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All Of The Things Professional Makeup Artists Say We’re Definitely Doing Wrong When It Comes To Our Skin Routines

I have one makeup look. No, seriously. If we’re going out and the occasion calls for face paint — that I’m unfortunately forced to apply on myself — then you can pretty much expect the same assortment of nudes, gloss and highlighter. My best friend, a cosmetic aficionado, showed me how to do the look a few years ago, and it’s worked, so I’ve basically stuck to it. It’s not that I don’t like makeup but rather that I’m not really good at it. Also, my skin is pretty sensitive and I try to avoid doing anything that might trigger a breakout. But I’ve learned that my attitude of “not wanting to get busy” with new makeup techniques or products might actually be doing more harm than good to the health of my skin.

To avoid this moving forward, I did a bit of research on things most people like me, the ones who dabble in cosmetics but have little-to-no knowledge of styles and formulas, might be doing wrong. Now, when I say “wrong,” I want to be clear that I’m not referring to snobby beauty rules that forbid makeup-users from donning royal blue eyeshadow with hot pink lipstick. Listen, your body, your rules — so do you, bb. The beauty no-nos I’m referring to are the ones that might have a negative impact on your skin, could lead to quick wear-offs and may leave you a little oranger, grayer or oily than you anticipated.

Looking to the wisdom of makeup artists and skincare professionals I gathered online, here are some things you might be doing all wrong that your face will appreciate you for correcting.

You don’t know your skin type.

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Looking in the mirror and seeing a greasy T-zone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have oily skin. Not knowing your skin type is one of the biggest mistakes we make when shopping for a foundation. Your skin can be dry, oily, sensitive, normal or combination, and the formula of your foundation should suit your skin, meaning you might need to use a different brand than the one your BFF or fave beauty blogger uses. You can better understand your skin type with this online tool

You’re also wrong about your skin tone.

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Identifying your type of skin is just part of it. You also need to know your skin’s undertone to find the right foundation match. “Undertone is the color that comes through the skin, not how light or dark the skin is,” Benjamin Ruiz, director of global creative artistry at Laura Mercier, told Byrdie. “Warm skin tones have undertones of golden, peach and yellow; cool is pink and rosy; while neutral shows no evidence of color.” 

But not knowing your undertone is just part of the problem. Even those who are aware if their skin is nude or warm still don’t get their perfect match because of where they’re testing foundations, concealers and tints. Advice: When sampling products, match foundations to your neck instead of your arm, because your neck is a closer match to your face. Also, it’s important to remember that our skin lightens in the winter months and darkens (or gets redder, depending on your undertone) in the summer months, so you might want to have two shades in your makeup bag.

You use expired products.

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Makeup has a short lifespan — much smaller than I ever thought. Unlike food, cosmetics aren’t required to have an expiration date on their packaging, so it’s up to you to remember when you opened them and throw out products when they’re old. This is difficult because most people don’t know the lifespan of their makeup, forget when they started using it and can’t rationalize tossing an-almost full, really-expensive mascara in the trash. In fact, a study from Stowaway Cosmetics and Poshly found that 89 percent of women hold on to old makeup “just in case,” while fewer than one in five throw out mascara at the proper time. Don’t know when your goods will expire? Here’s what the experts say: Mascara generally should be thrown out after 3-6 months, eye and lip pencils may last up to five years, eyeshadows, lipsticks and lip glosses can be used for around two years, and foundation and concealer is good between one to two years. Start tossing!

You’re not washing your makeup brushes.

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One of the easiest ways to get a makeup-related breakout is by using unwashed brushes. While we know that our tools are filled with bacteria and grime, that’s still not enough motivation to get people cleaning. In fact, one survey found that 61 percent of women cleanse their makeup brushes once a month, if at all. According to dermatologists and makeup artists, we should actually be washing our brushes once a week — at minimum. For brushes used for eye makeup, experts recommend cleaning twice a month. You can wash your brushes with lukewarm water and some gentle soap or with micellar cleansing water.

You’re not properly removing your makeup.

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If not washing your brushes is bad, imagine how awful it is to not clean your face after wearing makeup. Dermatologists recommend never going to bed with makeup on, as the cosmetics could seep into your pores and lead to congestion. Some makeup artists also claim that it could lead to early aging of your skin. While it’s important to wash the makeup off your face each evening, it’s equally crucial that you don’t scrub cleansing or exfoliating products too hard. Sometimes we think doing so is helpful in getting everything off. In reality, it could irritate the skin and remove healthy natural oils. On that, experts urge that we don’t forget our lips. Like the rest of our face, they need to be exfoliated, moisturized and protected by the sun.

You’re not protecting your skin.

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Sure, some foundations and tints come with built-in SPF protection, but dermatologists don’t think it’s enough. That’s why they recommend people using an actual sunscreen before applying their makeup. Additionally, makeup artists urge people to apply moisturizers and primers. Not only do these products help the makeup look better and last longer but they also create a stronger barrier between your skin and the cosmetics you’re putting on it, which helps in preventing clogged pores.

Read: These Are The Top Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands With Products That Are Bound To Become Your Fave

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