I'm a make-up expert – the common mistakes you're making every day that makes you look cheap & how to fix them

WHEN it comes to make-up, there’s no such thing as one size fits all. 

Some prefer full coverage foundation, others favour a bold lip, and don’t even get me started on winged eyeliner – I’ll never understand how people manage to get the flicks even! 

But, while what you wear is down to personal preference, it might not be doing your complexion any favours, especially if you’re applying it wrong.

Here, beauty editor Tara Ledden gives her expert tips on how you can stop you make-up looking tacky and cheap. 


While you might have nightmares about the tidemark at the side of your jaw from picking the wrong foundation shade in senior school, you might still be getting it wrong. 

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If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and noticed your face is a completely different colour to your body, you’ll know exactly what I mean- going too light is just as tacky as wearing a base that’s 5 shades darker than your skin. 

To avoid the ombre look, when shopping for a foundation, dot it along each side of your jaw line and drag it down onto your neck to check it matches both areas. 

To get the perfect hue you might need to buy two different shades and mix them together, but at least it means you can change the ratios when you tan. 


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If you’re a tiktok fan, chances are you’ve seen the drama over how influencer Meredith Duxbury applies her foundation. 

And while her methods are extreme, we’re all guilty of slapping on our products and wishing for the best when we’re short on time. 

Well, I hate to break it to you but that’s exactly how to make you face look cakey. And it’s responsible for your make-up separating and disappearing sooner than you’d like. 

Instead, take a less is more approach. It’s much easier to add more product than take excess away, and carefully blending each layer is the best way to ensure your make-up stays flawless all day long. 


If you find your make-up ever looks grey or muddy, this is why. 

Adding cream or liquid products over powder is guaranteed to give you a patchy finish, as the powder makes it impossible to blend out the cream layer, leaving a streaky, dirty mess on your face. 

The simple solution is to add all your cream products first, and then move onto any powders so that you can blend them all out evenly and get the best pay-off from each product. 


Did you know you should replace your mascara every three months? While the official advice is to stop eye infections (gross!) it’s also the best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your magic wand. 

Old, dried out mascaras are more likely to flake off the lashes and leave you with black speckles all over your face. 

Plus, they’re more likely to make your lashes clumpy too as the product cloggs the wand and stops the bristles from doing their work. 

So, for the best lashes of your life, make sure you stick to the rules and swap out your mascara every few months even if you still feel like there’s plenty of product left.


Whether your skin is dry, oily or combination, ignoring its needs and failing to prep your skin is a sure-fire way to get an uneven finish, and have your make-up pull a vanishing act in no time. 

If your skin’s dry, you need to properly moisturise before applying any base products, or your complexion will drink up any hydration they have to offer, and the pigments will get stuck on any flakey areas making them look ten times worse. 

For oily skin, using a mattifying primer is essential to stop make-up separating on any particularly greasy areas like the T-zone. 

For combination skin, silicone based primers help create an even layer that will create a barrier between the skin and foundation so you have the perfect canvas to get creative with. 


This is one I used to be guilty of myself, and if you already have a lot of redness or high colour in your face, the idea of adding more rosy tones can be daunting. 

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But, even worse is cancelling them out all together – unless you want to look like a corpse?! 

Instead, use a blush that’s a similar shade to your natural lip colour for a subtle glow. Start slow and build it up gradually to avoid looking like a clown. I promise, it’s not as scary as it seems! 

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