We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
  • Giorgio Armani Beauty15% off all orders, plus free shipping on $75+ orders and free Lip Balm on $150+ orders with code SPRING, ends 3/28.
  • Lancome15% off $49+ orders with code FLASH, ends 3/30.

I think “rules” are important, so long as they’re breakable/bendable.  If we have no rules, I think some of us wouldn’t know where to start!  It’s good to recognize that not all rules are applicable to everyone or every situation.  I suppose guidelines might be a better term 🙂

— Christine

Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!


Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the post above for information regarding pricing, availability, dupes, and availability, and keep discussion on-topic. If you have general feedback, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

Comments on this post are closed.

I think it’s good to develop your own rules as you learn things. For instance, I cannot wear red eyeshadow, or even anything that leans too plum/maroon/burgundy/red. It just doesn’t work on me. So that’s one of my rules for myself. Otherwise, I think rules/guidelines are most helpful to beginners.

I agree with you also! I’m the exact opposite – all those colours you’ve listed look great on me whereas a lot of bronze and brown shades look bad. Black eyeliner looks hideous and because I have deep-set, big eyes anything with a very pronounced crease looks silly too… when I do a smokey eye I blend the dark colour up from the upper lash-line, not into the crease. It’s really a very personal thing what colours/techniques look good on you.

lol, that’s so strange, we’re on total opposite sides of whatever color wheel makes makeup look good on people! (that’s probably not a thing, but I wonder…) Yeah, bronze and brown tends to be what looks BEST on my eyes.

Wheee!! 😀 Ahem.

I’ve recently taken a great dislike to the “rules”. Guidelines ARE probably a better term, and yes we do need some guidance to know that, oh, lipgloss doesn’t really work if you put it on your forehead!

I know that I personally was so immobilised by fear of getting it wrong that for a long time I was very safe and limited with my makeup. I was in fear of breaking the “rules”. Then through reading this blog, other blogs, watching Youtube (Dustin Hunter especially, he’s amazing), I realised I can do whatever I WANT with makeup.

My point is: I feel a lot of the messages out there are negative. They’re a lot about what you can’t/shouldn’t do. There aren’t many positive messages out there. Makeup is supposed to be fun! And moreover, it’s about making you happy, not conforming to a bunch of rules.

I agree with what you say, the last part specifically. There are so many gossipy magazine/internet articles about the “unforgivable make-up mishabs of the celebs” that it can seem like the easier option to just stay away from all that drama. I honestly do think people should be encouraged to do whatever /they/ want and feel looks good on them, without set rules or even guidelines (as that implies a ‘norm’ or ‘supposed to be like that’).

I think it makes more sense to teach people basics – like: colour-wheel, how to blend, how to cut-crease, how to contour, how to highlight, what effect you get with what blush consistency/colour and then just let them take it from there.

I like the term guidelines instead of rules 🙂 For beginners, they’re helpful to have so you know things like how to put on blush and eyeshadow, and in general what colors may or may not work for you. But I think as you get more experienced with makeup and more creative with it (if that’s your thing) the guidelines are less important and it’s about figuring out how you want to play.

Technically, there *are* rules; however, there is no rule we have to follow any of them.

Every generation and/or culture has a “standard” of beauty, as a whole, but there are those who either look past it, or who have their own minds and decide for themselves what is beautiful.

I, for one, find nude “concealer lips” to be beautiful, as well as black lipstick, although I wouldn’t go anywhere near a neon pink lip. Most (it seems) who comment on this blog feel the exact opposite, and that’s okay. I don’t follow trends, and I wear what *I* find beautiful.

I think so, because it can be scary to start as a beginner without any idea of what you’re doing. Rules give you guidelines, which help you fee more secure in the choices you’re making as long as you stay within them. Once you’re more comfortable with what you’re doing, you can bend the rules and experiment!

I agree with Christine about ‘guidelines’. Some ‘rules’ may work/not work for myself but work/not work for others.

I do have some rules that I always stick to.

1) Throughly cleaning my face morning and night and sometimes in between. In between is usually Spring/Summer.

2) Daily washing of all brushes used that day.

3) I am OCD about germs so I always wash my hands before applying/touching my make-up.

4) General cleanliness of my make-up.

5) Trashing make-up that has gone bad, UNLESS I put it in my collection (which is not often)

Yes some rules are important, not all rules can be broken.like for eg for eyeshadow highlight inside and go dark outside,blush highlighter and bronzing rules.some rules are breakable though. Overall some guidelines are v important.

There may still be a reason one chooses to wear darker shades on the inside, and lighter on the outside. One reason may be to make wide-set eyes appear closer together. In my original comment, I mentioned how different groups have different “standards” of what is beautiful. Back in “Old Hollywood”, MA’s would actually *measure* the proportions on an actors face, and there was a formula they would follow, with facial features being equal distance from one another. Very few people achieve this naturally, so makeup was used to facilitate this. Even in recent studies, subjects were shown photos of random people, and asked to judge who was more attractive. Those who had features that followed this formula were, in fact, deemed more attractive. As Terri stated, there are rules of light & shadow, and we can’t change them; however, we can use them (if we choose) to attain whatever aesthetic we want. Also, there may be people who just like to do things differently. Siouxsie Sioux used to put black liner far into the inner part of her eye, and she was a style-icon for many.

I agree with you – I like the term guidelines. And it is for helping us know maybe how to achieve one look or another. But when it comes down to it – what ever makes you feel amazing is what someone should go with 🙂

To a degree, perhaps — Guidelines rather than rules. I draw the line at obviously wrong shade of foundation and overdrawn/scouse brows. Unless ashy is the look you’re going for, wearing NC10 foundation with white powder is just silly when you’re an NW50.

I am half half on this question. I believe that there are IMPORTANT makeup rules because they serve as a guide to putting on great and flawless makeup finish but then again, it depends on the face, skin type, etc of the person. Different strokes for different folks 🙂

I agree with the idea of guidelines rather than rules for beginners, which then probably develop into a set of personal rules as people figure out what they like and what works for them as individuals. My top rules for myself are no to bright red or yellow eyeshadows and no to black eye pencil, especially on the inner lash line – which is a look that I know loads of people love!

Yes! Instead of “rules”, I like to think of them as baseline guides that work from most. And tweak as fun and necessary from there.

One of the “rules” instilled in me early on is that brown eyeshadow is best for brown eyes and that blues and greens are death!! I have more brown and beige eyeshadows than I can count!!!

Thanks to this blog, I have developed a certain fondness for teal, and oh how it rocks on brown eyes!!! I bought my first blue eyeshadow this century this year…Insider by Lorac…which is one of my go-to crease colours. The other is Mac’s Teal pigment. I also bought a handful of TT’s Spark of Envy eyeliners from Sephora, which will give UD’s LSD and Junkie a run for their money now!!

I will mention that my VERY FIRST eyeshadow purchase was this ghastly baby blue that I wore to Sunday School when I was like 12 or so…we’re talking late 70’s…I should have kept it as a reminder of oh so humble beginnings…

Oh, I thought it was the other way around. At least that’s what I follow. I was told not to use browns because of my cool skin tone but I have green eyes and brown/gold looks good on me (minimal use anyways) BUT green, blue looks absolutely AWFUL on me. Don’t need a rule to figure that one out!

I think some of the rules are merely just the latest trends, what colors are on the runways and how they’re being worn. If you don’t like the “rules” then wait a month and pick up another magazine. It’s hard to fine one that doesn’t contain a page or two telling us what’s hot and how to wear it!!

I think guidlines are very good. Clearly if you like stripey blush and you want to rock it then by all means do so. BUT I think guidlines exist as a “foundation” I mean the FACT of the matter dark colors give the illusion of shadows and light colors bring things forward. That’s just a basic physical rule. You can’t try to break that and be successful it’s just one of those things where it is what it is.

So rules and guidlines can HELP us be creative if the rules and guidlines aren’t too exact (eg the idea that only blondes can wear a blue red lipstick)BUT more help us achieve certain looks.

EG For X face products with Y appearence will aid in achieving that look.

Oh and let’s not forget the WHEN to do what rules. I wear a brown smokey eye to work often. and recently I wore a burgandy eye that matched my shirt and lipstick. I actually got tons of compliments on it.

BUT, I would never ever do such a thing for a job interview (I am in a very stuff shirt professional industry). There is a time and place for everything and a wise person knows when to get fun and creative with their MU and when to keep it low key.

I do not like the word ‘rules’ and I find people’s preoccupation with same when it comes to makeup to be tedious and pointless. Makeup is purely a subjective and artistic medium. For example, you cannot make me like a painting because it’s famous or because YOU like it. Makeup is a personal experience and about personal expression. I confess, I will never understand what makes people get their knickers in a knot over how someone else presents themselves with cosmetics. If makeup is your profession, then I do understand the need for some form of guidelines, but the majority of makeup users are in it just for the enjoyment of the ride and to gather a few tips and techniques along the way. We aren’t interested in criticism, we are looking for people who will be open-minded and who do not take it all too seriously. This is the type of environment in which we learn and adapt and create our own looks and improve our techniques. At the end of the day, who needs sanctimony over something that washes off. I for one do not.

I think rules are a great place to start, if you want a guideline. when I started to get into more high end makeup, it was all so overwhelming, especially with eyeshadows. I have blue eyes, so I went directly to brown eyeshadows and did a lid color, crease color, and highlight. that was it. that was what I found as a standard rule online, so that’s where I started. as I got more comfortable, I’ve started to branch out more. rules are a way to get your feet wet without getting in over your head, but in the end, aren’t rules made to be broken? 😉

Rules are just guidelines!

They are great for beginners until you get more comfortable with what you’re doing, but don’t need to be adhered to religiously. The only thing I think one needs to be strict about is hygeine. That’s just a basic for beginners and pros alike.

Besides, like someone else mentioned, some of these are very dependent on the era you’re living in. For example, in the 80s, the look was more is more – strong eyes, strong lip, strong cheeks all at once! Or the 90s trend of using a dark lip liner outside the lipline combined with a lighter lipstick. These would be considered terrible faux pas today and the rules of today generally “ban” these looks.

I think another thing that I generally dislike about “rules” is that they assume you always want a particular effect, for example, bringing out your eye colour. Eye shadow isn’t always to bring out eye colour and I’ve found that skintone is more important to which eye shadow colours look good anyway.
I really dislike when makeup artists are totally inflexible about what you can and cannot wear (Bobbi Brown, sorry!).

Ah, long rant, but I see I’m not the only one who feels this way!

Whoops, hit send before I’m done!

Oh, I suppose the best rules are to know the time and place to experiment, so for example, for most people, you wouldn’t go crazy at a job interview or wear peacock colours to a conservative environment, but those are social rules you have to respect really.

Just teach people general things like how light and shadow works for highlighting and contouring, how to make certain features stand out/not stand out, what dark colours achieve as opposed to light colours etc. etc.
Then people can make their own decisions whether they want to follow them or not, once they understand why the rules are there.

I just hate the general negativity and restrictiveness of it all, I suppose.

I think it depends on what rules but some are absolutely essential. If we didn’t have rules, we might all look like clowns with our makeup! But of course, not every rule should be followed but simply taken into consideration perhaps.

On Instagram