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You've probably worn some awful makeup at some point in your life -- you know, the kind that looks gross and cakey instead of barely there. Cheap makeup just isn't worth the bargain if it makes you look worse, instead of showing off your best features. Make a deal with a couple pals that you'll always tell each other if your makeup looks bad. Remember, too, bad makeup can also be unhealthy for your skin.
Using too much makeup creates a major fashion flaw -- the trying-too-hard look. If you've rimmed your eyes with a thick layer of liner, then applied dark mascara and slicked on a red lipstick, you've gone too far. Christina Aguilera might get away with this look, but few other celebs dare try. If you're going for a vampire look, this will totally work for you, but if not, stick to more natural tones or use more intense makeup on just one feature. Also choose shades that look good with your natural skin tone. For example, if you have rosy skin, your lipsticks and blushes should have a rosy hue, not an orange one.
Thick, cakey foundations, powders and shadows are a big "no." Try applying less foundation, making a small dab go further, or applying less powder to your brush. Ditto for cutting down on the touch-ups, which can cake on that powder. Use oil-absorbing sheets instead. You might try mineral makeup, which can have lots of benefits when used lightly, like looking barely there, giving your skin a glow and filling in fine lines. Avoid frosted makeup if you're not in your teens or early 20s, because the tiny particles will settle into your skin and highlight imperfections. If you want a subtle shine, choose shimmer shadow that uses finely ground mica for a more natural sheen.
Bad makeup can give you acne, but the acne can take a while to develop, so you might not realize it comes from the makeup, says Melanie Vasseur in her book "Under My Skin." The makeup puts oils into the skin, clogging pores. Makeup can give you acne even if you never had acne, and makeup can also make acne last long after your teen years. Worse, women may use more makeup to cover the blemishes, making the acne worse.
Worst (and Best) Ingredients
Read your makeup's ingredient lists, and steer clear of products containing fatty acids, isopropyl myristate, butyl stearate and lanolin. Surprisingly, the less-common mineral oil is just fine. Remember that oil-free and hypo-allergenic labels often lie. Oil-free, for instance, may just mean the product contains no natural oils. Meanwhile the product may be loaded with synthetic oils, which can make skin problems worse. Mineral makeup might soothe your skin and even out your complexion, especially if it contains pure silk, but remember that everyone's skin is different. Makeup that works well for your pals might not work for you, and vice versa. If at first you don't succeed, try again using a high-quality brand with an ingredient list that checks out fine.