In high school, the only time I wore makeup (and anything besides my soccer uniform, for that matter) was before a big dance. When I finally discovered mascara, eyeliner, and foundation in college, it felt like a total game-changer, and I instantly embraced smokey eyes, bold lips, and a bronzer-facilitated "beachy glow" all at once. Needless to say, I went a little overboard and sometimes wish makeup-removing wipes worked on photographs, but at least I learned a thing or two along the way. Here are some of the biggest beauty blunders I made in my 20s:
1. Not making my eyebrows my focus. I've discussed many times how I was a little too heavy-handed with Tweezers (to say the least) on my eyebrows in my early 20s, but the other mistake I made was not understanding their importance. Now that I get how vital they are to framing one's face and looking youthful, I rarely leave the house without adding a touch of brow gel and pencil to make them more defined and thick (at this point, I prioritize brows over mascara, which is a noted difference from ten years ago). As I grow them out, grooming has become all the more essential as I train my arch away from the center of my eye and work to keep everything looking fuller and more feathery (versus sharp and short).
2. Wearing too dark of inner eye liner. If you look at some of my early outfit posts (in addition to some questionable flea market finds), you'll notice how dark my eyes look—that's because I used to exclusively buy eyeliner with names like "Onyx," "Blackest-Black," and "Dark as Night," for daytime use. Now, I'll opt for something a little more muted during the day like charcoal or slate, which makes a big impact in looking soft and alluring, versus looking like I'm about to go clubbing. If I do use a black eyeliner during the day, it's only to make small dots between my upper eyelashes for a subtle effect that makes my lashes look fuller.
3. Wearing the wrong lip color. I used to choose my lip colors based on what looked fantastic on my friends. If someone came into work with a great red lip, I'd buy that exact shade assuming it'd have the same effect on me—but while some lip colors do look universally great, those magical shades are few and far between. I've since learned that a lip color that brightens one friend's face might make mine look dull. Now I take inspiration from friend's lipsticks, then test several similar shades to find the one that truly works for me.
4. Not blending in foundation well enough. I can't tell you how many times I used to put on foundation only to get into my car (where there's much better, albeit brutal, natural light than in a bathroom), only to realize that there was a visible line along my jaw line where my foundation stopped and natural skin started. Ever since I stopped wearing foundation, this problem has fixed itself, but on the days when I need extra coverage, I dab a slightly damp beauty blender along my jaw line to make sure the transition from face to neck isn't visible and jarring.
5. Wearing foundation a shade too light for my face. Honestly, I could have written an entire post about mistakes I've made with foundation, from the above, to wearing too much, and choosing the wrong color. Since it's the, well, foundation for your entire face, there's a lot of room for error. Looking at past photos of myself, I can see that I often wore a shade too light for my face, which muted my natural, brighter color and even made me look sick at times. Since then, I learned to have two shades of foundation on hand—one for the summer when I've gotten more color, and one for the fall and winter when I spend more time indoors.
6. Choosing cosmetics and skincare based on scent alone. I have sensitive skin, but I used to be attracted to products with great smells, so I'd pile on moisturizers that smelled like lavender, citrus, and rose, then wonder why my skin was breaking out. Now I understand how crucial it is to put the emphasis on quality when buying new products, no matter how cute the packaging is or how amazing it smells.
7. Skipping moisturizer. Before I understood the importance of skincare, I'd wash my face then put tinted moisturizer or even foundation directly on top. I should have been putting that moisturizing base on my face so that my makeup went on that much smoother (in addition to not missing out on the positive effects of anti-aging products).
P.S. Here are 20 things I wish I knew at age 20.