Stop the Makeup Mistakes That Age You

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Internationally-known Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun and the Paula’s Choice Research Team have a few tips to help women achieve a more youthful appearance.

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Also be careful of shine, as it can make wrinkles and sagging around the eyes more apparent.

There’s no lack of makeup products claiming to make women look younger and more beautiful. But using the wrong techniques (or following well-meaning, but ultimately bad, advice) can make someone look much older than their years. Internationally-known Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun and the Paula’s Choice Research Team have a few tips and tricks to help women successfully achieve a more youthful appearance.

Botched brows: Whether brows are sparse due to genetics or overzealous tweezing, trying to correct this issue with a greasy pencil or heavy dark powder that’s theatrically drawn on does not make things better. Subtly filling in brows with a powder or dry-finish pencil can change a dated appearance to a fresh one in seconds. Make sure to match the pencil or brow powder to the actual brow hair color, or, if brows are blonde, go one shade darker. A contrasting color sticks out.

On the other end of the spectrum are too thick, overly bushy brows, which look anything but soft. Our best recommendation for fixing this is to place a smooth arch at the back 1/3 corner of the eye. Not sure how to do that? See an eyebrow professional.

Erase eyeliner exaggeration: Smokey eyes can be sexy, but eyeliner that’s too smudged can make eyes look sunken. Add definition around the eye using a small- tip eyeliner with a powder finish that stays put. Also, watch out for how much moisturizer is applied around the eyes. If it’s too emollient and placed directly under the lashes, chances are the liner will smear dramatically. Check out Maybelline Expertwear Defining Liner ($6) or M.A.C. Technakohl Liner ($15).

Lip liner lapses: Some people think lining past the natural lip line will add the illusion of volume, but actually it often makes lips appear smaller -- the opposite of what most women want. Also, avoid lining lips with a much darker color; that’s a dated look that only serves as a distraction. Gorgeous, versatile lip liners are available from L’Oreal, Revlon, and Clinique.

Mineral makeup messes: Despite the marketing mania surrounding mineral powder foundations, they’re not for everyone. Mineral powder foundations can make lines look more pronounced, and make dry skin look drier -- even with moisturizer underneath. Check out our top picks for other types of foundations here.

Choose colors carefully: Certain eyeshadow and blush shades look out of place and gaudy. Blue, green, purple, or pink should be completely avoided because they will draw attention to your eyes in an old-fashioned way. Looking dated or retro doesn’t work for those looking to achieve a younger appearance. Instead, try eyeshadow in neutral tones like tan, brown, and taupe, and blush in soft pink or pale coral shades; these are universally youthful colors. Also be careful of shine, as it can make wrinkles and sagging around the eyes more apparent.

Fixing foundation folly: Heavy or obvious-looking foundation does not create a younger look, and the same goes for concealer. Go for sheer formulas such as Paula’s Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint SPF 30 ($14.95) or Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($43), and blend, blend, blend.

Foundation advice to avoid: There is no one technique for applying foundation that ensures a younger look. Each person must find the method that works best for them, whether it’s their fingers, a foundation brush, or a sponge. Yes, that does mean trial and error, but it will lead to the best process for you.

Barely blushing blush: Too much blush can be aging, but not enough can make a person appear washed out or sallow. Try to achieve a happy medium by only using a subtle amount of blush that provides the skin with a warm glow. When applying blush, start on the apple of your cheek, which is where most of us naturally “blush.” A blush with a touch of subtle shine can be beautiful; we like NYX Cosmetics Blush ($5) and Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Cream Blush ($24).

Led by best-selling author and beauty expert Paula Begoun, the Paula’s Choice Research Team evaluates and reviews hundreds of skin-care and makeup products, in books such as Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me as well as online at Combining cosmetics industry knowledge and expertise, Paula and her team have developed the Paula’s Choice line of state-of-the-art formulations based on reliable, published skin-care research. Products include skin-care, makeup, body and hair-care products, beauty tools, and accessories. All products are fragrance-free, cruelty free, and environmentally friendly.

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