Makeup is a tool for self-expression, so technically, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Go all out with it if that’s what feels right! Loud lipstick, bright eyes, Kim K. contour-levels, stencilled solid eyebrows—if it makes you happy, go for it! On the other hand, you could also wear a little—or not wear any at all. It’s your choice and your life. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

However, if you’re interested in using makeup to enhance your natural beauty, there are some things you can avoid doing. You want to appear pretty but not overdone, right? Honest mistakes can ruin the look you’re going for, often without you even knowing. Here are three common ones I often come across!

MISTAKE #1: FOUNDATION THAT ISN’T PROPERLY BLENDED.

Congratulations, you’ve finally found your perfect foundation shade! But are you wearing it right? I find that some people just slap on their foundation with very minimal blending. This causes cakiness and skin that looks like makeup instead of, well, skin! I understand that we’re all in a hurry to get somewhere, but it pays to spend a bit more time in perfecting something as basic as your base.
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT: Use your fingers, a wet sponge, or dense synthetic buffing brushes to evenly spread the foundation all over your face. Make sure that the product is equally distributed. If you want to cover up a couple of areas, layer the product thinly and only on those spots you want to correct.

Try These Tools: PRO STUDIO’s Pro Blend Sponge if you like sponges, or Soffia Beauty’s Opulence Perfect Skin Flat Top Foundation Brush, if you like brushes.

MISTAKE #2: EYEBROWS THAT ARE TOO HEAVY AND DARK.

People started to be seriously interested in upping their brow game only in the last few years. It’s a great cause, but the result is that many have become misguided in doing their brows. Piling too many products and using precise lines can make eyebrows look like they’re straight out of a cartoon show.
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT: You’re going for brows that look real, but sculpted. Try to limit layering to two products at a time—use just one if you can—and always get a color that’s at least a shade lighter than your hair color. Most importantly, always use a light hand when drawing your brows on!

Liz Recommends: Pixi by Petra’s Brow Powder Palette, which contains six shades (including a brow bone highlighter).

MISTAKE #3: POOR COLOR CHOICES.

That pale pink lipstick isn’t always a good idea on your morena skin. If you are fair, a lipstick with strong brown undertones can make your skin look dull. Picking the right colors for your skin tone can go a long way in bringing out your assets, so make sure to research the cosmetics you’re interested in by reading reviews. Even better, try them in person if you can!
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT: As a general rule, pastels suit fair skin best, while mid to deeper colors flatter darker skin tones. Some colors, however, are universally flattering, such as peachy pinks, true reds, taupes, and espresso browns. For universal lipstick picks, read this!

Have you been committing any of these mistakes? I hope this guide helps sort things out!

Photos by Liz Lanuzo