20 Beauty Rules to Break According to Makeup Guru Pat McGrath

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Pat McGrath Beauty Makeup Tips
Photo: Courtesy of @MaxFactor

The beauty industry has been experiencing somewhat of a revolution as of late – gone are the days when the focus was on perfection and precision, replaced instead by an appreciation of reality and the celebration of a woman’s imperfections. And who better to turn to for advice on real makeup than a woman who is not afraid to break the beauty rules and embrace this change?

One of the most – if not the most – acclaimed makeup artists in the world and the Creative Design Director of Max FactorPat McGrath is the creator of some of the most stunning runway beauty looks season after season and a true advocate of real beauty. She’s also the reason that sparkly pouts and daring looks have been taking over our Instagram feeds lately.

Speaking exclusively to Savoir Flair, Pat revealed which 20 beauty rules are so passé and definitely worth breaking for a look that is both current and contemporary. Read on for some of her expert tips and get inspired to use your makeup like never before.


Too much mascara is not daytime friendly.

"A few coats of a great mascara is a quick and simple way to enhance your daytime look. A full and feathery lash is always beautiful, no matter what time of day! Experiment with different lash looks, from full and thick to spiky spidery lashes, and pair them with a glossy lid and bold lip."

Your lip pencil should always be darker than your lipstick.

"Pair a bright pencil with a matching bright lipstick to give your lips extra staying power and superb structure."

Highlighter is for cheekbones only.

"Achieve perfected baby skin by highlighting not only the cheekbones but also the inner-eye corners, your Cupid’s bow, down the bridge of your nose, and a touch on the chin for angelic dimension. Take your highlighter down to the collarbones, on the tops of your shoulders, and down the center of your arms and legs for supermodel sheen."
Pat McGrath Makeup Tips
Photo: Courtesy of @PatMcGrathReal

Never wear dark lipstick in summer.

"A night out in the city calls for deep lip drama! Use a burgundy or plum color, and keep the rest of your makeup fresh for a fierce, modern look."

Brushes are the best way to apply makeup.

"I use my fingertips to apply makeup most of the time; this warms the product perfectly for application and never looks heavy."

Bright eyeshadow screams 80s!

"Eyeshadows in bright colors can be very clean and modern, if worn in the right way. Pair a bold color, such as an electric blue or a vibrant purple, with freshly highlighted skin and a natural lip for a modern throwback."

Only use bronzer on your face.

"Bronzer isn’t just for your face! Use it on a moisturized décolletage and exposed arms and legs, and sweep some with a large powder brush onto your skin for a sexy summer glow."

Don't wear heavy liner below the bottom lashes.

"Punk can be glamorous too! Wear black liner across your lower lashes and in the waterline, smudging slightly to soften it. Finish the look with fresh skin, perfected brows, and lots of volumizing mascara."
Pat McGrath Makeup Tips Lips Liner
Photo: Courtesy of @MaxFactor

Lipstick on the cheeks is outdated.

"I love a cream blush on the cheeks to keep the skin looking vibrant, so why not match your lip and cheek color? Dab your fingers on your lipstick and tap onto the apples of your cheeks, blending upwards for a kiss of color."

Always stay within your prescribed color "season".

"Try different color tones to see what works for you. Don’t put yourself in a box – makeup is expressive and can be wiped off if it doesn't feel right!"

Don't wear makeup to the gym.

"Keep it cute when working out. Brush up those eyebrows with a bit of brow gel, sport a long-wearing pop of color on your lips, and get fresh skin by applying foundation sparingly with your fingers – or keep your skin natural and watch that post-gym glow develop on its own."

Fun makeup, like glitter and metallics, is only for young people.

"A touch of glitter or metallic shadow can be so sophisticated. Wear a pop on the inner corners of your eyes, paint your Cupid’s bow with a metallic highlight, or even wear a swipe of glitter or shimmer on one ear for an unexpected sparkle."
Pat McGrath Makeup Tips
Photo: Courtesy of @PatMcGrathReal

Don't be too matchy-matchy.

"I adore a monochromatic face. Try using the same peach color on your eyes, cheeks, and lips, and make either the lips or eyes glossy to keep the look interesting. Finish with a volumizing mascara."

Dark lipstick is aging.

"A dark lip can be so chic when worn the right way. Keep it matte and try using a deep, blood red, a wine-toned burgundy, or a rich brown."

Your eyebrows should match your hair color.

"A little contrast between your hair and brow color can be a refreshing change to your look. Try using a brow gel that is a little lighter and warmer than your natural tone to give the appearance of a lightened brow. It can lift your features and give you a more youthful look. Blondes can also wear a dark brow. Again, use a brow gel in a few shades darker to give you some temporary brow drama."

Never wear a strong eye and strong lip at the same time.

"For a night out, a look can be glamorous and very balanced when a strong eye is paired with a bold lip. Try a smoky eye with a deep and matte lip shade or an angled cat-eye liner paired with a classic red lip."
Pat McGrath Makeup Tips Lips
Photo: Courtesy of @MaxFactor

Always avoid a shiny face.

"Shine in the right places is key! Shine placed high on the cheekbones will look fresh and modern, but be sure to keep the sides of the nose, center of the forehead, and under the eyes matte."

Always wear your product on the part of the face that it was meant for.

"I love that makeup can be so experimental and fun. If you find the perfect khaki eyeshadow, why not try it pressed onto moisturized lips for a custom shade?"

Don't overdraw your lips.

"A slightly overdrawn and exaggerated lip can definitely work – only go slightly out of your natural lip line to give the lips a touch of added plumpness."

People with light eyelashes should only wear brown mascara.

"People with light-colored lashes can definitely wear a deep-black or brightly hued mascara! Just remember to coat the lashes all the way to the roots."
Pat McGrath Makeup Tips Mascara
Photo: Courtesy of @PatMcGrathReal

Find out which makeup sins you should never commit (according to the biggest makeup artists in the world).

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