Make-up Myths, Pt 1: Complexion
Make-up Myths, Pt 1: Complexion
KJ Bennett

by Kevin James Bennett

I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve heard someone offer up make-up tips that caused me to blurt out an astonished “What?! Who told you that?” Thanks to the Internet and social media, everyone has access to lots and lots of information. The problem is that much of it is misinformation, which tells me that it’s time to address some of the most common make-up myths. Let’s get started:

MYTH—You should find your perfect foundation color by matching product to your cheek, hand or wrist.

REALITY CHECK—Foundation must match your neck and, if exposed, your chest. Due to exposure and environmental stresses, the skin on our face tends to be a slightly different color in depth and/or tone than the rest of our body. The colors of the face, neck and chest need to be matched perfectly for make-up to appear flawless. So, where is the best place to test for the correct foundation color? The chin or jawline, checking to see how well it matches the neck directly below it.

MYTH—Use a darker foundation to make you look tan.

REALITY CHECK—Absolutely not! Wearing too-dark foundation will only make you look like you’re wearing the wrong color make-up. How many times have you seen people with suspicious lines on their jaws or hairlines where their “tan” ends? To create a tanned appearance, apply a powder or cream bronzer high on the forehead/hairline, the tops of the cheeks, the bridge of the nose and the chin. These are the areas of the face that the sun naturally hits first. St. Tropez Wash Off Instant Glow (Face or Body versions) or Urban Decay Baked Bronzer for Face and Body are great for temporary face and body bronzing. They apply and remove easily, have a natural look and, most importantly, don’t force you to commit to a self-tanner.

MYTH—Mineral make-up is better/safer because minerals are natural.

REALITY CHECK—All cosmetics contain minerals, but mineral make-up is not always 100 percent natural. Mineral pigments are used in almost every type of make-up, giving products most of their color. Mineral make-up manufacturers sometimes claim that their products are purer and safer than standard cosmetics because they omit many man-made ingredients, but that’s not the case across the board. Many people don’t realize that some of these “natural” cosmetics contain synthetic ingredients such as bismuth oxychloride, which can irritate sensitive skin and aggravate cystic acne; boron nitride, a man-made chemical that can cause rashes and nasal inflammation; and even dreaded parabens (which, for the record, have never conclusively been proven harmful).
The bottom line? Step away from the hype and read ingredient listings carefully if you have a skin condition.

MYTH—Using concealer one shade lighter than your foundation will disguise under-eye circles.

REALITY CHECK—Concealer that’s noticeably lighter than your natural skin color will highlight the area and actually accentuate darkness. Your concealer should closely match your skin or foundation to effectively hide minor discoloration. If under-eye circles are excessive, you’ll want to experiment with color correctors underneath your concealer to neutralize the discoloration. Peachy colors will neutralize common purple or gray undertones. Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer is specially designed to address this particular concern and the Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Palette, Corrector Shades can be used to address under-eye circles and many other skin discolorations like rosacea, hormonal masking and melasma.

MYTH—Spray mineral water or toner on make-up to set or refresh it.

REALITY CHECK—Spraying water or toner on your make-up can do far more damage than good. A mist of water or toner can streak foundation, powder and mascara. Products such as Skindinavia or Model in a Bottle are formulated with quick-drying sealing agents that set make-up without disturbing or dissolving it.

The only safe way to use a toner to freshen your make-up is as a quick make-up remover. You can use a cotton pad dampened with alcohol-free toner to remove that top layer of played-out foundation or concealer, but be aware that it won’t remove your make-up completely. It will remove surface debris and create a cleaner surface for you to re-apply foundation. Fortunately, some smart companies are making no-rinse make-up removers, so when you’re on the go you can clean away ALL of the old make-up and reapply without rinsing. One of my faves is Embryolisse Lotion Micellare.

MYTH—You should use lighter and darker foundations to contour the shape of your face (nose, cheeks, chin, etc.).

REALITY CHECK—Up close and in person, people can tell when you’ve overdone the corrective shading with foundations. Highlighting alone is often enough to create the appearance of natural contouring. Benefit Cosmetics High Beam and Moon Beam do the job very nicely without looking like shimmer or glitter. You can even mix a touch of highlight into your existing foundation to give it a subtle lift that will define the tops of cheekbones.

Be careful, because contouring is an advanced skill. If you don’t carefully blend your highlights and contours, you’ll look like you have stripes on your face. Smashbox has a Step By Step Contour Kit that takes the guesswork out of the process. And remember: bronzer and blush are accents, not contour products.

Check back in a few weeks for Make-up Myths—Part 2: Color Cosmetics. And remember that you can always send me questions at [email protected].