One of the most common questions I get asked on a regular basis is which beauty products I use. Though I’m not obsessive with trying out new products, I do keep a regular routine and have quite a few favorites from a handful of brands.
First off, I discovered M•A•C makeup in middle school, back in the mid 90s. I remember getting my first ever lipstick in 7th or 8th grade and using it religiously until it ran out. I’ve always loved the faint vanilla smell and though I’ve gone through color shakeups (purple and later red in high school), I tend to use a few neutrals from M•A•C exclusively on an every day basis.
My days are very busy and there’s not much time for touch-ups; bright colors that can bleed or smear just aren’t practical. I like creamy, warm neutral lipsticks that aren’t too brown and don’t look too overdone with a smokey eye. And, I love gloss. A big Lipglass fan for many years, last December I discovered my new favorite lip gloss — Dazzleglass. It smells great, adds some amazing dimension to lips and lasts for hours. And, the shimmer is unparalleled.
I barely ever use lip liner but when I want a more finished look, I use M•A•C Subculture because it’s a neutral pink tone that blends and avoids the dreaded visibly lined look.
I used to wear red lipstick fairly often and still have L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in British Red, which is warm and really flattering. Whenever you see me wearing red lipstick in photos, this is it.
Not shown, but worth a mention: Vanilla Birthday Cake Lip Shine by Philosophy. The best smelling clear lip gloss I have ever tried. I am a huge vanilla lover and this totally delivers.
The Face: Eyes, Cheeks, Skin
Let’s start with blush. Too much and you look like a clown. Too little and you may appear….dead. I have really pale skin so I like a bit of warmth but I don’t want to look overdone. For a long time, I used M•A•C Sincere blush, but a few months ago, Margin was recommended and I like it even better. It’s more neutral, has a ton of shimmer and is highly pigmented — just a little goes a long way.
I’ve been using M•A•C eye shadows for about 15 years now. I own probably 20 shades but I have a few long time favorites. For the smokey eye I usually wear, I start with a no-name shimmery neutral shadow as a base. For the crease, I use Scene (deep gray) with Black Tied (a beautiful shimmery black) in the corners and finish it off with a Kohl eyeliner (M•A•C Smolder) or Prestige black liquid liner with a slight wing at the edge. And, when I want even more of an impact, I add a light dusting of Tiara loose eye shadow by Sugarpill onto my lids. It’s like liquid silver and everyone notices it because the pigment is really amazing.
Though, sometimes I just want a bit more impact on my eyes. I love M•A•C Atlantic Blue because it’s so much fun! But, my hands-down favorite for the last two weeks has been Poison Plum pressed eyeshadow by Sugarpill (which, in all honesty, has way more pigment than M•A•C). I went through a major purple eye shadow phase around 10 years ago and it’s back once again. I can’t get enough of it!
Not shown but worth a mention: I have a few limited edition M•A•C Mineralize eye shadows that I use all the time. They are amazingly shimmery and blend super well. Do you remember the Black collection from last year? I picked up Cinderfella (super shimmery black — even better than Black Tied) and Blue Flame (a multifaceted deep blue) that are beautiful.
For eyebrows, I use an angled brush and a tiny dab of M•A•C Mystery eye shadow (a dark brown) to add a dash of impact.
I’m not much of a liquid foundation fan. After applying moisturizer (I’ve been using Lancome lately), I put on concealer (I’ve used Studio Finish Concealer for about five years but recently got a sample of Studio Sculpt which I am liking even more) and then apply Studio Fix, which is a powder and foundation in one. Though it has a powdery finish, it covers nearly everything and makes skin appear silky smooth. Best of all, it can be applied lightly for a more natural look or layered slightly heavier for late nights and photos. Though I like Studio Sculpt, Gala swears by Make Up Forever concealer and I am considering giving it a try next. Have any of you tried it?
Though, like many of you, I’ve tried a number of mascaras including Maybelline Great Lash, I really do like M•A•C Zoom Black mascara because it builds up remarkably fast. And, it’s much less expensive than many of the other department store brands. It might be a bit heavy for some people, but I like a very mod, defined eye so it works for me.
Up until I was 28, I did very little to my skin and it stayed almost perfectly clear. Then, something changed about six months ago. Breakouts became more frequent and my skin became slightly more oily. And, my skin is very fair and sensitive, so I wasn’t sure where to turn. I finally decided to go back to my teenage skin routine — the simple, affordable and effective 3 Step Skincare system by Clinique. Though, it’s not quite three steps for me because I prefer to use a different moisturizer by Lancome.
When I’m too tired to wash my face, I reach for Comodynes Makeup Remover for Sensitive Skin wipes, which I first discovered at Trader Joe’s on a whim. If you have sensitive skin like I do, these are amazing. I’ve tried a few other brands and nothing ever works as well as these.
I am sure I’m probably leaving a few things out, but feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!
Readers: What are some of your favorite beauty products? What can you not live without? Do you have any recommendations for new products I should try?
*Header image by M•A•C