There's a subreddit called Bad MakeUp Artists, and the photos people post in there have an "Instagram vs. Reality" vibe to them. In the sense that it's hard to imagine a person applying that much foundation or eye shadow, thinking 'Yeah, this is going to look great!' and another one glancing at the mirror and saying 'I can't wait to go out like this.' Maybe if it was for some kind of skit but that's about it. However, here they are, attending weddings and filming YouTube videos with enough layers on their face to withstand even Siberian winters. I really hope some of these looks were meant as jokes. Or at least that they were cleaned off right away.
Pinsandpearls, one of the moderators of Bad MakeUp Artists, said 'bad makeup' probably means different things to different people, which is why the subreddit has such a wide variety of posts. "Typically, we're looking at makeup that isn't applied skillfully — lack of blending where appropriate, terrible foundation color match, messy lines," Pinsandpearls explained to Bored Panda. "I don't think it includes things that are maybe 'different' than you would normally see, as long as the actual application is good (editorial makeup, for example). We still allow some of those posts because it usually has a good discussion and taste is subjective, but I think there's a difference between 'different' and 'bad.' Bad is pretty obvious when you see it."
"Another thing I mentioned was the color choice. If you take a look, you can probably see a lot of makeup artists and normal people are mismatching their foundations to their skin's undertone," badMUAscout highlighted. "If you're slightly off, it's probably ok. Our skin isn't one flat color and it can vary in shades throughout the day. It doesn't help that foundations oxidize and can go from perfect to pumpkin shades. While sometimes it isn't an issue, when you are paying a trained artist hundreds of pounds or dollars to do makeup, you shouldn't end up with a different undertone or a shade five times darker than your skin."
Contouring is another poor color choice often featured on the subreddit. "Contour is meant to mimic the 'shadows' you naturally have but very very slightly enhanced. We consider it to be bad when it looks like a dark stripe down the side of the face which doesn't match the natural shadows," badMUAscout explained.
Another moderator who helps run Bad MakeUp Artists, RedHeadedSnatch, believes that some people do submit photos to the subreddit as a joke or because they might not really like a particular celebrity or look. However, RedHeadedSnatch reminded that makeup is subjective, and there is no formula that determines whether or not an application is bad. "The only problem I have is when individuals who promote themselves as professionals but do not understand color theory, face shapes, eye shape, or use proper sanitation," RedHeadedSnatch said. "Sanitation is a huge issue because it can lead to acne, eye infections like pink eye, staph infections, and in some cases, actual bugs living in brushes. On a less severe note, it can also make the application of makeup look cakey, distort the foundation's color, concealer, and eye shadow, and cause damage to brushes."
RedHeadedSnatch looks at the submitted photos from a professional makeup artist's point of view. They have their makeup license from the state of Florida and have had over 100 hours of theory and hands-on training, with written and practical application tests, so they know what they're talking about. And that is a big positive that comes from Bad MakeUp Artists. Sure, we can all laugh at the photos, but if you browse through the comments, you can find valuable information even within the jokes.
Also, the subreddit forces the industry to be more transparent. "I feel as though the market is oversaturated with people claiming the MUA status without having proper training, and that causes people to lose faith in the makeup artist industry as a whole," RedHeadedSnatch said. Let's hope Bad MakeUp Artists makes them accountable. At least a a little bit.