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Monday, February 10, 2014

Putting Your Best Face Forward

Any time someone tells me I look better with no makeup I am reminded of this comic by the very funny and very astute Alexandra Dal:


I get this a fair amount.  If I wear no eye makeup someone asks me if I am sick because we are so used to seeing women's eyes enhanced with liner and mascara.  I get the same question if I have no foundation on - apparently slight redness around the nose and eyes isn't something we're used to seeing on our "natural" girls.  When we wear noticeable makeup we have to deal with condescension from both men and women (who frankly, you'd think would understand) about how we look better without makeup, or incredulous questions about how long it took us to get ready (not that long, bitch!) or even worse, questions about who we are planning on seeing since we are clearly wearing makeup solely to impress someone.

So, we are given the incredibly difficult task of the "no-makeup makeup" look, the "this is what I look like when I wake up" appearance that often takes even more time than the heavy makeup looks that just require some serious rimming of the eyes with black stuff.  I decided to do a quick roundup of my work natural look necessities, which really just need to be applied more heavily (much easier to do!) at the end of the day to make them more cocktails-ready.  

And if you buy anything don't forget to take advantage of the free samples you can get with your order!  Unless you're a hoarder like me, of course.
photo credit: Sephora

Lancome Visionnaire Advance Skin Corrector $89 for 1.0 oz- if your skin is bumpy, uneven in tone, uneven in any way, this stuff is amazing.  It imparts a glow to your skin that no other similar product that promises to do this does.  Supposedly it uses a molecule that "propels through skin layers, [triggering] a cascading series of micro-transformations along its path".  I believe this, but even as a chemist, I have no idea what it means.  Either way, it works.  This was a product I got a sample of twice and loved so much I had to buy it, even despite the hefty price tag (and I very rarely ever pay much for skincare).

photo credit: Sephora

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation $45 for 1 oz- if you have oily skin and you are afraid to use a liquid foundation, go get this one right now.  The quality over powder foundations will blow your mind, and it stays put all day long, not breaking up and "sliding around" on oily skin.  You can get as little or as much coverage as you need, which is ideal for transitioning from daytime makeup to nighttime makeup.  As I've said before, you can also buy a pump from Barney's for $6 and this will last you through many bottles (I'd say I've had about 5 or 6 at this point... I've been using this stuff for a loooong time) as long as you clean it when switching bottles.  It comes in a great variety of colors and undertones, and really does give you a nice, sheer glow.  Just an FYI, a lot of people think the name refers to the coverage (sheer), but this is definitely a buildable medium coverage foundation.  The "sheer" refers to the finish, and you can try Nars' "Sheer Matte" foundation as well if that's more your style.

photo credit: Sephora

Beautyblender Application Sponge $19.95 for one or $28.95 for two - if you want an airbrushed finish on your foundation quickly, this is how you get it.  In my experience, I use way less foundation when I'm using this sponge because it helps it spread so far.  You simply wet it with warm water and then wring it out so it's damp and stipple on your foundation (I like to put dots of it on my face and then blend them out using this guy).  Don't rub, just stipple it all around for a flawless finish.

photo credit: Sephora

Koh Gen Do Sponge Cleaner $11 for 2.54 oz - so you have you sponge but now you need to clean it, this is the stuff I recommend you use.  Beautyblender makes their own cleaner but it's expensive and doesn't do the trick nearly as well as this sponge cleaner does.  You'll think your sponge is new!

photo credit: Sephora

Nars Blush in "Deep Throat" $30 for 0.16 oz - I know you've heard of Nars "Orgasm" being the universally flattering blush, but if you have fairer yellow tone skin, this is it.  Deep Throat is described as "peach with shimmer" but looks distinctively more pink to my eye, making it a better match with light, yellow- and beige-based skin.  I discovered this a few years ago and even though I play around with different blushes at times, this one is always the go to.

photo credit: Sephora

Clinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer $26 - Nars Laguna is good, but this is better (and cheaper!).  The brown tone is less muddy and better for lighter skin; it helps you look glowing and not just dirty.  I apply this with a huge kabuki brush made for applying body makeup and just dust it lightly around the sides of my face to give me a little extra glow in the winter months.

photo credit: Sephora

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in "Dim Light" $45 for 0.35 oz - it's hard to explain what this powder does beyond "you'll know it when you see it".  It makes you look even tones, your skin look smooth and airbrushed, and works great as a setting/finishing powder.  I love it so much I want to collect all the shades but the price is pretty high so I'll have to wait on that.

photo credit: Sephora

Buxom Stay There Eye Shadow in "Mutt" and "Pug" $18 for 0.12 oz - these are selling out on the Sephora site which makes me nervous they're being discontinued because these are amazing.  They are totally buildable and make for the perfect base for a nice eyeshadow look.  "Mutt" is gorgeous on its own or layered under darker browns and blacks for a brown smokey eye, while "Pug" offers the perfect base for a purple or black smokey eye.  Try them.  You'll like them, I promise.

photo credit: Nordstrom

MAC Eyeshadow in "Quarry", "Tempting", "Shale", and "Swiss Chocolate"  $15 - the best eye shadows you could buy - huge color selection with tons of color payoff.  This is very, very closely followed by one of the UD Naked Palettes but as far as colors I use every day go, these are it.

photo credit: Sephora

Yves Saint Lauren Touche Eclat in No. 2 $41 for 0.1 oz - you've heard it's the best and you've doubted it, thinking whatever you're using in its place is good enough.  You're wrong and you should go out and buy this right now.  I felt the same way at one point, but now that I've been using it for a few weeks I don't anymore.  I look more alive, more awake, more refreshed, just more good (better, I know, but I wanted to stick with the "more"s) all around.

photo credit: Nordstrom

MAC Makeup Brushes in #217#211#266#239 (all eyes) and #116 (small blush brush/contour) - MAC brushes are the best in my opinion, and as far as professional makeup brushes go they are pretty inexpensive (probably only Sephora brand being cheaper, but not as good quality).  So long as you keep them clean and take care of them, they will last you forever.  Most of mine were purchased in 2005, and are still in great shape.  #217 is your basic blending brush, #239 is your shader (really the only two you need to start), #211 is your precision liner and #266 is your angled liner/brow brush.  

photo credit: Sephora

Sephora Mineral Powder Brush $25 - this is another of the best brushes out there, and it's great for applying liquid foundation and light application of blush.  It's very versatile and with a little searching you could easily find tons of uses for it.  It's just a great all around brush to have in any collection.

photo credit: Sephora

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Powder Spray - not technically makeup but still this stuff is amazing.  My hair is incredibly oily, like so bad that I can't even really wash it at night and then wear it down the next day comfortably because it gets so oily overnight, and now this stuff has me wearing three day old hair down.  My hair is shinier since needed to wash it less and I love how this adds volume while eliminating oil and doesn't leave a white cast in my dark brown hair.


What are your favorite products and tools?  I find that I buy a lot of new things but the above products are the ones I always come back to.

2 comments:

  1. I swear by Touche Eclat! I can't wait to try out your other picks!
    Sarah
    whatsarahknows

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    Replies
    1. I know, I just got it for Christmas and I don't know how I lived without it all this time!

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