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Ms. Fix it: Expert advice for avoiding big beauty blunders

From over-plucked brows to ultra-pale powder, makeup mishaps happen to the best of us. But when they do, it’s hard not to panic, especially when you have somewhere to be (like work or a hot date). We’re here to say you can stop stressing! We have some great advice for how to avoid some of the biggest beauty mishaps we can think of.

Woman tweezing eyebrows

We asked celebrity makeup artist Tara Loren (who has worked on the famous faces of Zooey Deschanel, Winona Ryder and Amy Poehler, among others) for her best fixes for common beauty blunders.

foundationCakey foundation

Foundation can be a girl’s best friend or worst enemy, depending on how you apply it. Use too much and you’ll end up looking cakey. Rather than go overboard, Loren recommends keeping your foundation light, fresh and clean. “Remember it’s for evening out redness and unevenness in the skin, hiding a couple of blemishes and creating a flawless canvas. It’s not for creating a mask of an entirely new face,” she explains.

Makeup trick: Apply with a light hand and blend, blend, blend. One of Loren’s favorite foundation applicators is the Beauty Blender. “This magical little egg-shaped sponge is used dampened and helps your product go further than a traditional latex sponge, plus it has no hard edges, ensuring a smooth, flawless finish.”

tweezerOver-plucked brows

Despite the vast number of tools, products and professionals aimed at keeping brows expertly shaped, over-plucked arches are still one of the most common mistakes around. Loren suggests putting your brows in the hands of a trusted professional, but she also knows that’s not always an option for everyone. So if you’re opting to shape your brows at home, start slow and really look at what needs to be done before you pick up the tweezers. “Stand back a little from the mirror and really assess the work that needs to be done. When we get too close to ourselves in the mirror, we tend to obsess over every single hair we see which can quickly lead to over plucking,” she explains. If you’ve already overdone it, Loren suggests adding a little fullness back to your brows. “Try not to draw a hard line for a brow, but [rather] feather the product through the gaps and thin areas, recreating that perfect arched brow.”

acne spot creamPopped pimples

This one is simple: Just don’t do it, as tempting as it might be. You’ll likely make the problem worse. “When you attempt to squeeze the life out of those pesky blemishes, you are also creating a potential chance to increase the problem,” says Loren. “That’s because part of the blemish lives below the skin’s surface. When we attempt to ‘pop,’ we often break that blemish in half and only part comes out to the surface. The rest underneath the skin spreads and creates additional blemishes,” she explains. “Instead, try a spot treatment that contains salicylic acid at night to fight the problem areas.”

mascaraClumpy mascara

Even though most women will tell you that mascara is the one beauty product they could never live without, it can still be applied in an unflattering manner. Clumps don’t look good on anyone. “When layering multiple coats of mascara, I prefer not to wait until the previous coat is dry,” says Loren. “This leaves too much of a chance that the lashes will start to clump together and the mascara will get chunky.” What she does instead is layer quickly while the product is still wet, which allows you to comb through your lashes more easily to keep them separated.

fakes lashesPoorly applied false lashes

False eyelashes can add thickness and length to your lashes, giving your eyes a larger appearance or more glamorous effect, but not if you apply them poorly. “One of the biggest mistakes I come across with false lashes is the placement on the eye. Whether you are using strip lashes or individuals, you want to make sure you are applying the base as close to your own lash line as possible,” advises Loren. “The key is to hide that strip so the lashes can blend into your natural ones.”

Expert tip: Her advice is to start with a very thin line of black eyeliner across the top lash line prior to applying the falsies, which creates the illusion of thicker lashes while also hiding the strip. Once you have your false eyelash in place, go over the top with another layer of eyeliner and blend lashes together with your mascara.

Green eyeshadowHarsh eyeshadow

Eyeshadow is a great way to play with color and change your look dramatically, but you want it to look natural, not like something out of a comic book or bad ’80s movie. “One of the biggest eyeshadow offenses I find is unblended shadow with hard edges,” Loren says. “When layering on multiple colors, whether they are your everyday neutrals [or] your fun, bold brights, be sure to blend out any hard edges with a clean, dry shadow brush,” she advises. “You want a seamless finish between colors.”

More beauty tips

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Why you should add highlighters to your makeup bag
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