12 beauty rules you should break
Old rule: Steer clear of blue eye shadows.
Blue shadows get a bad rap for looking tacky. Sure they’re harder to pull off than neutral shades, but it can be done — and with beautiful effect. For fairer complexions, a sheer wash of pastel blue with hints of gray can help enhance eyes, says Petra Strand, founder of Pixi cosmetics. Olive and medium skin tones can handle bejeweled-laden lids, while darker skin tones can get away with rich, vibrant pops of statement blues. Experiment with a palette, like Yves Saint Laurent Ombres 5 Lumieres 5 Colour Harmony for Eyes in 5 Riviera ($51, amazon.com), that houses a wide range, from dusty blue to navy.
If you’ve got a stunning pair of baby blue eyes, avoid matching the shadow to your irises. Pair a pastel with dark blue eyes and navy with lighter eyes for contrast.
Old rule: Wear bronzer only in summer.
While a sun-kissed glow is more believable in the summer, you can still warm up an ashen complexion with the right dose of bronzer during dreary months. “To ensure that it looks natural, use bronzer sparingly and build up rather,” says Strand. “Lightly buff across the highest points of the face [the bridge of the nose and cheekbones], the décolletage, ears, and the back of hands for continuity.”
To create a more natural look, Strand recommends a larger fluffy brush, as smaller ones are denser and tend to go on heavier in application. Lastly, save the mattes for the summer since they have a deeper effect. Opt for light-reflecting shimmers, instead. A great matte tan to try is Laura Geller Baked Impressions Bronzer ($38, qvc.com). For shimmery bronzers, Strand likes Pixi Beauty Bronzer ($21, pixibeauty.com).
Old rule: Don’t pair a smoky eye with a bold lip.
Heavy lids and a bright lip can look … frightening. The trick to nailing that fine line between “just right” and “too much” boils down to using the right medley of colors. Avoid black shadow — it may add drama, but it’s too harsh and can easily overpower your look. Ease into a smoky eye with a neutral color. Sweep all over the lid with an added concentration of pigment on the outer edges. Blend upward and out to lessen intensity.
The best thing about a less dramatic smoky eye is it allows for a plethora of lip options. Stumped? Try one of Strand’s favorite eye-lip combinations: anthracite grey shadow with a berry stain, bronze or copper eyes with siren-red lips, midnight blue with a pink pucker, or emerald with a coral pout.
Old rule: Match foundation to your jawline.
If you’ve been told that painting vertical shades along your jawline is the foolproof method to finding the best foundation match, listen up: Your jawline’s angular shape can cause unintentional shadows, leading to an inaccurate, too-dark shade.
The best indicator? Your chest. The goal is to find a shade that seamlessly blends into your natural skin tone — and matches the rest of your body, says Strand. The chest is the only other area that’s exposed to the same amount of sunlight as the face. By matching your base to your chest’s skin tone, you won’t risk looking ghostly pale or unnaturally dark. Your best bet in finding the perfect shade is to test an extensive range of shades. Try L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable makeup ($10, amazon.com) — the line boasts a whopping number of 23 foundation colors.
Old rule: Face oils are bad for skin.
When you think of oils, “shine,” “grease” and “clogged pores” tend come to mind. Rubbing in oil seems counterintuitive, but it can actually help normalize the skin’s oil-water balance to keep it silky and supple. Aside from hormonal and environmental factors, one culprit that throws skin off balance is its reliance on drying skin care products, says Jaime Olander, Dr. Hauschka’s Skin Care US Esthetics Trainer. “The skin over-produces oil, and our natural instinct is to apply a product that dries that oil out,” she says. “But ultimately that’s really just adding fuel to the fire.”
To help restore balance, Olander recommends a light layer of non-clogging face oil, like Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil, ($34, amazon.com). It may sound like an oxymoron, but a blend of plant oils in their purest forms won’t plug up pores. Some superstar plant and botanical extracts include: anthyllis, calendula, jojoba, and sweet almond oils.
Old rule: If you’ve got fine hair, stick with a blunt cut.
Straight-edge, blunt hairstyles tend to be the go-to cuts for those with baby-fine locks because they create the illusion of density. But don’t rule out layers just yet. Layers are famous for taking the weight out of thick, coarse tresses, but depending on how they’re cut, they can also add volume.
“Use layers to promote volume by cutting pieces into the hair,” says Edward Tricomi, master stylist and co-owner of Warren-Tricomi Salons, who is a proponent of dry cutting when it comes to adding layers. “The shorter strands help boost volume under longer hairs.” At the salon, ask the stylist for a lift with the help of short — not long — layers.
Old rule: Pluck brow hairs only below your arch.
To create a lift, you do need to tweeze below the brow, says Joey Healy, celebrity eyebrow stylist. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect the top. A clean up above the arch helps give your brows their shape. Without a proper cleaning, they can look unkempt. “You want a nice thick brow,” says Healy. “But there’s a difference between thick and polished, and thick and messy.” Limit the shaping to plucking strays. Don’t go overboard — aggressively shaping the brows can flatten them, leaving you without arches.
Old rule: Use a diagram to find your brow shape.
The old-school graph to determine your brows involves three markers to pinpoint your desired brow shape: the outer edge of your nostril, where the outer edge of the nose and your iris meet, and where the outer edge of the nose and outer corner of eye meet.
“That diagram doesn’t work,” says Healy. “If it did, everyone would have perfect eyebrows.” One rule that does work: The brow must begin at the bridge of the nose — not at the outer edge of the nostril. “Some people have wider noses, and if their brows started [at the nostril], their brows would be spaced too far apart,” he adds. The arch should roughly be two-thirds into the brow. And finally, you can extend the length of the tail — as long as it doesn’t end lower than the beginning of the brow, “otherwise, they can make your eyes look droopy,” he warns.
Old rule: Eye shadows and brow powders are interchangeable.
The telltale sign of a high quality eye shadow is its ability to blend well. The problem with applying eye shadow on your brows is that it will blend right out. “Eye shadows are more likely to be chalky, and they’re not waterproof, which means they’ll wear out unevenly,” says Healy. “It becomes painfully obvious that it’s unnatural.” Instead, invest in a brow powder or pencil in the same shade as your hair color. They’re designed to stay put, from morning to night. Healy’s budge-proof brow powders ($28, joeyhealy.com) help fill in any holes and enhance the brow shape.
Old rule: Glitter polish is reserved for young girls.
With the rising popularity of nail art, all sorts of colors and textures are yours for the taking. But if you’re feeling uneasy, forego the chunky sparkles and rainbow brights. “For an older woman, she can still enjoy this trend, but I’d recommend taking a more conservative approach,” says Sally Hansen Nail Ambassador, Tracylee. “Use a finer glitter polish that’s a bit more discreet.” Pick soft sheen in a more neutral color, like rose gold, copper, silver, or gold. And if a perfect 10 is a tad too bright, try a hint of glitter on one accent nail or as a French tip. Tracylee recommends Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in “Disco Ball” ($4, drugstore.com).