These 8 Makeup "Rules" are Meant to be Broken (And Here's How)! - QC Makeup Academy

Think back to when you first started learning about makeup. Remember all those rules that your favorite beauty gurus treated like the gospels? Perhaps you’ve spent the last few years avoiding blue eye shadow, meticulously matching your lipsticks and liners, and searching for shadow palettes that suit your undertone.

What if we told you that these rules can actually (take a deep breath!) be broken? What if we also told you that breaking some makeup rules can (brace yourself!) result in some pretty amazing looks?

Check out these eight mythical beauty rules and why you should try breaking them, at least once!

1. Draw attention to the lips or the eyes… but not both

For years, beauty magazines have sworn that you should concentrate on making the eyes or the lips stand out, but not both. According to the rules, if you’re feeling a dark smoky eye, stick to a nude lip rather than a bright one. If you’d rather try out your new hot pink lipstick, tone down the rest of your face and leave your eyes looking natural.

In reality, drawing attention to just one aspect of your face and leaving the rest neutral can look unfinished. Unless you’ve got a very heavy hand, there’s absolutely no harm in giving both the eyes and the lips some definition, at the same time!

Bold look makeup rules

2. Stick to “warm” or “cool” colors according to your skin tone

This rule should be honored in some cases, but it’s safe to break in others. When it comes to concealer, foundation, and perhaps blush, paying attention to the undertones in your skin is important for color matching.

For eye shadows, eye liners, and lipstick, however, throw this rule out!

Especially this season, unconventional colors and bright hues on the eyes and lips are particularly trendy. As long as you’re not scaring Grandma by donning solid pink eyelids and turquoise lips to Sunday brunch, experiment with colors all you want! Just make sure to blend, shade, and color-coordinate to ensure the final look remains stylish and not tacky.

Bold color lipstick makeup rules

3. Avoid mascara and eyeliner on the bottom eyelid

Avoiding eye makeup underneath your eye might be a good rule to follow if you’re not very confident in your abilities. Lining your water line or lash line too thickly with dark liner can make your eyes look small and harsh.

A light coat of mascara on the lower lashes and thin liner just below the lash line, however, gives your eyes definition. Make sure to balance the look with mascara and liner on top to get the depth you’re looking for!

4. Avoid blue eye shadow at all costs

This rule was especially enforced by beauty gurus following the electric fads of the 80s, and again after every teen’s intense obsession with baby blue lids in the early 2000s. We’ve been told for years that blue is tacky and far too bold.

If you blend a beautiful mixture of light and dark blue shades across your lid, along your crease, and underneath your brow, however, you can bring out the blue and grey undertones in your eyes. If you don’t have blue eyes, you’ll create a whimsical contrast instead!

Blue eyeshadow makeup rules

5. Only wear bronzer in the summer

If you already have trouble matching bronzers to your skin tone, this rule might be worth following.

For the most part, however, a little bit of bronzer in the winter months can give you a healthy glow when it’s done right. Use a big, fluffy brush to get a light even coverage and avoid bronzers with an orange finish. Completely matte bronzers provide a much deeper effect, so beware of those if you’re very fair in the winter. A powder with a touch of shimmer completes the light glow and lets you apply in layers for a healthy look. Beware of too much shimmer though; you’d hate to look orange and shiny.

6. Highlighter should only be placed on the top of your cheekbones

Not if the new strobing trend is anything to go by! Highlighters with a light, rosy shimmer can be used on various parts of the face to brighten up your look and give you a different glow to the one you’ll get from bronzer.

If you’re very fair, this is the alternative for you! Lightly blend highlighter along the tops of your cheekbones, but also on the bridge of your nose, the inner corner of your eyes, the cupid’s bow of your top lip, and the tip of your chin. Apply a light dusting anywhere that light would naturally hit your face if you stood next to the window.

Highlighting makeup rules

Just like with shimmered bronzer, be careful not to overdo it with shimmer. You want to look like you’re glowing, not sweating.

7. Your lip liner should always match your lipstick

Since the 90s, we’ve been scared into thinking that lip liner even the tiniest shade darker than our lipstick will make us look much more grunge and less glam. If you’re careful and good at blending, however, that’s not true! Slightly darker liner can actually lead to fuller-looking lips.

Line your lips with the darker color and- get this- fill them all the way in as well. Dab a slightly lighter lipstick in the center of each lip and blend it outward so it fades into the dark. The ombré effect emphasizes the center of each lip, making them look plump.

Lip liner makeup rules

8. Only apply blush to the apples of your cheeks

Don’t get us wrong, putting blush on the apples of your cheeks is a good idea, but blush can do more for your face. Start with the apples and blend in a C-shape, slightly arching sideways and up towards your temples. The rounded part of your C motion should face your jaw line.

This technique gives your cheekbones lift. If you don’t feel like contouring that day, define your cheekbones more subtly with blush instead.

Break the rules!

As long as your makeup rebellion doesn’t put your skin, eyes, or health at risk, who says you have to follow every beauty rule in the book? You should always keep a close eye on what your skin is telling you, but you should also feel free to experiment! Makeup is about self expression, after all. No one truly knows what’s best for your face and features except you, and you’ll learn that best through trying different looks and techniques.

What about in your professional career? Ask your clients if they’re willing to take a risk with you. Maybe that brown eyed girl would look striking with a blue lid. Perhaps that prom queen wants a more avant garde look than the rest and will jump at your suggestion of purple lips instead of pink. Using your expertise means teaching clients when to follow and when to break the rules!

What are your favorite beauty rules to break? Tell us how you rebel against the norm in the comments below!

Author Ana Scholtes

More posts by Ana Scholtes

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Nathan says:

    This is a brilliant article! There are no rules in make up…. Awesome!

  • Stacy Williamson says:

    As one with brown eyes, I avoided using blue eye shadow until I got into college and got some tips on how to apply it. Love the look now! 🙂 And yes, as long as you don’t look to….garish, do what you want with makeup. But always keep in mind safety.

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