinds of makeup and ways to apply it, it can be a bit of a doozy trying to understand what products we’re putting on our faces and how to apply them correctly. HC has you covered with a few tips to help you avoid making these common mistakes.

1. Wearing the wrong foundation

It’s happened to the best of us. You take a few pictures of yourself (with the flash on) during your girls’ night out and look back at them only to find that your face looks a few shades lighter than your neck and your scalp (or a few shades closer to Snooki status than you had in mind). That could mean you’re using the wrong shade of foundation.

When buying foundation, try testing out two colors that are close to your skin tone on your jawline, and see which one disappears more. Or, you could go to any beauty store (such as Sephora) and ask the store clerks to try some shades out on you. Whatever the case, your foundation should appear natural.

2. Wearing too much foundation

As the base of your makeup, foundation can make or break your entire look. The problem, however, is that sometimes we tend to get a little heavy-handed and go overboard, which can cause our skin to look cakey and fake. Foundation is meant to even out your skin tone, so it should be used in moderation, or only when it’s actually needed.

If you tend to get a little too foundation-happy, find a simpler alternative. “For some people, it’s best to go foundation free!” says aesthetician Alicia Hunter. “Foundation can clog pores and highlight imperfections instead of covering them. Go instead with a tinted moisturizer.”

If you want to wear some makeup but don’t want to go too heavy with foundation, try using Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream ($8.99 at Ulta).

3. Over-drawing your eyebrows

We can all agree the full-eyebrow trend is hot right now. But it seems like every girl is on some sort of quest for perfect brows, and a good amount of them are falling victim to overdone, painted on, harsh-looking eyebrows.

If you’re going to fill in your eyebrows with a pencil, use an actual eyebrow pencil (eyebrow pencils don’t smudge as much as eyeliner pencils). Make sure the color of your pencil is just few shades lighter than the color of your brows, since the goal is to subtly enhance the brows, not draw on new ones!

4. Using dirty brushes

Did you know that you’re actually supposed to wash your makeup brushes and tools regularly? It depends on how often you actually wear makeup, but ideally, you should be washing your brushes at least once a week in order for your makeup to continue to look fresh. Dirt and oils can get trapped in the bristles of your brushes, resulting in dirt and oil being transferred to your face and clogging your pores—even causing breakouts.

Cleaning your brushes is actually pretty easy: All you have to do is to swipe your brushes around in a mixture of olive oil (to keep the brushes moisturized) and any brand of dish soap. YouTube makeup guru Michelle Phan even has a tutorial posted on her channel demonstrating the whole process. Check it out here if you’re more of a visual learner.

5. Wearing the wrong nude lip color

The actual meaning of “nude” is relative to the person wearing the shade. Some women, specifically those with darker skin tones, tend to settle for nude lipsticks that don’t match their complexions. This is mostly a result of the fact that, in this society, nude lipsticks are mostly beige by default and are, unfortunately, mainly designed for lighter skin tones. But, don’t panic. For any darker skinned ladies that have trouble finding shades to match their complextions, we would recommend products such as MAC Satin Lipstick in shades such as “Desire” and “Antique Velvet,” or a more affordable product like NYX Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipstick in “Beauty Mark.”

If we’re going to be looking our best, it’s important for us to know how to apply makeup the right way. As long as you remember these tips, applying makeup will be a breeze!

Danielle is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in English and minoring in Sociology. You can usually find her dividing her time between being Campus Correspondent of Her Campus UGA, binge-watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix and daydreaming about being one of Beyonce's backup dancers. If you want to know more about Danielle, you can follow her on Instagram (@danielleknecole_) or Twitter (@DanielleKnecole).