How to Solve Your Biggest Makeup Problems

Sometimes makeup can become a complete mess. From flakey foundation to smudging lipstick, here is a list of easy tips and affordable products to fix all your makeup woes. 

Elena Meuse, QDT Intern
4-minute read

Does your...

Makeup smudge and melt off? Try a primer!

If you’ve ever checked your face in the middle of the day to see an oily, streaky mess, then try a primer. Makeup primers work to create a smooth, even surface for your makeup to go on top of, helping it apply evenly and last all day! You can find a variety of affordable primers at your local drugstore. Use a mattifying primer on your t-zone to control oily skin and an eye shadow primer on your eyelids to keep makeup from smudging and creasing.

Makeup flake off? Get a setting spray!

Opposite to oily skin is dry skin that flakes off leaving foundation bumpy and uneven. In this case a primer can also be somewhat helpful, but for a quick fix, try a setting spray. You simply spritz the setting spray over your finished makeup to give your look extra staying power and a subtle dewy finish. You can reapply it throughout the day to refresh your skin and keep foundation in place. While many setting sprays run a little on the pricey side, more and more have been appearing in the drugstore from companies like ELF and L’Oreal!

Foundation look “cakey"? Use a wet sponge!

Another common dry skin complaint is foundation that looks heavy and unnatural. If you want the full coverage of a liquid foundation while still maintaining a natural-looking finish, there’s a simple trick that can help. Use a damp sponge to gently dab foundation onto your skin. The extra moisture will help the foundation blend better, and you can layer on additional product more evenly. For the best results, check your local drug store for egg-shaped sponges with rounded edges that help blend foundation flawlessly. Another alternative is to rip a normal cosmetic wedge in half and use the rough edge created to apply foundation giving skin a more natural finish.

Eye shadow look dull? Apply a base!

If you’ve ever bought a bright, bold eye shadow only to be sorely disappointed when it barely shows  up on your skin, try using a base to make the color more opaque! An eye shadow base can be either a cream eye shadow or just a particularly creamy eyeliner pencil – basically anything that remains a little tacky after application. You can choose either a similar shade to your desired eye shadow or a lighter one of a similar tone (ex. yellow under green, pink under purple.) A perfect, universal base is a matte white color – it’ll work with everything! Simply apply the base to your lid and blend it with your finger. Then, pat (don’t rub) the eye shadow right on top of the base. It’ll stick to it and show up much brighter than it would otherwise!

Lipstick accentuate chapped lips? Try a lip scrub!

Dark lipstick looks great in the winter (and all year round, of course!) but dry, chapped lips can make it look uneven. This can easily be fixed by exfoliating before applying lipstick. There are plenty of fun lip exfoliators on the market as well as great recipes for you to create your own, but another even simpler method is to just use a toothbrush! Simply rub your toothbrush gently across your lips to remove any dry skin and follow up immediately with a lip balm. You’ll have a perfect, smooth surface to apply your lipstick!

Lipstick smudge? Use the lip pop trick!

Another pitfall of dark lipstick is it can get everywhere! Matte lipsticks, especially matte liquid lipsticks, tend to be a safer bet when it comes to dark colors because they dry down on your lips and stay in place. However, if you love a glossy finish, use the finger pop trick to keep lipstick from smearing all over your teeth. After your lipstick is applied, place a clean finger inside your mouth and purse your lips around it. Pull the finger out (your mouth should make a small popping sound). The excess makeup on the sides of your lips will come off on your finger, instead of your teeth. For lipstick that smudges outside of your lip line, use a small brush to trace the outside edge of your lips with translucent powder after applying your lipstick. It’ll create a border that will help prevent product from feathering outside of your lip line.

Concealer not match your foundation? Check out the triangle technique!

You may have heard that a lighter concealer can help brighten the area under your eyes, but merely applying it directly to under eye bags can look a bit unnatural. To get the subtle highlight you’re looking for, apply your concealer in a triangular motion starting in your inner corner and blending out into the middle of your face.  Follow up with a light powder to set the concealer. This will brighten your whole face instead of creating awkward bright circles under your eyes. 

Makeup cause irritation and breakouts? Protect products from bacteria!

This is a tricky one because there are so many factors that can contribute to breakouts and everyone’s skin is different. Some ingredients such as fragrance and mineral oil are often problematic, but an even more common culprit is the bacteria that grow in products overtime. Wash your makeup brushes often with either a mild soap or brush cleaner. Replace cosmetic sponges frequently (or wash more expensive sponges with a combination of coconut oil and dish soap).  Throw out old makeup – anything that’s changed smell, consistency, or has merely passed its expiration date may no longer be safe to use on your skin. Also avoid storing makeup in the bathroom – the steam from the shower fosters bacteria growth and will make your products go bad faster. 

Check out more QDT beauty tips here!