Whether you’re completely new to the world of makeup or a total veteran with years and years of experience, we’re all still prone to simple mistakes every once in a while. I myself have had days where I just cannot get anything to come out right, and we’ve all suffered from those dreaded moments where your favorite tool or go-to product mysteriously vanishes (because there’s no way you lost it, you use it every day!). Some of us even practice our looks for years and fall completely in love with the way we do things, but don’t realize that our smallest habits can have a negative impact on the natural health of our skin. Below, we’re going to go over four of the most common beauty mistakes that you might be making in your daily routine, and how your skin is paying for them. If you’ve already surpassed all of these mistakes in your wise experience, then congrats! But if any one of these bad habits sounds like you, fret not, because they are all easy to fix, and their solutions will do wonders for your skin as soon as you brush up on them (pun intended).
1. Cleanliness is Next to Goddess-ness
The first two most common mistakes have everything to do with cleanliness, and I’m sure you’ve heard this one many times before: You do have to clean your application tools regularly to keep them sanitized. I know, I know, we’re all groaning. You’re busy, you’re in a hurry, and you already spend a good bit of time using those tools – who has the time to also clean them? But having clean brushes and sponges makes a world of difference both in your daily look and in the overall health of your skin. Starting your day with a spotless set of applicators obviously means that less of yesterday’s look will bleed over into today’s, but it goes even deeper than that.
Every day, your application tools are all over your face, where the skin is very sensitive and delicate, not to mention their regular proximity to your eyes, nose and mouth. Leaving your tools uncleaned for months at a time allows them to harbor the oil from your face and build up all kinds of bacteria, which then gets redistributed your face, and there’s nothing pretty about that!
To avoid that stress and keep your skin healthy, be sure to clean any daily tools, including brushes and blending sponges, at least once a week. To clean your brushes, wet the bristles with warm water and squeeze a drop of soap in to your palm – you can either use an actual brush-cleansing serum or a gentle soap that you would normally use on your face to avoid damaging your brushes. Massage the tips of the bristles into the soap in your hand as if you were gently applying foundation, and when you’re done, rinse all of your brushes thoroughly, making sure the water from them runs clear.
Dry them on a clean towel, reshape any tips if necessary, and hang them upside down to dry completely. Leaving them sit vertically will allow water to reach and soften the glue that holds your bristles to your brush, and letting them dry on a towel allows any bacteria or mildew on the the towel to transfer over, negating the entire process. Clean your blending sponges similarly, and make sure to replace them every two to three months, since their density and material are an even better environment for growing germs.
2. Washing Your Face
Just like your brushes, it’s also important to wash your face regularly and at the right times. I know what you’re thinking here: Duh, what a pretty common-sense thing to do. I wash my face every day. Which is great, and so do I, but I’m willing to bet that, like me, you prefer to wash your face at night before bed, after you’re removed your makeup for the day. This obviously doesn’t hurt anything, and sets you up for a refreshing night of sleep. But do you also wash your face in the morning before applying your makeup?
This cleansing session is even more important than your nightly one, especially if you struggle with oily skin or any kind of acne. The most obvious reason for this is because you want a good, clean face to apply your makeup on, but again, there is more than meets the eye with this issue. Even if you wash your sheets and pillowcases as often as you should (and many of us don’t), your sleep cycle likely includes movement. This means that your hair and face shed their natural oils on to your pillowcase as you move in your sleep, which then mix and transfer back over to the skin on your face when you roll over on to your pillow. And you don’t have to admit it out loud, but if you sleep with your mouth open, then your saliva is also a factor here.
All of these combined with the warmth from your head while you sleep are a breeding ground for bacteria that can easily find its way to your face, which is why a morning rinse is so important. And as an added bonus, washing when you wake also preps your pores to better absorb any skin care products you might use in the morning. It’s truly a win-win here: wash your face before and after your day, and wash your tools regularly, and you’re already two steps ahead of those germs and have a happy face to boot.
3. Daily Makeup Routine
Okay, enough cleaning – what else might we be doing wrong here? The next thing to check regarding your daily routine is how you actually put your makeup on. If you at any point use your fingers to pull any part of your face taught while you’re applying, then you need to quit it. This includes lifting your lids or the skin on your brows, pulling back your eyes to apply liner, or tugging at your lips and the corners of your mouth while using lip products. The oil and whatever else is on your fingertips gets an immediate pass to those areas, which sets us back with all the washing we just did.
And even more surprising is that your fingers are actually way too strong for the delicate cells on your face. The pulling you do with your fingertips breaks down the surface layer of cells prematurely, and any excessive pressure you apply (which is usually most of it when touching your face) damages the cells beneath that, and that damage is a huge cause of the wrinkles we all want to avoid. If you absolutely must use fingers to guide your skin while applying, try using only your ring or pinky fingers, as they are the weakest fingers and naturally apply less pressure. An even better idea is to find hacks and tricks for the places where you need more room to work.
For instance, instead of pulling back your eyes to get your wings just right, practice using the non-glue edge of a post-it note. Line your lids and then position the edge just under where your wing will go, tilting the corner farthest from your eye up to get the curvature of the wing how you want it. Use that edge to guide where your liner goes, and voila! Perfect wing, and no damage.
4. Removing Your Makeup
Finally, and most importantly, you need to make sure you’re removing your makeup just as gently as you have now learned to apply it. If you have sore spots from having to scrub at heavy-duty products every day (like me), or your face feels dry and dehydrated from your cleanser, you’re doing much more harm than good. Whether you use remover wipes, a cleanser, or a cleansing oil, you always want to start with one gentle swipe over all surfaces of your face so that the formula can get to work on that outer layer of makeup.
If you have heavier spots of product and know that you’ll need to work at them to get them off, use one of your wipes or apply your cleanser to a regular cotton pad and work in gentle circles to break up and lift the color. Never scrub back and forth or in any harsh motion that visibly pulls your skin, and try not to use cotton balls and q-tips for this process, as their cotton fibers are much more abrasive than the ones on pads designed for your face. The same goes for eye makeup as well – if you use waterproof products, invest in a waterproof cleanser and allow it time to work on the product on and around your eyes before gently wiping off those areas.
Working vigorously at your face every day just to get everything off has the very same effect (and even more so) as pulling at your skin to put your colors on, so learning to practicing patience and gentleness on both ends of your routine will save your skin tons of stress and wear in the long run.
Did any of these pesky habits sound like what you do day to day? Don’t cringe at yourself, because ultimately, they are simple mistakes to make, and many women do them even from time to time. But now you know all about them and how to change your routine to avoid them, so get to it – wash, cleanse, and blend away, and rest assured that your skin is loving you for it.