We may have given up on the quest for eternal youth the same time we stopped believing in Disney movies, but our quest for looking eternally young is a different story. Namely, if it will (naturally, gracefully) delay aging in any way, give it to us—sooner rather than later, thanks. (Speaking of which: the evil queen in Snow White? We’ve all done crazy things in the name of wrinkle-free skin. We feel for her.)
Unfortunately, while we spend our paychecks on cutting-edge plumping serums and rejuvenating masks, it turns out that there are certain things in our beauty routine that cancel them out. In other words, your makeup and hair routines may be secretly ruining your efforts to stay as youthful-looking as possible. But don’t freak out just yet—we’re here for you. Keep scrolling for eight common beauty mistakes that might be making you look older than you are—and then fix them ASAP.
Unless you’re Lily Collins or Cara Delevingne, chances are your brows could benefit from a brow pencil. Why? Most makeup artists would tell you that thin, arched brows are actually a dead giveaway of age, while full, bushy brows à la Delevingne signify youth. Not sure which pencil is for you? We suggest The Browgal Skinny Eyebrow Pencil ($23)—the waxy tip is perfect for blending, and the spoolie on the other end will soften any harsh lines.
Need a visual? Here’s our step-by-step guide.
If fine lines are the bane of your existence, allow us to introduce you to your new best friend: primer. Most primers are made with plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid and silicone that fill in your wrinkles and provide a smooth, airbrushed canvas for your foundation.
If you’re plagued by dark circles and under-eye bags, don’t just pile on the concealer with abandon; overapplying can cause it to cake under your eyes and draw more attention to problem spots. Instead, try using a primer with brightening, smoothing ingredients first, like Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer ($44), and then applying a thin layer of concealer with a brush. Then, follow with concealer (here’s a step-by-step visual if you need one).
Time for a wake-up call: Your lazy attitude toward maintaining your hair color is aging you. Dull, flat, one-dimensional hair color can make you look older, and according to this study, healthy (as in, shiny, bouncy, glossy) hair signifies health and fertility. To keep your strands vibrant between salon visits, try an at-home gloss, like Rita Hazan Ultimate Shine Gloss ($26), or go to the salon for a gloss (we like Joico Lumishine Treatment)—your strands will shine like new, without the price tag of a new dye job.
The two biggest foundation mistakes? Not choosing the right color, and not blending correctly. For the former, here’s a foolproof guide to always ensuring you’re buying the right foundation for your skin tone. For the latter, we suggest using a beauty sponge, like Wander Beauty Wander Cushion ($12). Just wet, squeeze out the excess water, dip the sponge into your foundation, and bounce and tap it around your face for a flawless canvas.
A makeup artist once told us that harsh, thick eyeliner will age you like none other, especially if you only apply it to your bottom lash line. Think about it this way: Why would you want to add more shadow to that already-annoying area? Instead, choose a creamy, silky pencil, like Jillian Dempsey Khôl Eyeliner ($20), and then blend into your lash line softly. Or, just line your waterline to define your eyes in a subtle way.
Blush is supposed to look like a natural, youthful flush, so don’t overdo things by choosing a too-bright color or powdery (or worse: glittery) finish. A buildable cream blush, like Rituel de Fille Inner Glow Cream Blush ($24), is the easiest way to add a touch of color and dewiness. Apply with your fingers or with a brush—either way, the color will look completely natural.
Need help? Here’s our visual guide on how to apply cream blush like a pro.
According to hairstylists, stick-straight strands and blunt ends can make your face appear “heavy” and actually sag your features. Instead, ask your stylist for long layers, soft volume, and lots of movement to help frame your face and soften harsh lines. Click here to see the haircuts celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend recommends for stick-straight strands.
Heads-up: Dark, ashy colors can actually bring out gray, ashy tones in your skin. Instead, opt for warm tones (think caramels, instead of taupes) and face-framing highlights to brighten your skin and make you look more awake. Here’s some L.A.-inspired hair color inspiration, along with eight other things your colorist wishes you’d stop doing.
Speaking of looking younger, here’s how Chriselle Lim keeps her skin looking youthful, sans Botox.
This post was originally published on November 5, 2014, and has since been updated.