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Skincare and makeup myths (BUSTED!)

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There are many myths about makeup and skincare that are not true and can be misleading. This article will bust some of these myths and provide you with the truth about makeup.

Commonly believed makeup myths — busted! 

The online world might offer a lot of advice about makeup application, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that all of this advice is reliable. On the contrary, too many makeup tips can simply be parroted without much thought to checking how true they are.

Below are several examples of myths about cosmetics and details of where the truth actually lies. These revelations have been sourced from people who are genuinely focused on makeup rather than, well, making it up.

Skincare and makeup myths (BUSTED!)

Myth 1: “Makeup gives you acne”

The Swirlster website suggests that this could be “the most common myth out there” when it comes to makeup.  Some people believe wearing makeup will give them acne.

There are plenty of people who wear makeup all day long and it doesn’t cause them to get acne!  So it’s not a hard truth that if you wear makeup you will get acne.

Lots of things can cause acne including diet.  For me, when I switched to a plant-based diet and cut out dairy, my skin drastically cleared up, almost completely!  As did switching to natural beauty products.  I also notice my spots coming back when I get stressed or if I  eat a lot of oily, high fat and high sugar food, so I keep this in check.  And, I always get a few spots just before my period (thanks hormones).

What about Acne Cosmetica?

However, it’s not totally a made-up thing as there is a condition called ‘acne cosmetica’ which is caused by makeup!  

This doesn’t affect everyone though, so it’s not a hard truth that all makeup gives you acne, just some products for some people.  And there are some skincare tips and steps you can take to prevent it which include:

  • Choose makeup carefully.  Opt for high-quality ingredients and those labelled oil-free or non-comedogenic if you are prone to acne or breakouts.  Non-comedogenic ingredients won’t clog or block your pores.  Use lighter products instead of thicker heavier foundations.

  • Do not use expired makeup.  Yep, makeup has an expiry date just like food!  You can usually find this on the back of the product, a little lid symbol with a number of months, usually 6m or 12m.  This means you shouldn’t use the product after six months or after 12 months.  It’s different for each product, but bacteria will start to grow on makeup so take note of these expiry dates to protect your skin.

  • Clean your face morning and night.  Use a gentle cleaner or a cleanser aimed at sensitive skin to prevent further irritation.

  • Ensure your makeup is thoroughly removed.  But be gentle!  Don’t over-scrub your face and irritate it.

  • Do not share makeup with others.  This increases the chance of bacteria developing on your makeup and being spread from person to person.

  • Clean your makeup brushes.  Again, bacteria will form on the makeup residue, so make sure you clean them thoroughly.

  • Stop using the products causing acne.  Give your skin a chance to heal and when you’re ready to try again, make sure it’s with a different product.  You can get some products to help with acne, but expect it to take from 4-8 weeks to see improvement.  You’ll need ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and adapalene.  

  • Or go all-natural and see if this works for you. Stop using the acne-causing makeup and wait to see if the acne clears up naturally, using some of the tips I’ve shared above too (dairy-free diet, no junk food or sugary foods, natural skincare products only for sensitive skin).

So it might not be the actual makeup products that are causing acne cosmetica in some people, but rather not removing makeup properly, using questionable products with questionable ingredients, using expired makeup products, sharing products or not looking after skin well in other ways.

Myth 2: “Highlighting your nose will slim it”  

Cosmopolitan gets straight to the point with a response from makeup coach Janine Bird to the above myth: “Well, yes it can but only if you do it right!” It’s crucial that you avoid highlighting the entire length of your nose panel, as this will leave the nose looking distinctive in a weird, rather than pleasing, way. 

The idea is to apply highlighter only to those areas of the nose where the light naturally comes into contact with it. That way, you will end up with more of a subtle flourish.

You don’t want to end up with streaks down each side of your nose!

And of course, it won’t really make your nose slim, so from a side angle, your nose will still appear the same length and shape.

Other common myths when it comes to slimming your nose include nose exercises… yep literally squeezing your nose, as well as eating certain anti-inflammatory ingredients or even making them into a paste and putting them on your nose!  Um, no, that’s not going to work!

If you want to find out how to contour your nose properly to give it a smaller slimmer shape, there are plenty of helpful videos on YouTube with step-by-step instructions.  I recommend looking at the featured images on YouTube to find a contoured nose style you like or a nose similar to yours when searching.  Here’s a fairly short 5-minute video with minimal fluff to get you started:

Myth 3: “Foundation is best applied with fingers”  

This method is hotly debated in the makeup community with some makeup artists swearing it's the best way, especially for liquid foundation.  But others do not believe it gives as good a result as a brush.  Why?

Here are the reasons applying foundation with a brush is best:

  • A foundation brush will give a more professional, flawless finish.

  • You can be more precise when using a brush.

  • With fingers, you might end up with too much or too little in different areas giving an uneven look.

  • Using a clean brush can be more hygienic than using your fingers.

  • It’s also less messy than using your fingers!

  • It’s a quicker way to apply foundation.

  • It can actually be less wasteful as it’s easier to apply. When Cosmopolitan tested this they used half the amount of foundation when applying with a brush!

Just make sure you thoroughly clean and dry your brushes after each use. 

Skincare and makeup myths (BUSTED!)

Myth 4: “Spots should be covered with concealer before you add foundation”

Most people would cover spots and blemishes before applying foundation, but it can actually work better to add the foundation first, especially if your blemishes are minor.

The foundation will cover some blemishes so you may not need to use concealer at all.  You could simply be adding too much makeup and creating a heavy and cakey look needlessly.

Also, you could even rub off the concealer when applying foundation, so it’s better to add it after and only if it’s still needed.

However, these are times when you might want to apply concealer first.  So it’s not completely a myth!  These include:

  • If you have really dark circles under your eyes or significant hyperpigmentation or acne to cover then it can work better to add concealer first.

  • If the concealer is a treatment concealer then you will need to add it first to ensure it directly benefits the skin.

  • If you are using a powder foundation then use concealer first.

Myth 5: “People of colour don’t need to use bronzer”

“One of the biggest myths of the beauty industry is that people of colour already have naturally bronzed skin, so they have no use for bronzer,” makeup artist Kilprity Moore tells Refinery29. “But if you look hard enough, there are amazing bronzers for everyone.” 

Bronzers come in different shades, so they can be used on any skin tone. They are usually applied to the face after foundation has been put on. One reason for this is that foundation can cover up the natural glow of the skin, so bronzer can make your complexion look more natural and radiant. Simply shop around for the right bronzer for your skin tone. If you are new to bronzing, you might benefit from buying one of ICONIC London’s bronzer bundles.

What does a bronzer do for dark skin?

Exactly the same as it does for lighter skin!  It adds a warm, healthy glow and radiance to the skin.  It can be added to the cheekbones to highlight where the sun would naturally bronze the skin to enhance this glow.  It can also help to sculpt the cheekbones.  Bronzer is a great beauty product for any skin tone. 

Final word: beauty myths busted

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface here with the many skincare and beauty myths that are out there.  As you can start to see, some are not so clearcut as they might be true in certain circumstances.  Overall, makeup and skincare is a personal journey and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another, so it's often a case of trial and error to find the right products and applications that are right for you.


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