I discovered my passion for makeup during a time in which tutorials, blogs, and reviews were nonexistent. As a young girl, I remember picking up little makeup tidbits here and there, and they've stuck with me ever since. Rituals like my mother blotting her red lipstick or my aunt ever-so-lightly tapping her cream blush onto her cheekbones. But, most of the makeup I eventually did on myself was self-taught through trial and (lots of) error.
While I've definitely come a long way, I still have certain makeup mishaps on a daily basis. So, when I had the opportunity to speak to Melissa Murdick, the makeup artist behind Selena Gomez's videos for her latest album, Rare, I leaped at the chance to finally get some answers. Below, I'm sharing the master makeup artist's expert solutions on everything from creased concealer to uneven winged eyeliner.
Mishap #1: Sunglasses Marks On My Nose
There's an unspoken understanding among glasses-wearers—we're all subject to those marks on our noses, especially when foundation is involved. I had always accepted my fate that as long as I wear prescription glasses or sunglasses, I'll be destined to have those pesky marks—that is, until now. Murdick taught me otherwise. "The best way to combat glasses marks on your nose is to simply apply your makeup a bit thinner there," she says. "Most of the time, people put on too much foundation and powder in an area that doesn’t actually require that much coverage." And while seeing a small red mark is a bit unavoidable, she advises, "if you can see big dents in the makeup, it's a telltale sign you've applied too much product."
Mishap #2: Streaky Foundation
While I'm more of a beauty sponge gal, I'll be the first to reach for a makeup brush when my sponge has seen better days (cleanliness-wise, that is). Unfortunately, though, because my skin is so dry, makeup brushes tend to cause foundation to look streaky, like exposed brush strokes on a painting. Sounds nice for an art piece, but not the look I'm going for with my makeup. Murdick says the amount of primer used underneath foundation can be the cause of a streaky base. "If you use too much primer, you actually create too slick a surface for the makeup to grab onto and you'll end up with streaks," she explains. "Less than a pea-sized amount for your whole face is all you need." She goes on to explain how not using the correct primer and foundation combination can also cause this issue. Her advice? Avoid using a water-based foundation over top of a silicone-based primer.
Mishap #3: Unruly Brow Hairs
Misbehaving brow hairs is a beauty mishap I've been dealing with since early adulthood, especially in between eyebrow appointments. Murdick's genius application tip for ensuring brow gel sets is to use your fingers to press down on the hairs to hold them in place as the brow gel dries (just like you would hold your curl in place to let it cool after using a curling iron). And if you're looking for an alternative to brow gel, she says "a more heavy duty, waxy product like Soap Brows is strong enough to work with coarser brow hairs."
Mishap #4: Cracked Matte Lipstick
Liquid lipstick is a formula I wish my dry lips were equipped for. No amount of lip polish or balm can prepare me for what inevitably becomes a dry, flaky disaster. Murdick says simply switching up the formulation used will make all the difference. "Someone who wants to have a long-wearing matte lip look but has lips on the drier side is better off using a matte lip pencil like the Nars' Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil," she recommends. "A pencil contains more waxes and oils than a liquid lipstick, which will prevent your lips from looking so dry."
Mishap #5: Creased Concealer
Through age and probably a lack of sleep, it seems as though my under-eye area has accumulated fine lines over the years. This often results in concealer settling in between those lines, causing creasing (and face-palms on my end). Murdick has an entire tutorial on how to stop concealer from creasing underneath yout eyes on her website, The Pretty Fix (which is an incredible resource). She explains how placement and amount of product are the key things to consider. "First, make sure you aren’t bringing your foundation up under your eyes, as most foundations are too silicone-based, and create a slick surface concealer tends to move around on." She adds, "applying too much product is a major recipe for creasing, so I recommend building up the concealer exactly where you need it (where that dark hollow near your inner eye is) in light layers." Finally, a lightweight translucent powder applied in a pressing motion (versus sweeping back and forth) will set the product in place.
Mishap #6: Foundation Flashback in Photos
Whether it be my entire face or my under eye area, I'll admit I've had my fair share of flashback issues. Usually, when I know I'll be taking photos, I stick to a few foundations I'm sure won't cause flashback. Still, I decided to pick Murdick's brain on what to look for in other products so that I can have more variety in my options (and not let flashback fear get in the way of my photo opp). "I honestly believe most of the flashback I see comes from the light-reflective ingredients common in most makeup products (like mica), combined with layering on tons of these products together," she explains. "If you can’t cut back on the amount of product you are putting on, try avoiding concealers and powders that have the word ‘illuminating’ or any other phrases that lead you to believe they will have more of these light-reflecting particles in them."
Mishap #7: Foundation Transfer
It's a vicious cycle with my foundation: If I don't set it with translucent powder, it transfers, but if I do, it accentuates my dry skin. I was sure Murdick would advise me to amp up the hydration in my skincare routine, but her advice was to choose a different primer."Primer can create a barrier between your skin and your makeup, which will help it last longer (and your skin won't absorb the makeup in search of moisture)," Murdick explains. And unlike translucent powder (which she says to only apply a small amount of), being generous with a dewy setting spray will help set everything in place.
Mishap #8: Caked-On Foundation in Small Areas
My foundation has the tendency to cake up in crevices I didn't even know existed (namely the sides of my nose). But, Murdick says to use a patting motion while applying your makeup to help tamper down the flakes. In contrast, doing a downward stroke (similar to how you would put on foundation) can tend to exacerbate dry skin even more.
Mishap #9: Uneven Winged Eyeliner
Ah, winged eyeliner. Applying it properly has taken me over a year to master, and even still, I have off-days. For Murdick, it's all about experimenting with and choosing the correct formula. Some find a felt-tip pen easiest, while others choose gel-pot eyeliner as their product of choice. Murdick recommends identifying if it's easier for you to draw the wing or line the middle of your eye first. "Personally, I find I get even wings when I draw those first, and line the eye second, but it's all personal preference," she says. Bottom line, practice truly makes perfect. Oh, and don't be afraid of cotton swabs. "I have been doing makeup for 16 years, and I still use them plenty!" she says.