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Makeup Rules - to follow or not to follow?

Posted May 26 2009 12:00am
"Don't wear bold eyes and bold lips at the same time!"

"Don't use liquid liner under your eyes!"

"Don't EVER wear black lipstick!"

"Don't wear black eyeliner on your waterline! It makes your eyes look smaller!"

"Never pluck the hairs above your eyebrow!"

Makeup "rules" are all over the makeup communities on the Internet but even before you become a makeup junkie and start searching for tips and tricks on the web, you probably come across the rules in other places - especially magazines.

While the majority of the "rules" are great guidelines to follow if you want a natural look, or if you're just starting out with makeup, many of them just limit ourselves and our creativity.
I worked on a shoot with a photographer who didn't want me to do red lips with a semi-dark smokey eye (even though he wanted dramatic makeup for a quite dramatic shoot) because his other stylists always told him that bold lips and bold eyes didn't go together.
Obviously you will not achieve a natural look by doing bold lips and dramatic eyes at the same time but what if it's not a natural look you're going for? In my opinion, you can get away with practically anything as long as you know what you're doing and your tecniques are good enough for it.

Now, I realize that it's easier to create a set of rules or dos and don'ts for people who are just starting out with makeup - rather than start out by teaching them to experiment - 'cus we all know that it's important to have the basics down before we start doing crazy things.
However, I think it's sad that many women think that there is a right and a wrong way to do makeup. I talk to many who keep asking "Oh no, I need to wear that color because of my eyes" or "why do you put eyeliner on the waterline? I don't want small eyes!"

Rather than the magazines dictating what NOT to do I think it would be much nicer to read tips like these:

"If you want a natural look, it's usually better to focus on either the eyes or the lips"

"Try using a pencil eyeliner or even an eyeshadow under your eye to create a softer line than that of a liquid eyeliner"

"Dark lipsticks come of very obvious so you need to use these tecniques ____ for them to work"

"Black eyeliner on the waterline frames the eye and can give a sexy look but it will also close the eye a bit so be a little careful with it"

"Plucking the hairs below the eyebrow rather than above usually gives the most natural look but it's OK to pluck little hairs above for a cleaner look"

I can see that this way of describing things takes up a bit more space in the magazines but is that really why they focus so much on what NOT to do?

Quite frankly, I don't think women are stupid enough to need rules about everything! Many girls and women do ask about rules and right/wrong ways to do makeup, but I think that's because they are used to it being like that. They don't want makeup to be complicated and they think that rules make it easier. I think rules make makeup boring. Breaking the rules is the fun part!

I understand that business women with kids don't have neither the time nor the energy or the interest in doing experimental and creative makeup in the morning and so of course the rules come in handy. The problem is just that these women really see the rules as RULES and not guidelines.

I think I'll start a series of posts about the whole "makeup rule"-thing we have going on - and I'll try to give examples of when it's OK to break the rules :) If anyone would be interested in reading it, that is.

So what do you think?
Do you follow certain makeup rules?
Do you break the rules? And how?
Are posts like these even interesting to read? :)
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