Best of Makeup
This post is long overdue! I get asked all the time about what makeup products I use (the top 3 requested are easily brow products, foundation, and powder) but it's a little daunting to put it all down in writing. Going through all my stuff almost felt like an intervention of sorts. 😬
Additionally, many of you requested a Best of Makeup 2016 after my Best of Skincare 2016, but it's now June and I feel silly calling this Best of Makeup 2016. So, it's just Best of Makeup (ha!), and if/when my routine goes through a major overhaul or a product gets bumped for a better one, I'll cross that bridge when I get there. For now, this is a comprehensive list of all the products I currently use and love when putting together my "face" Enjoy!
I confess that lately, I've been cheating on my Shiseido sunscreen (which you may remember from my P50 review) for this. It feels and works just like any good primer, except it has a whopping SPF 50. I'm pretty obsessed with this at the moment.
Night: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance 
I was put on this stuff by dog lover Kelly Travis. This stuff is slightly shimmery which generally tends to scare me off (I have pretty much zero tolerance when it comes to sparkles on my skin) but I swear this isn't cheap looking in the slightest. Not to sound like every beauty review ever, but it really does give a fantastic, dewy "glow".
I feel like this stuff is to foundations as Purity is to cleansers. Does anyone not use this stuff? It's admittedly very light coverage but as such, it looks super natural and very "I'm not wearing anything". When I have a huge zit I'm probably not going to reach for this, but otherwise I love how easy and natural it is.
I get asked what foundation I wear All. The. Time. when I wear this. It goes on nice and liquidy (I hate the feeling of thick BB creams and foundations) yet gives good medium coverage. It evens out my skin tone better than most and leaves an incredible dewy-ness. When I have time and patience I apply it with a Beauty Blender (or a Marshall's knock-off, which I hate to admit just aren't as good) but I otherwise just use my (clean!) hands.
As I said over on my Everyday Arsenal post: I have been using this concealer FOREVER. Seriously. It was probably one of the first concealers I've ever owned and I haven't been without it since high school. It covers well, blends well, lasts forever, the color match is excellent, and the SPF is an added bonus, especially for the eye area. Plus they're so tiny, I have at least three floating around between my handbags and bathroom. An oldie but a goodie.
When I want something less thick than a solid concealer, I reach for this. It's super pigmented (a little goes a very long way) and I particularly like to use it at night and around my eye area since it doesn't sit in eye wrinkles or make them look dry and thus more prominent. Though it's liquid, I wouldn't recommend trying to spread it; I dab it with my finger.
Day + Night: Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder 
Like every woman on the planet, I like to keep excessive shine at bay but always want to look natural. Natural-looking is my priority numero uno. This ultra-fine powder does just that. Of course, right after dusting this on I'm a bit more matte than towards the end of the day, but I never feel like my foundation/concealer coverage has completely worn off later in the day, nor do I feel the need to blot. That's a pretty remarkable balance. This is my Holy Grail powder for a natural-looking finish but without shine (a tricky line to tread). I have several half-finished powders which I suppose I won't be finishing because when this runs out I'll be buying another.
I don't wear bronzer by day but in the evenings I love to hop on the contour train. I avoid matte bronzers because I find they make my face look a bit ruddy (especially in the Summer) and this one is perfectly iridescent without going overboard. I use a combination of a basic bronzer brush and the famed Nars Kabuki "Ita" brush for more specific, accurate contouring.
Day + Night: Nars Blush in Orgasm
Like every other woman on the planet, I wear Nars' Orgasm most days. It's got just the right subtle flush of color while being shimmery enough that it almost doubles as a highlighter—the perfect amount of "highlight" for daytime, for sure. Sometimes in the evenings I'll switch to Nars' darker Goulue to amp things up.
I confess I got this as a Sephora deluxe sample ages ago and it has lasted me OVER A YEAR and is still going strong. I love it enough that when the day comes that it runs out, I'll buy a new full size one without hesitation (I can only imagine how long that'll last me). The shimmer to this creamy highlighter is super fine and just looks so dewy and flattering on. I only wear it at night (I just can't be bothered by day and my blush feels like enough) and will typically dab and blend it on my cheekbones and brow bones.
Day: MAC in All That Glitters
I wear this stuff every single day and have been for years. It's got good pigment but isn't obnoxious, and it's the perfect, subtly shimmery, my-own-eyelid-but-elevated color. I like to think it's not obvious that I'm even wearing shadow when I wear this. It's been a go-to for a long time.
I have a bunch of MAC shadows but these are the ones I dip into most. I emphasize the crease and also will line the bottom lashes with MAC's 219 pencil brush (don't be scared off by the word "pencil"; it's really more of a tapered smudge brush). I do have hazel eyes hence why I routinely stick with the purples; they really do bring out the green in my peepers.
Pencil: Maybelline Define-A-Line Eyeliner in Ebony Black 
As I said over on the Everyday Arsenal post... I have three requirements with eyeliners: I like them to be retractable so I don't have to worry about sharpening, a smudge tip on the opposite end (it bewilders me how anyone could live without a smudge tip), and the eyeliner itself has to glide on smoothly (the thought of eyeliner tugging at my fragile eyelid skin gives me shivers). This one ticks off all the boxes while being a total steal, plus it has a cute little sharpener built in if I want a really fine tip. I've used fancier/pricier eyeliners and this one's every bit as good at less than half the price.
Liquid: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper 
I swear, once you try this liquid liner, you won't go back. I've tried a ton over the years and never quite got the hang of it. I never had the control over the brush that I wished for and my cat-eyes often ended up uneven or botched, to the point where I'd sometimes wipe it off entirely. This brush point is SO thin and precise, so you can build the thickness you want, and it's both flexible and forgiving. Plus it's very pigmented and stays ALL DAY, no exaggeration. I will never use another liquid liner as long as they make this.
Day + Night: Mally LightWand Eye Brightener 
I've been lining my waterline with white or cream liners for years. I swear by it making you look brighter-eyed and more awake. I've tried a lot over the years, including Tarte's and Sephora's. Those both tended to cake up when applying, resulting in areas being way too bright and others being not bright enough—just uneven overall. This Mally wand goes on creamy yet subtly and stays throughout the day without being too prominent (subtle=good). The opposite end has a lovely, lightly shimmery powder that you can use to brighten the corners of your eyes. This baby is my inner eye Holy Grail item.
Curler: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler 
I am no unique snowflake. Who doesn't use this curler? Oh, and I've done much research on refill pads after realizing how absurdly hard it is to buy them (the curler only comes with one extra), and if you are able to find them, they're comically expensive (for what they are) and don't even necessarily fit your curler. I buy mine HERE (pictured with the curler below) and they fit perfectly.
Mascara: L'Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara in Black 
Once again, I'm no unique snowflake. Apparently even Kim Kardashian's makeup artist has been using and loving it for 15 years. I finally tried it to see what the hype was about after trying many a pricier mascara from Sephora. From what I can tell this is every bit as good and gives a good balance of volume, length, and separation. Clumpiness is a huge peeve of mine and this mascara's pretty darn good at not giving any (in this department, it at the very least keeps up with mascaras four times the price).
I don't wear falsies very often, but for dressy nights, events, or singing affairs where my makeup isn't done for me, I always wear these. I don't have the longest natural lashes in the world (yay, Asian genes!), so the super dramatic falsies out there can often look cartoonish on me. I find these the most natural-looking while giving the "oomph" I want. I buy them in bulk online (12 pairs) which is a great deal (vs drugstore prices) and get between 2 and 3 wears out of each pair. With the lash glue, I squeeze a tiny bit onto the back of my hand, lightly coat the falsie lash lines, and WAIT (this is key) for about 30 seconds before applying them. They'll be too wet if you try any sooner.
BROWS + LIPS
I can't tell whether this is a powder or a gel... it's like some hybrid. At any rate, this stuff clings to, colors, and beefs up your brow hairs while impressively not coloring your skin at all (making it very forgiving). It also layers pretty well, so you can keep an eye on how much color's getting in their without going overboard. This is my go-to for ultra natural-looking (versus statement) brows.
I've been asked about what I do with my brows for years now, ever since my Bachelor days. I've always felt a little silly because I don't have some special product I use—I literally use eyeshadow. For as long as I can remember I've been using either MAC's Espresso or Concrete (both matte eyeshadows) that I apply with MAC's 208 slanted brow brush. So, for statement brows, I start by filling in my arch (more noticeably than the Benefit gel can) and then I'll very sparingly fill in the front of the brow, lightly focusing on the bottom and blending upwards. I'm obsessed with them looking natural. I know aggressive brows are a thing right now but I always put natural-looking as the top priority. Case in point, I find if I'm too heavy-handed in the front they can look a little Sharpie-ish. If this wonky description makes ZERO sense please tell me so in the comments below and I can make a little video or something!
I LOVE clear eyebrow waxes and have been using them forever. They really give your brow hairs hold while not affecting the color you just carefully applied. They're tricky to find, though. Most things on the market are either colored brow waxes or clear brow gels. Take it from me: the BEST clear wax is MAC's Brow Finisher but it's been sold out for ages (like 6+ months now) at every MAC I've been to, so I've recently switched over to Elf's dupe which is really quite good as well (and the price is certainly friendlier). I do find the MAC is a little stiffer, which I like, but the Elf is a fantastic dupe until the MAC is (hopefully!) restocked. After I apply color to my brows, I sparingly swipe the wax along my brow, focusing on the arch. I then brush through with MAC's 204 spoolie brush to even out the hold.
I also want to add that my favorite advice I've ever heard about eyebrows is that they should look like sisters, not twins!
Day + Night: Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in Pink Lady
I'm just going to copy and paste what I said over on the Everyday Arsenal post. Nothing I can say about this gloss that I didn't already say over there...
Ah, Pink Lady, where would I be without you? I've worn Pink Lady for years now (including every day while filming The Bachelor) and have gotten countless girlfriends hooked as well. I'm not going to lie: it's overpriced for lip gloss. But the color is universally flattering, it plumps without looking cheap or silly, and I swear my whole face transforms when I put a bit of this on. The key is to be patient and wait a few minutes after applying; it needs a second to sort of "rest" and fade to a natural-looking shine. (Eg: if you're on a date, apply like 5 minutes before meeting, not 5 seconds!) I do like some of the other Lip Cream colors (White Russian for a nude look and Rose Julep for more color are faves) but Pink Lady is my soul sister and I'm never without her.
I don't own or wear any traditional twist up lipsticks. I hate worrying about color fading or smudging, or getting on my teeth or wine glass or shirt, or just being a general distraction. When I do choose to wear lipstick, I go the long-lasting stain route. My favorite colors are...
If you've been following this blog since its inception you already know this. This was the lipstick I wore on the show and it's still my go-to. It's a vibrant but not tacky red, it's nice and matte, and the staying power is truly remarkable.
For the blue moon where I want more of a statement than gloss can provide but want something more muted than red, I reach for this. It's a bold terracotta that gets me compliments every time I wear it. (You can see it on me in THIS post.)
PHOTOS: KEVIN TUN
Are you still with me?? That was quite the list. Tell me if you share my love for any of these products or if you think I missed anything. Oooh, and also feel free to recommend any of your Holy Grail products. Who doesn't want more of those in their life?
Thanks for stopping by!