As a makeup artist, I’ve dedicated myself to helping others feel their most beautiful. When I choose something as seemingly as simple a foundation for a person, I consider their skin type, color, texture, everyday routine, and the effect they’re looking to achieve. An insurmountable amount of love and thought goes into creating a look that is completely tailored to an individual.
As an artist, I also adore social media. It connects me with creative peers, who feed and inspire my personal ingenuity. It also provides me with the platform to share numerous tips and tricks, passing on the knowledge that has been passed onto me. Whether it be Instagram, YouTube, or writing for you gorgeous readers here on XOVain, the social media age has gifted me, and countless others, with the opportunity to spread the love of makeup as far as it can possibly reach.
But with great power comes great responsibility. I’ll admit, some of my fellow peers haven’t been handling that responsibility with humility and honesty. Some of the techniques and products I see shared on social media give me anxiety. They are either blatantly paid endorsements or incorrect usages of products. These social media lies get perpetuated by artists who have lighting and editing to their full advantage, tricking the viewer into believing that what they see is always the truth. There are many beautiful makeup teachers and artists on Instagram, but certain bad eggs are creating makeup confusion, teaching the untrained eye incorrect techniques, taking aspiring #muas further away from perfecting their craft.
Today we’ll bust open the 10 top little lies social media tells us — not to criticize any other artists’ work, but rather to make us aware of the opinions we’re told as truths.
If you use XYZ products, you will have the same results.
I’ve had dozens of clients bring me pictures of celebrities (mostly the Kardashians, obvi) and say “I want to look just like them!” And no, they didn’t mean just the same eyeshadow, blush, and lip tones. They meant that they wanted to bear a resemblance to said celebrity after the makeup application. Which, even with all the highlight and contour, is still impossible.
I am not a plastic surgeon. And I shouldn’t have to be. I’m there to play up YOUR beautiful features, not shadow someone else’s. Say that celebrity has a round face and you have a square one, even the same exact products in the same exact places using the same exact techniques will still create a drastically different result.
That celebrity’s look won’t flatter everyone’s facial structure, and a look that is amazing on you won’t flatter the celebrity. Same works for YouTubers. I love NikkiTutorials looks, but she has all the lid space in the world. If I tried to recreate her eye creations with everything she lists in her Instagram bio, my hooded and downturned eyes would still look vastly different. Don’t expect the same exact results just because you’re using the same exact products.
You need highlight and contour always.
Some people have natural highlight and contour. It’s called bone structure. Should these people be highlighting and contouring for everyday? Not at all, it’s a waste of time. Should they use it to enhance what they have when taking pictures so they don’t look flat? Yea, if they want! Even if you don’t have a lot of natural shadow, you still don’t need to highlight and contour every single day.
Using an illuminating primer might just be enough to catch a little light and draw attention to your beautiful features. Even blush placement can impact how the facial structure appears (i.e. draping). Heck, I’m a makeup addict and I rarely wear matte highlight because it doesn’t really have a dramatic effect on my skin tone. Ignore those crazily tiger-striped self-titled #muas (if you want) and just do the pieces that matter to you!
Beauty Blenders are the only tools of the masters (oh yea, and you should use them dry).
Beauty Blenders are amazing! They’re great if you want a dewy, natural finish to your makeup. They were initially created to mimic the effect of airbrush machines on sets where it was difficult to touch-up without dragging the whole machine with you. And, accordingly, they create a softer finish, more appropriate for camera work. Are they best/easiest/most economically friendly for everyone? Certainly not. I personally prefer brushes.
With my brush, I have a bit more control over where I can apply the most coverage. Plus, it costs less money. I bought my first set of brushes for $60 over 10 years ago. I took good care of them and they’re still a part of my everyday routine. Real Beauty Blenders cost about $20 at most retailers and should be replaced about every three months (which totals at $80 a year), should be washed everyday, and should be kept in a dry, room temperature area. Beauty Blenders give fantastic results, but they aren’t always the best option for every foundation and every person.
Ps — if you do choose to use a Beauty Blender, it should always be used wet, unless your foundation doesn’t contain water. In that case, if you use the Beauty Blender wet, you can mess with the formula of the foundation, causing it to oxidize, break apart, etc. Also, contrary to popular belief, the Beauty Blender won’t actually eat your foundation. If you’re using it properly, you can cut it open before you’re about to toss it and see that the inside of the sponge remains squeaky clean.
Baking is an essential part of your everyday routine.
Let’s leave the baking to the adorable pastry chefs on the Great British Bake Off, K? Baking can be great if you’re super oily and some parts of your makeup tend to slip and slide throughout the day, but only when used in moderation. Baking on dry skin causes that skin to become even more dry. That’s when cake-iness and texture can happen.
I’m the oiliest person that I’ve ever met (which is saying a lot because I’ve worked on thousands of faces at this point), and I only bake right around my nostrils and sometimes on my forehead. I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t afford to put a whole package of $48 Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder on one small area of my face, only to wipe it away seconds later. Baking is great for your tummy, but not always great for your face.
You should put oil on your lips before you apply a matte lipstick.
This baffles me. The enemy of all liquid lipstick is oil. Your liquid lipstick will probably stay on through messy drinks at a club on a Saturday night and the following hungover Sunday, but cannot withstand the oil from a fried chicken wing. So why would you put on the oil before?!
By all means, please hydrate your lips before applying a matte product. It’s necessary to prevent lips from looking like a mummy that has just risen from the grave after several centuries. But use a balm. Use a mask. Don’t use oil. Your lip will be gone five seconds after you film your cute snapchat “Get Ready With Me” video.
Every look needs a wing.
Now this makeup lie was something that I personally believed for ten years of my life. I have tiny hooded eyes that are asymmetrical and downturned. When I first started working as a makeup artist, I’d have fights with my mentors who insisted that I could wear a smokey eye without a wing. But, after a year of makeup experimentation, I found out they were right.
It’s possible to make the eye look bigger by just the use of shadow placement alone. Wings can throw certain looks off balance. They’re great to open up a naturally contoured eye for someone whose lid is a bit smaller, but they can cause a darker, blown-out smokey eye to look too heavy. They can’t take away from the flow or the feel of an eye look.
This (fill in the blank) foundation is the best foundation ever!
Of course, some foundations are better than others. But everybody’s skin is different. Which means, the same foundation will react differently on every single type of skin. Foundations are extremely dependent on who’s wearing them. If your favorite YouTuber has perfectly blemish-free, dry skin and is wearing Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, which is more luminous and dewy with a light to medium coverage, it will look significantly different on you if you have naturally oily skin with acne scarring and the occasional pimple (like yours truly).
Don’t purchase a foundation solely based on how many Instagram videos you have seen it in or your best friend’s review who has drastically different skin than your own. If you’re not sure which to buy, do some research on coverage and finish, or ask someone for assistance in a store. Get something that’s perfectly tailored to you!
Illuminator makes everything better.
Illuminator is fantastic. I personally have a bit of an addiction to it. But what you don’t see in YouTube videos is the actual texture of the skin and the wear of the look throughout the day. When you have dry skin, you can use Illuminator liberally. When you have oily skin, however, you should be careful where your strobe. By putting something shiny on the face’s hotspots, you’re mimicking the look of hydration.
When your natural oils come through, that look will be amplified, leaving you a complete oil slick. Illuminator also draws the eye (hello shiny)! This means, if you have any texture on your skin that you’re trying to conceal, the light-reflecting Illuminator will just amplify the the pits and the peaks. Illuminator is fantastic, but it’s meant to be used very strategically.
Primer is what makes your skin smooth under foundation.
Primers are great and do a lot of hard work, but skincare is actually where it’s at. If you don’t clean and hydrate your skin before applying makeup, anything that follows after, even a primer, won’t be able to do its job properly. Any dirt or oil that has adhered to your skin overnight can emulsify your makeup and break it up from the inside out.
If your skin is dry and you skip moisturizer, your skin will drink up the moisture from your foundation throughout the day, leaving the surface of your skin patchy and flaky. Primers are great for adding a boost of hydration, glow, color correction, or mattified texture to your skin, but the skincare is what truly does the heavy lifting.
Natural means it’s good for your skin
Natural just means it’s natural. It means the ingredients are generally plant and mineral based rather than created synthetic chemicals in a lab. However, this doesn’t mean the products are free of parabens and phthalates, which tend to be the big no-no’s in the health-conscious cosmetic industry.
You can still have an allergy to a plant-based ingredient the same way you can have an allergy to a synthetic ingredient. Natural brands are amazing, but if you have super sensitive skin, you may still have an allergy towards them as well.
Now if you want to continue baking every day or using oil before your matte lipstick, great! #makeupequalityforall. But at least now, you can know before you go.