Four words: “Put your face on.”

By Kaitlyn Yarborough
January 14, 2020
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There are beauty dos, and there are beauty don’ts. Rocking red lipstick without giving two hoots what people think? That’s a *big* do. Applying so much highlighter on your cheekbones that you look like a glazed donut? That’s usually a don’t.

There are also beauty truths, and there are beauty myths. Wearing SPF and using retinol could make you look at least a decade younger at the age of 50. Truth. Smearing Vaseline all over your face in the name of dry, scaly winter skin defense is a good idea. Myth. Your pores will clog up something fierce and never forgive you.

Southern women pay close attention to these dos and don’ts, truths and myths, usually from watching the women before them, like their mothers and grandmothers. We aren’t fussy with our beauty routines, but we’re not simple, either. And we don’t ever make these 20 sneaky beauty mistakes.

  1. Skipping SPF. Or thinking you only need to wear SPF in the summertime. Also, hats at the beach are a must.
  2. Sleeping with your makeup on, unless you're Dolly. If you know, you know.
  3. Not knowing your signature lip color. This is every gal’s secret weapon, so it’s best to find it young and evolve as needed. A signature lipstick can make you feel instantly more confident, and it’ll stick by you in good times and bad. Good being your wedding day; bad being that time you forgot to wash your hair before a big work meeting. Also, we stop wearing super dark lipstick at a certain age as a rule. It can be too severe.
  4. Getting bangs before consulting a therapist. Or your best friend who wouldn’t lie to you. Sometimes it’s a great idea (yay, you have the face for wispy bangs!), sometimes it’s so not actually about wanting bangs (you’ve just had a bad week).
  5. Chipped nails. Enough said. It’s an easy thing that can be the difference between looking put-together and unkempt. Your mother would not approve.
  6. Not knowing what it means to “put your face on.” Southern women don’t like to leave the house without at least putting on “half a face.” You never know who you’ll see at the grocery store, from high school buddies to your judgy aunt.
  7. Skipping retinol. It’s the ultimate age-defying ingredient that can stave off wrinkles. Start it young and stick to it. Hint: There are less harsh alternatives like bakuchiol if your skin is too sensitive.
  8. Doing too much at once. Pick a power lip, lots of lashes, or a subtle smoky eye. Do not pick them all.
  9. Leaving the house with sopping wet hair. Listen, we get it. Sometimes we’re rushed, but this kind of slicked-down look is not the red carpet chic moment you're imagining. We at least blast our roots with the blow dryer for an ounce of volume; it only takes a minute or two.
  10. Over-plucking the brows. Or not investing in a top-notch brow pencil for when you want to rock a power brow. We recommend Benefit’s Goof Proof Brow Pencil if you want the best brows ever.
  11. Attempting to color your hair at home. We’ve all known a horror story or two concerning this act of betrayal (sometimes, it’s even our own horror story!). Leave it to the professionals, lest you be left with tiger-striped brassy color.
  12. Forgetting to exfoliate regularly. The heat and humidity down here can clog pores up something quick and fierce. We know to use exfoliating acids on our face, like L’Oreal’s anti-aging 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum, to brighten and clarify, and to use body scrubs to give your legs and arms a glowy, skin-smoothing boost. Take that, cellulite.
  13. Curling your lashes after applying mascara. The thought actually makes us hurt. The clumps. The crimps. The flakes! We would never.
  14. Not deciding if you're a summer or autumn. This refers to whether the most flattering colors for your hair and makeup are warm-toned (coral lipstick, gold eye shadow, or caramel highlights) or cool-toned (blue-red lip, gunmetal eyeliner, or platinum blonde). If you’re warm-toned all the way, you’re an autumn. If you’re a cool-toned gal, you’re a summer. This provides the simple clarity we Southern women like to have.
  15. Neglecting the neck. Your décolletage is actually one of the biggest tells of age, and boy do we let our necks see its fair share of sunlight. It’s best to give it TLC in the form of daily moisturizing and a nighttime anti-aging serum.
  16. Too much bronzer. Also, enough said. No one needs to look like you’re headed straight to the greased-up bodybuilder competition. It instantly ages you.
  17. Thinking blotting sheets are unnecessary or overrated. Just no. Try making it through a summer in the South without a value pack of blotting sheets. We dare you. Sweaty girls unite.
  18. Not getting regular trims at the hair salon. It keeps your hair healthy and promotes growth. Split ends traveling up the hair shaft is the thing of nightmares for any Southern lady. Every eight weeks is recommended.
  19. Using moisturizer as eye cream, too. Mama warned you against those crow’s feet. It makes a huge difference when you give the delicate skin around your eyes an extra dose of hydration, brightening, and anti-aging oomph with a specialized formula. Some favorites: Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream for anti-aging and intense hydration; Fresh Black Tea Firming and De-Puffing Eye Cream for a jolt of de-puffing caffeine; or Olehenrikson Banana Bright Eye Crème for majorly vitamin C-rich brightening.
  20. Giving up on something when you don’t see immediate results. Southern women are well-tested in patience. After all, all the best things (read: making buttermilk biscuits, finishing the entire series of Designing Women, and finding aforementioned signature lipstick) take time. Retinol takes time to get used to and see results. Stick with it.

We’re not saying these are end-all, be-all…but we kind of are. Heed and you’ll succeed.