Do you ever give unsolicited beauty advice to your friends or family?

No, it’s not my place to criticize or correct someone’s makeup if they aren’t asking me for help – if they like their makeup, that’s really what counts.

— Christine


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Ryou Avatar

I’m pretty sure I have before, but I sure have learned a loooot since then. Namely, how people can express themselves however they like, make-up included. Plus, that I’m not superior to anyone for wearing my make-up the way oppressive beauty standards dictate I should.

So the short answer is: Nowadays, not unless I ask for consent first. Or if they ask, but that wouldn’t be unsolicited.

Naomi Avatar

Not really. Unless its something like “I think this color of (blank) would look really good on you” or “you should try (blank) technique” and I mean that in a way that I saw something and thought of them, like in a thoughtful way. I would never criticize someone’s makeup. Like you said Christine, if they like it that’s what counts.

Maggie Avatar

I blurt it out sometimes. Like the other week, someone next to me was swatching blushes and looked like he was trying to pick up a few, so I pointed out a bright shade he had not touched and said, “Oohhh, I think that would be so lovely against your skin tone” bc he had this lovely mocha toned skin and I DID think that blush would look amazing on him. He was nice about it but still, mentally kicked myself later.

For actual unsolicited advice, I only give to good friends and only when they are clearly clueless and frustrated with makeup and whatever they were doing was not fixing anything. In that scenario, I’d offer a tip or some help.

Anne Avatar

Not beauty advice per se, but I have physically beaned my sister in the head (gently) with bottles of sunscreen more times than I can count. That girl is going to get skin cancer… Same goes for my mom now that she’s back in the same country as me. SPF people!!! But I think that counts more as health nagging than beauty advice.

Mariella Avatar

Nope, except in the case of one very good friend who has colouring similar to mine and who’s been wearing BROWN blush for years, I think in the mistake belief that it made her face look thinner. When we were makeup shopping together, I gently tried to steer her to something more natural looking for her, not with a “that brown blush doesn’t suit you at all” but more a “hey, why not try something different? This one looks pretty….” And it actually worked!

Linda Avatar

Don’t think I ever have. But I do talk about what I do, and what works for me for a fun conversation if the person is interested. Sometimes that’s kinda, sorta advice?

Caroline Avatar

Yes. My teenage daughter can be a little heavy-handed with the concealer, so I simply point out that she needs a lighter touch. She does get annoyed with me, though 😀

Erica Avatar

I don’t give unsolicited advice. I will compliment but people generally don’t like being critiqued if not asked. It’s rude. Btw, if you do, be prepared for another to do the same to you lol

WARPAINTandUnicorns Avatar

No, and when it comes to other people work as well like costume making do give them advice either unless they asking for it either.

You might cringe at first to what you see but everything has a learning curve and taking down their confidence does do ANYONE any good both you and the person you think you need to “correct”.

That said on the flip side if you ask for advice don’t rime out and belittle the persons responce either, if it down’t work for you that is fine. But getting angre at someones opition and ripping them a new one doesn’t help you either. I’ve experinced this and it’s really offputting when the people ask a simple open question but hates my best solution without them stating their contrains first and they get mad at me for going over their budget……. sigh. 🙁

Blue Avatar

I relate to your comment really strongly, actually I just wrote an absolute novel (a page long novel lol) touching on these same points.

The importance of someone feeling confident can’t be over-appreciated. I don’t see any point in looking “better” to someone else because of advice that makes someone feel less comfortable. To say nothing of it being subjective anyway-maybe the advice giving person actually has the less popular opinion on what looks better, should that be a factor? What number of people need to reach a consensus on what looks nice for it to matter, or not matter? At the surface the idea of “helping” someone look “more attractive” seems simple, but there are some bizarre implications if you start to question it, even willfully ignoring the obvious gender component.

I also really relate to the price point tension. I know not everyone can or wants to, but I use midrange-HE makeup. When people ask me for recommendations, I can give really detailed department store level recommendations, but I always start with the few DS recommendations I know I can give confidently because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable by “making” them admit they “can’t” spend that much on makeup. I can’t judge what people think is a reasonable makeup budget for themself, whether they are a bazillionaire who thinks anything more expensive than Wet n Wild is overpriced because a lipstick should be not a penny more than $1.99, or they had to budget for months to swing those Louboutin lipsticks that made their heart sing. It’s just incredibly subjective. So it’s odd feeling obligated to protect people from being told I like expensive makeup when I’m probably no better off financially than they are, and do without all kinds of things other people choose to budget for (Starbucks, buying lunch on work days, etc) so that I can enjoy my preferred indulgences.

kjh Avatar

Hell, no, but I seldom miss a chance to give a compliment. If makeup turns into a topic of discussion (which it doesn’t in my life, often) I would feel free to suggest products, brushes, or sites that went with that person’s esthetic and or concept base. Beyond that, no way. Who am I to influence someone’s look? …..even if I really/objectively do know better.

Yvette Avatar

No way would I give unsolicited advice. Even when asked it can be dangerous! A good friend asked me about her smoky eye (she thinks Im really good at makeup) and I told her she didn’t have enough eyeshadow on and that I couldn’t see it, she got a little huffy about it.

Anne Avatar

What’s hard for me is when someone asks me if I like something and I hate it. Ooooh, what to do, what to do?
I’ve learned to say something like: I think I prefer you in pink, really, but it’s what you like that’s important. This has worked for me, despite being a bit awkward.

The only way I give unsolicited advice is never to give a false compliment, if that makes sense, and on the other hand, never leave a genuine compliment unspoken.

Erica Avatar

Ooooh never tell someone you hate their makeup. Someone may want your opinion but it still hearts when she hears her makeup sucks. It is always important to be positive as possible!

Eileen Avatar

Would I offer unsolicited advice? No, never. And, even if the conversation turns to makeup and the person asks for my opinion, I am careful to start by offering a compliment on something that is working and then bring it around to suggestions on other things that would look good. I always express it in positives such as “Here’s a lipstick that would make your smile look radiant.” rather than “That lipstick makes your teeth look yellow.” It takes time to learn what looks good on us and what is unflattering; what looks out of date and what looks current; what enhances and what masks, etc. But going around giving unsolicited advice is just downright rude.

Deborah S. Avatar

Many years ago my best friend was getting married. She never wore makeup except a lip gloss and so I took her to a makeup counter to have her makeup done and I thought she looked amazingly beautiful and told her so. We went to meet her parents for dinner and the first thing her father said to her was, “you look like a prostitute.” I was shocked but what could I say. Then she and I talked about her wedding photos and I told her that I thought she would look better in the pictures if she wore at least a little makeup. She didn’t of course and has never worn makeup since. I thought she looked like a ghost in her wedding pictures but she was really happy with them and with how she looked. I would never offer advice again except to my daughter when she first started wearing makeup. Lesson learned.

Kathleen Avatar

What a horrible thing for a father to say! I’m a teenager, and only just started playing make-up a few months ago, and I can’t say Dad is that pleased. He doesn’t really say anything, but he thinks I’m wasting money and time. The only time he’s really objected was when I had blue lipstick, but I ignored him. I mean, it’s my face.
But still, I can’t imagine a father being so cruel. What an ass to say something that rude. I hope her mother wasn’t okay with that comment.

Deborah S. Avatar

Oh, I forgot, I do compliment people all the time but I am careful to not compliment them on their makeup because I want them to know that they make the makeup look good, LOL. The best makeup job is one that doesn’t look like makeup but just enhances the features.

Blue Avatar

Only if they compliment me or someone else in a way that puts themself down-I always say they could wear x and look beautiful too. I dislike making unsolicited comments about the way people look in general though, so I tread really carefully. Even loving suggestions or some compliments(!) might make them insecure about something they were happier not thinking consciously about. I know from personal experience how hurtful even well intentioned suggestions can be. I’ve had comments stick with me for years, even if only in a tiny way.

Sometimes friends ask me questions, but unfortunately the questions are sometimes outside the scope of my actual knowledge or thought process, like if someone asks me what they should buy for a skincare concern I’ve never experienced and am now honestly surprised to learn they have. I feel kind of like a fraud for not knowing, but I never said I was a skincare expert! I try to help and point them towards generally trusty brands like PC or basic advice but inside I’m like, “Perhaps you meant to ask me for recommendations for red lipsticks in different undertones and finishes, or what cheek to compliment a plum-black lipstick?? No? How about I opine on whether frosts will be the go-to finish in 2017? I promise I know things, just not what you want to know! In reference to your actual question, I never noticed that and even now my untrained eye can barely see it. Have you tried using fragrance free lotion and going on google?”

Or they will ask me something that they don’t like the answer to, like which lip plumper to try, and my honest opinion is none of them, overlining is my makeup application of choice for bigger lips, and then there are injections, which I think many many famous women get on the regular without anybody really noticing. But they just want me to say whether the Dior is worth the splurge, or if they should “save” on the TooFaced again. Another example: sometimes people ask what concealer I use. The truth is I only use Kevyn or MUFE because they will perform beautifully and last years or until you throw it out, but so far everyone’s said, “Yeeeeeah, I can’t afford that, do you have any drugstore recommendations, or maybe something under $20.00?” Which I totally respect and understand! $30-50 is exorbitant to a lot of people! But to me there’s no substitute for a full pigment, perfectly matched concealer, and the ones I have experience with are KA and MUFE. Also, I understand that $15 might truly be your upper limit, but how many do you go through in two years? I use up one MUFE concealer, so if you go through concealers faster than that, it might actually be a bargain over time that is worth saving up for.

I don’t mean to sound mean. I’m honestly flattered when loved ones ask me these questions, so the frustration (which obviously I don’t express to them) comes from being disappointed when I can’t give answers they want to hear. IMO it illustrates why the internet is usually better for this type of information than asking, say, a coworker-unless she’s made an effort to learn about other people’s needs, she’s probably only an expert at her own makeup and she likely has different needs than you do. Everyone has unique needs for each product and only the internet has a large enough pool of information to be able to tailor each product recommendation to individual specifications. There are certainly experts and really dedicated amateurs who know more than I do, but the reason I have such nice makeup is mostly internet research and trial and error, and I strongly believe in both!

I know I went on and on. lol. I sound like a jerk, but it was really fun to think about this. I do love talking about makeup with people, including IRL! Scout’s honor!

AB Avatar

No. Another person’s choices of creativity or self expression is too personal to comment on. Even if a close friend asked, I would try to take care to talk about fun new products or looks versus comment on her current approach.

GirlyGuildie Avatar

I freely give unsolicited compliments, but I don’t give advice unless I’ve been explicitly asked for it. When I do give advice, I don’t speak in absolutes (I’ll say something like, “This color doesn’t suit me because I’m really muted and fairly cool-toned, but your complexion is a lot warmer and more pure than mine is, so I’d bet it would look fine on you!” vs. “This color is crap, it NEVER looks good.”) and I never put down the person asking me for help. Makeup is my joy, so I always do my best to keep any conversations I have about makeup joyful as well!

Stephanie Avatar

Never. I sometimes have blood dripping down my chin from biting my tongue but I learned my lesson about unsolicited help (for anything) a long time ago. I do offer selective compliments, though, and don’t give false compliments. And I am truthful as I can be without hurting someone, if someone does ask. I would want the same back.

Cherie Avatar

I do – but never in a you’re doing this wrong way — it’s usually a friend who may want some makeup – I like to purge stuff and ask if they need anything. Most of my conversations revolve around tricks on how to make you look less tired! I never approach strangers or anyone I don’t know very well.

Mo Merrell Avatar

No. I only give advice when they ask OR if they are mentioning a problem they have or something they can’t do then I suggest where they can find help to fix the problem but that’s. I don’t give it and I don’t want it. lol

Emilie Avatar

I feel bad admitting it… but for my high school aged sister I do sometimes! She wears the same thing every day (as most non-makeup obsessed people do) and the only thing I point out to her is if there’s a blank space between her eyeliner and her mascara. Usually, if I comment on her makeup it’s to tell her she’s getting better at doing her wings / “Your wings look really good today!” Luckily I don’t think she has a problem with it because I don’t do it often and she knows I love makeup, she asks me to do her liner for her sometimes if I have time.

LaMaitresse Avatar

I agree with Christine, make up is self adornment, and so highly personal that I would feel it that it’s quite rude and rather gauche to do so. I don’t care if they look like Mimi from the Drew Carey show, if they are happy and unless they ask me for advice, I’m not commenting to them or anyone else.

Glenda Avatar

Not really. Most of my family and friends don’t wear much makeup so nothing to offer there. While I have my own ideas about makeup, I fully support women to choose not to wear makeup. It’s a choice and mine is yes.
If they ask, I will offer up anything I know but no I don’t criticize them or say they’d look better with makeup even if it’s what I privately think.

Jessi Avatar

Absolutely!!! My family and CLOSE friends know it’s coming from a good place. I’m not saying to be nasty or rude. Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. I’m not a MUA or anything but I know what I’m doing when it comes to makwuo and ALOT of my friends need the advice sad to say.

Donya Avatar

I really don’t on makeup and I am not sure why but I often suggest people try a lot of hair, skin, and nail products. I usually do it by way of an excited conversation which transitions into me buying them something if I can. Makeup is personal and unless someone is a close friend of mine and we share the hobby, I would feel rude suggesting something, even if it was really helpful (e.g., changing to a pink undertone from yellow, etc.)

Elena Avatar

Never! I don’t like telling people what to do no matter what the subject may be. The only exception is lipstick on the teeth (true story) or eyeliner meltdown (also true story), etc. As far as beauty goes, if I’m asked an opinion I say what my preference is, what I do and why. Sometimes there are reasons we do things and people may find them helpful.

However, my sis had a male acquaintance mention that black smokey eye was a bad look for her and she looks better with less makeup. I was floored! She deliberately went for it full throttle not asking approval or permission, but then you get “helpful Betties” guiding you along and showing you the light. When I hear crap like that I want to do a full on trad Goth paint, just to counterbalance (and because I still think it looks awesome!)

Elena Avatar

Thanks for reassurance Bonnie! I only do this because I hope my friends (or even strangers) would do the same. It rarely ever happens, but I know it’s not done deliberately to achieve “the look”.

Chris Avatar

I wouldn’t say unsolicited, but if my granddaughters are talking to me about makeup I might say I tried a new product and it’s such a good product.

Debbie Avatar

I will if someone asks me what I am complimented on an aspect of my makeup and asks what I have on.

I do give some advice to my daughter. Usually with her, though it goes in one ear, out the other and out the window.

Also, sometimes if I am at a store and someone is looking at a product that I have had personal experience with I will say that I either liked or did not like it, which usually starts a conversation.

Ruth Avatar

The first time I met my mother in law I was barely in the door when she said “Why don’t you go wash your face and I’ll do your makeup?” Wtf ? First time I met her. Turned out she worked at an Estee counter but I never let her DO my makeup. Mad as hell that’s the way she approached me. But I am in the market for the perfect shade of lipstick for my next door neighbors daughter who has asked me.

Wendie Avatar

Yes, and my mother appreciates and respects my opinion. She always asks me what…to buy. My 21 year old does not appreciate my advice. Not only that, but she thinks she has “enough makeup”!! How could the apple fall so far from the tree???

rachel Avatar

I only compliment when someone is wearing something flattering and reccomend things I think someone would love but I don’t give unsolicited advice. Someone I know wears really an intense and unblended strip of gray eyeshadow on their lid to their crease all the time and it’s really hard to not mention anything but it’s not my face so it’s not my business.

Kayle Avatar

I think it really depends on who I’m talking to. I have some friends who are just as heavily into makeup as me and we’ve all agreed to be very honest and upfront if we commit any major blunders (like uneven eyeliner or overdone eyebrows or unblended eyeshadow) or if a color isn’t flattering at all, for the sake of saving the guilty party any embarrassment haha. My mom also gives me a lot of unsolicited advice because my household is pretty brutally honest and I try to return the favor. But I keep my mouth shut with friends who only use makeup casually.

Yvette Avatar

Because I like to play with colors, most of my girlfriends always want to stay in the neutral corner so when we are out, I might suggest colors that they might not normally wear. That’s about it.

MacKenzie Avatar

Nope, no way. I’ll give (TRUTHFUL!!) compliments galore, but it’s not my place to tell someone that I think their makeup looks bad. Either they love it, and they won’t care what I say, or maybe they don’t feel confident in what they’re wearing and I just discouraged them. Nope nope nope. My mom used to make fun of me when I tried black eyeliner and as a consequence I just now started trying to wear it again. I know she meant well, and at the very least her comments taught me to never treat another person like that. And ironically, she comes to ME for makeup advice now 🙂

Bon Bon Avatar

I do when I’m asked. I have once though when a very close friend was looking real trashy and so out of character for her. I’m one that appreciates being told if I have a buggar or mustache hair and will tell a friend if they have a buggar to save them embarrassment.

Kathleen Avatar

My main one is if people have lipstick on their teeth. I just can’t let them walk around with lipstick on their teeth. The only other thing I’ve done was to say this grey-ish lipstick didn’t suit my friend, but she did ask me, so that wouldn’t count as unsolicited.

Bonnie Avatar

Ugh I hate when this is done to me, so no. My mom, who hasn’t really taken interest in beauty and fashion used to criticize my makeup and clothes, which just made me rebellious. Now she asks what I think of this, or should she do that with makeup and hair, and I just tell her to do whatever she thinks she wants to do. That’s usually nothing. I usually just assume that since I know a lot about makeup, the people who try and give me unsolicited advice are either jealous or narcissists who want everyone to be a lesser imitation of them. And the few friends i Have that actually love makeup are all about the dramatic, red lip, pinup type look…so not me. They are all Marilyn Monroe/Betty Boop types, and I’m more of a Bridget Bardot asthetic – just a completely different type than so many makeup lovers.

The only time I gave an opinion, and it was solicited, was when a good friend posted a pic of herself on facebook with this awful coral-red lipstick and asked what people thought. It was a new shade for her. Everyone was commenting how great it looked. I wrote her a PM and said, honestly, not your best look. She wrote back that she knew I would tell her the truth and that she agreed and had gone back to a prettier pink shade.

My policy is if you ask once, I will try and avoid giving my opinion. If you push me to, don’t get mad at me for what I think.

Angie Avatar

Wow this is so iffy. I get if someone is expressing themselves and they want to wear lime green liner to a funeral. Fine. You do you. But the question is specifically pertaining to friends and family. If I had unblended foundation along my jaw line, I’d want my friend or family member to tell me because that’s not something people typically do purposefully. That being said, I once read somewhere that you should only correct people if it’s an easy fix. If not, keep your mouth shut.

Donna Avatar

I am as guilty as charged and this is where my 28 yr old daughter comes in. I was at church and she came in but I didn’t see her face. She turned to me and all I saw, in that instant, was overdone smoky eyes and very dark lips. She proceeds to ask me if I liked it and I said no. I’m not good at ‘off the cuff’ questions. We are still smarting from my reaction. I learned my lesson the hard way.
She did ask me to find her a natural skin care line and I was able to contribute to her that way.

Alecto Avatar

Never. I sometimes tell people about makeup I think they’d like, but not because they’re wearing something I don’t think flatters them. My makeup looks run from banal to bizarre, and I don’t expect anyone to undestand the choices I make, so I assume the same stance with others. Besides, it’s the age of the internet — if someone is interested in makeup, they have a whole world of advice at their disposal.

RMW (Rose) Avatar

Hi There Temptalia,
Absolutely Not! I live by a very famous quote, “Hurt me with the truth, but never comfort me with a lie”. I look at people and I don’t judge them, even if it’s done to me. I never judge a book by it’s cover. It’s not my place in this World to take away someone’s hope, faith, confidence or love! It’s a real crappy thing to do to anyone! Even if someone does it to you. Some people say too damn much, while others don’t say a darn thing. …. My point being, I am comfortable in the skin that I am, and many other people aren’t. Unless I am ASKED a question or asked my opinion on something, I keep my my mouth shut. I’m NEVER going to blurt out a word that may cause someone any harm, because I wouldn’t want it done to me. And regardless that it does happen to me, it’s better to keep quiet and walk away. Two wrongs don’t make a right. ?

Silvia Avatar

I have never dared trying to advice anyone except my mom and my daughter of course very close to me more like actually suggest a new thing like a highlighter or some hot new product. Only if someone asks about my opinion as for example in the makeup isle and it turns into an exchange of fun conversation. A girl for example, recommended the mascara she was wearing and showed her showed her pretty long natural lashes closely after saying I had nice eye color. I was trying to try some new and she politely offered to help since I asked her. On the other hand, I have a friend who doesn’t wear any makeup at all (and honestly I wish she would but she dresses badly and oh! she needs help!) I never say a thing to her but on my last birthday I went to touch up my lipstick before blowing my candles and she gets all overly excited and tells me Oh! You really like it I see! I see! Very flirty! She means it in a good way but I find it really irritates the hell out of me I want to shout Maybe you should try a hint of blush, mascara, some eyeshadow and lipgloss if lipstick is too much for you! Lol! But I’ll bite my tongue since she is a good friend of the family but gets so noisy at times shouts all over my face and repeats it. My sis-in-law actually over heard her and told me actually making sure she would also hear it I like flirty girls! What to do?! We all in my family think she needs to have a major fashion/makeover. ?

Denise Avatar

This is an interesting question.I never, ever give advice unless I’m asked for it. However I do compliment someone if their make-up is done beautifully. And ask what they used and how they used it. I do believe that giving make up advice can be very touchy. One being who am I to give any advice??? And 2 being “hey if you like your make up and its your style” then its your business. Its different if there is a conversation about make up, how, what brand ,where do you use it, I’m all for it. Most women feel they know alot about makeup, so its better to keep peace and never say anything. That is unless you want to make an enemy.

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