1. Not starting on anti-aging moisturizer early enough.
Some people don’t mind signs of aging on their skin, and if you don’t, good for you. But most of my clients want to keep youthful, healthy, soft skin, and — like anything else worth having — that takes work. The thing about young skin is that it’s full, not tight. Getting an eventual facelift won’t do nearly as much as keeping it hydrated and healthy from the beginning. I recommend that all my clients start using anti-aging moisturizer (and there are good ones that aren’t too expensive) from the age of 21, in place of your regular moisturizer. Vaseline around the eyes at night is the cheapest, and by far most effective, way to keep the area around your eyes soft and wrinkle-free. SPF should be higher on your face than anywhere else, and you should make sure to use it even on cloudy or cold days. There’s no excuse not to use a moisturizer with a good sun protection factor. And of course, it should go without saying, but drink lots of water. Hydration starts within.
I can’t stress this one enough, because no matter how bad for you we know it is, I still get clients who come to me in summer a full five shades darker than they do in the winter. And there are some people who naturally pick up a fair amount of color from just living their life — and are pretty olive to begin with — but a lot of people’s skin is just not meant to tan. When young women talk about wanting to “get some color” this summer, I always cringe, because they don’t understand (aside from the cancer risks) how much damage they’re doing to their beauty. I’ve seen 25-year-olds with forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet, and 30-year-olds who are considering several rounds of Botox because they’ve already ruined their skin’s elasticity. Tanning may give you a temporary glow, but it’s not worth it. And besides, no one looks as good with a deep tan as they think, embracing your natural color is always better.
3. Brightly-colored makeup on pale skin.
Sometimes we see that amazing coral lipstick, or turquoise eye shadow, or bright yellow polish, and all we want is to try it. But the truth is that certain color palettes work on certain skin types, and paler skin just can’t support the really bright makeup. It tends to wash out the skin in comparison, and the colors overwhelm the face (particularly when worn together — nothing more tragic than blue eyeshadow with red lipstick). Darker skin tones support and emphasize the powerful colors, and it doesn’t look out of place. Lupita Nyong’o has been wearing some incredible bright colors in her makeup lately, and it’s a great example of how things like orange lipstick or yellow eyeshadow can look fabulous on the right person. But some of us are just not Lupita, and we need to accept it.
4. Using the wrong color foundation.
Some people tend to use foundation as if it were bronzer, hoping to trick people into thinking they’re a little bit tanner than they are, but it always makes them look orange (and with a super-noticeable line of demarcation along their jaw). Foundation should always be impeccably matched, and used sparingly. Bronzer should also be used with a lot of discretion, but at least it doesn’t cover the entire face. Wearing foundation that’s too dark is like wearing jeans that are too small — the object is to look better, but the opposite effect is achieved.
5. Too much, where a little would do.
Personally, when it comes to makeup, I always believe that less is more most of the time. On a day-to-day basis, I have a good moisturizer, sometimes a small dusting of bronzer or blush, tinted lip balm (or lip stain), a good mascara, and full, shapely eyebrows. Sometimes I swipe a bit of creamy peach eyeshadow, but not always. The point is that my features are put in their best presentation, my skin isn’t worn out with too much product, and I don’t have a “made-up” look. I’m just a better version of myself. A lot of the time, I take women who aren’t very good at doing their own makeup, and give them a 10-minute make-under. A good daily routine shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, and is much more about good habits than perfect application. I shape and fill in their brows, give them strong lashes, and apply a bit of natural color here and there. (My rule of thumb for daily lip/cheek color, if used, is that it should be close to the color you get when you pinch your cheeks or bite your lips.) For more formal occasions, or for evenings out, we can have fun, but mastering the art of subtle daily makeup can make any woman instantly magnetic.
6. Wearing makeup every day.
As much as I love makeup — it’s my profession, after all — I try to have at least one “off” day per week. For me, going makeup-free one day is important for a few reasons. It helps your skin breathe, and you can use the day to do a mask or a treatment that you don’t have the time to do the rest of the week. It also enables you to see yourself bare-faced for an entire day’s activities, which I believe is very important for mental health and good self-image, especially when you’re the kind of person who enjoys seeing the “edited” version of yourself the rest of the week. (We should always remember how beautiful we can look when we’re just ourselves.) And perhaps most importantly, it allows you to see if you’re really taking care of yourself from within. Are your lashes full? Do you have blemishes or irritations? Is your skin hydrated and soft? Are your lips chapped and bitten? Are the whites of your eyes bright and clear? These are all indicators of imbalances we have within ourselves, and it’s important to look at them for what they are, so we can correct them. Keeping ourselves beautiful starts within, and having a makeup-free day helps us see to what is going on inside. And besides, we always have tomorrow to wear that fun new shade of lipstick.