I actually can’t tell you the number of beauty bloggers I follow on YouTube and Instagram–there are too many to make the time it would take me counting worth it. I watch tutorials daily, more as a form of entertainment than an actual service. Even when broken down step-by-step, the perfectly manicured brows, airbrushed-looking smoky eyes, and sharp contouring felt intimidating to try IRL. Most Insta-beauty looks also seemed like a bit much for daily life, so I’d stick to the same comfortable routine I’ve had since I first started wearing makeup at 17: winged liner, nude lip.
But oh, how bored I was.
Then, I came across the “Makeup Addiction” page on Reddit, a community of 373,900+ beauty lovers. People upload swatches of new beauty launches, start threads comparing different foundations, post earnest product reviews (not #sponsored #ads!), and riff about any and all things makeup.What really drew me in, however, was when everyday women (and some men) of different skill levels share photos of their own beauty looks, or “FOTDs” (face of the day) asking for tips or “CC/CCW” (constructive criticism/welcome). I marveled at the way people gave real feedback and useful tips, and I wondered if I could learn how to do my makeup better if I let Reddit show me the way.
The first photo I posted was my daily makeup look:
A couple of comments rolled in, but no real traction. I did learn, though…
1. My eye shape is considered “1.5 eyelids”
It’s a phrase I never heard before, but a little Googling showed it’s used a bit in Asia to reference double eyelid surgery. One description I found is that someone who is “1.5” is “a person with a fold (crease) above the eyes when they close their eyes, but when their eyes are open, the crease is hidden.” The user who told me I had “1.5” eyelids suggested it could inform the way I apply eye makeup.
“You know where your eyeliner begins in the first 1/3rd section of your eye? I think the line there is a tad too thick and should be a little bit thinner,” user yunith wrote. It’s a solid tip considering every single day I struggle to be consistent with my wing and end up doing them way too thick, cue this meme.
Eager for even more feedback, I decided to try an eyeshadow look because I am admittedly an amateur. First, I tried to do the “cut crease” look I see all over Insta and failed spectacularly. But, I did like the sort of smoky thing I ended up with:
That’s how the following was pointed out to me several times through the course of this experiment.
2. My eyebrows need the most work.
Of course, this is not news to me! I’m in week four of trying to grow them out fully and it is painful to stay in this in-between state. The tips I got–to use a cream over a powder, try a lighter hand at brow strokes–were admittedly useful, though.
As you can see, even criticism here is super-nice. I found that in every post, everyone is encouraging, positive, helpful. That’s because the moderators put several rules in place to make it a safe space, and they’re proactive about deleting violators. You can’t ridicule others, you can’t post photos edited or with a filter, there’s no self-promotion of social media channels or blogs, there’s no referral links, and post titles that “garner sympathy or manipulate the vote count” get removed. It’s not at all what I expected as a newbie to Reddit, honestly. As far as I knew, people are pretty ruthless with their comments and downvotes on other subreddits, but I happened to find a really nice, welcome corner of the internet.
On my third try to get more makeup tips I went for a dramatic look. When I saw celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta share a photo of Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell in a red and blue July 4 look, I was sold. I carefully examined her photo to replicate her brows and contouring, but didn’t have a cobalt blue eyeliner so I improvised with some teal eyeshadow. Close enough.
Reader, I made it to the very top of the Makeup Addiction reddit for a whole day! And, the tips and tricks I hoped for came pouring in.
3. Try different contouring techniques.
“The angle of your highlight matches her bone structure, but I think it would compliment your face better if it was slightly more horizontal across the apples of your cheeks,” user AthenaNoctua wrote me. It’s true–I tried to replicate Shay’s highlighting exactly but I have different bone structure and rounder cheek; a lower angle would be much more flattering.
4. This subreddit is clutch for product recommendations.
Since deep blue eyeliner was clearly missing from my beauty collection, user strawberryee told me to check out one from Wet n Wild that’s less than $2. She was even nice enough to swatch it for me. 🙏
5. Ease up on the nose highlighter.
Someone told me the way I applied it made my “nose look larger than it actually is” (something I don’t want), so now I’m more mindful. Another user said my highlighter in general was “ever slightly too much.” Meanwhile, byzgq told me I got “glowy-but-not-greasy skin look down pat,” so next time, I’ll settle somewhere in between.
6. Be mindful of undertones in makeup.
WhatsUpDoc9 wrote that for a “true recreation” I should aim for a red-toned bronzer on top of the contour and a “more golden” shade of highlighter up the cheekbones. I’d never considered either factor.
7. Makeup artists know best–and they’re on here, too.
One user, AdvisemyStyle, had a verified “makeup artist” tag and gave me some pro feedback: “Start pulling the eyeliner more from the outer part as it will lift your eyes even more.”
Overall, the comments were helpful, specific and affirming—even for a relatively green makeup-wearer like myself.
This online community is like having a group text with all the beauty experts you wish you knew in real life. There is no pretense. Everyone is welcome, from beginners to professionals. The knowledge that I’ll have people to cheer me on along the way, I’m inspired to experiment more with makeup—and return to Makeup Addiction.