Is it me, or do we even know what a real face is supposed to look like in real life? Makeup was created to enhance our natural beauty, or so many of us thought.
We’re far from rosying up with a little rouge and brightening up that pesky undereye area. No, today it’s a full-on cosmic transformation that even Sailor Moon would envy. And we’re doing this just to run around the corner to the grocery store.
Note that I am 100% for makeup appreciation and have no problem wandering the aisles of my local ULTA until closing time. But telling from our Instagram feeds, it’s probably time to wash our face (twice), start over with a fresh complexion, and steer clear from these five excessive makeup trends forever.
Bolder Brows Doesn’t Always Mean Better
We’re somehow still in the fleeked out brows phase, and unlike most trends that die off after a decade, this one is hanging on for dear life. It doesn’t help that a lot of these brow gels and stencil kits never turn out the way a neatly waxed, manicured brow does.
Brow gels and stencil kits never turn out the way a neatly waxed, manicured brow does.
A better option for believable brows might be a bit of a splurge, but microblading can be a great option for a fuller, thicker appearance without appearing overdone. This technique involves semi-permanent tattooing of the brow area that mimics your natural strokes of hair. They fade over time but grant long-lasting, lovely brows that won’t need touching up for at least a year. So you can kiss that pot of brow goop goodbye for a good while.
Contouring Has Us All Confused
Because I don’t want anyone to accuse women of catfishing, let’s please talk about this contouring craze already. The first time I ever encountered the technique was in a video of the late Anna Nicole Smith, sitting on her bed with her makeup artist with a half-done face. I was confused at the brown lines all over her face, then I realized she and other celebrities were essentially “sculpting” a new profile using different shades of concealer or foundation.
I admit the technique was pretty clever, until it turned into liquid nose jobs and reshaping foreheads in a sort of plastic surgery effort using a kabuki brush instead of a knife. And if we do a good enough job, we’ll barely recognize the woman staring back at us in the mirror. For this, I blame a culture that’s obsessed with the perfect selfie as filters have us aiming for the perfect face in our photos while forgoing our appearance in reality. Contouring isn’t a sin, but could we go back to a tinge of bronzer on the balls of our cheeks instead of chiseling our faces with a brown Sharpie marker? Natural beauty – enhanced by a little color – should be the goal.
Those Long, Leggy Lashes
Mascara helps make the eye look wider and more awake. Lash extensions can help add drama and flair best saved for those special occasions. But today’s trendy exaggerated lash look doesn't seem to have a point except to be long and excessive, and they take away from your natural beauty no matter who you are. Most women can simply get away with a great volumizing mascara like L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise (a personal favorite). One to two coats of this is worth trying before resorting to freakish falsies that do nothing for your pretty face.
Most women can simply get away with a great volumizing mascara.
Concealer for Full Coverage
Here’s the truth about makeup: It’s not meant to cover every inch of your face. Concealer slathered all over the skin will always look like concealer slathered all over the skin. It doesn’t help that social media makeup artists are often caught erasing their entire faces with it while also promising a “natural” day-to-day look. This defeats the purpose of makeup which is to provide an illusion of a fresh, clear complexion. And while concealer does create that flawless selfie, reality isn’t so forgiving about how chalky you’ll appear. Plus some formulas are tricky to remove without needing several washes, making it a less-than-ideal solution for daily use.
Overlining the Lips for a Faux Filler Look
The person who started this trend should forever be known for ruining class portraits, family photos, and more. Simply put, it’s a painfully obvious attempt at fuller lips. Once again, it’s one of those makeup techniques that looks great in selfies and streams but can be pointed out from a mile away in public. Most of us have a rim around the lips that can’t really be camouflaged or contoured away.
If we really want to discover real beauty, less is often more.
One option is injectable lip fillers, but those should be approached with much research and caution. Most women look best with their natural lips! Other, less invasive options are lip scrubs, which can help stimulate blood flow for a fuller appearance. Or layer a shimmery gloss over a darker matte lip pencil to add some extra dimension without looking like you tried too hard.
A beautiful art of self-expression, makeup can certainly serve as a beacon of confidence. I, for one, look forward to putting my best face forward each day. But makeup wasn’t meant to be a cloak to hide behind. Too many women are sold on the selfie culture that sells the idea that bigger, thicker, and longer is more desirable, when in actuality they’re simply promoting the use of more product that draws us further away from our true aesthetic. There’s most definitely a time to play and explore extravagant looks to be expected at weddings and galas. But if we really want to discover real beauty, less is more.
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