Over the years, I’ve had several folks reach out to me about what makeup products I use and some have urged me to make a YouTube video tutorial…. however, I’m still working up the courage for that because I’m no makeup artist and my style is what it is… it’s my style. There is no right or wrong to what I do, and the makeup products I use are my personal preference based on my skin type, color, style, and what I find easy and realistic to use to accomplish my goal of 1) feeling confident, 2) looking natural, and 3) being a little bit glamorous. For those that know me know that I’m a little bit of a diva. No shame in my game.
Anyways, all of this started when one of my best friends asked me to send her a detailed email about what makeup she needed to buy because she was doing an overhaul of her makeup inventory. I drafted a long, elaborate, and obnoxious email that has since evolved into what I’m sharing with you today.
I’ll first start by crediting my dearest mother for raising me into the makeup and fashion loving monster that I am today. I wouldn’t want it or have it any other way. She taught me at a very young age that “To glam is to give a damn.” I’m sure some of you have seen this phrase written “Too glam to give a damn” but that communicates an entirely different message. Reread both phrases, think about it, and reflect. The purpose of me writing this post and sharing this information with you is to inspire and motivate you to give a damn about yourself. Invest in yourself by giving a damn about your appearance. That’s not vain or materialistic. It’s you communicating to others that you prioritize yourself, which is a powerful message of confidence, strength, and poise.
All that being said, here is my two cents about makeup must-haves. 😀
We all have dark circles and a good concealer is your best friend. If you trust me on this one, I would go to Sephora (or you can buy on Amazon) and get the BEST concealer, in my humble opinion, that I have found, which is ITCosmetics “Bye Bye” Under-Eye. Now, this concealer is a little on the expensive side BUT my tube of concealer lasts me 12+ months no lie. A little bit goes a very long way. You only need to apply concealer under your eyes and on your blemish spots.
to buy on Sephora.
to buy on Amazon.
Okay, you need a good long-lasting and non-greasy foundation. I prefer liquid foundations but some prefer other types. I think liquid lasts longer and looks more natural. Don’t just get a “tinted moisturizer”…. that’s not foundation. The moisturizers will wear off before the end of the day. I personally think the BB and CC creams also wear off throughout the day. You really don’t want that.
Bare Minerals, ITCosmetics, Nars, Pur, and Tarte are really good brands, and it’s also worth looking at Clinique. I like Clinique’s face moisturizer but am not a fan of their foundation- however, I know some folks that love it. Personally, I absolutely love Estee Lauder‘s Double Wear foundation. I’ve been wearing Estee’s Double Wear foundation for 10+ years. You can buy it on Amazon, but I don’t suggest that because if you buy it at an Estee makeup counter you can capitalize on their free gift with purchase. Just call your nearest department store and ask when their next “gift with purchase” will be. If you are buying foundation for the first time, I recommend going to the physical brick and mortar store like Sephora, Ulta, or a makeup counter at a department store so they can match the right foundation color to your skin type/color.
to buy on Estee Lauder’s website.
With foundation, there is an age old battle of how to apply it. Some people swear by applying foundation with a sponge-like brush, some apply foundation with an actual brush, and others (like myself) use their fingers. Your fingers are the cheapest and cleanest option in my opinion. Always wash and DRY your hands before applying, and be GENTLE when rubbing the foundation in around your face. The elasticity in your face isn’t going to last forever, so preserve it the best you can. Your pinky fingers, ring fingers, and middle fingers are the gentlest of your digits, so I recommend using those three amigos to rub your foundation in and blend around your face. Don’t forget to apply foundation down along your neck to blend and on your eyelids to help the eyeshadow to stick and stay longer.
You need a loose powder to set your foundation. I would purchase the same brand of setting powder as you do your foundation to keep it consistent. For example, I use Estee Lauder’s foundation and powder because I think they compliment each other well. Plus, I just love love love them. (Unfortunately, they don’t sell Estee at Sephora or Ulta…which frustrates me. I have to buy my Estee makeup online or go to a department store like Macy’s, Dillard’s, or Nordstrom’s to restock.) Now setting powder is not the same as bronzer so don’t get confused. Wherever you go to purchase your foundation, ask them to match you with a setting powder to go with your foundation. Apply your powder all over your face and down along your neck… pretty much wherever you applied foundation apply your powder.
It’s worth investing in a good blush. You can buy cheaper blush if you’re looking to cut corners on cost, but don’t buy super cheap. Remember, you get what you pay for…
As for picking the right color, if you aren’t used to wearing blush I would start with a subtle pink. You don’t want anything too orange-y or too red, but you do want a color that “pops”. I would recommend buying a blush palette with a few pink-y options. That will give you some variety to help you decide on the color you like most.
My favorite blushes are Nars “Orgasm” or “Super Orgasm” and any of the ITCosmetics blushes. I also really like Tarte and Estee Lauder blushes. I find it helpful to apply your blush with the fish face, and don’t forget to take your blush to your hairline. After you apply your blush, then you want to apply your bronzer/highlighter for a more chiseled and stunning glow (see below).
You can check out the blush brands I like below:
It’s also worth investing in good eyeliner. However, in my opinion, eyeliner is something you need to experiment with because everyone’s eyes are shaped differently and water or dry out differently. All of which impact what eyeliner will work best for you. If you go to Sephora, Ulta, or a department store makeup counter, just ask for assistance with picking out a good eyeliner for your eyes. I prefer pencil eyeliners but I know liquid liners are the latest craze. I branched out and got my first liquid eyeliner a year or so ago and am not a huge fan. I use it when I go out for a more dramatic look because I don’t find liquid liner (on me) to be very natural, but I know some liquid liner stays on longer than pencil liners so it’s totally up to you.
In terms of color, I would stick with safe/natural colors- black, brown, and gray. If you want different color liners for specific looks or effects by all means you do you. Remember, these are simply my recommendations based on my personal style.
I always recommend lining your top lids, but use caution when lining your bottom lids. If you want to line your bottom lids, do it softly. I recommend tracing the shape of your eye for a natural look… the winged eyeliner is tricky and dramatic, so watch a YouTube video or two before trying. A fun little trick that MBT (aka my mom) taught me to soften your eyeliner for a more natural look: After you apply your eyeliner and your eyeshadow, instead of going over your eyeliner with a pencil again, go over your eyeliner with a darker/matching color eyeshadow using a very small brush. Essentially tracing your eyeliner with shadow.
I have used various brands of eyeliner but have found my favorite to be Estee Lauder’s pencil liners. I know, you’re probably starting to see a trend here… I’m definitely an Estee girl. However, there other brands that I also like and use such as Sephora’s brand of eyeliners, Clinique, Skone, Kat Von D, and Lancome.
to watch an eyeliner tutorial on YouTube.
This one is tricky because I have a mash up of so many different eyeshadows and palettes that I’ve collected over the years. You want plenty of neutral options, matte and sparkly options, and bold color options. A great way to start building your collection is to capitalize on the “free gift with purchase” at Estee, Clinique, Lancome, or other makeup counters. They always throw in an eyeshadow or two. I would also check out Sephora and/or Ulta to see if you can’t snag a good deal on an eyeshadow palette.
I absolutely LOVE the Urban Decay Naked Palettes. You cannot go wrong with Naked 1, 2, or 3. I’ll be real with you, the Urban Decay palettes are expensive BUT the shadow lasts all day long and the palette itself will last you forever. I’ve had my UD palettes for years and am still going strong. Urban Decay also sells individual shadows if you’re not interested in buying palette, but again, they can be pricey. I would recommend checking out Sephora’s brand of individual eyeshadows. I have bought quite a few and like them a lot. They, too, should last you all day and last I checked, they’re only $10/each which is a great price.
Always apply a lighter color directly under your eyebrow to highlight and provide a “popping” effect. From there, just apply your eyeshadow how it’s comfortable for you. You can never go wrong with a neutral shine. Again, everyone’s eyes are shaped differently, crease differently, and water or dry out differently. All of which impacts what colors you use and how you apply. I would recommend watching a few “How-To” YouTube videos on how to apply eyeshadow.
to watch a great video on how to apply natural looking eyeshadow. Don’t feel like you have to follow every step of this video…. it’s just a great tutorial to show you how to color different sections of your eye.
to check out the Naked2 Urban Decay Palette.
to check out the Naked3 Urban Decay Palette.
Do you have an eyelash curling brush? If not, you need one.
I am VERY picky about my mascara and have finally found one I love and works great for my lashes. But just like all of these recommendations, what works for me might not work for you. I wear “Better than Sex” mascara by Too Face. I have used mascaras from Clinique, Estee, and Tarte, which I like and would consider buying in a pinch if I can’t find my tried and true “Better than Sex” mascara. Plus, how fun is the name?
I will try to make my mascara tubes last 4-5 months, but you have to be careful because your mascara is the dirtiest of makeup (in my opinion). Old mascara collects bacteria and junk and you don’t want that on your eyes. And NEVER use someone else’s mascara unless it’s your mom’s…and even then, use caution. And NEVER let someone else use your mascara.
After I curl my lashes (one eye at a time), I apply this L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Primer
before applying my mascara. I let the primer dry for just a second and then apply my mascara. Fun little tip, you can add one drop of your favorite essential oil to your mascara tube to help it last longer and not dry up. I personally add a drop of Jojoba oil
to my mascara tube to promote lash growth.
to buy Better than Sex by Too Face from Sephora.
SIDE NOTE: I also love Chanel mascara thanks to my fabulous Mom-in-Law but it’s super expensive so I stick with my Too Face brand. However, if I made way more money than I do currently, my lashes would be rockin’ some Chanel mascara.
I’m not really sure why but this is a new venture for me. I just started applying highlighter as an every day thing not that long ago… and let me tell you… I will never go back to my old non-glowing ways. I bought the Anastasia Summer Glow palette for $40 and absolutely love it. It has a bronzer, a highlighter blush, and two different lighter shades of highlighter.
Because this is a new area for me, I would recommend watching a few videos on YouTube on how to apply blush, bronzer, and highlighter. I personally like to apply my blush first, and then I apply a LITTLE bit of bronzer directly below my blush line and then blend. From there, I apply a LITTLE bit of highlighter above my blush line and the peak of my nose and then blend. After all of that, I always go over my blush line one more time very softly to blend.
to check out the Anastasia Summer Glow Highlighter Palette
As you build your makeup routine, you will quickly discover what brushes you need and use the most. The brushes I use are unique to my makeup routine and what I’m comfortable using… I use a loose powder brush, a blush brush, a highlighter brush, a bronzer brush, various eyeshadow brushes and applicators, an eyebrow brush, and a small brush for tracing my eyeliner with shadow. I bought my brushes on Amazon and have been very satisfied, but you can buy makeup brushes anywhere. If you really aren’t sure what to buy, I recommend you Google or YouTube reviews and recommendations.
Okay, now those are the absolute essentials. If you’re on a budget and you need to crunch somewhere… crunch on eyeshadow, loose powder, and blush. Do not crunch on concealer, foundation, eyeliner, or mascara. Also, consider investing in good face wash and moisturizer if you haven’t already. I’m not the best at this, but it is so important for the health of your skin to wash and moisturize your skin at night before you go to bed. Your skin needs to breath so it’s imperative that you wash the makeup off your face at night and let your skin rest while you get your beauty sleep. 😀
I haven’t perfected the face wash/moisturizer concoction, but I have invested in better washes, masks, moisturizers, oils, and anti-aging creams. One of these days, I’ll make a post about all my skin care recommendations.
I could keep writing, recommending, sharing, and elaborating, but I feel like I might have already lost quite a few readers. Let’s just say makeup is my hobby. I love shopping for it, trying new things, watching videos, and sharing recommendations with anyone and everyone that asks.
If you’re new to makeup, take time to YouTube beginner videos. If you already wear makeup but are just looking for recommendations, feel free to reach out. I’m happy to share what I wear and know, and love getting feedback and recommendations from others.
That’s all for now. 😀