25 Jun 2009

The Rules: The Dos and Don'ts of Makeup

This is something that has really been irritating me for a while now. I really hate when people foist their "rules" of makeup on others. If you want to follow makeup rules, go right ahead, but don't force those rules on other people, admonishing them from venturing outside of these rigid guidelines. So, to present an alternative view, here are my own Dos and Don'ts of Makeup for those who just don't give a crap about the rules!

Please take this with a grain of salt. ;)


  • Wear whatever color, brand and style of makeup that you like
  • Wear bold lips with dramatic eyes
  • Wear dark and smokey makeup in the daytime if that's what you feel like
  • Try out bright and bold colors even if you are over the age of 30
  • Try out something different from your everyday look just for the heck of it
  • Try to master a new application technique, even if it looks horrible - it's just makeup, you can wash it off
  • Come up with your own unique style and don't let yourself be dictated to
  • Try out artistic full face makeup to improve your technique, even if you just wear it at home
  • Feel free to go outside without any makeup at all


  • Think that the only color of lipstick that can be worn with dramatic eye makeup is nude
  • Tell other people that they cannot wear the makeup they have on their face for whatever reason
  • Advise women over a certain age that they can't wear fun colors anymore and that they need to look more mature and refined
  • Exacerbate people's insecurities by telling them certain makeup doesn't look good on them because it makes their eyes look smaller / lips look too big / face look fat, etc.
  • Follow every makeup trend just because it's the latest fad - just wear what you like!
  • Idolize celebrities as your one and only fashion and makeup gurus - there's lots more diversity out there
  • Be a jerk - most people don't take kindly to others criticizing their face, some common decency goes a long way

I'm not saying people can't constructively criticize - but often this kind of feedback is completely unnecessary and just plain rude. Especially when people decide that foisting rigid rules onto someone is being "constructive" or helpful. You know what - it's not! It's limiting and stifling creativity. So don't tell others what you would have done differently just because it's following some enshrined makeup rule - just do it on your own face and stop stifling some else's creativity.

What are some makeup rules that really irritate you? Do people tell you what kind of makeup you should or should not wear?


  1. I always thought it was lame that people said you can't have bold lips and eyes together. I do it all the time and get a lot of compliments... I guess it just depends on your confidence and comfort level with any makeup on your face!

    Your blog was great! You're right, other people shouldn't force rules where art is concerned- in my opinion, makeup is an art form...

  2. Anonymous4:27 pm


  3. I love this, I've never follow any rule to do my make up: there are some things on the trends that apply for me and others that look awful; I don't use nude lips simply because naturally my lips are like a redish pink color and if I use a nude lipstick I would look like dead people.

    Make up it's about having fun!

  4. i really like this post. Seriously. I agree to everything you said. Sometimes people can be really mean.

  5. i love it...thanks alot....now i feel better....

  6. AMEN, girl!! I basically agree with every do and don't that you posted. All of the don'ts get on my nerves, but the one that gets me is the trends on what colors are "in" for whatever season. Says who?!

    I too am a victim of rude and uneccessary comments. I have gotten comments and an EMAIL of what I should wear on my face and what I should not put on my face. I was just like "Are you serious?"

  7. Cecilia from Argentina4:58 pm

    Great post, Julia!
    I live in a small town, so people here have more rules than you can imagine. You're not supposed to wear more than pink and brown eyeshadows. I can't even tell the times I've been 'crucified' for wearing green nail polish. It seems the main rule here is 'you have to be boring and don't look different'.

  8. amen to everything you said Julia. I hate it when ppl make rules. Especially ppl that don't wear makeup at all. I had someone telling me the other day I shouldn't wear smokey purple eyes coz it's summer and purple is "too harsh" for summer :/

  9. Anonymous6:11 pm

    I would say that all those rules would also apply to clothing and hairstyles. I know that isn't exactly what this post is about, but it just reminded me of the many times I've been criticized for wearing green hair, DIY T-shirts and, yes, bold makeup (Neon colors, glitter, etc.). It seems that, from a certain age on you can't step out of the line and, if you do, the only possible explanation is that you're terribly immature. I'm only 20 and people are already telling me that, so go figure...

  10. Anonymous6:29 pm

    I agree with all these points. I showed my sisters my ENTIRE makeup collection for the first time the other day and they were both like "omg, you have waaay too much makeup, shouldn't you be growing out of experimenting with makeup by now?" -_-; and I'm only 18! I keep trying to explain it's not about looking pretty or making other people think I'm pretty! It's about having another way of expressing!

  11. I loved ur post !

  12. Amen sister! I say try different things. Maybe sometimes people are trying to be helpful but as you said, it's just makeup. LOL!

    I think you always look great! I do have one pet peeve (even though I keep it to myself) there is one lady I know who is beautiful but always has lipstick around her mouth (like past where her lips end) and she puts her eyeliner under her eyes (as opposed to on the bottom lash line). I've wanted to say something but as you said, who am I to say? It's her face, she's happy so I mind my business! LOL!

  13. Anonymous6:54 pm

    You go, girl.

  14. I remember ones a makeup artist told me. Do not wear desert color Your Face is too Yellow!, he make me field like a Simpson's cartoon :(

  15. Anonymous7:24 pm

    Amen sister!! what a great rules :-)

  16. im a firm believer that if you know how to do it right, every color looks good on any skin tone.

    i do have a pet peeve tho but i keep it to myself...eyeshadow is not to match w/ur clothes...its to enhance ur eyes! lol

  17. I've always thought like that. I just doesn't make sense to me wearing big black eyes and nude lips, It looks like I'm DEAD or something. I just LOVE wearing red lips with ANY eye make up, but people are so narrow-minded and give me the stinky eye when I do. I have even heard once that highlighting the brow bone is TACKY.

    OH, COME ON. It's MY face and I'm gonna wear whatever I feel like wearing, thank you very much.

  18. YES!!! Perfectly said!!!!

  19. Great Post Julia! I'm a firm believer that there should be no rules, only guidelines, and here I'm referring more to the technical things like colour correction and theory. Of course certain colours and applications will enhance a particular eye shape/eye colour/complexion more than others but people get wayyyyy too bogged down with these kinda things and totally forget to have fun with makeup and not take it too seriously. I think people are often too concerned with what others will think of them if they do step outside the regimented makeup box that fear and self-consciousness overwhelm them which is a shame. Anyhu, great post again. Good to see it blogged about!!

  20. This is so true! Just be free and have fun! Makeup is a form of art and you are free do with it as you please.. without restrictions!

  21. GREAT post! It's so much better to wear what you want and feel comfortable, rather than trying to fit all these makeup rules in your life.

  22. great advice from a great makeup artist!!! tnx.

  23. Anonymous11:09 pm

    I couldn't agree more, particularly about the unnecessary negative comments! That poor/jealous/hateful/judgmental attitude is so awful and while I take it with a grain of salt it can really destroy some people's confidence. I wish more people would be open-minded!

  24. I totally agree with everything you said!

    Everyone is always pointing out that my eyeshawdow and my clothing don't match, and I have no idea why they think it should! I hate that!

  25. I love it!! I have been saying that forever now myself. I am so tired of people saying what you can and can't do when t comes to makeup. It is supposed to be fun and creative. I have clients wanting me to give them rules all the time. I give them general tips and tell them to have fun ad experiment because that is what makeup is all about!!

    Great post!

  26. This is such a wonderful post! I don't like makeup "rules." They're simply based on the opinions of others. Just because people don't follow them doesn't mean that they're wrong. It's a matter of taste.

    Your rules are the best ones :)

  27. I hate, hate, hate, the rule of dramatic eyes with nude lipstick.
    I don't have a single nude lipstick and wear dramatic eyes all the time.

  28. Amen. It's makeup, you're supposed to be creative and accentuate your features, however you want.

  29. love it!

  30. Great post! I hate the whole "never wear the same color as your irises" rule. I find some shades of brown enhance my brown eyes.

  31. I wear dramatic eyes and lips all the time! I don't care if people look at me with judging eyes. Hell, I can pull it off better than all of them combined!

    It's makeup; there shouldn't be any limits.

  32. Great post! You are an amazing artist and this post shows why- you make your own rules (and then break those!)

  33. i so agree with you!,i hate when some gurus on youtube say "this is a makeup look for night time''or during the day you should wear neutral colors,or when you are 40 you should not wear color,i absolutely hate this,because for me there is no such a thing as daytime/night time make up,i wear whatever i like regardless the time...the other ''rule'' i hate is when they say people that has small eyes should wear light colors only'' how silly is that!!! i use make to to stay at home...and lots of time no make up at all when i am outside,as i think makeup is an artistic expression,when i feel like inspired i do put make up on my face,without any other reason than to express my self in a artistic way

  34. aruhten2:10 pm

    Thanks for the post:)
    For myself, I'm very conscious when it comes to makeup because I'm just getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things and Julia you have been a great help and inspiration. It really bothers me when people say because your person of color you're only ALLOWED to wear certain colors?!? It's really hard at times. But thank you for this post. Really helps!

  35. Love it! I was just commenting the other day that I disagreed when someone said that you cant do dark lips with a smokey eye - that is my regular look for work!

    Congratulations to you Julia!

    Not only do you help people to bring to life the faces that they wish to create you also act as their heroine campaigning for the freedom for everyone to be the true owner of themselves and their own property and that it appears your main drive is satisfying yourself and as an off-shoot to that many other people receive satisfaction and confidence!

  36. Anonymous4:12 pm

    I agree. And I hate nude lips. Yuck.

  37. I LOVED this post! Especially the Don't about women over a certain age. I am almost 39, and I am just now finding the hoys of fun colors and makeup styles. After spending most of my adult like in the Army, it is about time I got to play! Thanks!

  38. I think you of all people have shown us that you CAN absolutely rock a dramatic eye with a dramatic lip. Rules are meant to be broken.

  39. I completely agree with those rules!
    I also am a victim of having makeup rules forced upon me. One of the biggest things my friend hounds me about is when I wear blue eyeshadow on my green eyes. I have about a hundred shades of blue and I think I look fabulous in them. Another "rule" people like to force on me is I should only wear neutrals during the day. I HATE neutrals on their own. I don't look good in them and I'm too much of a fan of color to just wear a shimmery taupe on my eyes or something.

    I think there should be absolutely no rules when it comes to makeup and you should do whatever the heck you want to do with your creativity. It's YOUR face so YOU decorate it how you desire.

  40. I think that "rules" of makeup really only evolved because when giving guidelines to another person (e.g. in magazines) it simplifies the instructions. Kind of like how business consultants love to create 2 x 2 "models" to demonstrate just about any priciple in business - because it sounds good and it makes you look like you know what you're talking about! ;-)

    Of *course* one size doesn't fit all. Rules are only ever guidelines and it irritates me when people get hung up on them. Thanks Julia for reminding us all that the rules were made to be broken.

  41. I love this post so much. Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom. The bottom line is that people should wear what makes them feel good, confident, and happy.

  42. Anonymous12:40 pm

    So bloody true! Julia you rock.
    I can't stand how people want to dictate how and what you should wear. Having said that one day I decided to try out a really blue eyeshadow day when meeting my friends at the movies. I thought it looked cool and my friends said they liked it... but when I looked in the mirror in the bathroom.. it was a bit full on! guffaw. But I had fun so who cares? I'm over 30 and I am wearing a lot of different colours.. I LOVE IT.

  43. I completely agree that there shouldn't be any rules when it comes to colours and style however, I do find that guidelines are important especially for those people who may not know what suits them. For instance, NOT all colours suit everyone. There are so many variations of green some of which may work better on your skin and worse on mine. Of course, people may wear whatever they like but if they want to look their best by complimenting their skin tones, they should be aware that not everything and anything will look good on them. Same goes with the type of clothes one's wearing. I may like horizontal stripes but for my body type they do nothing but make me look short and chunky.

    When it comes to make-up, there aren't really rules depending of the type of makeup you want to achieve. Creative makeup is just like runway fashion. It's beautiful to look at but it's not necessarily what you'd wear as an ordinary person on a regular basis. That's why there are "rules"... for those of us who don't want to stick out of the crowd.

    This being said, I feel people have the right to make their own decisions and what intrigues me is when people have the urge to bring down someone's work. Would I wear most of Julia's look's out? Probably not but that's the only reason I still watch her videos. They are so unique and her makeup is art. I don't need to watch boring videos of girls applying the same makeup over and over again... just with different coulours. I've come to think that there isn't anyone left on YouTube who can't do that.

    I know this has been a long reply but I would like to say that those people who get mad about Julia not respecting the "rules" don't UNDERSTAND her art and what makes her different from 90% of YouTube "gurus"... and they should remember that they're only one click away from something that would make them happier.

  44. My sister's always telling me that, since I'm over 30 I shouldn't be wearing any shimmer at all, everything has to be matte. She's very adamant about it too. However, I like some shimmer, whether it's in my eyeshadow or somewhere else on my face. No crime in that, is there? Lol.

  45. I'm 61, have mostly white hair and want to dye it pink. I like to wear any type of makeup I want and usually do IF I like it on me. I don't really give a fug what others think except I'm still kinda afraid of dying my hair pink. I'd love to though. I don't think my husband would like it.

  46. Anonymous6:31 pm

    Great post! Also to add as pixiwoo reminds us, just because it's lipstick doesn't mean you can use it as a cream blush! Be creative, and think outside the box! And don't feel like you've gotta use something just because you're 'supposed to'!

  47. Thanks! I'm a 53 yo that wears bold eyes & red lips all the time! And I'm forever being complimented that I look great. So THERE! Sticking to rules has never been in my bag o' tricks, so hearing it from you makes me chuckle!
    Color is a wonderful outward expression of my inner self. Since my inner self is so colorful shouldnt my outward appearance reflect it to the best of my artistic ability? Unfortunately, my artistic ability is so limited, as is my time.

    Thank you Julia, for giving voice to such a painful topic. Artistic expression has always had its difficulties.

  48. Jessica9:58 am

    Well said!

  49. Anonymous4:31 pm

    i HATE when people say you should look natural. someone said "if people can tell you're wearing makeup, you're wearing too much" .. it just pissed me off so much.
    people have told me i should wear less makeup, blabla.. but i don't care, i'll still wear my dramatic smokey eyes in the daytime, it's my business how much blush i wanna put on, and if i wanna put on 3 coats of mascara no one can tell me i can't.
    anyway. i totally agree with everything u said.

  50. Hola Julia, me gustó mucho htu articulo de "dos and don'ts" y decidí hacer una parecido en mi blog.... espero no te moleste!!! ven a verlo cuando quieras:

    :D take care!


  51. I don't know how many times I've been told that you shouldn't wear blue eyeshadow on blue eyes. I'd say it's what looks the best on me!
    Also the "don't wear mascara on the bottom lashes" - of course some ways of applying it look better than others but I think for some looks it's a must.
    (for me, at least ;-)

  52. Anonymous11:33 pm

    I friquently give advices on my country forum for girls who ask for help in make up techniques or colors suiting to their face. Therefore, I post regulaly my own looks (I don't do vulgar makeup, I just know exactly by extensive experience what suits to my face, eyes the best) and then I get comments buy people who are not used by themselves to fill eyebrows or to intensify the crease, that I shouldn't use so much dark brown or gray for my "pretty face/eyes which don't need any make up at all, may be just mascara". How should I feel in this case?

  53. This is such a GREAT post, this is exactly what I always say...there are no rules in make-up! People always critique me for wearing bold colors in daytime, but do u ever see me give it up? :)) NO! ;;)

  54. The makeup rule I dislike is red lips are old fashion, nude lips are modern and classy. Or neutral makeup is better suited for everyone.

    Whatever! I like color!

    I know there is a time and place for everything and I would not wear a totally glamed out face for work. I like color! I like no love a red lip. I like bright colored eyeshadow. I am 28, and that rule about leaving the fun color behind when you enter the 30's fat chance.

    Thank you for encouraging us to wear what we want when we want and how we want keeping a little common sense in mind (i.e. don't go to work in spandex..lol)

    Wow I really ranted there sorry. :-) I guess the rules thing really bothered me.

  55. Desiree5:15 am

    Omg I so agree with you....I absolutely love wearing bright colors....I've been told I wear too much much, that I don't need all of that stuff on my face or those colors are for the "night time", even things like "you shouldn't wear bright colors to work" its always these two girls at work that judge me....they think wearing makeup has to look "natural" I'm glad you posted this....

  56. Anonymous4:18 am


    I HATE nude lipsticks. Why would I waste money on nude lipstick? What's the point of it anyway? I'd just rather wear NO lipstick...the natural pigmentation of my own lips is better than these UGLY nudes.

    Plus, I LOVE dramatic eyes. I really don't care for the NATURAL look. Elizabeth Taylor, who just passed away, is acknowledged as on eof the most beautiful women of all time, and she definitely looked "all-made-up" -- and ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!! What's wrong with looking "all-made-up"? Those who are critical of such a makeup look are just jealous ;-)