6 Makeup Rules That May Not Work for You

Published in: Guest Post, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

Makeup Rules

Are you sure you need that eyelash curler?

When it comes to rules, I think that most people fall into one of three categories…

  1. Those who follow the rules religiously, without questioning.
  2. Those who never follow the rules, just because they’re rules — you know, the rebels.
  3. And those who follow the rules only when they think it’s the right thing to do.

Personally, I belong to the third group, but sometimes, especially makeup-wise, after hearing countless times that I should or shouldn’t do something a certain way, I feel like I temporarily lose my ability to judge for myself what works and what doesn’t work for me. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this!


So today I’d like to remind you (and myself) that some makeup rules don’t always apply to everyone. You can follow, or ignore, any rules that you want.

Let’s see what some of these rules are, shall we?

1. Curling your lashes

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

After hearing dozens of makeup artists and beauty gurus say that I had to curl my lashes, a few years ago I got a Shu Uemura curler and started using it without objection until, one day, I decided to skip the curling step and go straight to mascara.

I realized that my lashes actually looked better! I have short lashes, and if I curl them, they look even shorter! I don’t know if it’s because my particular eye shape doesn’t allow me to get as close to the lid as I’d like, but all I can tell you is that it just doesn’t work for me.

2. Using very light under-eye concealer

Deborah Milano Radiance Creator Highlighting Concealer

Deborah Milano Radiance Creator Highlighting Concealer in 01 Light

These days, it’s pretty common to use a very light concealer to highlight the under-eye area, and I think it does look good on some people, but if you’re as dark under your eyes as I am, chances are your dark circles will just end up looking grey and stand out more.

Not cool!

3. Contouring with cool-toned products

Diego Dalla Palma Contouring Palette

Diego Dalla Palma Contouring Palette

We hear all the time that we should contour using cool-toned powders or creams because it’s the best way to mimic natural shadows on the face. As a general rule, I completely agree with that, but sometimes cool-toned products can look ashy and muddy on very warm skin tones. In those cases, it might be better to use a product with neutral or even slightly warm undertones. Only experimenting will tell you what’s best for you.

4. Applying nude liner on the waterlines

Neve Cosmetics Pastello Occhi Eyeliner Avorio Beige

Neve Cosmetics Pastello Occhi Natural Eyeliner in Avorio/Beige

How many times have you heard that applying nude liner on the waterlines will make your eyes look bigger?? But what if you already have fairly big eyes to begin with? I can tell you from personal experience that it looks pretty unflattering.


5. Setting everything with powder

puroBIO Indissoluble Compact Powder

puroBIO Indissoluble Compact Powder in 01

Having oily skin, I’ve always thought that I just had to use powder all over my face. But since I also use matte foundations, I recently realized that all I was doing was adding a powdery layer that would just sit on top of a foundation that had already set itself.

Lately, I’ve been setting with powder only the areas where I’ve used concealer and the center of my forehead, which is my oiliest spot. Adiós, powdery face!

6. Using cool-toned brow products

Nabla Brow Divine Uranus

NABLA Brow Divine in Uranus

I hear so many people say that brow products should be cool-toned, but in my opinion it really depends on your hair color. If your hair has warm undertones, your brows should have them too, methinks.

What about you, my friend? Are there any beauty rules that you think work for most people, but not for you?

Carolina Braina

Hey, ladies (and gents), it’s Carolina here, reporting live from Bologna, Italy, to bring you the latest and greatest in beauty from the good ol’ continent! For an extra dose of that timeless Italian glam with a touch of humor and self-irony (because, you know, laughter is the best makeup), come say hi at carolinapage.eu and Instagram.


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 23 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Stephanie Smith says:

    Curling your lashes, yes! It never looks good when I do it. Mascara on bottom lashes, not good on me.

  2. CrystalCandy says:

    I can’t live without my eyelash curler!! I do agree about the brows though, always match the undertones with the hair color!
    CrystalCandy recently posted … Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Brow Pens

  3. laura says:

    Oh my ! It’s the first time I hear someone who agrees with me about not curling lashes. I tried it but I just don’t get it: it makes no difference at all on me and, I suppose, on a lot of other people too.
    By the way Carolina, I love every one of your articles here. It’s a real pleasure reading you.
    We’re sorta neighbors cause I live in southern France!

  4. Chris25 says:

    I’m so with you. Makeup guidelines or so-called tried and true tips are great to consider, especially if you’re new to makeup, but if it doesn’t work for you, there’s no reason to pretend otherwise.
    Chris25 recently posted … Review: CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation in Golden Tan

  5. Chelsea says:

    I don’t curl my lashes either! I realized it looked silly because my lashes curl a bit on their own! Totally agreed on light undereye concealer, it’s not flattering on me, I get the greyish look. I go for something that matches my base.

  6. Fran says:

    I think it’s good to question the ‘rules’, especially since no one really has any authority to issue makeup ‘rules’, anyway! There may be some techniques that work for lots of people, but I doubt that there’s anything that suits everyone.

    I agree with you that the color, depth, and undertones of contour and brow products need to be individualized. I actually have difficulty finding products that are cool enough for my undertones! And I quit curling my lashes every day because it was causing some of them to break. My lashes curl a little bit naturally; it does look extra-good when I curl them, but it only lasts for a couple of hours, even if set with waterproof mascara, so now I save lash-curling for special occasions. And I match my undereye concealer to my skin rather than going lighter; I just think it looks better on me that way. So I think you’re onto something here!

    I totally ignore the makeup advice directed at older women; a lot of it is flat-out wrong, is actually quite *unflattering* on me personally and seems more calculated to make older women disappear into invisibility. I’ll keep on wearing shiny eyeshadows and bright lipsticks as long as I think they look good on me, thank you very much! That’s what gets me the compliments, so apparently I’m not the only person who thinks it looks good 🙂

  7. I thought very hard about that, but no makeup rules I don’t follow come to mind, at least none that you haven’t already mentioned. But maybe this is because I never really cared about the rules in makeup? Which is strange, because I usually make a point to know all the rules.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … What´s in my hospital bag – the second time around

  8. saba says:

    OMG Love this post!!! I thought I was missing out on something by not curling my lashes… I’ve tried it and honestly FOR ME it doesn’t make too much difference! Amazing post!

  9. Aj says:

    I love to curl my lashes b/c while my lashes are long, most of them are straight and some of them even point down which is not good if you wear contacts. So, I kinda have to, but I love the effect curling my lashes does.
    I definitely agree with the second one, I don’t use a lighter concealer b/c while it looks fine on the second half of the undereye area, it looks gray on the first half. Especially near the tear duct area.
    I also don’t follow the rule of don’t wear black eyeliner on your waterline. I wear black liner in my waterline because my eyes are big, and I don’t think it really makes them smaller. I also don’t wear nude liner b/c I think it’s not flattering on me.

  10. Tatiana says:

    1. I rarely curl my lashes. Don’t really like the way it looks. I never put mascara on my bottom lashes because they are freakishly long compared to my top lashes. Go figure. 2. Yup, too light of under eye concealer and I go gray. 3. I just don’t contour. Ever. 4. I never put anything on my waterline. The thought of an eye infection or stye just turns me off. 5. I only powder my T-zone when I’m using something that looks especially dewy or it’s really hot out. 6. I do use cool toned brow products because my natural hair color is ashy. Yup, I’m a rule breaker almost the entire way!

  11. Rachel R. says:

    Rules that don’t work on me: “Older woman should only wear mattes.” I’ve adapted my makeup to my aging skin and to keep up with the times, but I think I look better with at least some shimmer. I frequently use sparkly products and even glitter. “Older women should only wear neutrals (or specifically, rosy brown neutrals).” I like neutrals and especially rosy neutrals, actually. However: I LOVE color. I look good in color. I’m not going to fade into the background just because our youth-obsessed culture thinks I’m past my prime and wants to ignore me. “Hooded eyes should only wear matte eye shadows.” I wear shimmers in my crease all the time. I just keep the shades dark enough and apply in a shape that doesn’t bring the hood forward. In general, I don’t like “rules” to makeup. I think it should be fun. I don’t think there is anything that works for everyone.

  12. Katherine says:

    I completely agree about curling eyelashes. I have slightly curling eyelashes anyway, and to be honest I don’t like the idea of poking around at my eyes. Plus, if my sporadic attempts to curl my hair are any guide, it wouldn’t last long.

    Other rules… 1) Not using dark eyeliner on small eyes. Honestly, I find that my trusty Blacktrack opens up my eyes more than any pale colour. Perhaps it’s because my eyes are so dark. 2) False lashes. I can’t even. Just no. I tried them once and got the hood of my hooded eyes stuck together – and that was with professional application. 3) Lining the waterline. This looks great on other people, but makes my eyes run like crazy. 4) Only cool tones for cool-toned skin. Some of my favourite products are warm-toned and Satin Taupe (to take one example) makes me look like I’ve taken a blow to the face, combined with a deathly case of the plague – this makes me so sad because it’s such a beautiful colour. 5) 90% of all makeup advice for hooded/monolid eyes. So much of it seems to either mean just wearing eyeliner or to presume you’ve got a crease anyway. I’m only gradually learning to do more complex eyeshadow looks because most of the tutorials/techniques just don’t work for me. Most of the time, I just wear a bright or neutral eyeshadow all the way up to the edge of my eye socket where my crease would be, and then blended like crazy along that line. I also get pretty fed-up with advice that presumes I want to fake a crease or otherwise hide the fact that my eyes are the shape they are. My eye shape isn’t a defect and I won’t treat it like one.

    Whew. That was a bit of a rant at the end there. There are probably other makeup rules which I break (or which I’m unaware of), but that last one irritates me.

  13. Floz says:

    Totally second all of these! Curling my lashes does nothing for me…
    Another rule I break is that I don’t generally match my foundation to my face/jawline. My face is paler than the rest of my body (I am always wearing sunscreen because of rosacea) so it looks way more natural to match my chest, despite what department store assistants seem to think!
    I love learning about makeup rules and guidelines, but have learned over time that the mirror or camera is the truest judge of what really suits me best 👍
    Floz recently posted … Quick Tips – refreshing your hair without dry shampoo

  14. Michelle says:

    I love these rules you don’t necessarily have to follow. So, here’s my HUGE issue that I’ve been honestly trying to rack my mind around. I’ve got some dark circles under my eyes, so I’ve tried using a similar toned concealer as my skin even eye correctors, and I still see it, and sometimes I look better without a concealer. I still wanna cover it up though, what should I do?

    • Amanda says:

      I have hereditary dark eye circles. Every sin shows around my eyes. I’ve learned to embrace a *little* bit of shadow at the expense of crease-free undereyes. On days when I feel really rough, I’ll pat in some Bobbi Brown corrector followed by a light application of Urban Decay Naked Weightless Concealer, let it set a bit, then dab it with a damp beauty blender. Some days are just better than others 😉

    • I do the exact same things Amanda wrote in her comment: I apply Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach followed by a flesh-toned lightweight concealer and accept the fact that I’ll probably never be able to hide my dark circles completely.
      Carolina Braina recently posted … March 2016: Current Crushes and OH MY GAWD

  15. India says:

    I look terrible when contouring with a cool toned product, I always get people who give me a look when I say that but it’s so true!
    India recently posted … Madelines | My first try+tips

  16. I would belong to category 2 whenever the word ‘rule’ comes up, especially if it’s some makeup newbie 20yr olds. I’ve been shopping makeup for longer than they’ve lived, so it’s hard to take some of these little girls seriously.

    I don’t curl my lashes, and never even owned an eyelash curler in my life. I am curly haired. Everywhere. Lol.

    I don’t also conceal, and like the look of a cool-toned brow against a warmer complexion and orangey hair. So much for rules.
    TravelingBlush recently posted … MAC Ellie Goulding Halcyon Palette: Review and Swatches

  17. So true! I ABSOLUTELY need setting powder or else everything everything will just slide off my butterstick face, but this rule doesn’t apply to everyone.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Derma E Soothing Toner

  18. Erin says:

    I prefer neutral brow products!
    Erin recently posted … March Favorites

  19. denise S says:

    I agree with all of your exceptions! I own three eyelash curlers and they do nothing for me! My lashes have a slight curl already.Light concealer emphasizes my dark circles! I have to use two colors so far one similar to my complexion and a slightly darker one . I tried so many nude,cream,white ,tan eye liner pencils looking to get”that bright eyed look” OMG i look like I’ve been crying , lol. They don’t look good on me. Cool contours look muddy on my golden skin! And I also need to be careful with powders. I use them strategically. Mature women should wear matte eyeshadows never worked for me they make me look older! I need shimmer at least!! Most nude lipsticks make me look washed out! I need color on my lips even with a bright eye look!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge