Can’t Live Without Makeup: Daily Essentials

This Summer was filled with back to back commitments.  I’ve managed to fill in every spare second with visits with close friends and trying out new local restaurants.  What I haven’t been great with, however, is ear-marked!  No worries though, long flights and non wi-fi locations have left me with piles of magazines with turned down pages and as we head to Fall, I’ll be preparing posts in advance to be sure you’re getting your daily fill!

All the travel also forced me to minimize my daily essentials to only what I absolutely need, which is always a challenge for me.  I listed below some of my favorite products, and although I definitely like to switch things up, I know I’ll be ok if these items are packed in my purse!

Can’t Live Without Makeup (in order of how I apply):

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream $38

Smashbox Photofinish Luminizing Facial Primer $38

Laura Mercier Moisture Supreme Foundation $43

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit $33

*I like how this one has two colors – not all skin tone is the same and it’s also useful when you’ve gotten some Sun or in my case a faux tan ;-)

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation $28

Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights $30

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush $25

Stila Eyeshadow Trio $28

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner $15

Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara $19

LORAC Cream Lipstick $19

Tory Burch Dash Large Brigitte Cosmetic Case $75

Foundation

Foundation is amazing.  It transforms your look and evens out the most unbalanced skin tones.  HOWEVER, it is perhaps the hardest (at least I think so) process to master.  We’ve all seen people out with a streaky foundation or one that makes the face look flawless, but the neck look white.  There’s just so many places to go wrong.

It’s VERY important to test before you buy foundation and one very important trick is to stock up on a few varying shades to interchange as your skin gets tanner/lighter.  I also find it really helpful to use either a brush or a blender.  My favorites are either the BeautyBlender ($19.95) and the MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush ($34).

   

Use clean hands and start with less then you think you need.  There’s always time to add more, but applying too much will result in starting all over or going out looking like a clown.  I have had the best success by using the MAC brush to dab into the product, then start at my nose, progressing to my cheeks.  Next, I cover my jaw-line, neck and ears (don’t leave out places like ears, neck and hairline – it makes your makeup look cakey and not blended/natural).  Lastly, I cover my forehead.  After my whole face/neck is covered, I use the beauty blender to make sure there aren’t any streaks.

People have different theories on the next step, but I find it crucial to air out my foundation by waving my hands in front of my face for 60 seconds (I literally count out loud and yes, this is somewhat superstitious) before setting it in a loose powder.

My 10 Favorite Foundations:

Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation $34

Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Foundation $46

Stila Natural Finish Oil-Free Makeup $38

MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Satin Finish SPF 15 Foundation $30

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 $42

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation $42

Dior Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation $62

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation $42

Covergirl Naturelux Foundation $11.98

Maybelline Fit Me! Liquid SPF 18 Foundation $6.99

Blushing

I have pale skin, so my foundation, bronzer and blush are important to me.  Blush especially adds life to the complexion, which becomes necessary (especially when I’m waking up too early to feel like I have any energy).  I like to have a variety of hues on hand, as I’m a big fan of blending/layering.  This is especially useful as you learn to contour your face and enhance your best features.

My All Time Favorite Blush Options:

NARS Blush in Orgasm $28

Tarina Tarantino Dollskin Cheek Palette $45

Cargo Blush in Catalina $29

Benefit Dandelion Blush $28

Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star in Rose Diamond $44

NARS Cream Blush in Penny Lane $28

Stila Custom Color Blush in Sheer Pink $20

LORAC Blush in Desire $20

Loreal True Match Super-Blendable Blush in Baby Blossom $11.49

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Frisky $25

LORAC Baked Matte Satin Blush in Plush $24

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural $11.99

My 15 Favorite Mascaras

Mascara is my Godsend.  It can literally transform your entire look.  Lately, I’ve been a little lazy about doing my whole makeup routine for weekends and have resulted to the shortcut.  Foundation, Concealer, Powder, Bronzer and Mascara.  It appears natural, but still covers blemishes and evens out your skin tone.  Mascara is the secret ingredient, however, because if you are using a good one, it can make you look done up and more awake as opposed to – my hair is in a bun, I look tired and it’s obvious I didn’t get enough sleep last night.

My 15 Favorite Mascaras:

Diorshow Mascara $25

Givenchy Phenomen’ Eyes Effet Extension $30

Buxom Lash $19

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara $22

Blinc Mascara $26

Perfekt Lash Perfection Gel $28.50

Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara $5.19

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking $30

Sephora Collection Outrageous Volume Mascara $15

Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara $19

Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Nylon Lash Extension System $35

CoverGirl LashBlast Waterproof Volume Mascara $6.23

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Waterproof Luxurious Mascara $30

Shiseido Perfect Mascara Full Definition $24

Laura Mercier Faux Lash Mascara $24

*Mascara trick: Don’t be afraid to layer different brands – in fact, you should!  One type can be better at separating the lashes, and another with lengthening, so start testing out different combinations to maximize your results.

 

Beauty Buff’s Beware…

…because you are about to add an expense to your monthly budget.  I have found something so exciting for Beauty lovers that if even 1 of you do not know about it, this post will be worth it.  I had heard of Beauty Subscriptions, but for whatever (insane) reason, I was frustrated that they are mostly popular/available abroad.  It was hard to find any I was interested in that shipped within the U.S.  The idea behind them is to pay roughly $10-15/month (normally) or $25-40 every three months and have 3-5 samples of a new product sent to your home once a month.

I love getting packages and when I see mail that is not a bill, it’s like a little thrill, so this for me is like a pint sized Christmas I get to experience every 30 days.  Not only is it great because you can try a huge variety of products (some of which you’d probably not try if you had to buy the full size), but also because I’ve found you can actually spend less money on hair/beauty supplies by subscribing to one or two.  So far, I have only tried BeautyBox 5 (most of the good providers either are still working on shipping to the U.S. or have a wait list, so sign up for as many as you are interested in and then pick the ones you want when they are able to accommodate your orders).  Although I am definitely still a fan, I initially didn’t customize my order (they have options to put in your hair/eye color, skin type, etc) to see what their standard shipment was, but I think this was a mistake.  My first shipment was very much geared towards “anyone’s” features and I think I’d prefer something more particular to me, so I’ve since changed my profile.  That being said, it’s still a really fun service and something I am really excited about for $12/month or $30/3 months.

My First BeautyBox 5 Shipment:

Left Picture (top, bottom): side of BeautyBox 5 shipment, box opened up with samples in a bag

Right Picture (top row left to right, bottom row left to right): Freeman Pink Grapefruit Facial Exfoliating Scrub ($3.99/bottle), Pur-Lisse Essential Daily Moisturizer ($55/1.7 oz), La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipe ($9.99/24 wipes), BeautyBox 5 Card, Doctor T’s Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipe ($34/40 swipes), True Natural Advanced Lift and Firm Serum ($69/.5 fl oz)

Overall, I was hoping there would be more makeup samples, as opposed to this one, which was focused more on skin care, but I was surprised that I enjoyed these products more than I thought I would.  Also, now that I’ve customized my profile, I have a feeling the samples will get more diverse and there are certainly other subscribers that focus 100% on makeup/nails, etc.  I did a brief synopsis of each product below, but considering had I bought all these products at a store the total would be $171.89, I can see why people are so crazy about these monthly indulgences!

Freeman Pink Grapefruit Exfoliating Scrub:  Very vibrant fragrance!  I would definitely buy this to use for an early morning to wake me up.  The scrub is hearty enough to make me feel like it is getting rid of dead skin, but not too abrasive, which I like.

Pur-Lisse Essential Daily Moisturizer:  My skin feels really healthy after I apply it and it is extremely light, but you can definitely smell the SPF in it.  It has an SPF 30 (which is a total plus!) but it does appear a bit greasy like I’m putting on straight sun-tan lotion.  I would use this on vacation, but don’t see myself buying it for everyday.

La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipe:  I love makeup remover wipes and use them all the time, but I normally buy the cheap grocery store brand or for a few extra dollars, Neutrogena.  They are ceratinly more effective than the store brand’s and leave my face feeling fresh.  I still have to rub my eye a few times to get all the makeup off, but can accomplish it with one wipe.  They’re pretty much on par with Neutrogena for me.

Doctor T’s Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipe:  I really liked this sample.  I’m fair skinned, so sun protection is important to me (even though it should be important to all of us!).  Personally, I would still use a lotion on my face, but would absolutely buy a pack of these for the Summer to protect my body from the Sun.  They’re easy to use, no fuss and I managed to get through a pool day without a burn while using the swipe.

True Natural Advanced Lift and Firm Serum:  This one was my favorite.  I’m starting to get into preventative tactics to keep my skin (especially my face) firm.  What I liked most about this product is that you can actually feel it working.  I applied a small amount and within 15 seconds I felt like I had put on a light mask.  It’s not too tight where you feel like you can’t make facial expressions, but more-so just a hint of resistance to make you feel it is effective.  It also made my skin really soft after I followed it with moisturizer.

Other Beauty Box Providers I’m Excited About:

BirchBox ($10/month, some brands include Nars, Stila, Kiehls, has a subscriber for Men, currently has a wait-list)

Julep ($19.99/month, formaldehyde free nail polish/products, available right now)

MyGlam ($10/month, some brands include Urban Decay, Tarte, NYX, currently has a wait-list)

GlossyBox ($?/month- not available yet, some brands include O.P.I., Bobbi Brown, Chloe, Shu Uemura, coming soon to the U.S.)

TestTube ($29.95 + shipping/quarter gets you four shipments of bigger products- usually 6 full size products + a magazine, some brands include Korres, Moroccan Oil, Smashbox, available right now)

Glymm ($?/month- not available yet, some brands include Butter, Anastasia, YSL, coming soon to the U.S.)

LooseButton ($12/month, some brands include Dermalogica, Benefit, Laura Mercier, currently has a wait-list)

BeautyArmy ($12/month, some brands include StriVectin, RapidLash, Joico, currently has a wait-list)

A Couple Gift Sets for Men:

HisKit ($12/month, has samples of grooming products, tech stuff, small wardrobe staples like socks, etc, currently has a wait-list)

MaleBox (coming soon, sign up to be notified when they are available to ship)

And One for Dog’s Too:

BarkBox ($25/month, usually comes with a toy, treats, fun product like printed doggie bags and shampoo, available right now)

*Know that there are many more of these (all kinds too) available to the public, but after doing a lot of research, I’ve found these work with the best products.  It is definitely worth keeping your eyes out though.

*Photos taken from websites

Faux Glow

My makeup education is always evolving.  Because of my upbringing, attending an all-girls school for most of my life mentioned here, I didn’t have much experience with a wide variety of looks.  It was basically what I put on Monday-Friday (practically nothing) or for the weekend (still nothing… social lives in the suburbs of Baltimore are hard to come by… or maybe just for me?  Yikes.).  I always loved experimenting, however, and was enamored by the models in fashion magazines.  I remember one night I decided I would master the smoky eye, being as careful as possible trying to imitate how the makeup artist’s did it.  I probably went through an entire bar of face soap erasing my attempts that would more so make me eligible for Clown College rather than Marinello.

Through the years, however, and by being introduced to coed classes in College, I learned how to highlight my features and look appropriate in public.  Even now, I take a Saturday night, once and a while, stay at home to try out new colors and products.  This still sometimes ends in disaster, but the point is to have fun with your looks and not be afraid to add a new step to your daily beauty regime.  One suggestion?  Experiment on a day/night where you won’t be rushing to an event.  I have 100% been the girl who was 30 minutes late because I was scrubbing the season’s hottest color – deep purple (made me look like the time I dressed in Goth for Halloween) – off my lips.  Oops!

One way I’ve found to enhance your look (especially at night) is by using luminizers.  Anything to give your face a healthy glow, while making you appear sun-kissed and full of life.  Some of my favorite products like these include…

-Tan Towels $27/10 towelettes: I can’t live without these after a suggestion from my friend Heather, which unlike the other products, I put on before my makeup.  They enhance your skin tone and are really easy to put on evenly – they also come in bigger sizes to cover your face and body.  photo from tantowel.com

-Smashbox Photo Finish Luminizing Primer $38: I’ve been a longtime lover of the Photo Finish Collection over at Smashbox and although it instructs to put on under foundation, I love the look I get when I dab it over my cheeks and forehead after I’ve finished my makeup.  It gives you an even and subtle golden pop.  photo taken from smashbox.com

-Tarte Ten Cheek Stain $19:  This was the first product I experimented with that has more uses than a blush, but in the pink family, instead of golds and browns.  I love how it gives you a good amount of color, without being overwhelming.  I spread this on my cheeks (sometimes my lips too!) and rub it in to give a shimmery, warm highlight. photo taken from tartecosmetics.com

-Curious by Britney Spears Perfumed Shimmer Stick $7.49:  First of all, wipe that look off your face.  B. Spears is amazing and this product gives you skin like the famous scene in Toxic.  See picture below… enough said.  photo of product taken from amazon.com, photo of Britney taken from broadway.com

-MAC Strobe Cream $15:  The Strobe Cream is one I’m more inclined to wear in the day, because it goes on a little brighter than most of these, but it’s still a great buy.  It really improves the look of your skin and balances out uneven skin tones.  photo taken from maccosmetics.com

-Smashbox Baked Fusion Soft Lights in Baked Starburst $30: This is actually called a blush, but to me, it’s an all-over essential.  I use a powder brush and dab it on my face and neckline for a noticeably sun-kissed glow.  photo taken from smashbox.com

*I used to put as much bronzer/luminizers all over my face to try to get a golden look, but have learned to use these only on my cheeks and T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and then use a lighter, pressed powder like this one above the cheeks and along the jawline to create an illusion that your skin is more vibrant and you even appear skinnier!

Other Glow Enhancing Products I’m dying to try:

all photos below taken from Sephora.com

Nars The Multiple Stick $39

Benefit High Beam $26

Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer $28

Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star $44

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum $32

Benefit Watt’s Up! Illuminizer $30

Edward Bess All Over Seduction Cream $38

Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener $19

Givenchy Le Prisme Blush Bucolique $56

Guerlain Terracotta Blush Sun Shimmer Highlighter $41

Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer $22

Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighting Power Duo $29


Lorac Oil-Free Luminizer $28

Guerlain By Emilio Pucci Illuminating Powder $59

Givenchy Mister Radiant $37.50

Benefitted

I have been on the hunt for a good face cream for a long time.  I’ve gone back and forth with different moisturizers for as long as I can remember, but never found something that made me feel I’ve found the one.  I usually leave myself about a one minute window for my entire facial cleansing regime either because I’m running late in the morning or because I had to watch DVRed episodes on Bravo and E! (do we really need any other channels??) until I’m so exhausted, getting my contacts out are about all I can handle before hitting the hay.  That being said, I’ve wanted something light and refreshing, with main priorities being anti-shine, hydration and most of all – it had to feel light.  There’s nothing worse than feeling cakey before you even apply makeup.

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Enter Benefit Skincare.  I sampled their Total Moisture Facial Ceam and It’s Potent! Eye Cream while at the Brow Bar one Sunday morning.  I was wearing 0 makeup, a hat and huge sunglasses, assuming I would be trying to hide from the world after cleaning up my brows and was totally surprised at how amazing I felt after a couple dabs of the products.  I felt rejuvenated, revived and awake – something I rarely feel before 10 am.  Best of all, I felt like there was nothing on my skin – it’s so light, I felt like my skin just got upgraded.  Even more of a shock was that I was not shiny at all, in fact, my skin had never looked better (without makeup, let’s not get crazy).  It has been 2 months since I started using both products (you only need a little bit/use so I have about 1/2 left of each) and I can honestly say my skin is softer and more even then it has ever been.  A definite recommend!!

Total Moisture Facial Cream: $36/1.7 oz, It’s Potent! Eye Cream: $32/.5oz

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