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What beauty rule do you think is nonsense?

What beauty rule do you think is nonsense? Share!

“Only wear what’s flattering,” since that’s a rather limiting rule on something that can be as artistic and creative as it can be feature-enhancing. I also think rules like “don’t match to your outfit” and “don’t wear bold lips and eyes” are ones that may be good general advice for starting out but certainly aren’t hard and fast rules.

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Áine Avatar

I think the idea that you have to match all your color products to your undertone is silly. I actually really like the contrast that you get wearing, say, a lipstick color that’s the opposite of your undertone! Like bright blue pinks on warm skintones.
Not to mention that it took me so long to figure out my undertone was neutral that I was scared to wear any bold colors at all for a while because of that stupid rule.

Blue Avatar

I love a strong cool color on a warm undertoned person and vice-versa. Rather than all warm or cool colors, I feel like my eye is searching for some kind of pattern and contrast can be that pattern too, if that makes sense. 🙂

Laura_Lou Avatar

So many people don’t know what their undertone is to even try to stick to that rule. It’s stupid.. I think people should wear whatever they like and whatever they feel comfortable in and think looks good. If that’s a cool toned pink blush on a warm toned person, or a warm orange/red lipstick on a cool toned person then go for it! A little contrast, a little difference is great. Makeup is about having fun, forget the rules 🙂

Alecto Avatar

I agree. The only time I see the idea of undertone being even remotely useful, is to know where in a makeup line’s foundation shade range to start your search for a perfect match. Otherwise, forget it.

Rachel R. Avatar

Agree, I think that’s only helpful with foundations. I really like to mix undertones. If I do blues on my eyes, for example, I love to balance it with bright coral blush and lips.

Ryou Avatar

Pretty much all of them. The idea that make-up exists solely for beautification is far too limiting, in my opinion. Beauty standards be damned! If someone doesn’t like how I look and what I wear then it’s their problem, not mine. 😀

The only “beauty rule” I think makes sense is “make sure the ingredients are safe”. Meaning, no non-lip-safe eyeshadows on my lips, etc.

Rexcatz Avatar

Agree with this 100%! Same goes for clothes, shoes, jewelry. I’m a huge proponent of the if you like it, wear it school of thought.

Jessica Corona Avatar

Seasonal makeup trend colors such as “fall colors” or ” summer colors”. Also “daytime” and “nightime” makeup never made much sense to me. You wear whatever colors whenever you want to wear makeup regardless of season and time of day.

Sarah Avatar

So I can wear nars nouveau monde eyeshadow in fall? I came here via Google, freaking out about whether I’d be breaking a seasonal rule if I wear lavender eyeshadow in fall. lol.

Sarah Avatar

Thanks! I’m a newbie to eyeshadow, hence the anxiety. I have none of these misgivings about clothing choices, since I’ve been wearing clothing a long time (lol).

Lulle Avatar

I think the one rule that makes no sense to me is that you should pick ALL your shades depending on your skin undertones. While it makes sense to wear a shade of foundation that matches your undertones, nothing prevents a warm-toned girl to wear cool-toned eyeshadows beautifully for example. I think the focus on warm/cool is overrated (with the exception of base products).

Telesilla Avatar

I agree with the ones you mention, Christine. And I’ll add the one that says once you reach a Certain Age you should tone done your makeup and wear nothing but matte eyeshadow. I mean if that’s what you want to do, cool, but it shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule. I started breaking those rules and now I wear shimmery eyeshadow and I’ve branched out to bright lipstick and I love it. I figure that with the buzzed hair, the tattoos and the industrial piercing I’m already breaking all kinds of rules about what 50 year olds should look like.

Elena Avatar

Thank you so very much for your comment! I’m at the point when I begin to think, albeit reluctantly, what is age appropriate as a mid-thirty something. “Is it too much eyeliner? Is my hair too long?” are self-doubts that have been surfacing more often lately for me. Your outlook, confidence and reassurance is inspiring and much needed!

Telesilla Avatar

Thank you! I really do think it’s more about comfort level than age. My sister is seven years younger than I am and her look is much more conservative, because that’s what she’s comfortable with. But if you like your hair long or like to wear eyeliner, go for it! 🙂

Rachel R. Avatar

You’re welcome.

P.S. I’m 45, have long magenta hair, 13 tattoos, 23 ear piercings (including an industrial, an orbital, daith, tragus, rook and both conchs), and other facial and body piercings.

I started with multiple earlobe piercings when I was 16, and everyone told me I was making a mistake and would “outgrow” it. Didn’t happen. 🙂 (When I was 5 or 6, I saw a woman with piercings all the way from her lobes to around her helices, and knew right then I’d do that some day.)

Kelly Avatar

Right on Telesilla! You rock….I’m 45 yo. I refuse to grow up, and I, too, have a facial implant, tattoos, dark purple hair and wear makeup that is fun, but tasteful. Not trashy. In addition to that, I’ve been a trauma/ER nurse for 23 years. My patients find me intriguing and have never made a rude or disrespectful comment to me about my style. In addition to that, and most importantly, I’m extremely good at what I do! So the only rule I have about someone’s makeup application is: Don’t judge! xoxo, K

Katherine T. Avatar

You go girl! I’m 45, but I look and feel a lot younger, and I refuse to look a “certain age”. The rule about women over 40 only wearing matte shadows and toned-down lip colors is total BS. I love my shimmery shadows, and my latest obsession is purple lipstick, glosses, and blushes.

Kimber Avatar

I know ppl say to never say “Never”, but I will never stop wearing shimmer anything! I introduced my 13 yo daughter to shimmer, I will introduce my granddaughters, Lord willing, to shimmer, and if my kids don’t put me in the ground wearing shimmer, I will come back in the form of a bright-a$$ shimmering ball of light and haunt them! I’ve already told them so!

TwirlyGirly Avatar

Yay, you! (From another woman of a “certain age” who REFUSES to abide by the stupid “Once you’re over 50, you should never wear……” rule).

Mariella Avatar

“Don’t wear shimmery eye shadow after age 40”. BALONEY! The right shimmery shadow can make “old” eyes look bright and awake, while matte shadows can sometimes look dull, drying and aging! HA and so there! I will not be parted from my MAC All That Glitters and all the rest….

Catherine Avatar

I hear ya, Mariella! I’ll echo that “BALONEY!” when it comes to a curfew for shimmer in makeup for women past a “certain age”! I’ll stop wearing sparkles when They pry the ColourPop Ultra-metallic Super Shock Eye Shadows out of my cold dead hands! Yeah!
*big wink with a pouf of twinkling pink fallout*
Seriously, there should no age limit for the creative joy of applying makeup, so if your daily art project of self creation includes neon magenta sequins and pasted on rhinestones whether you’re 18 or 98, just go for it! Nobody has the right to tell you you can’t or shouldn’t. YOLO!

Diana Avatar

I don’t agree that you should never wear bold lips and bold eyes at the same time. I think there are times and places where this look is appropriate. Of course some people can carry this off better than others.

MissJae1908 Avatar

Chocolate girls can only wear certain highlighters…Pish posh! I wear anything from MAC Lightscape to NARS Albatross to Colour Pop Monster to theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer to whatever the heck I want! It’s all about application.

Celia Avatar

This is SO TRUE! Highlighters of all colors can work on anyone with the right application. I love, love, LOVE watching people realize that a light highlighter won’t necessarily ash them out as it opens up a whole world of fun colors.

Raeanne Avatar

My first would be that men can’t wear makeup! I don’t like makeup rules in general, but two that also bother me are: people with oily skin should go matte instead of dewy, and people with hooded eyes should not wear shimmery shadows. With the right technique and confidence, anyone can wear shimmery shadows and rock a dewy or glowy face look.

Katherine T. Avatar

I don’t think there should be hard and fast rules on makeup. I wouldn’t want to impose any rules on anyone, but for myself personally, I find these guidelines helpful – I do bold eyes or bold lips but not both because it can look too much on me, I like my blush and lipstick to be in same color family, always do the brows, and less is more.

Blue Avatar

It’s not easy to find exciting matte eyeshadows either! My mom is in her mid-50s and basically doesn’t like eye makeup that doesn’t sparkle. She’s tried to wear the “right” colors for her age because she wants things to be flattering but she just won’t reach for those brown mattes because they’re not interesting to her, she needs some fun. There are some colorful matte options out there, but non-chalky, high quality, colorful mattes are not exactly a dime a dozen. In spite of the recent emphasis on mattes, a lot of brands still offer shimmers ONLY. It is so limiting for mature women who are just trying to follow the conventional wisdom.

IRockFaces Avatar

Only wear neutrals to work. That’s not a true statement because its the intensity of your application that makes a look work friendly or not. Satins, metallics, doesn’t matter as long as you blend well and use a matte transition color.

The Silver Nail Avatar

That older women should **only** wear pink or mauve or nude nail polish! My whole blog is dedicated to blasting “rules” and preconceptions for women over 40 or 50 or 60. Ummmm, can I say that? Don’t want to sound too much like I’m advertising myself. 😉 I love a good shimmery blue or purple polish.

Alison Avatar

Hahaha, this is a thing?! I think my Aunt would be damned if she couldn’t get colors when we went for manicures! I mean, she’s even more fun and spunky than *I* am. I’m the one who would be getting nudes and vamps while she went “Oh, isn’t that pretty!” and held up some red with gold sparkle in it! XD

Lotus Avatar

I actually didn’t think there was a rule about “only wear what’s flattering,” as everyone finds different things flattering on them and so I’ve always felt that’s a personal choice. The whole breakdown into color seasons and subcategories to follow to “showcase your best features” is hogwash to me. Exacted methods for eyeshadow placement is BS to me.. Like transition color and yada yada.. Trends are focused upon & relied upon heavily and I feel that has taken away from peoples’ own experimentation with their face. So I ultimately agree with Christine, but I just view doing what you want, as she loves to, considered doing what is flattering because it’s from a personal perspective. Rules are guidelines, not necessary. Have fun! 🙂

Nancy T Avatar

Oh, I have a few so-called “rules” that I have issues with!
1.You MUST wear only a the tiniest bit of eye makeup with a red lip. That’s ridiculous! I love doing either a brown toned smoky eye or a VERY dramatic cut crease, pin-up with-a-kick look with red, fairly neutral toned, but with a serious KAPOW!
2. Only matte eyeshadow on over 40 eyes. This one infuriates me to no end! I am 56 and thanks to great genes, don’t look it, BUT there IS that unwritten rule that us older ones MUST tone it down. Meaning NO shimmery eyeshadow, only “safe” lip and cheek shades ( by societies standards )…etc. I wear what looks good on me, with only very slight regard to my chronological age!
3. The whole undertone thing that basically tells you that if you are warm (or vice versa), you must stick with warm ( or v.v.) eye, lip, cheek tones. Um, NO. Many a fellow warm one as myself looks absolutely STUNNING in a lippy like MAC Heroine or Pink Pigeon! That said, it is a good idea to balance the cool lip or eye with something more warm-toned or neutral with it.

Alison Avatar

You know, it’s weird how women over 50 get sort of categorized together, like they have anything in common other than being over 50.

Rachel R. Avatar

Most of them, actually. I particularly hate, “You shouldn’t wear ______ past a certain age.” (The blank is usually filled in by anything colorful or interesting.) Runner-up would be: “Never wear eyeshadow the same color as your eyes, it will compete.” I hardly wore greens, and when I did in tiny amounts, because that’s what was always drilled into my head. It turns out the opposite is true: Greens, olives and khakis bring out the green in my hazel eyes.

Blue Avatar

That what is flattering or attractive is static or innate.

Color theory is real, patterns are real (symmetry, youth, health, blah blah evo-psych blah), but the landscape of beauty is so dynamic. For example, “perfect” features and pretty makeup were different 15 years ago, and they were an awful lot different 90 years ago, and even contemperary ideals differ vastly from culture to culture. People treat it like the understanding of beauty was incorrect back then or elsewhere but now we have figured it out! The 20th century and earlier certinaly WERE deeply problematic in ways that are hopefully getting better in terms of race and identity expression and beauty and fashion reflected that, but I do think being aware of how much things have changed should give us insight into the impossibility of ever attaining an objective perspective on beauty. And honestly, I love that, I don’t want to fail to measure up to an objective ideal, I love that it’s fundamentally subjective and dynamic.

end novel. lol.

Lilac Avatar

Great, post, and also I would like to add that mass market make-up is not an old phenomenon, it started maybe in the 1920s.. before that, make-up was often only used by actresses in the theatre, and it only became an everyday thing for the majority of people from the 1950s onwards (now talking about US / western culture, because it could be different in other areas of the world).

Earlier people might have used a lot of “home-made” make up, like rice powder and such, but they were still a minority. So all those rules can’t be all that old compared to humankind anyways.

And I think those rules regarding what one should wear from a certain age, under the surface they might relate to women’s (as it are mostly women who wear make-up) place in society, as if to say that from 30 or 40 women should fade into the background.

I doubt it are genuine concerns for women, that the bright or glittery coulors would not look so good anymore on maturing skin, why would the general society care about that? Plus people nowadays mostly look much younger than they are anyways.
So I think it is more a “rule” to tell “older” women: “you are now grown up, you should not have fun anymore”.

Same with the “rules” on how long to wear one’s hair: Also that I think is a bit of trying to put women into their place, like: “now you are 35/45, your life is over, might as well cut your hair short and wear sensible shoes”. (no offense to people who wear short haircuts, I only mean that regarding the “rule” that from some age on one should not wear long hair anymore).

It is not like anyone else is going to be hurt if a 60 year old has long hair and wears bright green eyeshadow, so I don’t see how that could possibly be a problem.

Tanya Avatar

I really dislike the rules on product placement, for eye shadows, and especially for the blushes. Trial and error is the best way to go.
I also don’t like the generic advice on makeup based on one’s coloring, including warm/cool tones. I feel that anyone can pull off warm or cold toned makeup, if it is paired properly with other products (shadow / lipstick / blush).

Selina Avatar

Definitely the, “You can’t combine a bold eye and a bold lip.” Also, I hate that some looks are only designated as night time or daytime looks. Life is too short to honestly care, for me. Carpe diem!!!!

Luiza Avatar

Yes!! Totally agree. I guess the only “rules” in makeup for me should be wear what YOU like. What you feel confident wearing, what you feel beautiful wearing and don’t wear makeup if you don’t want to. For me, makeup shouldn’t be a chore, it should be something you enjoy doing (unless it’s a job requirement, of course).

Cat Avatar

After not being able to focus on makeup for 15 years due to a continuous onslaught of “life situations”, there’s no way I’m following any rules! While I’m still intimidated by some products, it’s not because I’d be afraid to wear them… I just haven’t mastered the application yet. The “no sparkly eyeshadow after 40” rule is, for me, the most ridiculous. If I followed that rule, I’d have to throw out at least half of my eyeshadows!

calimom Avatar

I hate the rule that women over 40 should wear “dewy” foundations. When I do this I look and feel greasy and my lines and pores are highlighted, not minimized. I personally look better with a tiny bit of setting powder for a satin foundation look. My makeup lasts way longer too. Everyone’s skin is different, that’s why rules are made to be broken!

doroffee Avatar

Definitely my nr. 1 pick is that you should only emphasize either your eyes / lips / blush… For a party, a daring smokey eye with blood red lips is just classic, not weird in any way.

-all this the perfect eyebrow starts here and ends here nonsense – everyone has different brows, face shapes, they might not look good with a brow that starts at the corner of the eye etc.
-wear only natural colors / browns / no make-up make-up for school, daytime… a make-up could look daytime-appropriate with color, too.
-seasonal colors, scents… I understand why it is a thing (although I definitely rock my dark brown lippies in the middle of spring) but why should it be a rule?
-that you should go high-end if you want nice make-up… drugstore has some amazing products, you only have to research
-that you should wear this and this finish foundation for this and this type of skin… what if someone wants a matte formula with dry skin? as long as they find a formula that doesn’t cling on dry patches, I don’t understand why other people want to make them wear luminous or dewey ones just because they have dry skin
-that a make-up is unfinished if you don’t wear: contour / highlight / primer / lower lash mascara / eyeshadow under your eyes / [insert your one here]… the only thing that makes a look unfinished is either the lack of mascara with no falsies and being all dolled up, and lack of foundation on a less than stellar skin and a full faceof make-up otherwise

doroffee Avatar

Oh and definitely, don’t wear eyeshadows that are the shade of your eyes… it’s bs. I mean, if you want your eye color to pop, don’t wear that, but you don’t have to make your eye color pop to have a harmonious and nice make-up look…

Linda Avatar

Apply blush to the apple of your cheeks. I can’t do this without looking like a clown! I actually use blush in the hollow of my cheekbones and that’s the only way it looks good on my face structure.

El Avatar

Mine have mostly already been covered by other commenters, but it boils down to, any rule that says “Don’t wear [product/look] because [x]”. I will wear whatever I want to, tyvm! Pretty is not always the goal, and even when it is, that doesn’t automatically translate into a nude look.

One I haven’t seen mentioned yet is the complete bollocks that is to tone down your makeup into some kind of “daytime office appropriate neutral” look for a first date. Why on earth would I do that? If a potential partner can’t handle me wearing purple glitter eyeshadow, I’d rather know right away, lol.

Jodi Avatar

Apply cream products on cream products and powder product on powder products. Ridiculous! I use powder foundation and cream everything else. I’ve never had a problem with my cream products looking streaky, patchy, etc.

I may be misquoting or paraphrasing the late, great Kevyn Aucoin but I vaguely remember reading that he said the only beauty rule is there is none. Amen!!

Gabrielle Avatar

I agree with your opinion regarding “don’t match to your outfit”. I love matching my makeup to an article of clothing or accessory, and I’ve always gotten compliments when I do so. Last week I wore cream orange shorts with cream orange lipstick and I felt so fun and summery!

The other rule I came to disagree with was “no shimmery shadows with hooded eyelids”. On one hand, it is true, shimmer attracts light and when used on hooded eyes like mine, that means it can draw attention to that little bit of droopy skin. But after sparingly using my favorite shimmery eyeshadows and constantly using mattes, I realized I wasn’t having fun with my makeup because I was adhering to a makeup rule out of fear of others noticing my hooded lids. I decided to stop worrying about a rule that made me so self-conscious and bored, and now I wear my shimmers as much as I please! 🙂 It may attract light to my hooded lids, but I enjoy what I’m wearing and experimenting with new pretty colors too much to feel embarrassed about it.

Valerie Avatar

Honestly I think most of them. Like I think it’s fine to wear a bold lip with bold eyes, etc and people saying that it doesn’t follow the rule just means that they don’t feel confident in themselves to go outside the box.

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