Experts Say You Don't Realize You're Making These Hair & Makeup Mistakes

And here’s how to solve them.

Written by BDG Commerce
Originally Published: 
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While it’s true that professional hair and makeup artists are beyond gifted at their crafts, there is some method behind the magic that even us non-pros can incorporate into our at-home routines. Sometimes, those methods are as simple as reworking the processes or replacing the products that aren’t serving us.

According to the dozens of professional hair stylists and makeup artists we consulted for this article, experts say you don’t realize you’re making these hair and makeup mistakes — and their easy fixes will take your beauty regimen to the next level.


Mistake: Applying Makeup In Bad Lighting

Solution: This Travel-Friendly, Light-Up Makeup Mirror

Allison Kaye, a celebrity makeup and hair artist who also specializes in pageants and TV makeup, says that “applying makeup in bad lighting” is one of the biggest makeup mistakes she sees people make. Her solution is simple: Invest in a light-up makeup mirror, like this one, which mimics natural light even in darker settings. It folds down into the size of about an iPad, so it’s travel-friendly, too.


Mistake: Being Messy With Your Bottom Mascara

Solution: This Under-Eye Mascara Shield

Kaye also cautions against “being messy with your bottom mascara.” To avoid flakes and smudges under your eyes, she says to “use a mascara guard so you don’t get any [mascara] on your skin.” At just about $7 on Amazon, this simple pink tool is a no-brainer purchase.


Mistake: Uneven Winged Eyeliner

Solution: This Genius Cat Eye Stamp

Kaye says “uneven winged eyeliner” is another mistake she often sees. Her hack? “Use a winged eyeliner stamp to ensure both sides are the same!” This double-sided eyeliner stamp is waterproof, smudge-proof, and long-lasting, and makes quick work of achieving a flawless cat eye with ease. No wonder it has over 15,000 perfect five-star reviews on Amazon.


Or, These Under-Eye Patches That Catch Eyeshadow Fallout, Too

Under-eye shields, like these, are another product you can use to avoid mascara smudges under your eyes. They’re also great for catching eyeshadow fallout, and you can use them as a stencil to achieve a pro-level eyeliner/eyeshadow look, too. You’ll get 120 patches in this $7 order from Amazon.


Mistake: Using A Brush To Set Your Under-Eye Concealer

Solution: Opting For A Velour Puff Instead

Makeup artist Judi Gabbay says it’s a mistake to “[Use] a brush to set your under eye concealer,” which can sometime sresult in “pulling product away or not allowing your under eyes to last as long.” Instead, she suggests using a velour puff to press powder in for all-day wear. This pack of six goes for just $7 on Amazon, making it an amazing value. You can use them for all types of makeup, too.


Mistake: Not Hydrating Your Hair Enough (Especially In The Winter)

Solution: This Hair Oil Mist With Hyaluronic Acid

Lisa Abbey, a professional hairstylist and the founder/CEO of Strength x Beauty, says “Not hydrating enough (especially in winter)” is a common mistake people make in both their hair and skin care routines. “A hydrating primer mist with hyaluronic acid or a leave-in conditioner will balance moisture levels, lock in hydration to your hair [and] skin and help your other products absorb more evenly.” Hopefully, you’re already using a hydrating serum and moisturizer on your skin, but admittedly, many of us probably aren’t delivering enough hydration to our hair. NatureLab’s Perfect Shine Oil Mist is a great option for dry, thirsty hair as it’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, per Abbey’s advice, as well as pearl extract and grape stem cells to leave hair looking shinier and feeling healthier.


Mistake: Using Dirty Makeup Brushes

Solution: This Makeup Brush & Beauty Sponge Cleaner

“Using dirty makeup brushes can be problematic, firstly because of the bacteria that you can transfer into your makeup and spread around your face, and secondly because you don't get a true color payoff when your brushes have other product pigments still in them,” says celebrity makeup artist and brand founder Jenny Patinkin of a common mistake. Her simple but essential solution? “Wash your brushes and makeup blenders at least once a week.” All you need is a brush cleaner like this one from EcoTools, which can be used on makeup sponges as well. As for the method you choose to apply to clean your brushes (e.g., using an electric brush cleaner or a silicone mat), that’s a matter of personal preference.


Mistake: Damaging Your Hair With A Flat Iron

Solution: Using A Heat Protectant Before Styling Your Hair With Hot Tools

“Another solution [to avoiding damage when using hot tools] is using a heat protectant,” adds Jones, who says that the Frizz Block Smoothing Spray from Virtue Labs is his go-to product. Though it’s currently sold out on Amazon, any heat protectant will do — like this one from amika, which not onlt protects against heat, but also leaves hair smooth, shiny, and soft.


Mistake: Using Hot Tools Too Frequently

Solution: Opting For Velcro Rollers Instead

Sara Clemente, a hair stylist and extension specialist at Warren Tricomi Salon, says that “using hot tools every day on your hair to create volume or freshen up a blowdry,” is a common mistake. Instead, she suggests opting for Velcro rollers, which she calls “fantastic for when your hair is dry and you need a little touch up. [They will] add bounce, and volume back within seconds.”


Mistake: Not Mixing A Clarifying Shampoo Into Your Routine

Solution: Using A Clarifying Shampoo Once Every Week Or Two

Hair stylist and groomer Maggie Connolly, who is a Mane Addicts Artist, calls “Not mixing a clarifying shampoo into your washing routine” a mistake. She explains, “Your hair adjusts to the shampoo you use and it starts to buildup on your hair. Ever notice that a shampoo you loved doesn’t make your hair look shiny or full?” Luckily, the solution couldn’t be simpler: “Depending on how often you wash your hair, give your hair a wash with a clarifying shampoo about once a month. If you really want to get rid of product buildup, also give your scalp a scrub with a scalp brush in the shower when washing your hair.” ACURE’s clarifying shampoo is sulfate-free, vegan, less than $10, and made of mostly plant-derived ingredients, making it a great choice for everyone.


Mistake: Using A Flat Iron That’s Too Hot

Solution: This Flat Iron That Reaches An Optimal 365 Degrees

“The average modern day flat iron reaches temps up to 450 degrees. Most people find the hotter the iron, the better it works, but what they’re left with is dry, damaged ends resulting in breakage,” explains hairstylist Chris Jones, who is also the co-founder of Salon Bugatti and a Virtue Ambassador. “A great solution is the Platinum Plus flat iron from GHD. It does not come with an adjustable thermostat, preventing people from turning it up to unsafe temperatures. GHD has determined that 365 degrees is the hottest an iron needs to be to properly smooth the hair without damaging.” So, if you’re committed to your straightening routine but want to eliminate the risk of damage, this is the tool for you.


Mistake: Brushing Wet Hair With The Wrong Type Of Brush

Solution: The Wet Brush

According to Jones, “When our hair is wet, it’s actually in its most fragile state. Detangling wet hair with a hard bristle brush can lead to split ends, even breakage.” This common mistake has a simple solution: Invest in a hair brush that’s designed to be gentle on wet hair. “My go-to brush for detangling is by The Wet Brush, says Jones. “Rather than having firm, hard plastic bristles, The Wet Brush has soft pliable bristles that are gentle and forgiving on wet hair. Rather than ripping through tangles, this brushes bristles bend and glide over the tangle, preventing damage to the hair. A few simple passes and the tangles work out with ease.” To make detangling an even less painful and more gentle process, he recommends applying some leave-in conditioner before brushing.

Michael Dueñas, a celebrity hairstylist and founder of Veluer Creative, echoes Jones’ advice: He says it’s a mistake to use a comb to detangle wet hair, as it “causes breakage and unnecessary stretching of the hair,” and also suggests using a Wet Brush.


Mistake: Using A Too-Dark Brow Pencil

Solution: This Best-Selling Brow Pencil That Comes In 12 Shades

Courtney Hart, a makeup artist and beauty expert, says that “using a brow pencil that is too dark” is a common mistake people make. “A dark brow can look heavy and unnatural. That is why even on people who have very dark or black hair I start using a brow pencil or powder that is a bit lighter and in a cool tone....think an ash or neutral brown. Next, add just a bit of color that matches the tone of your brows to add depth,” she advises. Since NYX’s brow pencil comes in so many shades — including ‘Ash Blonde,’ ‘Auburn,’ ‘Gray, and ‘Cool Ash Brown’ — it’s a great option for anyone looking to put Hart’s technique to the test.

  • Available shades: 12


Mistake: Using Your Bronzer To Contour

Solution: Opting For A Product That Was Designed Specifically For Contouring

Hart also says that using your bronzer to contour is another makeup mistake people often make. “Contouring is meant to create shadow and shape to the face. Some bronzers are too warm for this. Use products made specifically for contouring,” she advises of this simple but effective tip. Another great product from NYX, their dual-sided contouring stick has a darker side for shaping and defining the face, and a lighter, shimmery side for highlighting and brightening. Choose from eight shades to suit most complexions.

  • Available shades: 8


Mistake: Teasing Or Backcombing Your Hair For Volume

Solution: This Clever, Volume-Boosting Hair Iron

Luna Viola, an LA-based editorial and celebrity hairstylist, says “Teasing or backcombing is not recommended as it goes against the direction of the cuticles and completely strips the cuticle cells from the hair fibre.” Instead, Viola says, “Using a Voloom Hair Volumizing Iron is a great method to avoid those mistakes. It is long lasting and gives you volume without the damaging effects of traditional teasing.” This is a must for anyone who loves the look of big-bodied, voluminous hair.


Mistake: Brushing Your Hair Incorrectly When It's Wet, Or Brushing From The Roots Down

Solution: This Pro-Favorite Hair Brush That’s Designed For Detangling

Viola says that “Brushing your hair incorrectly when it's wet or brushing from the roots down” is another mistake as “[it can cause hair breakage.” “Proper hair brushing technique involves starting from the ends of your hair, brushing gently section by section until you reach the roots. Using a boar bristle paddle brush is great on all hair types. The Aveda Paddle hair brush is beautifully designed for detangling,” Viola says of her go-to brush.


Or, Invest In This Brush Cleaner That Dries Brushes, Too

And speaking of methods for cleaning your makeup brushes — if you dread the process (and often find yourself putting it off), make your life easier by investing in an automatic makeup brush cleaner, like this one. Not only does it clean your brushes on its own, but it dries them, too. Over 9,000 Amazon reviewers swear by it, including one professional who wrote, “As a makeup artist, cleaning brushes can be a hassle and honestly take hours. [...] This concoction is a miracle worker and is genius. It is so easy to use and cleans brushes FAST - I mean in like 15 seconds or less AND they come out completely DRY! I can now wash all my brushes in a matter of minutes and this is a huge time saver between clients and you know that the brushes are actually being thoroughly cleaned. 100% would recommend to other artists or anyone who does their makeup!”


Mistake: Not Prepping Your Skin With Enough Moisture Before Applying Makeup

Solution: This Super-Nourishing Face Cream

Patinkin also says “Not prepping your skin with enough moisture before applying your products” is a mistake as it “can make your foundation and blush look patchy and dull.” She stresses the importance of “[using] a moisturizer under your makeup, or a moisturizing primer if you prefer, even if you have oily skin,” as your skin will look smoother, your pores will look smaller, and your products will blend in more easily. She suggests Naturium’s Plant Ceramide Rich Moisture Cream, which is rich in barrier-strengthening ceramides and leaves skin feeling hydrated and smooth. It’s great for both morning and nighttime use, too.


Mistake: Not Prepping Your Skin Before Glam

Solution: This Cult-Classic French Moisturizer & Skin Primer

Gabbay says that “not prepping your skin before glam,” is another common mistake, and she suggests the cult-favorite Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, which serves as both a moisturizer and primer in one. This iconic French pharmacy cream has been used by makeup artists for decades to prep clients’ skin before going in with makeup, and it also makes a lovely moisturizer for both daytime and nighttime use.


Mistake: Not Cleansing Your Beauty Sponges Between Using

Solution: This Solid Sponge Cleaner That Was Designed For This Specific Task

Gabbay names “Not cleansing your beauty sponge after use,” as one more makeup mistake, as it can leave bacteria on both your sponge and your face. Her solution is the “BeautyBlender BlenderCleanser Lavender Solid for cleaning makeup sponges. [It] Gets out stubborn foundations and even doubles as a brush cleaner!”


Mistake: Not Using A Heat Protectant

Solution: This Detangling Leave-In Conditioner That Protects Against Heat, Too

Like Jones, Tylor Johnson, hair colorist and founder of Nous, says that “not using a heat protectant” is a major mistake. “If there is only one product that you use after your shampoo and conditioner while your hair is still wet, it should be a heat protectant. I recommend using a lightweight detangler with a heat protectant built in directly after the shower,” adds Johnson, who recommends the OUAI Leave-In Conditioner in particular, as it detangles, smooths, moisturizes, and offers protection against temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, it smells amazing.


Mistake: Not Brushing Your Hair Enough

Solution: This Pro-Favorite Detangling Brush With A Cult Following On Amazon

“Not brushing your hair enough,” is another mistake, according to Johnson. “Brushing your hair while it's dry is one of the best things you can do for healthy hair. It stimulates the scalp which can speed up hair growth as well as helps distribute oils from your scalp to the rest of the hair which creates shine and adds natural moisture to the ends. I love a gentle detangling brush like this one,” she says of the best-selling Crave Naturals Detangling Brush, which has been awarded over 45,000 (!!!) five-star Amazon ratings thus far. It’s a particular favorite with parents, as it makes detangling knots a truly painless process. A must-have if you, or your children, have curly, tangle-prone hair.


Mistake: Using A Regular Bath Towel To Dry Your Hair

Solution: Using A Gentle Microfiber Hair Towel Instead

Celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak says “using a normal bath towel on your hair” is a mistake, and stresses the importance of using a towel that was specifically designed for hair instead. “There is a HUGE difference in using a lightweight ‘hair towel’ vs a regular terry cloth bath towel, especially when you want to air dry your hair or enhance the natural texture of your hair. Traditional bath towels are heavy on the hair and can not only rough up your natural texture but weigh it down from the weight of the towel. Hair towels are made of high absorbent material and help to keep the integrity of your natural hair formation/texture,” she explains. Her top pick is the VOLO Hero hair towel, which is an Allure Best Of Beauty Winner and a beauty expert favorite, thanks to its super-soft feel and superior moisture-absorbing abilities.


Or, Snag These Microfiber Hair Towels For Less Than $10

Jennifer Korab, a celebrity and editorial hairstylist, agrees with Roszak on the importance of using a hair-specific towel. She says, “Using a regular towel can cause friction in the hair creating more frizz [...] Use a microfiber towel instead. These towels absorb moisture without causing friction.” While Roszak’s top pick is the VOLO hair towel, it is quite pricey. If you’re looking to spend a bit (okay, a lot) less, consider this two-pack of microfiber hair towels, which is a best-seller on Amazon with over 35,000 five-star ratings.


Mistake: Using A Brush With Beads Or Balls On The Bristles

Solution: Using A Metal Bristle Brush Instead

Roszak mentions another hair mistake, which is “using a brush with little beads or balls at the tips of the bristles,” as “these beads can cause damage to the hair by breaking and snagging hair.” Instead, she suggests “[trying] a metal bristle brush and ALWAYS brush hair through in the shower with conditioner on. Brush hair, starting at the ends and work your way up the hair shaft. This helps to detangle without breakage! The knots usually form from the ends, starting there is key.”


Mistake: Using An Old Eyelash Curler

Solution: This Lash Curler That Comes With Extra Refill Pads

Paige Pelfrey, a Mane Addicts makeup artist, says “damaging your eyelashes from using an old lash curler” is an all-too common mistake. Her advice? “As soon as you feel the tension of the curler change and you feel that you’re applying more pressure to curl, it’s definitely time to replace the pads in the curler. Order refills on Amazon to ensure you get a proper curl without damaging your lashes.” This $10 order from Brilliant Beauty gets you not only the brand’s best-selling lash curler, but two refill pads, as well. When you’ve gone through these pads, you can pick up this 24-pack of refills for just $7.


Mistake: Not Maintaining Your Hair Color Between Salon Visits

Solution: This Color-Depositing Shampoo

“One of the biggest mistakes I see clients make is not using products at home to help maintain their professional hair color,” says Jamie Mazzei, creative director for NuBest Salon & Spa in Manhasset, NY. “Hair color fade is one of the biggest concerns my clients have; they spend time and money in our salon and they want that professional color to last as long as possible, but then don’t take the steps needed at home to prolong their color. I recommend a daily color-depositing shampoo and color-depositing conditioner daily in the shower to stop hair from fading. Celeb Luxury Colorwash Shampoo and Celeb Luxury Colorwash Conditioner will keep your color salon-fresh regardless of what color you choose, and it will extend the time between your hair color appointments at the salon and save you money. Celeb Luxury is also plant based, vegan and damage-free so you can feel great about that too.”


Mistake: Sleeping On A Cotton Pillowcase

Solution: Sleeping In A Silk Hair Bonnet

Celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble says that sleeping on cotton can dry out your hair, leading to hair that becomes lackluster. Instead, she suggests “Sleeping on a silk pillowcase or silk hair bonnet,” such as the Slumber Cap Night Bonnet from her namesake line. The super-soft bonnet, which is adorned with decorative lace on the outside, is big enough to cover a whole head of rollers, long hair, and protective styles.


Or, Sleep On A Silk Pillowcase Instead

Or, instead of a silk bonnet, you can opt for a silk pillowcase like Kimble also suggested. Hair stylist and groomer Sienree Du, who is a Mane Addicts Artist, echoes Kimble’s advice. She says, “Cotton is made to absorb, meaning it will absorb all of your fancy nighttime skin care you spend all your money on, and all the moisture from your hair which can cause breakage and frizz,” which is why she, too, suggests sleeping on a silk pillowcase instead.


Mistake: Using Mineral Oil-Based Skin & Hair Oils

Solution: This Hair Oil With A Squalane Base

Du says it’s a mistake to use “beauty oils that are mineral oil based,” as “mineral oils do not penetrate your skin and hair but only add a coating since the molecule structure doesn't allow it to.” Instead, Du says, “Make sure you use a plant-based oil like coconut, roseship, or squalene.” This hair oil, from Jonathan Van Ness’ JVN line, has a squalane base, and also contains coconut oil, as well as scalp-stimulating rosemary extract, anti-inflammatory turmeric extract, and various other plant-derived oils and extracts. You can use this both on your scalp (before shampooing) or on the ends of your hair (after shampooing).


Mistake: Re-using Product On Edges That Already Have Product On Them

Solution: The Water, Brush, & Wrap Hack

Sabrina Rowe Holdsworth, a celebrity hairstylist and founder of NTRL by Sabs, says it’s a mistake if “you're re-using product on edges that already have product on them.” Her advice? “Instead of re-applying more product to your edges, try rehydrating them with a bit of water and brush them with an edge brush and then wrap again. Odds are you already have enough product [on your edges] to get another use out of.”


The Edge Scarf You’ll Need For The Aforementioned Hack

After brushing your edges per Holdsworth’s advice, wrap them with a satin scarf that was designed for use on edges, like this one. The $8 order comes with two scarves, and can also be handy for sleeping in a wig, holding your hair back as you do makeup, or simply worn for fashionable purposes.


Mistake: Switching Between Eyeshadow Colors With The Same Brush

Solution: This Brush Cleaning Mat That Doesn’t Require Water

“One of the most common mistakes when doing a makeup look is to use a dirty brush with a different color from the one you intended to use,” says Dr. Simone Xavier, co-founder of Sigma Beauty. “I’ve lost count of how many times I ruined my eye look by using a dirty brush. That is why I created the Sigma Switch, a double-sided mat that features soft silicone textures designed to gently remove powder, cream, and liquid products from your makeup brush without using water or instant brush cleansers. With this tool, you can switch shades instantly without switching brushes.”


Mistake: Neglecting Your Hair’s Health From The Inside

Solution: Taking A Daily Multivitamin With Biotin

“Internal hair damage happens when we aren’t taking care of our bodies on the inside, which affects the health of our hair on the outside,” explains celebrity hairstylist Jamie Wiley. of one of the less obvious mistakes we may be making in relation to our hair. “The lack of nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc, B vitamins, iron, biotin, and protein may slow down hair growth or even cause hair loss. Fortunately, correcting a deficiency in any of these will help promote healthy hair growth.” As a solution, Wiley says, “Try adding a multivitamin that has biotin to your routine to enhance the health of your hair from the inside.” These multivitamins from Olly contain vitamins A, D, C, and E, as well as biotin and folic acid. Best of all, they taste like gummy candies.

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