What to Do When Your Makeup Just Isn’t Looking Right

Have you ever looked in the mirror after doing your makeup and thought: “Why isn’t my makeup looking right today?” My hunch is that we’ve all experienced this. But there are definitely some things we can do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

There are eight different things that could be the most likely culprits causing our makeup to look less than its very best. Any one of these things could easily sabotage our makeup look and in this article and the accompanying video I’ll share all of these possible culprits with you. And I think you’ll be surprised by the last one!

Culprit #1: Lack of Sleep

Our skin makes new collagen as we sleep, so if we don’t get enough sleep our skin can appear dehydrated which makes fine lines more visible – especially under the eyes where the skin is thinner. Lack of sleep can also be responsible for eye redness, swollen eyes, darker circles and even more droopy corners of our mouth.

Aging affects sleep primarily due to changes in our body’s circadian rhythms, physiological needs and the reduction in the production of melatonin and growth hormone. These changes contribute to a more fragmented sleep cycle and a decrease in deep or restorative sleep.

But, thankfully, there are a number of things we can do as we get older that will improve our sleep. I’m sure you’re familiar with many of them, but here are a few tips to improve our sleep that might surprise you:

Don’t read from a backlit device before bedtime. If you like to read from a tablet or other electronic device, switch to an e-reader that requires an additional light source.

Since we become more sensitive to noise, light and heat as we age, make sure your sleep environment fits what your body needs.

If you nap, nap early in the afternoon for no more than 15-45 minutes.

Avoid foods high in sugar and carbs such as white bread, white rice, pasta and French fries before bed since they can cause wakefulness at night and prevent you from having enough deep, restorative stages of sleep.

Avoid alcohol, because rather than being a relaxant, alcohol actually disrupts our sleep.

And what helps us sleep the most as we get older? According to a Northwestern University study, it’s aerobic exercise.

For a complete list of tips to help us sleep better as we get older, here’s an article you might want to check out.

Culprit #2: Dirty Makeup Brushes

Dirty brushes mean that our makeup won’t apply and blend as easily since the brush bristles are already coated with other product. This also causes the bristles to be stiffer which can irritate our skin. And the more trouble we have applying and blending our makeup, the longer it takes to apply our makeup. Plus, there’s one other very important reason to keep our makeup brushes clean.

Dirty brushes spread dirt and bacteria from our face to our makeup, then back to our face. Makeup brushes accumulate dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution and bacteria. And the bacteria can include staphylococcus, streptococcus, e. coli, fungus and viruses. An Australian woman actually contracted a staph infection after sharing makeup brushes with a friend which left her paralyzed in the legs and arms.

Culprit #3: Skipping Exfoliation

When we exfoliate, we create smooth skin. And smooth skin translates to more even-textured skin. And smooth, even-textured skin means that our makeup adheres to and sits on our skin much better. Exfoliating also removes flaky patches which can make our foundation look splotchy, cakey or be more likely to settle into fine lines.

My favorite exfoliator is Tatcha’s Rice Polish exfoliator because it not only does a wonderful job of exfoliating the skin, but it also leaves my face feeling soft and smooth. There are four different varieties of this product for different skin types. “Classic” is for combination to dry skin; “Gentle” is for dry to mature skin, “Calming” is for sensitive skin and “Deep” is for combination to oily skin.

Culprit #4: Peach Fuzz

When we apply makeup over these fine hairs, it can cause our makeup to pile or look cakey. Shaving off the peach fuzz can ensure that our makeup layers seamlessly on our face. Another incentive to shave our face is those dark chin hairs that seem to pop up overnight.

The product I use to shave my face is one I absolutely won’t do without. It’s the Flawless Touch Finishing razor. What I love about this product is that it’s safe, very effective and is so quick and easy to use.

Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Culprit #5: Neglecting Facial Skin

One easy thing we can do to pamper our skin is to steam our face. Simply fill a bowl with boiled water and add some drops of your favorite essential oil. Steam your face for a few minutes by leaning over the bowl with a towel over your head to trap the steam. Or, you could put the oil on a washcloth or sponge in the shower.

The steam opens our pores and allows our skin to drink up the healing oil while also filling our house with some amazing scent. Lavender, chamomile and sandalwood are all good for dry skin, but skip the chamomile if you have ragweed allergies. For oily skin, try rosemary, geranium or neroli.

Also consider applying a face mask from time to time. Masks are a great addition to any skincare routine because they can help us target the specific skin care concerns we have. For instance, they can help hydrate the skin, remove excess oils or help improve the appearance of pores.

And there are some great masks for specific concerns. An excellent one for redness is Caudalie’s Vinosource Hydra Moisturizing Mask. For very dry skin try EltaMD’s Skin Recovery Night Mask. For dullness check out Kate Somerville’s Mega C 30% Vitamin C Brightening Facial and a great all around mask is Shani Darden’s Signature Nourishing Facial Mask.

Culprit #6: Seasonal Products

The primers, foundation and moisturizers we use each season make a difference because our skin always responds to weather conditions. For instance, in the summer we might want to switch to lighter weight moisturizers and foundations. We might also want to use a more sweatproof satin or matte foundation rather than a glowy one. Respectively, in the winter we might want to use a richer moisturizer.

Culprit #7: Food

What we put into our bodies also affects our makeup. The biggest culprits are:

alcohol, which causes inflammation and dehydrates the skin;

sugar, which contributes to oxidation that damages the skin cells;

refined carbohydrates, which turn to sugar in the body and cause insulin like responses;

and deli meats, bacon and sausage which are linked to inflammation, especially in the gut.

Whenever I wake up with puffiness under my eyes, I know I’ve had too much salt because salt causes us to retain water and the area around the eye is especially susceptible to this effect since the skin is thin and delicate.

Culprit #8 May Surprise You!

And this last culprit – the one that might surprise you the most – may even seem counterintuitive. It’s using too many products or too much of any one product – such as moisturizer – under our makeup. This can be especially important if we have dry skin because our tendency is to slather on that moisturizer.

But applying too much moisturizer causes subsequent products such as foundation or blush to literally disappear into the moisturizer or slide off our skin. It can also make our skin sticky and dull. In addition, it’s very important to let our moisturizer sink in and completely dry before applying other products on top of it.

I hope these tips will help ensure that your makeup will always look its very best!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Would any of the culprits mentioned in this article be the most likely cause of your makeup not looking its best? Have you discovered any other culprits that sabotage your makeup look?

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