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9 Ways to conquer even the toughest makeup challenges

I'm a pediatric ICU doctor and beauty fanatic. I've been blogging about beauty since 2007, my site features tutorials and reviews with a scientific bent.

How to say goodbye to frustrating makeup challenges

We've all had an embarrassing beauty moment. Whether it was that blemish on your nose before your best friend's wedding or lipstick on your teeth during your big presentation at work, we've all had moments we would love to forget! If you spot one of these makeup mistakes, do you know what to do to fix it in a pinch, or prevent it from happening? Here are nine of the most common makeup mistakes and how to make sure you're putting your best face forward.

1. Dark circles

How to say goodbye to frustrating makeup challenges
Image: Christine Mikesell/SheKnows

Whether it was a bad night of sleep or allergies that that gave you the circles, the end result is the same. Dark circles under your eyes make you look less rested and can age you. Rather than piling on the concealer, which will end up looking cakey and not fully cover the circles, you need to add in a color corrector. You'll need a peach or pink color corrector, and for more pronounced circles, a more vivid corrector will work better. Lightly tap the corrector over the areas of discoloration only, and cover with a very light layer of concealer. Suddenly you look like you got a few extra hours of sleep!

If you notice that your dark circles are showing again later on in the day, you can apply a very light layer of corrector over your makeup. This touch up corrector should be very lightly tinted and just tapped on to the trouble area with a fingertip.

2. Visible jaw line

My skin is particularly difficult to match to foundation, and I seem to always be between shades. One of my biggest beauty fears is a visible line of foundation on my face. Walking around all day with a sharp line of foundation on my jaw is not appealing to me!

To prevent this, you should be sure that you have a good color match for your foundation. Most makeup artists recommend having a new color match done at least twice a year, but you may need to be matched more frequently if you notice big changes in your skin tone. Also, lighter coverage will be much less likely to create that sharp line if it isn't blended well. Whenever you apply your foundation, concentrate your application at the center of your face; and as you go out toward the jawline, apply less product and blend, blend, blend!

If you've already left the house, you can blend away a foundation line with just a tissue. If your makeup is particularly stubborn, a light mist of water or using a damp sponge can make it easier to blend away the excess foundation.

3. Flaky skin under foundation

During the winter, it can be difficult to keep your skin well hydrated. Between much drier air and dramatic temperature changes as you go inside or outside, your skin's hydration level can suffer! If skin becomes particularly dry, it will be itchy and start to flake. It isn't a pretty sight! Add foundation to the mix, and that dry, flaky skin becomes much more obvious.

The best way to prevent flaky skin is to keep it well hydrated. Keep your showers short and use warm water instead of hot water. Apply moisturizer within three minutes of drying off, it helps prevent loss of moisture in your skin to the air. Increasing the humidity in the air of your bedroom can also help, look for a cool mist humidifier to run while you sleep.

When applying your makeup in the morning, if you notice that you have an area that is flaking, there are a few things you can do to minimize the issue. First, a little gentle exfoliation with a washcloth or deep cleansing brush will help to remove any loose skin. You only want to remove the areas that have already lifted up; don't scrub so hard that your skin becomes irritated! Next, apply a slightly heavier moisturizer than normal to the dry area, gently patting it over the dry area. When you apply makeup over this area, you need to stipple the product into place, gently patting it rather than sweeping or buffing with a brush. This keeps skin from lifting up further and making flakes more obvious.

If the dry area becomes flaky again later in the day, you can sometimes pat a light layer of moisturizer over the area to help minimize the flakes.

4. Blemishes and cold sores

They're every teenage girl's worst nightmare, those big red blemishes that feel like they're taking over your face! Unfortunately, many women seem to still suffer from blemishes after their teens and early 20s. While you can't make a blemish disappear completely in a few minutes, with the right makeup application you can minimize their appearance very easily!

Because most blemishes are red, you will need to start with a yellow or green color corrector. I like to use a cream consistency, as those correctors usually have a higher level of pigmentation and will stay put longer over a blemish. Gently pat the corrector on to the blemish with a finger tip, be sure to apply only to the blemish itself. Next, add a light layer of a well pigmented cream concealer that matches your skin tone. Gently pat the concealer into place with your finger or a brush. Set it all with a light patting of translucent powder.

If you have a cold sore to cover up, the process is the same as for a blemish. However, you'll want to first apply a cold sore patch to the sore, which will treat and protect the cold sore all day long. Apply a little corrector if necessary and then light layers of concealer until you are happy with how well the cold sore is hidden. A bright lip color will also help distract the eye from your cold sore.

5. Smudged mascara

How to say goodbye to frustrating makeup challenges
Image: Christine Mikesell/SheKnows

If you routinely suffer from smudges of mascara under your eyes, the problem may not be your mascara. It may be your eye cream. If you are applying a heavy eye cream close to your eyes, as it migrates throughout the day it can dissolve some of your mascara! Try using a lighter eye cream, and apply it a little further from your eye. Mascara that is applied to lower lashes, which frequently touch the skin, is also likely to rub off. Try skipping your lower lash line or only applying mascara to the very base of those lashes.

If you have smudges midday, you can gently blend away the smudge. Try rolling a cotton tip swab over the area to remove the mascara, or gently blend it with a sponge eye shadow applicator to make the smudge look intentional.

6. Midday shine

How to say goodbye to frustrating makeup challenges
Image: Christine Mikesell/SheKnows

No one likes feeling like their face is a mirrorball! Piling on the powder isn't the solution to a shiny T-zone, it will just cake and make your skin look like the makeup has been piled on. To prevent midday shine, look for a shine absorbing foundation primer. Even if you aren't planning to wear foundation, these primers can be worn alone. It will absorb excess oil all day without looking like you have a lot of makeup on. To blot away excess oil, use a blotting paper to absorb the oil and leave your makeup in place. Keep a small pack in your purse so you'll have them always on hand throughout the day!

7. Feathering lipstick

It can be frustrating to spend a lot of time applying a bright lipstick only to have it gradually spread and feather out into fine lines throughout the day. To prevent the feathering and keep your lipstick in place, you'll need an anti-feathering lipliner. These liners are clear and waxy, and anyone can wear them! Rather than applying the liner to your lips, you'll line around the outside of your lip line, effectively creating a dam to keep your lip product in place. Reach for a matte lipstick rather than a shiny gloss, it will be much less likely to travel on to your skin!

8. Creasing eye shadow

It can be disappointing to spend a lot of time applying your eye shadow with precision in the morning, only to have it crease or smudge into a mess by mid-afternoon. You can keep it in place by prepping your eyelid with a shadow primer, rather than a concealer. There are many different versions and colors. I like to use a basic primer that is the same color as my skin for every day use. You can use a white primer to help color shadows appear more vivid, or a black primer to add dimension to darker eye shadows. If you are planning to use a glitter shadow, be sure to prep with a glitter shadow primer, it is stickier and will help to prevent fall out throughout the day.

9. Too much blush or bronzer

How to say goodbye to frustrating makeup challenges
Image: Christine Mikesell/SheKnows

Sometimes, what looks good in the mirror at home can look like a hot mess once you get out into sunlight! For me, the most common issue is too much blush or bronzer. That natural looking flush of color on my cheeks can look a bit clownish out in the real world. While it is tempting to just wipe it off with a tissue, this often just blends the color on your cheeks, creating a big rosy area that isn't flattering. Instead, fold your tissue and use it to gently blot off excess product. A light dusting of translucent powder over the top and things will look much better!

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between Abreva and SheKnows.

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