What generally-accepted makeup rules do you intentionally break?

I don’t know that tossing products based on the date given by manufacturers is really “generally accepted” by the online community but I definitely don’t do that… only if it changes smell/texture (mascara I toss more readily but often longer than the three months given). I regularly wear bold eyes/lips/cheeks. I wear eye makeup that doesn’t match on each lid…

— Christine


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Becky Avatar

I am 49 and wear shimmer/glitter eyeshadow regularly too! To me it’s stupid to have any “rules” applied to me based on my age. I’m old enough to know what I like. And confident enough to wear it even though “they” say I shouldn’t! ?

Jade Avatar

I don’t use bronzer on an everyday basis. I like my skin tone as is; I don’t want to look “tanned” or “sunkissed”, or even “chiseled” for that matter. I have chubbier cheeks and I want them to show 🙂

Seraphine Avatar

I keep makeup longer than the expiry date. Much longer. I throw it out if it starts to change or smell.

I have green eyes and I wear green eyeshadow sometimes. The shades that are closest to my eye color look really nice.

I don’t wear primer under my foundation. EL Double Wear sits better on my skin without it.

I often wear dark lipstick with a smoky eye for evening looks. So there!

This one isn’t makeup, but it’s beauty-related, so I’ll throw it in the mix anyway: I don’t color my gray hair…I embrace it.

And finally, I’m sure I break a lot of the over-50 rules, both in makeup and fashion…but who cares? Not me!! 😀

Seraphine Avatar

Interesting. I recently received a free mini version of MUFE Sculpting Powder from Sephora. It confused me because it’s called sculpting powder, but it looks like a blush. So I guess that is exactly what you are talking about.

Marie-Estelle Avatar

Indeed it must! I think the technic is named “drapping” in English if I am not confusing with something else. It is also what Charlotte Tilbury does a lot but she also adds a pop of lighter blush on the apple of the cheeks. It is universally flattering (with the proper blending like you said earlier haha!)

Heli Avatar

Yay I’m not alone! I think “sculpting blush” is more common in Europe than US and Australia. I live in Sydney and went to the Swedish Make Up Store to buy blush and the first thing they asked was “back of cheeks or apples?”

jel888 Avatar

I’ve never had anyone (Sephora or any store) ask me where I place my blush while living in France, but glad to hear that the younger makeup generation is not sticking with any given way. I absolutely don’t wear blush on the apple’s at my age and with my form of cheeks, I’d look like a clown. My daughter who’s in her 20’s avoids blushes for the same reason. But glad you shared Charlotte’s technique, as I may try that.

Heli Avatar

Yeah. I also subscribe to putting on blush while making a ridiculous kissy face at the mirror, instead of smiling. If I smile my cheeks kind of crinkle weirdly and the blush doesn’t go on evenly. At least it doesn’t look even when with my “normal” face (resting b**** face, lol). Maybe it’s more common up north. I’m from Finland originally (a long long time ago, been in Australia since 2003)

I adore blush though. I always feel like it makes my face immediately look more alive and completes a makeup look. If I’m doing just a light make up day it’s concealer, a bit of powder and blush, maybe lipstick. Eye makeup is optional 🙂

Alecto Avatar

I think a lot of what people say here is breaking rules (not wearing foundation and powder, not using primer, not using bronzer) isn’t rule-breaking at all, just personal preference. Does anyone actually think that the things YouTubers and Instagram influencers do constitute rules? Anyway, I just wanted to say that bare face and strong lip is actually a classic look, and there are plenty of people in this world who think that a full face of makeup with a strong lip is completely wrong. IMO, you’re doing it right (and I’m aiming for that myself someday, after I get laser treatment and dispense with the foundation).

jel888 Avatar

When I wear a bold lip or a dark lip, I generally still wear other makeup (do my brows because they’re sparse, a light eyeshadow, because I personally just like wearing eyeshadow more than anything else). I don’t necessarily wear blush though (depends on the lipstick) because I’m not much of a blush wearer. So like Alecto, the “rule” I’ve most heard for bold or dark lips is too have light or less makeup everywhere else.

Ginny Avatar

I don’t care if my eye makeup runs, smudges, or creases. I have hooded eyes so normally even if things are a mess under the hood it still looks fine when my eyes are in their normal relaxed position. I have products that stay put well and products that smudge or crease easily—mostly I’m in it for ease of application and colors that flatter me most.

Z. Avatar

I’m with you on not tossing products when they’re said to expire (except mascara). Though I’ve been seeing a lot of people finding mold in their Modern Renaissance palettes (shelf life of 6 months) and I’ve had mine for almost 2 years at this point so I’m a little bit scared to use it.

I almost never wear bronzer. I know many people don’t, but I wear a full-face otherwise. I know for some people bronzing is such an important step, but I personally prefer the look of blush only – and sometimes dust it around my entire face the way others would do with bronzer. Because of my complexion, I think this actually looks more natural than bronzer does on me.

Otherwise, I tend to stick to the “rules”. Not because they’re “rules”, but because they work for me.

Sandra Avatar

I, too, only throw out products when they start to smell or change in texture. I find that lip products can keep really well as long as they remain unopened and are stored in a cool, dry place.

I also don’t use liquid foundation — ever. Ever. I only use powder foundations because they feel less heavy on my skin, and I go to town with my RCMA setting powder even after applying the powder foundation because I have oily/combination skin.

PJ Avatar

The only one that comes to mind for me is the whole ‘shimmers can’t be worn in the crease’ thing. I have no problem doing a makeup look without matte shadows so I don’t think that needs to be a hard and fast rule.

Ana Maria Avatar

-> I wear bold lipsticks whenever I like. I will wear deep plum, chocolate and burgundy lipsticks at work (I’m a software engineer), in the hottest day of summer, while doing casual errands; with a full face of make-up or with a very easy natural look. I have my favorites that stay put all day and it works for me. Although I won’t personally do it, I saw women hiking with bold lips (if it stays put during the activity and goes with the hiking clothes and boots, why not? 😆 ).

-> I never use setting spray. I don’t see the point and I hate the idea of spraying my face.

-> I don’t use bronzer all over the face, I use it more like a blush.

-> I never do my eyes first, even if I do a bold look.

Note: I’m one of those obsessive people taking into account the expiration date. 😆 But I also have a small make-up collection (except color, only one product of each type), so I mostly use up the products I have before expiration date. And since I use and open most products everyday, they tend to go bad `faster`. I do notice even with powder products that the formula isn’t as easy to work with after 1-2 years.

Heli Avatar

Absolutely. I don’t care about seasons at all. I love bold lips so I’m always looking forward to Northen hemisphere autumn because that’s when all the deep moody lipsticks are released. Then I wear them right away in Australian summer.

Nancy T Avatar

There’s a few… For instance, wearing a classic red lip with a smokey as heck eye look! Or, a cool-ish magenta berry with a golden bronzey eye look. In my defense, that golden bronzey eye look will usually have an accent color on the lower lashline that ties it to the lip! Another is that very outdated “rule” that you’re not supposed to wear your eyeshadow the same color as your eyes. Well, I sure did get loads of compliments yesterday when I did a very dark smokey eye, with the intense blue-green duochrome Nars Pasiphae applied with a dampened brush on my mobile lid with ABH Electric on my inner corners!

Susan Avatar

I keep powder products, eye liner, and lipstick way past the “expiration” as long as they don’t smell off/bad. I’m over 50 and wear shimmery eye shadow. I almost never use facial primers – I use sunscreen daily under my tinted moisturizer and don’t really find a need for it.

Brenda C Avatar

I’m 58 and I will wear black eyeliner to my deathbed, it’s tasteful and defines my eyes beautifully, and I wouldn’t be me without it. I also wear other colors but black is my favorite.

jel888 Avatar

Speaking for liquid eyeliners, you know, I’ve tried and tried, but I find that if it’s too thin on me I look like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz, so the rare times I do, I have to wear a thicker line muted by eyeshadow. I’ve even thought that colored eyeliners (purples, browns, and blues) look better at my age than black. Also, I’ve found that the technique of using eyeshadow as a liner (Natasha Denona style) works for me best. All that said, even when I was younger I never much liked liquid eyeliners. Too harsh looking to my tastes, though I’ve done it for others and they look great.

Robin Hawkins Avatar

I am 60 and I love love love shimmer eye shadows and hardly wear mattes. I enjoy a bold lip and sometimes a bold matte lip. I let go of hair dye a year ago and so soft nudes wash me out . Besides,I’m having fun experimenting with some of the trends and am looking for a beautiful shimmer deep pink shadow…life is too short not to try something new.

Alecto Avatar

I definitely see myself only getting more washed-out looking as I get older (I’m already pretty monochromatic), so count me in on bold lips and/or strongly-colored satin or shimmery eyes. I intend to never, ever fade into the background.

Leah Avatar

Hmmm. I only wear eyeshadow primer if I go out. Otherwise I apply my eyeshadow on bare lids, and it doesn’t crease even on my hooded and deep-set lids. I don’t care for highlighter, so I don’t wear that. Bronzer of any sort looks like dirt on my face, so I just contour with my Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Wheat and am done (tapping my brush in twice very lightly makes the most perfect and subtle contour on fair skin). I have dry skin, but I still set my makeup with powder. I only have one brown eyeshadow that I use on my eyes (Wheat). The rest of my shadows are in the lavender family because I have brown eyes and only those colors flatter me. I have Clinique All About Shadow quad in Going Steady (terrible formula, but gorgeous colors!) and Clinique All About Shadow duo in Twilight Mauve/Brandied Plum (also gorgeous and not as bad of a formula—much less terrible!). I don’t wear black mascara (washes me out terribly), I wear dark brown (Lancôme Definicils in Dark Brown or Ciaté Triple Shot in Espresso). I also don’t put any mascara on the lower lashes because it always transfers and flakes off. Oh, and I don’t wear eyeliner of any type because it looks way too harsh, imho. I think that is everything! I didn’t realize how many makeup norms I was breaking! ?. Great question, Christine! Have s great weekend, everyone!! ?

Heli Avatar

I completely don’t understand highlighter. I’ve tried a few and honestly I feel like I can’t see it at all after first applying. The only time I can see highlight is in youtube videos. Never noticed anyone’s highlight in real life

Helene Avatar

I don’t toss any makeup (except mascara) unless it changes in some way, start smelling off, look or feel strange.
I break all the age rules, all! 🙂
I wear cool and warm tones at the same time if I think it looks good.
I wear green and grey eye shadow with my greyish green eyes.
I don’t wear colours after what season it is, I chose ones I fell like using.
I’m a makeup rebel 🙂 and that’s the lipstick I’m going to wear tomorrow!

Rachel R. Avatar

*I keep makeup past the recommended expiration date, too, as long as it hasn’t changed appearance, texture, scent, etc.
*Not always wearing makeup with the same undertones (I mix warm and cool).
*What women “over a certain age” should wear. I’m pretty sure I break them all. lol (I’ll be 49 next month.)
*Wearing bold eyes and lips at the same time.
*Wearing dramatic looks in the daytime.
*Wearing eyeshadow the same color as my eyes. (I wish I would have broken it much sooner!)
*Wearing shimmers in my crease, even though I have hooded eyes. (I just don’t use ones that are too light or frosty.)
*Not caring if I look pale. I am pale, and it doesn’t embarrass me. No all-over bronzing or tanning for me.

Beth Avatar

I’ll wear a bold eye look without a full face of makeup. I just want to have lime green and teal lids, I’m too lazy to also spackle on the primers and foundation and blush and whatever else. Also,bI keep powder products well past their expiration dates. As long as it doesn’t smell funny or have major texture changes I’ll use it, after all, it was expensive.

Silvia Avatar

I sure dont toss things away according to expiration dates unless they start smelling or feeling funky. I still wear glitter on my eyes if I want to and am 55 with hooded lids. Ever since I discovered bronzer I do wear it most of the time especially during Summer cause I don’t tan just burn red so that’s my ‘magical pretend day at a beach’ look but I go with an extremely light hand with everything especially with bronzer or blush, highliters and blend! Blend! My recent favorite foundation is L’Oréal Lumi but also finding I like the Aveeno CC cream and the La Roche posat with light tint they all go very natural and I hate thick cakey foundations. I have eye and face primer but forget to use them too much hassle. I don’t see much difference anyways I think on my hooded eyes they help the best, on face i brake out and again don’t like too much stuff on it. Don’t wear finishing sprays either or fake eyelashes. These days they are making up primers on lashes, hair shampoos. Pretty soon it’ll be in our toilet paper too these darn beauty companies just selling nonsense. So much gunk outhere to go crazy. I don’t blindly follow any makeup guru and buy on impulse pretty much am also a Taurus so there! Lol! Like they say in Spanish ‘Yo hago lo que me da la gana’. ?

Genevieve Avatar

Probably quite a few:
I really like a bold eye and a bold lip – I feel that if I have a nude lip (God forbid) and a bold eye, it would make my face unbalanced in terms of colour. Similarly, if I have a bold lip and minimal eyeshadow, it also looks unbalanced.

Wearing blue and green eyeshadow together – yep – with the shades in the bareMinerals Soft and Smokey, with that gorgeous Mysterious Sky and Midnight Luminence.

Well and truly over 60, but I love my shimmery eye makeup – and I have hooded eyes.

Never wear a bronzer – ever – I am far too pale – think of Nicole Kidman – that’s my shade of pale too.

Brenda C Avatar

I play by my own rules, I’ve never been one to follow rules. I say throw caution to the wind and do a bold eye and lips. If it smells good, looks good, it must still be good so don’t toss it. Glitter is too pretty not to wear even if you are over the “age” that people think you shouldn’t wear it. If you like it, wear it.

Belle Avatar

I’m 45 and I use BRIGHT eyeshadow with tons of shimmer (love me a good red or orange) put mascara on my bottom lashes, use bright eyeliner in a heavy line, double blush too heavily (my face eats blush up), highlight to the moon, bold lip and bold eye, don’t use lip liner, powder the heck out of my face, and get told on a regular basis by complete strangers how lovely my makeup looks. 😉

Alecto Avatar

I’m with you on the expiration thing. I’ve had a few things dry up to unusable on me, and I once had a sharpen-able eye pencil that looked like it started to mold, but outside of that, to my memory, I’ve never had a problem with makeup and far-exceeded expiration dates.

Other rules I break:

Anything about being a certain age and using specific types of finishes/colors/etc. I’m 50 and I wear shimmers and metallics on my eyes, blue lipstick, yellow blush, etc…

I mix undertones in a very “early UD” manner — e.g. cool lips with blazing hot eyes

Sometimes I’ll let foundation remain over my lips to blank them out

I almost never use a lip liner, and usually deliberately blur my lip line, even with dark or intense colors

I rarely apply eyeshadow in a way that complements, exaggerates, or enhances the 3D shape of my eye — i.e. I don’t generally go darkest in the crease with a lighter shade in the center of my lid to show up the roundness, etc.; I’m much more likely to do an all-over one color look, even with strong colors like bright red, or if I do use multiple colors, I’ll do darkest right next to me eye, then lighter as I go out — almost graphic in appearance

I wear strong colors to work (unless I know I’m having a meeting with outsiders)

I wear highlighters that are the worlds removed from my skin’s undertone

I’m sure there’s more, but I really need to get off my behind and go to work…

jel888 Avatar

You are DEFINITELY breaking all the “rules”! And as an over 50 person too, I may join you in breaking a few more. I so enjoy colors on the eyes though I tend to wear four to five versus one (I’d never think to do that!), but you have me interested now! 😉

Alecto Avatar

Go for it! 🙂 I like to try a look a few times at home, wear it for an entire day at least once without leaving the house, and deliberately catch my reflection at intervals and in different lighting to see how I feel about it — that’s how I learned to wear bold or oddly-colored lipstick.

My all-time favorite one-color eye look is technically two-color with eyeliner: I’ll put NYX Gypsy Blue in my waterline and all around my lash line, smudge, then I’ll leave my waterline alone, but go over the liner outside my lash line with Quiet In the Dark by Notoriously Morbid (buffing in well to neutralize any sparklies), creating a halo of warm, satin golden red that goes out past my crease and smudges out smokily under my eye (technically, I also use a skin color for a transition to help with the blending). A very bold look!

The red over the greenish-blue at my lashes creates a chromatic grey that separates the blue on my waterline from the red everywhere else. I tend to treat my face like an actual painting and prefer to glaze one color over another to create more dimensionality.

I love experimentation — it all washes off in the end, right? 🙂

jel888 Avatar

Ditto on the dates. Also, I wear frosts, shimmers, metallics and I’m over 50. I don’t “intentionally” break this rule, I simply wear what I like. I have “once” chosen not to place a frost over the lid because the particular formula accentuated my wrinkles, but most times I have formulas that don’t and I just figure out how to place them so as to look attractive. At least to me. I have told myself though that I hope I won’t become that old lady at 70 looking “overly” maded up, but I’ll just have to deal with that when I get there! LOL!

Alecto Avatar

I’m of the opinion that the “no shimmer over 40” rule came from a time when eyeshadow formulas were less advanced, and we just haven’t disabused ourselves of the notion yet. There are some shimmers (and even metallics) out there that will actually *decrease* the look of fine lines or wrinkles on the eyelid.

Mariella Avatar

How did I EVER miss this question? The #1 rule I break is “no glittery/shimmery shadows after age 40” – shimmery shadows are those I find most flattering and brightening on my eyes. #2 is the expiry dates – I mean, come ON??? Who can finish an eyeshadow in 12 months, unless they only own 1 or 2 shadows? #3 – not sure if it’s a “rule” but I rarely wear foundation. I never skip sun protection but foundation is something I don’t really need all that much and that very “made up” skin look just isn’t “me” in my every day life. Same goes for contouring.

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