Did you ever notice how hard it is to keep your smoky eye from looking like a bruised eye? Or when you try to create a soft glow, it ends up looking like a greasy shine? As Shawn Towne, global educator for jane iredale, says, “Many of these issues have to do with what tools you’re using. Remember that makeup is a medium for our face, and like paint on a canvas, it must be applied with the right brushes using the right pressure and motion.” Are you guilty of not using that oh-so perfect mix? Read on for Towne’s most common makeup application mistakes, and how to fix them.

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Mistake 1: Scrubbing
In an effort to get more coverage with a liquid foundation, Towne says you might be pressing TOO hard on the brush, not realizing that the harder you press, the more friction you are creating—a move that takes the makeup off as quickly as you apply it. “It also pushes the makeup into the skin, which can clog pores and irritate.”

Solution: Lighten up your pressure and use a denser brush with more bristles that will apply more product.

Mistake 2: Blemish Overkill
Less is not more when it comes to trying to hide a pimple. “In trying to cover a small blemish, many people apply concealer with too large a brush. As a result, they cover twice the area and leave noticeable lines of demarcation.”

Solution: Use a smaller brush and “stipple” the product lightly just into the area you want the coverage.

Mistake 3: Polishing
This is a tricky one that a lot of people are guilty of doing. “When trying to create a glowing cheek, many people apply luminous blush or bronzer to the cheeks with a short, round powder brush in a circular motion using too much pressure,” Towne says. “The result is shiny cheeks that look heavy and overdone.”

Solution: Use a less-dense brush (like a fan brush) and gently dust luminous products onto the tops of your cheekbones.

Mistake 4: Streaking
In trying to apply blush, Towne says a common misstep is using brushes that are too small and stiff to adequately blend the product. “The result is stripes of color along the cheekbones.”

Solution: Use a larger brush with softer bristles and work in soft circles from the apples blending upward and outward.

Mistake 5: Bruised Eyes
In an effort to create smoke, Towne recommends not applying dark shadows with stiff, dense brushes, as it allows the shadow to crumble and drop onto the under-eye. “The technique takes twice as long because you have to clean up all the mess after you’ve applied it.”

Solution: Use a softer, more tapered brush and tap off excess pigment before you touch the brush to the eye area.

Mistake 6: Messy Liner
In trying to get that perfectly lined upper lid, the right brush is essential. “Using brushes that are too thick, short or using just the tip of the brush to create the line like one would with a pencil results is liner that looks bumpy, too thick or just plain messy.”

Solution: Use a long, thin brush like a liquid liner brush. Lay the brush at the base of the lashes and pull it across to get a smooth application.

Liz Ritter , Executive Managing Editor