12 Common Makeup Mistakes by Susmta Patel

In an ideal world, you would have all the various makeup products you want, have the time and money to update them each season and have the skilled hand necessary to apply them flawlessly. But even if that’s not the case, there are simple fixes you can try to help correct the most common beauty wrongs. “Makeup is a wonderful tool to enhance your look, but used correctly, it should never look fake or like you’re wearing a mask,” says New York City makeup artist Susmta Patel. Here, the makeup mistakes many women routinely make, plus how to do it right.
One mistake most women make when applying makeup is going too bold. Makeup is supposed to hide imperfections and underline the facial features, not make you look like you’re wearing a mask. You don’t have to put on “tons” of makeup to look fabulous, you just have to put on just enough to make your look natural.

 Using the wrong foundation hue is one of the most common makeup mistakes women make. Foundation isn’t supposed to give your skin a bit of a tan, it’s supposed to create a perfect, smooth complexion and cover-up any imperfections. This is why you should always use a foundation which blends-in with your skin. Test the hue on your jawline before you purchase a foundation or ask for a sample which you can give a try at home. If you are used to tanning, you can purchase one darker hue as well and mix it with your regular hue to create your own blend that will suit the hue of your complexion at that moment.
Applying foundation on chapped, flaky skin is by far the worst thing you can do as the result will be horrific. The foundation will blend-in with the skin and will help emphasize the flakes, not conceal them, meaning you’ll look better off not wearing any makeup. To prevent this from happening, make sure you exfoliate your skin every week and moisturize on a daily basis. Exfoliating facial scrubs will get rid of the dead skin cells covering your complexion, leaving your skin feeling smooth
Blue Eye shadow
Blue eye shadow works for some people. Little girls in dance recitals. Guests at 1970s-themed parties. Ethereal looking supermodels. If you aren’t one of the aforementioned people then don’t wear it. Enough said.
Making the lips super plump with the help of your lipliner can turn disastrous if you step further than the natural line of your lip. To get plump lips, experts say to line subtly, using a lip colored or the same lip liner hue of your lipstick on the outer line of your lips, but without passing over it. Going over is like going overboard and the effect obtained will be very unnatural, unflattering and obvious.
Another unappealing result caused by improper makeup application is related to the eyebrows. Enhancing and even changing the shape of the eyebrows with the help of makeup is a common practice nowadays. It’s essential to have them shaped by a professional. Because most women end-up with thin and “chipped” eyebrows, makeup has become a perfect solution; however, applying it correctly is essential. The mistakes women usually make when it comes to reshaping or emphasizing their eyebrows are going for a hue which looks unnatural or extending the eyebrows more than necessary, creating a droopy-eye, sad look.
 Over-tweezing (or ignoring) your eyebrows.
“The brows are such a central and important feature on your face,” says Susmta. “And when they’re well groomed they can enhance your eyes and your entire look.” If yours are out of control, it’s worth the time and money to let a professional take tweezers to them. Get a referral from a friend in order to find someone you know will do a good job. The worst thing you or a pro can do is to take off too many brow hairs. “As we get older, the brows naturally become sparser, so if you tweeze your brows too thin, they might never fully grow back,” warns Susmta. If you follow your brows’ natural arch—but clean up the areas over, under and between brows—you’ll find the best shape. Visit a pro for a tune-up every few months and you should be able to keep them groomed on your own in between.
Wearing a rainbow of eye shadow shades at once.
Just because your compact came with four or more colors packaged together doesn’t mean you have to paint them all onto your eyelids at once. In fact, Susmta Patel recommends using no more than three shades at a time—a medium shade on the lids, a lighter one to highlight the brow bone, and the darkest as a liner for the top and bottom lids. For a simpler, everyday application, you could skip the liner and just use a single light shade all over the lids up to the brows.
Attempting to create contours that don’t exist.
Using darker shades of blush to try to brush on an optical illusion of more prominent cheekbones or a less prominent nose is a trick best left to professionals making someone up for photography or film. This is one technique that rarely works in the real world. No matter how skilled you are with the makeup brush, it’s nearly impossible to use dark colors that aren’t glaringly obvious when viewed in person, especially in broad daylight. Focus instead on pretty, soft makeup that plays up your best features.
Confusing concealer with cover up.
They may sound like they are intended to serve the same purpose, but according to Susmta Patel, there is a big difference between the two. Concealer is what you use under your eyes to disguise dark circles and brighten the skin. It should be creamy in consistency and should be one or two shades lighter than your perfectly-matched foundation. Cover up—which should be used to camouflage blemishes or other flaws—needs to be exactly the same shade as your foundation. In fact, unless you want a treated cover up (designed to help dry up pimples), your foundation can double as your cover up. Use a small foundation brush to dab the product onto the blemish and set with translucent pressed powder.
 Penciled Eyebrows
A penciled eyebrow looks painted and weird (hello Joan Crawford). It’s amazing how many women make this mistake. Choose an eye shadow color that matches your hair color and apply with a thin, stiff angled brush using tiny strokes.
Black Eyeliner
Black eyeliner closes in your eyes not make them look larger. Here is a general rule; dark colors shrink and recede. Light colors advance and bring forward. If you’re wearing it for the day then avoid lining under your eyes so they look more open and alert.
Flakey/Smudgy Mascara
Problem: Women tend to hang on to their makeup for much longer than they should. Flaking is a good sign that your mascara is either not a good formula or needs to be replaced—whether you’ve finished the tube or not. If you find that your mascara runs and smudges under your eyes during the day, try a waterproof formula or one of those “tubing” mascaras. Tip: Waterproof mascara can be difficult to get off so one solution is to use your regular mascara and then just use a layer of a waterproof formula over it, or just use it on the bottom lashes.
Too Much Glitter
Problem: “The thing that bothers me the most about glitter in makeup, besides the fact that it shouldn’t be worn by anyone over the age of fourteen (fabulous club kids get an exception here) is that it travels on your face … leaving strange sparkly spots where they shouldn’t be,” says Susmta. If you have a sparkly personality and must express it through your makeup, a more grown-up option would be to ditch shadows that contain large flecks of in-your-face glitter for those with very, very finely milled luminescence or shimmer. And always apply with a restrained hand.
 Too Much Illumination“Luminous particles have been added to everything in the past few years, most notably foundations, powders and highlighting products,” says Susmta. “One or two [such] products can make a woman look fresh and glowing. Too many can make her look very, very strange.” You run the risk of your face texture not matching that of your body.  There are a few places where luminizing products work: the cheekbones, the inside corners of the eye, and if the products are subtle enough, under the eye. Concealers that have a hint of luminescence can really combat dark circles. Avoid using a luminous foundation with a shimmer powder on your cheekbones and a very shimmery eye shadow. “What looks good in magazines doesn’t always translate well to real life, so approach with a restrained hand,” says Susmta.


Susmta Patel is a multiple threat in the beauty industry as a licensed makeup artist, aesthetician, nail technician, hairstylist and waxing expert. Susmta was born in India and came to the US at the age of 20. 

As the founder and creative director of “Studio Sush” she has been a personal consultant to more than 900 brides, Susmta has impeccable training having begun her career at the New Jersey Capri Institute in 1996 from which she earned her cosmetology license.  To further hone her skills, she attended the legendary Joe Blasco School of Makeup Artistry in Hollywood, CA and received her diploma in makeup artistry and special effects makeup.  Joe Blasco is credited with creating the most comprehensive series of encyclopedic textbooks for the professional make-up artistry. The series, entitled “The Professional Make-up Artist” featured Susmta in all three volumes.
Susmta has consulted for some of the beauty industries most prestigious brands such as Shiseido, Lancome, Versace, Christian Dior, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, Laura Mercier and Clinique. At the famed Completely Bare Salons in Manhattan and Scarsdale, Susmta was revered by clients for her prowess in full body waxing, permanent hair removal and eyebrow threading. 

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  1. While I agree with the blue eyeshadow thing (I still have yet to complete a wearable blue eyeshadow look)… I can’t give up my shimmery eyeshadow!! Only for certain occasions, of course. But I still love them. Too much all over illuminance, though, is something I stay away from.

  2. I can do dark navy blue, especially in a liner. The rest of it, though, it sketchy. The too many colors is a special pet peeve of mine. But the biggest sin of all in my book isn’t even here – the lack of BLENDING. Especially with eyeshadow. Lawd.

    • OMG I totally agree! I actually gave my friend a blending brush b/c & a lesson I couldn’t take it anymore!!

  3. Hard to accept don’t line your eyes in black from a person who lined her eyes in black for the photo that came with the article.

    • I noticed that too, and that the black liner looks good and makes her eyes look big too! If there had been no photo I still would have disagreed since black liner makes my eyes look bigger. It might be because we are both women of color though, with darker skin, hair, and eyes, it seems like we need bolder colors. I might agree if she was advising women with light skin, hair, and eyes since dark colors and especially black liner can be far too harsh except for evening, but that isn’t what she said. She said that it makes the eyes look small. It only makes my eyes look small if I use black on the waterline or tightline.