What is the worst makeup advice you’ve been given?

I think the worst is when people tell you, without you asking, that something doesn’t look good on you – it’s one thing when I ask or if it’s coming from my BFF of all time (maybe), but sometimes I’ll like the way something looks on me, even when others don’t, and it always makes me feel a little less confident. I can surely overcome that feeling, but you just never know what lens someone sees themselves through 🙂 On the flip side, people will often say X looks good on them, Y doesn’t, but those who see them will say the opposite – ultimately, we have to wear what we love and feel good about wearing.

— Christine


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Kat Avatar

Except in my case, it’s two shades too light. I live in a heavily Hispanic area and SA’s often assume I’m ivory or ecru because I’m a green-eyed blonde but warmer shades are more flattering on me.

Lacey Avatar

Any kind of advice that insists on following a trend, regardless of whether or not it works for me. I’m sure we all have embarrassing makeup looks from our past, but there are a few in mine that were brought on by following along with some teen magazine, even though it went against what looks right for me. (My eyebrows took an especially brutal hit in middle school, but I also wore way too many frosty pastels that clashed with my tan skintone.) If I like a trend, try it, and can’t make it work in a way I feel good about, I move on!

Teija Avatar

The worst advice I see is for older women to tone things down, go more muted , etc. I think that is crazy! I know my lips need red lipstick because the natural color is not there anymore. My eyes need eyeliner more than ever because older eyes tend to just fade away and lack definition. I realized my eyebrows were thinning out so I got some brow re grower. Super! You don’t want to ever tone things down. Live!

Deborah Avatar

You are so right! I agree 100%. Why would any woman want to look faded out – dull? When I put on my make up and add the blush, lipstick and eyeliner at the end, I look alive! Fresh, healthy and happy. As long as women don’t go overboard, color is beautiful : )

Sally Avatar

I absolutely agree! I hate it when people say when you are a certain age you cannot wear this or that makeup, or clothes. I will wear makeup that makes me feel good about my self,not what people deem is age appropriate.

Denise Avatar

OMGGGG I feel the same way too. I never knew makeup comes with a certain age. People often say the older you get, the less makeup you should use because it shows all your wrinkles. Bull I say. If you use a good moisturiser, primer, foundation, cover up,etc, the wrinkles will blend in. I see so many older women follow this advise, and I feel they look 10x older then their age. I rest my case. LOL

Katherine T. Avatar

I totally agree Teija!! The older I get, the more important color is. A little bit of blush and a bright lip can brighten up the face and knock years off. So can filling in my brows with powder. And eyeliner and shadows can give a nice definition and lift to eyes. I swear the more muted colors (matte taupe shadows, nude lips) make me look 10 years older and sick, too!

BonnieBBon Avatar

I’m onboard this train too. Ya know I just read one too many vlogs or listened to one too many youtubers and started thinking I should be wearing only matte eyeshadows at my age…I’m 46. After about a month I was feeling down on myself. I couldn’t put my finger on why, I just lost my inner confidence. Strut? Swag? Mojo? Lol Whatever you call it, I lost mine. I started to realize I had bought in to this line of total BS about after “45”. I call BS on that or any other “rule” that says my age should dictate my dang eyeshadow. If rocking a sparkly lid makes me feel fabulous then the product worked!

Kat Avatar

I agree. I am 61 (albeit with great skin) and love colorful eyeshadow and lipstick. I think the key is finding colors that flatter you and applying them well. Good formulations are even more important for more mature women because eyelid skin, for example, does sag a bit so we need shadows and liner that glide on beautifully and stay put all day.

Katherine T. Avatar

Over-plucking my brows during the ’90s because all the celebs and magazines were touting that look –it took decades to grow some of the hairs back, and some didn’t grow back at all

Donya Avatar

You are not alone. Fortunately, my Pamela Anderson, “rainbow shaped” brows are gone but like you said. It NEVER grows back. (conversely, the unibrow I inherited from my Italian side is still popping up now and then)

Pearl Avatar

That for mature lids, you should only wear matte shadows. That may be for some but not for these maturing lids! It actually shows more texture and makes it look more . . .stark, I guess, overall. At least for right now, I can still get away with using all the finishes (even some ‘adult’ glitter) and it’s a much more seamless, blended look for me.

WARPAINTandUnicorns Avatar

This rule is a strange one. I’m not that old and even in my early 20’s certain matte shadows and Matte primers (the old Eden formula from Urban Decay, not the new one.) made my lids 100% more textured than anything else.

Your primer sometimes has the most impact on how the texture of your lids look and shimmery shadows can help hide it, but not the smoother pearl finish one.

Pearl Avatar

Hmmmm – I didn’t think of that, about the primers. I was looking at my eye makeup yesterday and noticing how textured my lid looked and now that I think about it, I do notice it the most whenever I ve used Urban decay’s regular primer potion. I don’t have this issue with other primers. Interesting – thanks for the tip!

Fran Avatar

Pearl, I noticed this problem, I used to use MAC Paint Pot in Painterly (I’ve got really oily and hooded lids), and it started making everything look so dry. So I switched to NARS Eye Paint in Porto Venere because it’s shimmery (and the shimmery Paint Pots all crease on me). Sephora doesn’t carry it so I get it at Blue Mercury or order it from Nordstrom (it looks great on its own, with just tightlining and mascara, when I don’t have time for a full eye look).

Tammy B Avatar

I work in cosmetics (my moonlight job) and it is so hard to convince older women to wear satin eyeshadow. I wish the matte eyeshadow advice had never been put out there; most older women (myself included) look better in satins because matte shadows emphasize wrinkles in the eyelid. And yes, I still love and rock the straight up sparkle and glitter shadows–not because I refuse to act my age but because they actually looke GOOD on me.

Deborah Avatar

Just my opinion but I think mattes are so blah – dull. I prefer a bit of a shine too! Satins are lovely on most everyone I think.

Katherine T. Avatar

I totally agree! I’m 45 and even though my lids are still pretty smooth, I can’t seem to do an all-matte shadow look, it ages me like 10 years! I look so much better in satin/metallics/glitters or at least a mix of matte and shimmer shadows. Something about the shimmer helps blur fine lines and adds a nice sparkle to the eye. They tell more mature women not to wear matte foundation because it can emphasize wrinkles/fine lines, but all matte shadows can do the same.

GK Avatar

You’re so right! Mature doesn’t have to be boring. But, I’ve seen younger women with textured skin that don’t look good in sparkle. Also, yellow undertone foundation doesn’t look good on everyone-or make you look younger. Especially if you are very pale/with pink undertones.

Ray Avatar

I’ve had people (including some legit makeup artists) given me weird tips for applying eye makeup to my hooded eyes. They don’t seem to understand me when I say that when you don’t have visible lids, and when your eyes are already on the bigger side, it doesn’t take a lot of product to make things look heavy. Your eyeballs already take up so much space on your face. Of course, this is a quirk of facial structure that a lot of women enjoy playing with, but it’s weird when actual makeup artists don’t get it.

Roxi Avatar

I totally understand this! Even though we probably don’t have the same type of hooded eyes, I do have hooded but very round eyes, and my eyes and brow bones are more flat if looking from the side (like most East Asians do). Most of the times, the MUAs at makeup counters always bring eyeshadow colors all the way up to my eyebrows, which makes me look like a crown. They also tend to draw eyeliners so thick so that it’ll be visible when I open my eyes, or likely blend very dark colors from my lashline to my crease. But don’t they see that my crease is different from those Caucasion eyes who have a lot of lid space when they open their eyes! This type of makeup is really not natural or classy at all.

Nancy T Avatar

Wow….yeah, without ever intending to hurt anyone, I have been guilty of a few instances of doing what you said above. Last night, a friend of over 35 years sent me a YT video on a “simple smokey eye”, asked me to let her know what I thought. The video was terrible, and I told her so. But unbeknownst to me, she HAD followed it, and liked it!!! ?

For me, it would either be: “Don’t wear green or turquoise eye shadow, because it shouldn’t match your eyes. It takes away from them” Not true when balanced with shades strategically placed that do emphasize the eye color!
Another piece of bad advice was getting talked into getting acrylic nails….beautiful, BUT what that did to my nails from then on hasn’t been worth it! They never thoroughly recovered. First set was 16 years ago.?

Deborah Avatar

I absolutely love acrylic nails! The first set was when I was in college – yes they do go back that far. The entire nail had to be constructed instead of the nail tips they use now. I completely remove mine about once a year or more for a couple of months and then back on they go.
I can’t bear to look at my hands without nails and polish. I have not had a single problem with my nails being harmed because of acrylic.
I am sorry you did. 🙁

Gillian Avatar

Yeah, there’s no need to undermine someone’s confidence. I can see that someone might feel that they’re doing the right thing by letting you know but you’ve got to be tactful about these things! Flat out saying that something doesn’t suit you is not the way to go about it, if they really feel that they need to say something. Unless it’s major then you’re best to leave well alone. If someone is happy enough to leave the house wearing something then they must like it so there’s no need to hurt someone’s feelings.

For me the worst advice I’ve ever been given was when I went to my local salon to get my brows waxed. I was a new to makeup back then and interested in BareMinerals so I asked the guy who was working there if I could try it. So he colour matched me by picking what he thought worked on me and applying it all over- he didn’t show me a swatch or anything. He matched me to the shade Light. Now, bare in mind that Fair/Golden Fair doesn’t even match me, it’s too dark! He showed me my face and it was REALLY orange! His words were “it looks fine, the lighter colours are only for redheads and you’re not a redhead!” Well spotted there, you’re right, I don’t have red hair, but that doesn’t change the fact that this foundation is far too dark! You don’t need to have red hair to be pale. Argh, I was so mad. He also refused to take it off me l, saying that he was the one in charge of the makeup there and that he knew he was right in what he was saying. So I had to make my way home looking silly, with an orange face and white neck although I tried to cover it up! I was just so angry at him for acting like a jerk when I told him I wasn’t happy with the match. And for saying something so stupid. It was like I’d touched a nerve, he obviously didn’t know what he was doing. I never went back there even though I used to go all the time for my brow waxing!

This isn’t the only time I’ve been colour matched wrongly but at least the people matching me had the decency remove the foundation when I said that I want happy with it. And most of the time they were fine with it, although the odd one would try to convince me that I was wrong or that I needed a darker colour to warm my face up (what???). Nowadays I match myself because I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I seem to be a hard one to match for some MUAs, maybe due to my undertones being so neutral and a bit weird (non-existent/translucent), plus the lighting can sometimes deceive you into thinking it’s a match when it’s not.

Sorry for the long post. It’s something I’ve had lot of problems with but someone telling me that can’t be pale because I’m not a redhead was a first! And I’m not keen on looking orange/yellow/whatever because I supposedly should go for a foundation that adds colour to my skin. I like it to match thank you very much! I do buy foundations that don’t match only if love the formula and am willing to mix the foundation to lighten it. Thank goodness for white foundation and I’ve also had a lot of success with my lavender primer for neutralizing incorrect undertones!

I’ll shut up now, I could write a novel on this subject! ?

ouineque Avatar

omg that is sooo bad! That he made huge mistake is one thing, but that he refused to take it off is even worse. I mean, even if the color DID match but you were not just happy about the finish or you just didn’t want to go home with a face full of foundation, or anything at all, he should have taken it off…

Asche Avatar

I hear you! I went to Mac to buy some new foundation and get colour matched, but the sales associate took one look at me and decided I was white as snow and caked me in the palest foundation and topped it off with their whitest powder. I am very fair, but I have pink undertones and look alive. He literally made me look like a ghost, I had no colour in my face whatsoever. He even made some comment like “oh honey, you’re like a vampire!” as if being fair-skinned was a disease. I don’t like confrontation so I said nothing, but I definitely did not buy a single thing that day. He was so unbelievably rude!

Conny Avatar

I love this statement. I’m all about exotic lip colors, colorful eye make ups and something like that. But most women do not wear as much make up in their everyday lives. So you get a lot of weird looks when you go out shopping in the city with blue lips. But I love it and I don’t care when people don’t like these things on me. I’m not supposed to look pretty for other people – I have to look pretty for myself

Helena Avatar

I hate when a youtuber says “This would be amazing on ANY skin tone” just because it is flattering on her! I have cool undertones and even if I love corals, oranges and browns on other people, they look terribly unflattering on me (I only wear true orange because it creates a true contrast with my skin and I find it cool). Please, think about undertones before giving advice!

Alison Avatar

Yes, exactly. “Everyone needs this!” Really? And it’s brown and warm? What I need are cool toned eye colors.

The other thing was a MUA who sold me on all these very vibrant lip shades, but a number of them were not really right for my skin tone which he could not actually see in the yellow department store lights. So big mistake there, hardly ever wear them. Then there was my husband wanting me in wash-me-out nudes because they are subtler. But as luck would have it, I got sent a Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche sample of a color I would never have bought. And it turns out to be the best lip color on me ever. I got the full size and wear it constantly.

Nepenta Avatar

“You look more beautiful without make-up”
WHAT? EXCUSE ME? There is so many wrong things about that sentence I can’t even. I don’t want to be beautiful, I want to be a glowing star with killing eyebrows.

Spring Avatar

yes! I hate it when people say that to me. What is so hard to understand about a woman loving makeup and wanting to wear it? I don’t wear makeup for anyone else, just for me. 🙂

Ryou Avatar

That you have to consider what other people think when considering what to wear/how you wear it! Or really, that there are rules at all, other than things like “don’t appropriate other people’s culture”, perhaps.

Life is too short to not do things you want to do because you fear other people’s side-eyes (it goes double if said people are strangers). Just don’t be a jerk and you’ll be fine.

Kuávsui Avatar

To smile while placing blush on your cheeks. Apart from that most of the bad advice I’ve been exposed to has been about skincare in various groups where people recommend salt and sugar scrubs and lemons for the face (yikes)

Roxi Avatar

Not technically advice, but as an Asian living in Europe, I’ve encountered way too many BAs who automatically grab very yellow foundation shades for me. Or those who tell me because I’m warm toned I’d look good in….. It took me years to realize although my Asian skin definitely has yellow undertones, I’m not really warm, but definitely not cool-toned either. So I’m a neutral Asian! My skin actually looks better with foundations that a bit pink-toned even! Walaa! How difficult was that? 😛 I wish all of those BAs would’ve been educated about differences among colors a little bit more so they don’t give out generalized advices like that anymore.

Nepenta Avatar

Try Fig 1 from MAC it makes my brown eyes look so good (I can’t exactly point out what it does). I tried other purples but they are black eye territory.

Donya Avatar

I have brown eyes and recently a Lancôme artist did my eyes with “Color Design 5 Shadow & Liner Palette” in Lavender Grace. Having recently purchased a large Nars palette and a large UD one as well, I didn’t really need any shadows but they looked SO GOOD, I am getting them ($50 for a small little set – worth it)

Asche Avatar

I hate this as well, and I experience this with my hair. I used to dye it black and I loved it (so did my boyfriend). I stopped dyeing it nearly 3 years ago and now that my natural hair colour has grown out everyone keeps saying “don’t ever dye it black again.” or “you’re never going to dye it dark again, are you?” as if they’re begging me not to. The worst was my dad’s mother, “it was too dark! A chestnut brown would be nicer.” Did I ask for your opinions? No, I definitely did not.
How about ya’ll just let me colour my hair the way I want to? ‘Cause I happened to have loved it dark! I’m not planning to return to the dark side anytime soon, but I don’t appreciate all the littler remarks either.

Nancy T Avatar

Asche, I went through all that nonsense with family, especially my Mom, whenever I would catch my “Blondes have so much fun, so I’m bleaching this!” Fever!!! My Mom told me that I looked washed out and ill as a blonde, that olive and blonde looked hideous! She liked it if it was only hi-lights. But I caught it from others , too. I only stopped trying to be a blonde once I PERSONALLY realized it didn’t do me any favors.

Donya Avatar

Family, or not, if the person giving hair advice does not have absolutely awesome hair themselves, and in addition – share my personal style genre, their opinion is irrelevant.

Pami Avatar

My natural hair color is very dark brown, almost black, and one time I was at a makeup counter and the lady said “most people can’t pull that color off”, and at first I thought she was talking about the lipstick I was looking at, but she was staring at my hair, and then I realized she thought I dyed it that color. I just said well I’m sure glad I can pull it off since it’s my natural hair color! LOL! Anyway, I love it too much to lighten it like they say you should as you get older…and when it finally goes gray, I’m going to dye it all of the fun colors I want!

Fran Avatar

I am pleased to say that it’s never been directed at me as an individual, but a lot of the written makeup advice directed at ‘older’ women (who may be only 30, not 90) is wrong on so many levels. The whole focus often seems to be that you should try to make yourself look younger than you are. And if you’re so old that you’re past that (you know, like 50 or so), and can’t afford procedures and surgery, then you should try to make yourself invisible. ‘No bright colors or shiny eyeshadow, please! lest I should have to notice your wrinkles and be reminded of my own mortality’ seems to be the general idea. And not only is it insulting, it’s designed to make me look uglier! It’s actually super-matte eyeshadows that emphasize the textured skin on my eyelids, now that I’ve actually got a lot of texture there. And muted lipstick colors just make me look tired and sick — if you look at photos of lots of women in their 70s and older, you can see that bright lipstick works well for many, if not most. The same people who don’t want any color on my face want lots of it in my hair — again, having to look at gray hair reminds us that we all prefer aging to its alternative. Look young or be invisible seems to be the mandate. Well, I refuse to conform! We should all aspire to be old someday.

Makeup that doesn’t look good on older women is makeup that doesn’t look good on anyone — blush that isn’t blended out properly, for example. But it can be more difficult to get it right when your near vision isn’t what it used to be and you can’t get the makeup on while wearing your eyeglasses. So I’m not going to criticize — I’m happy when someone feels good enough about themselves to make the effort!

Eileen Avatar

Bravo, Fran! Our makeup should be determined by the size, shape, and condition of our features regardless of our physical age. And the real kicker is that many of these so-called rules for older women aren’t even particularly flattering. What you said about lipstick is an excellent example. I sometimes think that the people who come up with the silly edicts are simply out of touch.

erica Avatar

Or older means you need really emolient skincare products. Apparently older women all have dried out skin. Um no. I had oily acne prone skin at 14, I do at 37 and I will at 65. There is never one universal for most things. Be skeptical of anything that tries to act like there is and never let anyone make you question your gut instinct. Do you. Wear what makes you happy and read ingredients not marketing promises so you get what works for YOU!

Deborah Avatar

Love your comment! I have never used skincare – and not everyone’s skin is dried out when they get older – I agree with you! I just wash my face, blot it dry and it feels great!

Denise Avatar

Amen to you Fran and bravo. I’m having the time of my life with all the new makeup coming out. I love experimenting with it all. So people may think I’m too old for certain makeup or clothes. I say I’m gonna live life to the fullest and go down fighting and kicking.

Katherine T. Avatar

I agree Fran! I’m 45, and I’m wearing more colors and shimmers on my lids/cheeks/lips than I ever did when I was younger , and I’m loving it. When I was younger, I didn’t have the confidence to pull off some of these looks, but now I do, and I’m rockin’ it 🙂 I refuse to become muted, toned down, and invisible!

Alecto Avatar

This! This x 10! The only way I’ve ever understood the advice to go matte and colorless is as an insulting suggestion that older women should fade into the woodwork and quietly wait to die! Seriously! Allow me to paraphrase: “Okay, now, the young women are what’s important here, and you don’t want anyone thinking you’re competing — that would be pathetic since you’re clearly way past your prime and useless for breeding purposes, so why bother looking good or attracting attention?” Gah!

Fran Avatar

Oh, I know, Alecto, I know! You wouldn’t know that the people dishing out the advice ever planned on getting old themselves, would you? I wonder what, exactly, they plan to do instead?

Mariella Avatar

“Women over 40 shouldn’t wear shimmery eyeshadow”. What a load of nonsense. An all matte eye – just like an all matte face – looks dry and aging. Some shimmer is both brightening and youthful looking no matter what one’s age.

Eileen Avatar

Amen to that! Good skin care and even better genes means my eyelids are in better shape at 71 than many women decades younger than me. Why should they be able to wear shimmer but I can’t just because I’m over 40? That’s completely illogical! Any advice that is so arbitrary and dictatorial is bad advice in my opinion.

Kat Avatar

Most of the bad makeup advice I’ve gotten has been at MAC stores, I’m not really sure why. I went in once to get foundation matched since I’d never worn MAC foundation before, and the artist matched me to NW30 (I’m fairer than NC15 in reality!), and then when I asked her why it looked so dark and pink, she said that it was to “even out my skintone,” by which I later realized meant that she shade matched my discoloration, not my un-irritated skin!

Along the lines of what you said about being told something looks bad, I went into MAC to buy Warm Soul blush. I didn’t even ask if she thought it’d look good on me, I literally just said “I want to buy this blush,” and the artist said “that’ll look like sh*t on you, buy this instead,” and handed me a different blush. I ended up leaving totally humiliated and with a product I didn’t want.

erica Avatar

I love MAC but their SA’s really are so full of themselves. Not all of them but they do have that rep for a reason. I have not had any issue but I just grab what I want and go. Terrible to tell someone that looks bad on you period. If I want to buy something regardless of what it is, let me buy it and shut up. Hate when anyone gives unsolicited advice. Did I ask for your opinion? No. Plus, how does she know how you are going to use that product or if it is for you? What if you were mixing it with another blush? Rude!

Claire Renee Avatar

That’s awful. I am an old battle axe….I do my homework and decide what I want to buy (and if it has been a bad day at work or I haven’t worn makeup it can be pretty funny to watch the faces) march over to whichever makeup counter and TELL them what I am going to buy. Once in a while (if the SA has a look I admire) I will ask questions about products but after 40+ years of wearing makeup I now know what looks good on me. And once in a while I do purchase an “oops” but c’est la vie, I am willing to own my errors. But i’ll be darned if I have to own someone elses.

If u are faced with a SA who insists that NW35 foundation is “perfect” for your NC15 skin-have her do narrow swatches of each beside each other on your lower jaw. If she doesn’t get it after that, buy elsewhere.

Leslie Avatar

I think the worst beauty advice is when someone tries to put beauty products into age brackets. For example, I’ve heard a certain “makeup artist” say that you shouldn’t wear black mascara if you’re over 40…you should wear brown. I’m 49 and if I wear brown mascara it looks terrible on me. I have dark brown eyes so I have to wear black mascara or my eyes look completely washed out. Also, I’ve heard you shouldn’t wear sparkly or shimmery eyeshadow, black eyeliner, any bright colors….blah blah. Makeup colors aren’t about age….it’s about how you apply them after a certain age. 🙂

Alisha Avatar

I was thinking about this the other day…I have enough shimmery shadows and bright colors to last a lifetime and I’m 31 and I thought to myself “Yikes according to all those ‘guru MUAs’ am I not going to be able to wear them soon? I better get cracking and use them or I’ll be blog saling them” lol. That black mascara thing is stupid, I never heard that but whatever, I’m sure I’ll still be buying blackest black. I can see where maybe a brown or non liquid eyeliner might be suggested if one is too old to see well enough to create straightish lines…lol. The thing is, some also sometimes say not to use flat mattes either as they can settle into fine lines.

Lisa Avatar

Oh no, I didn’t mean you! I meant like when magazines print things like, “Always use a brow pencil that’s lighter than your hair.” Basically, the makeup equivalent of “don’t wear white after Labor Day.” I’m sorry for expecting you to read my mind, haha.

Alisha Avatar

I agree, I am pale nw20, although I have brown hair. Crisp white and black look good on me rather than cream or pastels. I can work with off white like the kind you don’t know isn’t white until compared and I like nude polishes but even when I dye my hair different colors (blonde, dark brown) it remains the same.

Stephanie G Avatar

1. Use concealer several shades lighter than your skin under your eyes. Whoever says this has a “brightening” effect clearly does not have serious hereditary dark circles like mine. I need color correction and concealer that’s fairly close to my skin tone to have any hope of looking like I’ve slept at some point in the past month.

2. If you’re over [30, 35, etc…], you can’t wear [glitter, sparkle, color, dark lipstick, bright lipstick, or anything else that isn’t matte neutral eyes and MLBB lip products]. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no problem with mattes, neutrals, or MLBB lip colors – just not to the exclusion of everything else! (At least for me.)

I know I’m not 20 anymore, but I’m not dead – not to mention that I didn’t get into makeup until my mid-30s. As such, I’m going to have fun with my makeup, and if that means I’m a little more colorful or sparkly than some people feel I should be, that’s not my problem.

Stephanie G Avatar

Oh, I almost forgot…

3. Half the eye makeup advice for people who wear glasses. Still more “matte neutrals only”…?, except now it’s OK to wear eyeliner with your approved shades.

Now why would you want to downplay the very feature that gets lost behind your glasses? I just don’t get it.

Kuávsui Avatar

Omg, ditto on the concealer! If it doesn’t match, it won’t conceal properly and at worst just draws attention to whatever i’m trying to conceal. I hate how persistent this piece of advice is, too. I have a Diorskin Star concealer that looks gorgeous but I can only use it to highlight because it’s lighter and peachier than my face, which means I just don’t reach for it much, which is such a waste of both product and money. To be fair I bought it with that purpose in mind, though, but there’s no end to my bad foundation/concealer matching experiences.

TheOtherHelen Avatar

The worst advice to me is any that limits creativity. Being told I can only wear certain colors at certain times of the year. Or that because I’m warm toned I can’t wear cool tones. My philosophy is do what you want, express yourself, so any “advice” that limits that is terrible.

erica Avatar

I have thought if your warm toned you only wear warm colors. However, Marlena from Makeup Geek pointed out, for blush anyway, when you are warm and wear a warm blush, you run the risk of being too muddy etc. A cooler toned blush actually has a brightening effect. I did not believe her but behold, it really works! I cannot say this holds true for everyything or everyone but glad I found this tip. Just goes to show you explore with makeup. Do what works for you and do not just accept some generalized advice.

Alecto Avatar

I’m as warm-toned as you can get (I’m practically straight-up yellow), and my lips look best in berry colors — purplish or burgundy-toned reds and pinks. Granted, I rarely stick to what looks good on me, but it’s interesting how the contrast suits me. Also, cooler blushes average to neutral or warm once applied, since my skin (foundation, really) shows through.

Sarah Avatar

1) “Women look better when they wear less makeup.” The difference between this opinion and the full-coverage foundation I’m wearing: I wanted the foundation. I get so much of this from so many people–my dad, my previous boyfriends, my friends–and I always use something like that response. Makeup is something I want to do for me, not for someone else’s opinion.
2) “Blue eyeshadow is the devil.” Thanks, Ma. I understand the meaning behind this since she grew up in the 80s era of pastel periwinkle. At the same time, so wrong to me! I wear blues on my eyes all the time and love it. Cobalt eyeliner and brown-leaning hazel eyes is a stunning combination. I love using my turquoises, slates, and straight-up blues on the lid. Kind of don’t care what others think as long as it makes me happy!

Caroline Avatar

I read somewhere that over 40s should ditch brown eyeshadow and wear purple instead. Great idea, if you want to look as though you’ve just been in the ring with the latest heavyweight boxer ….

N Avatar

I make it a point never to comment on makeup that someone is wearing, because you don’t know if you will be insulting them or not. Especially if it is obvious someone tried hard on their makeup because they must have put a lot of effort and thought into it. I once had to bite my tongue when I saw someone with lighter hair wear extreme black eyebrows (more than Groucho Marx) and I thought they looked horrible, but I figured she liked them that way for some reason and said nothing. When I’ve gone without lipstick I’ve had people compliment my lips which was nice, but someone once who I did not know told me I should wear lipstick and proceeded to tell me the deep and bright colors I should were which I would hate and I thought that was intrusive and rude.

Ellie Avatar

I used to hang out with this girl who wasn’t really into makeup and would only wear eyeliner. The thing is she was awful at it, or maybe she just didn’t care. One line would be relatively smooth and thin, but the other would always very visibly thicker, uneven and shorter. The end result was that her eyes looked two very different shapes. I never said anything, but I thought about it so many times!

Wednesday Avatar

Very specific advice back in my 30’s to wear only warm toned cosmetics. They do not do me any favours 😛 and in many cases at the higher end of the warm spectrum completely wash me out or make me look jaundiced. I think the leading thought at the time dictated that if you have any yellow tones in your skin or hazel eyes, you were definitely warm skinned. Not so.

First day with power at the house since Thursday following wicked wicked ice storm. Just north of us, the power crews still have to replace 30 hydro poles which completely snapped. There are trees all over our property which have been downed or tops and branches snapped off from the weight. My dogs were on top of me on the bed shaking (even the big dog) Thursday night while the sounds of breaking trees echoed through the valley and scared the bejeebus out of them.

Wednesday Avatar

Thanks Pearl 🙂 and exactly.. time passed so slooowly. I read 3 books in quick succession; much of it late at night by my emergency lamplight. My internal clock definitely got messed up. These ice storms are becoming much more prevalent and frequent and dangerous with the outages lasting longer and longer which is forcing us to rethink our emergency preparedness plan.

Alisha Avatar

I agree with you completely Christine but would also like to say it goes for hair, clothing, colors, basically everything! I sometimes find that some men in particular have an idealized view of beauty in their mind and certain characteristics that define it. For example long hair. I have had friends and a lady my mom worked with, her husband never wanted her to cut her hair because he loved long hair even though she liked her hair shorter and thought it was more flattering.

Nicole Avatar

HAC. Always in Sephora, Those younger people want to contour my face to a skeleton. It’s just not attractive. I’m 40 and losing volume as is. i just don’t get it and then the cake factor is there. I like to HAC to raise my cheekbones a tad and slim my nose. but, I rarely contour. I asked them to show me on two separate occasions , the ABH cream kit and then the KVD shade and light. Oh lord, it was scary. lol! I bought both. I really wish I felt like I could go to Sephora and get my makeup done. But, I feel as if anymore it’s geared to younger girls. There is one girl who works there who is a MUA and she does a really good job with my old face. But, I do best figuring it out myself.

Mahea Avatar

Every time I went to any beauty counter to get mashed for foundation, I would end up being matched with a shade that was so orange and warm for my skin. I just had to go and match myself with my own color of foundation or ALWAYS get a sample in a few different shades.
When I was in high school I loved wearing fun outfits and dramatic makeup, cause high school was boring so that was how I made it fun. I had people tell me “You look beautiful without makeup”.
Just because I wear makeup doesn’t mean that I don’t like how I look, it’s because I’m in love with makeup and its fun for me. I look forward everyday to putting on makeup and combining different color combos! Its the highlight of my day.

Eliz Avatar

It’s not as much of an issue now, but constantly being told that I need to add color to my very pale skin. And, by color, they meant a foundation darker than my skin. I was orange for like the first 2-3 years of my make-up wearing life. I knew it looked horrible, but there were literally zero options back in those days in terms of truly pale foundation. I finally raged against the citrus-faced machine and blended the lightest shade of concealer I could find with a little moisturizer to create a semi-close match with my homemade tinted moisturizer 🙂

I have always been a firm believer that there are no rules in make-up. Wear what makes you happy.

erica Avatar

My daughter has to do this. She is fair but bc of her Mexican heritage she has the worst time finding a foundation. She was color matched too pale at the MAC counter. Everywhere else porcelainis too pink. Beige too yellow. I have bought so many bottles trying to find one that works. For some reason just some concealer works. Mixing it with moisturizer is a good idea!

Rachel R. Avatar

1) The worst was when Sephora’s machine matched me up with a shade much too dark and warm, and I was told I wasn’t as light as I thought I was, and that I their rec matched my neck. Neither was true.

2) Anything with “rules,” “always,” “only,” or “never”: “Women over 40 should always were rosy neutrals,” “Women over 40 should only wear mattes,” “Hooded eyes should always wear mattes,” “Never wear the same color shadow as your eyes,” “Never wear bold eyes and lips at the same,” etc. It’s all BS. Nothing is absolute for every woman; no one size fits all. Mattes are flattering on many older women, but aging on others. Olive eyeshadow makes my eyes look even greener: I should have matched my eyecolor decades sooner than I did. I wear shimmer in my hooded crease: I just keep the color dark enough. You get the idea. Even if a look isn’t the most technically flattering, if you love it and think it looks good, wear it.

3) “Men don’t like a lot of makeup.” “I would never wear that much makeup.” Who cares?!

Nancy T Avatar

THIS? Everything you just said, Rachel!
That Sephora shade matcher said I matched to the equivalent of MAC NC42-44!!! I am nowhere close to that. And at MAC, I was *correctly* matched to Studio Fix Liquid in C4.5 or Pro Long wear in NC37-40. Studio Sculpt in NC37, 40 during our warm season. And you KNOW I wear what I want color and finish wise! Haha!?

Claire Renee Avatar

Worst advice? From several salespersons at cosmetic counters over the years. I have always had trouble getting a good foundation match. I am pale with very yellow undertones (nc10-15) and I don’t tan. I suspect in order to make a sale I have been told that I “need to add color” to my face via foundation that doesn’t match or I need to “blend” it down over my neck. Nope to both. Blush adds color to my face and I want foundation that matches my neck. To be fair, I have roseacea that adds redness to my nose and upper cheeks that seems to darken my face. The only cosmetic counter that got it right was Prescriptives who I miss dearly. Unfortunately they don’t ship to Canada. I can remember going to their counter at Holt Renfrew with my mom is uber pale. She had very pink undertones and I had yellow undertones but seeing the difference the undertones made whilst being color matched made an impression. No way in h*ll could I borrow her shade of foundation and “blend it out” or vice versa. And the less is more for older ladies. I am 56 and while I agree with that as far as foundation and powder, I love doing a full eye with soft ochre paint pot as a base and several shades of shadow well blended plus liner and mascara. And a bright lip. You do fade as you age and I tint my brows. I recall one friend’s mom who always had a huge stash of makeup that she let us experiment with as kids. Loved her. Even in her 70’s after a stroke she rocked the fuschia lipstick though as my friend said she sometimes went ‘outside the lines’. We all wore bright pink lipstick to her funeral a couple years back to honor her style.

erica Avatar

My grandmother dyed her hair until the day she died. Always wore bold links and reds on her lips and nails. Now I cannot do that bc she had black hair and I am more fair than she was. However, she did her and never paid any mind to those rules about age. I think I will take her advice and example over anyone else!

Tatum Avatar

I’ll never understand people who say to use Hourglass Ambient powders and even Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors UNDER THEIR EYES!!! Like…really? What are you doing?! Just get some Laura Mercier Secret Brightening powder, because you look insane!

Alecto Avatar

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light isn’t even remotely shimmery on me. It’s basically an ever-so-slightly more light-diffusing version of the UD Naked loose powder I use, and it’s the only powder I’ve ever been able to put under my eyes without instantly looking 15 years older. I’ve never tried the other Ambient products, and they may well be too shimmery, but the one I use looks amazing in real life, in direct sunlight, and I’ll probably never use anything else. Granted, it’s also a very good shade for me specifically — may be that’s the difference?

Tatum Avatar

I have the palette with the 3 different colors and those are all pretty shimmery. I’ve just seen some bad makeover pictures where it was used and it didn’t look good. I guess some of them are probably less crazy looking.

chana Avatar

it would have to be “use a concealer one shade lighter than your skin to cover under eye circles” yeah if you want light gray circles instead of dark grey circles then do that. if you need to cover dark circles a lighter concealer isn’t going to cut it.

Sandra R. Avatar

Great question. Someone once told me from a very popular cosmetics brand that you should never layer foundations (for example: my liquid foundation with a compact to set it) , it was plain wrong! As I have evolved with makeup over the years and as an artist myself, I’ve come to realize you absolutely can. That is how we all learn. Yes at times you may layer makeup that does not look well but you will find something else that works for you or a specific look your going for. When you layer your makeup (depending on how you apply) with primers, correctors, foundation, powders, concealers etc… your makeup lasts longer.

Alicia Johnson Morris Avatar

Older women shouldn’t wear . Sparkles, colorful eye shadow, bright lipsticks. Yeah. Whatever. I’m 51 and wear what makes me happy. That includes all of the “older women shouldn’t wear” advice don’ts

Chris Avatar

Same here. I’m 56 and they can have my foil shadow and glitter when they pry it from my cold, dead hands. They need to check out Advanced Style.

Stacy Avatar

53 here, and you’re absolutely right! I wear what I like, and what I think looks good on me. Which is rarely what the “rules” say is supposed to 🙂

Ellen Avatar

Basically every foundation color-match I’ve ever had in stores. I’m extremely pale (NC10 is still a little dark for me in MAC terms) and have true neutral undertones. I’ve given up on finding an in-bottle foundation that matches me, but that hasn’t stopped in-store make up artists from trying so they can make that nice expensive foundation sale. “Oh, it’ll look more natural in the sun!” Honey, the sun ain’t gonna take away the fact that my face is three shades darker than my neck.

Bon Bon Avatar

When first experimenting with makeup I was told how good I looked with just a poke in my cheeks of a cream blush. NO blending. I look back at those pictures and see a pretty cute CLOWN!!!

Marla Avatar

When I got into a department store to buy a moisturizer and someone tells me this will transform your skin to an amazing look. Nothing on G-d’s green earth do that. It will make your skin feel better but I don’t care what you spend, it just doesn’t do that no matter how much you spend.

Debbie Avatar

Many years ago I got a makeover and the artist used warm shades on me. Some of the shadows and the lip color was very frosty. It was awful. I wear cool tones for the most part, but at the time I knew nothing about undertones and the affect it would have on the colors I should gravitate to.

Nicole Avatar

I think the worst piece of advice I ever got was about skin tones. Did you know that if you have 1) ashy blonde hair and 2) blue eyes, you absolutely have a pink undertone to your skin? Not true. I believed it for a while though. I have quite a few cool toned foundations in my collection that I need to sell or give away thanks to that advice. Looking back on it I don’t know why I didn’t just get samples in warm, neutral and cool tones and try them on to see which one worked, but I guess that’s due to uncertainty and not wanting to speak above people who (claim to) have more experience than I do.

Fitz Avatar

The makeup I wear, to some people, registers as me not even wearing makeup. That no-makeup makeup look basically . When people find our I really love makeup and spend time doing it every day I get the ‘well if you’re going to spend all that time and money why not have something to show for it?’ or ‘I can’t tell you’re wearing makeup so it’s a waste’. I find it a little funny that people give me grief for not being able to tell I’m wearing makeup whereas in other groups that is the holy-grail we’re trying to achieve.

Genevieve Avatar

The worst advice I have been given was when I purchased an expensive Chanel foundation and the MUA didn’t bother to check if the foundation shade was the right one for me. It wasn’t and I ended up throwing out the bottle. Ditto for Napolean Perdis, Clinique, Estee Lauder.
Also, when trying out foundations with EL, the MUA used toner on my face just after I told her I was very sensitive to products and the toner burnt my skin…….

Claire L Avatar

I haven’t really had any bad makeup advice, except for maybe not getting an exact foundation match to my pale skin, but that’s pretty universal! The one thing I hate is being told that I need to cover my spots because ‘it’s not nice to look at’ and ‘I have to look at that’ from my own mum! She used to give me ‘advice’ for getting rid of spots which I resented and didn’t find helpful or loving. She doesn’t do it anymore though, ever since I got together 4 years ago with my now fiancé who didn’t care about my spots, he thought I was beautiful anyway (aww!) even at my worst following getting cystic acne after having to take hormonal contraception. My skin has gotten a lot better anyway since spending more on skincare on my own volition – I react to a lot of drugstore stuff since they rely on cheap ingredients. And I no longer need my parent’s approval or unwanted opinions, I just shrug it off.

Amanda Avatar

When I worked for a make-up counter, my co-worker told me that my foundation (estee lauder double wear LIGHT) was too heavy one day (I worked for Laura Mercier and their “look” is ultra natural). So she did a demo on me for the tinted moisturizer, and mind you I have pretty intense hyper-pigmentation and acne scars so I actually look worse with only TM.. You could tell she knew it looked bad too, but then she just tried to cover it up with powder foundation. Powder foundation over TM felt like a dry, sticky mess and I looked so pale and dead because she didn’t even add any bronzer at the end.. And I had to walk around the rest of the day trying to SELL that make-up..
Give me medium to full coverage or nothing at all..!!
It was so frustrating to me because I got multiple compliments daily about my complexion but she still had to say her way was better.

Kat Avatar

When I was going to buy my first foundation and concealer, I wanted MAC. There was one a few blocks from my college (at that time), and I walked in asking for help to be matched. I knew I wanted studio fix because of the price point and shade ranges, and I thought I needed full on foundation. The woman there told me I was wrong to want to match my neck and I need to match my face because when it rubs off for it to not look like a mask. She then proceeded to match me to NW25/NW30. Also told me to use the more dewy concealer and foundation although I told her I have pretty oily skin that gets combo some weeks. Now after about 3 years of wearing more full makeup I think about that experience and laugh. Im an NC15 in the summer/spring and slightly more pale in the winter. Though to be honestly Revlon’s colorstay foundation in 150 buff matches me perfectly and the yellow tone in that vs NC15 is different. Advice to match my face and NOT my neck, and telling me Im not only a different tone but shade. Horrible. Im so glad I never actually took her advice for realsies.

Jenifer Avatar

The baking method doesn´t work for me, it sets badly on my fine lines. Another one that makes me laugh is the heave hand to apply highlight in the tip of the nose. Also, I just love a marked eyebrow but the “instagram eyebrow” it’s just ridiculous! It is great to learn something new, are so many techniques and methods out there also it hits the market with new products, but the way that the bloggers / vloggers / etc interpret the art it is the most of the times a ridiculous thing!

Thiel Avatar

When I was just starting out with makeup I was told that I should wear a pink toned foundation to brighten my yellow undertones. I spent a solid three years in my teens looking like I’d smeared pepto bismol all over my face! Not a good look.
Also, as many other commenters have said, any type of “advice” involving the words always or never. The only exceptions are “always do what makes you feel good” and “never let others dictate your choices”!

Gamze Avatar

Foundations that are too yellow for my skin tone. I have extremely cool skin with visibly grey undertones. Foundations from brands that do not distinguish between cool/warm skin are always too yellow on me. The salespeople may think it may even out the greyness, but I simply look sallow. I need pink undertones.

Stacy Avatar

“Always put eye-liner in your inner rims; never below the lower lash line!” <- that came from a licensed, professional makeup artist. Never mind the fact that liner on my lower waterline makes my eyes look small and piggish… she knew better because "she's a pro!"


Viv Avatar

I’m very very pale, and many have advised me to buy a foundation shade that’s much too dark. When a very tired mum of three under fives, I tried a certain Benefit tinted moisturiser (the original You Rebel) on advice of a friend, and I looked orange!!

BonnieBBon Avatar

I guess I already said my worst agreeing about the mattes only after 40 thing ( I should have kept reading tho. After I commented I saw I had just said the same as most of you.)
This was more insulting than anything, when I was in college I had one class that was literally the last one to be over at about 10pm. Thankfully, there was a great coffee cart right outside. I kinda made a casual acquaintance friend of the girl that was always working. I mention how late the class ran bc I was living with my fiancé , working ft, carrying a full course load, keeping up the house etc …..my days were looooong. Especially that day of the week. She was seeing 6:00am makeup at 10pm in the age before primers. One night she tells me she’s a beauty consultant and lets get together she’ll do her consulting for free. I should have known then. She actually did “.colors” which I wasn’t remotely interested in, but she left that out. Remember when that was HUGE? Getting your colors done? But she took me to her boss because apparently I’m too pale and weirdly shaded that she couldn’t figure me out. I was ready to be done but before I got away she revealed her true motive was to “get that BLACK SHIT out from under your (my) eyes” I wanted to punch her!!! I wanted to cry. It was the very early 90’s everybody wore a lotta black eyeliner! She goes into this long explanation to her mentor who liked my makeup to explain how it looked better today and how bad it normally was. So then I knew these two strangers had been talking about me and my smudged black eyeliner and planned this intervention. I will admit my feelings were hurt until I got out of there. But right after I was so GLAD to be ME! Yes I wore black eyeliner, bold thick matte lipstick, black tights under ripped to hell jean shorts or leggings and tshirts under a flannel. Being so naturally pale with blonde hair and light eyes I’m sure in their world pastels or something would have been perfect. But I was a concert going, pit denizen living exactly as I pleased. And I did not then, nor have I ever, given 2 sh*ts in the wind if some fabric swatch held next to my face rules out half the color spectrum for me. That’s always stuck out in my mind. Idk why really only that I just didn’t understand. Seriously, my 90’s smudged black liner looked like everyone else’s. I think…….

Cat Avatar

Thanks for asking! 😉

The most recent worst advice was from a SA at a popular cosmetics store. I asked about a particular eyeshadow shade (I can’t remember which one) and she chimed in, rather sternly, from two aisles away, “You shouldn’t be using colors like that. You should wear blue eyeshadows!” :-/

I have grey-blue eyes and I like to make them look bluer, that’s why I lean towards warmer shades in eyeshadow. Also, with my skin tone, many blue shadows (as well as some purples) only seem to make me look like I had a run-in with a roller derby team. 😉 The palette she suggested for me would have looked terrible on me. I left the store soon after without buying anything. :'(

RMW Avatar

I think the worst is getting advice, or having someone tell you what doesn’t look good on you, when they don’t look like a “glowing princess” either, when they have an orange foundation mask, or they are 20 years old and know nothing about aging skin! Some of these ladies who work in Sephora or behind a makeup counter are like 23 years old, they are really not that qualified to shade match, and they look to rush you into a sale! They also tell you that it’s the latest and the best, or that something is out dated! Ok, but according to whose standards? I think I’m old and mature enough to make some decisions on what looks best on Me! After all, I can sometimes be my worst critic! 😉

Ashleigh Avatar

As a redhead I’ve been told I can’t wear bold lips, red or pink lips, and of course to never wear pink in clothing either. I think that’s bogus now, I love the look of pink and red on redheads! 🙂

Alice Avatar

I hate “don’t wear a bold eye and bold lip at the same time.” Also “X bold/bright color isn’t wearable/appropriate for day wear,” maybe for you personally, but I feel totally ok wearing things like blue lipstick and neon eye shadow regularly and my job is ok with it so…

Also when strangers think they can comment on my makeup (or appearance in general) negatively just because the way I choose to look doesn’t suit their personal preference. Like I was wearing an Electric Palette look back in Feb and a STRANGER walked up to me and said “Mardi Gras was last week” uh did I ask your opinion?

Glenda Avatar

Less is more, or something like that. Any rule that says after 40, after 50, etc.
As someone who has loved and adored makeup since before I could wear makeup, I say go big or go home! The natural look has never been for me….but if it’s for you I can’t tell you how wonderful that is – for you. I love the look of makeup and the fact that I’m getting older (aren’t we all?), you do need to modify some things but others not so much. Find what works for you and that may require experimentation, but that’s the fun of it!!
Colors work on me in my 50s that didn’t even begin to in my 30s. So just find what works for you and remember ladybugs…MOISTURIZE and use SUNSCREEN! You’ll appreciate it later on y’all!

Anita Avatar

At Sephora a couple of years ago I was told that the only good foundations cover everything so there should be no natural blush on my cheeks at all, and that I should be covering up everything and building back the color after with color make up (blush, contour, highlight, etc).
Back then I didn’t know what to think of that at all because I was so new to makeup. I knew that I did not like the sales associate’s cakey looking foundation at ALL but still left feeling like I was really bad at putting on foundation and began to feel insecure about wearing it. It didn’t help that at another store at another time the sales associate said I wasn’t wearing foundation when I was, and didn’t seem to believe me when I said so.
Now I know there are different levels of coverage and that different people prefer different levels. I LIKE a coverage that leaves some color showing through on my cheeks, and would prefer a few blemishes to show through if it means the makeup I have on doesn’t scream makeup or give my skin that thick powdery texture that a heavier application creates.

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