When it comes to makeup, most of us stumbled through it in high school, pairing unsightly shadows with lip liner and a little too much foundation. As a card-carrying member of the Tragic Makeup Tribe, there are a few beauty lessons I’ve learned in the latter years that I wish I could’ve shared with my younger self when it counted (i.e. every school portrait between 7th grade and senior year.) So, whether you need some tips for your teenage daughter or a good laugh at some beauty faux pas you’re probably guilty of committing, here are 7 beauty mantras you should’ve lived by then, and/or adopt now:
1. Step away from the tweezers. Your brows should have some density—those paper thin arches are not doing you any justice! Instead of plucking your brows into oblivion, focus on plucking those few stray hairs instead. And your brows should have some structure. That whole inverted half-moon shape isn’t flattering on anyone.
2. Stop trying to scrub away your blemishes. If your skin is irritated in anyway, scrubbing with aggressive exfoliants will only make matters worse. Avoid “popping” pimples and ditch your face scrub for a gentle cleanser instead. Try using tea tree oil on the blemish in the mean time.
3. Face cream isn’t an “extra step” or just for special occasions. Whether you have oily skin or not, your skin overproduces oil when it doesn’t receive proper hydration. And, just because your skin is oily doesn’t mean that it’s moisturized. Find a gel-based cream and use it often—like, everyday, twice a day.
4. Foundation, concealer and powder are not for everyday wear. Beauty that looks effortless is the best kind of beauty. If you look like your spent three hours putting on your face, then you’ve done too much. Chances are, at 15, you don’t need full coverage foundation. Try spot treating instead and blending with your favorite beauty sponge.
5. Ditch the pastel powder shadows. Girl—no. Just, no. If you absolutely must rock powder blue, find a warm hue that suits you and try to concentrate it on your lower lid instead of blending it up into your crease.
6. Lip gloss is not the same as lip balm. If your lips are dry, applying a glossy sheen over them isn’t going to make them any less chapped. Exfoliate and try again.
7. Dark liner on your lower waterline just makes you look tired—and older. You’ll have the rest of your life to age and look exhausted—cherish that collagen, supple skin and bag-less eyes. You’ll start to miss all of those perks by the time those college loans hit. Ditch your black liner for a nude liner instead.
8. Take care of your skin. Mastering a makeup technique is cool, but not if your skincare regimen is non-existent. Good makeup is useless without a canvas that’s well cared for.