What I Hate About Makeup Rules

Allow me to set the scene - I'm leading a Green Beauty Workshop anywhere in America in a room full of women.  With very few exceptions I generally have these three ladies in attendance every time:

"Susie"* - she's a proud makeup wearer - she's contoured, highlighted, has four shades of eyeshadow blended gorgeously followed by a fake lash and uses lip liner, lipstick AND lip gloss all at the same time.  Susie thinks everybody would look better if they'd just put some eyeliner on already. 

Then we have "Wendy"* - she's a proud NO makeup wearer - at most she's got on mascara and lip balm and that's when she's going to her class reunion.  Otherwise, it's just the lip balm.  Wendy thinks that everybody would look better if they'd just stop layering all of that junk all over their face and let their skin breathe for Pete's sake.

Also in attendance is "Angela"*.  Angela likes to even out her complexion, loves mascara, pops on a pinky brown lip with a hit of a cheek.  Angela thinks everybody would look better if they'd just put a lip on, otherwise they look washed out, and she wears it to carpool every morning.

Generally speaking, Susie, Wendy and Angela think they're right and everyone else is wrong.  Generally speaking, most of this stems either from how their moms wore their makeup (or didn't) or how the lady at the Clinique counter at the local mall told Susie, Wendy and Angela how they should look when they were 14.  Literally.  For 20 years I've asked women where their concepts of what makeup should look like come from and I'd say 90% of the time it's mom or the makeup counter from high school - no matter how old they are.  And based off of that you're probably identifying with one of the women's pictures above already for what you prefer.  

Let's leave the judging to Associate Justice Sotomayor (she is rocking an excellent pumpkin lip shade after all)

We all have so much judgement for what someone else should be doing, or not doing, when it comes to appearance, and boy do we have rules!  Here are some I've heard:

  • people with light eyes should only wear brown mascara
  • you have to use a lid, a crease and a highlight color when doing eyeshadow
  • you have to "bake" under your eyes or nothing will stay
  • you can't wear shimmer if you're over 40
  • some people just can't wear red lipstick
  • your foundation should match the inside of your wrist
  • your ideal lip color is the shade of your finger tip
  • your ideal lip color is the shade of the inside of your lower lip
  • if you wear too much makeup it's tacky
  • if you don't wear enough makeup you're lazy

And on and on.  I'm sure you could add some to the list.  Here's the thing - Susie looks awesome in a full beat.  Wendy looks fantastic with a bare face.  Angela looks like perfection with her "natural" face.  The end.  It doesn't mean Susie needs to strip it down to be more "authentic" or that Wendy needs to slap some paint on to look more "professional".  Now, I have strong opinions on using powder and bringing eye liner all the way in to the tear duct, but it's your face and you get to do what you want.  

Makeup is an expression - just like our clothes, our hair or our shoes.  It's an opportunity for you to communicate something about yourself because you're telling us a story with every brush of color you do, or don't do.  The question is, do you like it?  Then do it!  If you don't, then don't!  If you're not confident in how to do something then that's a whole other story (which we make lots of videos for).  If you're not sure it's communicating what you're wanting to say then that's also another story.  But if you're 65 and you love shimmer eyeshadow, wear the shimmer eyeshadow!  And if that makes your toes curl then don't :).  

 What do I hate about makeup rules?  The fact that they can make us feel bad about ourselves and everything is based on someone's opinions.  That's what.  So I vote we drop them and create our own rules, ask for help when we need it, and create our own version of what beauty should be.  That's my goal.  xo



*Susie, Wendy and Angela are totally made up and aren't the names of real people nor are they the names of the people in these photos.  Nor do the women in these photos share any of the opinions of said made up characters.  They just were good pics of makeup I've done on women who had a little, a little more and lot of makeup :).


  • Sarah Kelly

    I love your comments on makeup. Every face is different, every day is different, and so it makes sense for makeup to express that individuality of thought and circumstance. Yay!

  • Kristyn Gibbs

    Love this so much! I legit looked at my fingertip to see what my lip color should be. I’ve never in my life heard that rule – too funny! I live by my own rules now. I used to struggle to leave the house without something on my face…but the older I get, the less cares I give! ;)

  • Erin's Faces

    Leslie – I love that you read it to your husband lol! And yes to laughing at those rules – no thanks!

    Victoria – thank you!!

  • Victoria Potter

    I couldn’t love this more. 😍😍

  • Leslie Ruppert

    Erin, I laughed at the “rules” as I was reading your blog to my husband. Then, I said, “who cares what anyone else thinks as long as I like my look!” Over the years I have learned, tweaked & found what works best for me & what I like. We have SO many more choices today, so it may take a lot of trial & error to find your best skin care routine & look. But the good news is with more choices, we can find a customized routine just for us!

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