Truth #22: When testing makeup, your hand is not the same as your face.

Trying out makeup on your hand is the worst way to select a new cosmetic product. Each area of your face has a variety of distinctive colors and textures that are always different than the color and texture of your hand. Yes, I said always.

Why are hands so inaccurate for testing new makeup shades?

First, they have thick and tough skin, which is totally opposite to prevalent skin on the face, particularly the eyes and lips. Generally hands tend to be tanner and more even-colored than the face as well.

Stop getting swindled by lazy salespeople.

A big trick that sales associates use to sell more product is to show you some amazing color on the back of your hand, or even worse on their own. They let you see how it catches the light or how it smoothes out discolorations. All of the sudden that frosty pink or glittery green starts to look pretty amazing when it shimmers and dances on a smooth surface turning to catch the light. That’s when a salesperson will convince you it’s the most amazing shade and you must buy it. By not showing you how it would actually look on your face, they can hypnotize you with the sparkle or brightness or whatever illusive quality you are being led to believe is there. Then you get it home, place it wherever it was intended to go and are disappointed, maybe even horrified, at how it looks.

Why does a color change so much once it’s on the face?

What you see in a tube or compact will rarely be the color that appears on your face. Body chemistry, as I’ve discussed in the past, can also change the hue of any cosmetic after it’s been on your skin for a short time.

More than that, your face hosts an assortment of textures and shades. For instance, an eyelid could have brown, red, purple, yellow, dark ash, or green tones peeking from behind its very thin skin. Your lips are usually more densely pigmented and fleshy in texture. Their natural color state could be anything from bright rosy red to a neutral brown. Of course given our understanding of color theory, you know that combining colors will give you various results. For instance, if your eye has a lot of red tones around it and you put on some blue eyeshadow, you will make purple.

The conclusion: your hand will only give you a sense of how a color might look on your face, but ultimately your face is what will show you the truth. So don’t be afraid to try before you buy!