There's something about the world of beauty that I find incredibly intimidating. Paralyzing, even. There is so much to choose from, everyone's skin reacts differently to any given "active ingredient" and every week there is a new miraculous claim from an updated product rendering what you've been using (and most probably loving) suddenly completely useless. Through years of experimentation, I've come to realize that you have to subscribe to your own brand of beauty that can only be forged following multiple trials, triumphs and errors alike. At the end of the day, many of your beauty discoveries will come from well-intentioned recommendations from all the females that surround you: your grandmother, mom, aunt, sister, dermatologist, aesthetician, facialist, the lady on the other side of the prescription counter staring intently at what can only be your pores, or maybe even from this blogger. You give, you take, you try, you toss, you pass on the information. Eventually, one lands on a face ritual that they are satisfied with.
Skin care is what I like to refer to as lasting ephemerality. Sound confusing? It isn't: the drill will be a lifelong consistency, but what it comprises will never hold a permanent stake on your bathroom shelf. A product might recur ever so often, but once you've extracted the very last quarter ounce of your Youth Serum X, I'd be hard-pressed to believe that you'll be replacing it with the very same one. At best, you might grab its "updated" version. What your skin is forced to imbibe through its lifetime is perhaps one of the greater overlooked (self) inflictions of this man's, man's, man's world.
But what we subject our faces to is for their own good, isn't it? That's why we risk slathering our best friend's old nonna's crazy concoction around our dark circles and why we shell out 150 bones without a second thought on Miracle Potion XYZ. Maybe this cream is The One, seeing as is it vows to procure its user with an unparalleled complexion, cheek dewiness extraordinaire, as well as an impossible-to-ignore glow. Sold! Only to see your dreams crash and burn when you realize that your big investment bought you nothing more than a case of ye olde faithful breakout. It's so hard being a woman.
One eventually learns to remedy to certain unfixable DNA problems with magic face paint known as makeup. I used to travel a lot with a certain girl friend and when trying to make ourselves presentable the morning after an evening spent imbibing one too many cocktails, we'd constantly exclaim out loud to one another something along the lines of: "it's crazy how applying these globs of pigment on our faces can enhance our appearances without making us look different." We were onto something, I think. Yourself, but better: what I believe makeup should do. Sure, it's fun to play and go crazy with a smokey eye on a Friday night, but I'm referring to your every day existence. No one wants to resemble a street walker on their commute to work, or worse yet, be mistaken for engaging in a glorious activity known as the walk of shame.
There's a big tendency to overdo it with makeup, and it's so easy to go awry -- a slight mistake like choosing the wrong concealer shade can be critical. Or going all Bozo the Clown with your blush for lack of good bathroom lighting. Some girls have won the genetic lottery and do not need an ounce of makeup (i know a few of them), not even a swipe of mascara or a little swoosh of pink powder on the apples (for you, this post need not apply and I secretly hate you. Just kidding. Not really.). And others are perfectly comfortable and content, or admittedly lazy, to skip the morning face gloss ritual. I am not one of those girls. Neither the former, nor the latter. And I am completely okay with that. I am not fetching for any sort of comforting comment, I don't need your reassurance and I don't seek to be told that every girl can go sans makeup. Those girls exist, but delusions are not really my forte. This isn't about wanting to look perfect or achieving society standards, or worse, trying to make heads turn. It's about liking what I see on the other side of that reflexion and how I can look like an improved version of myself.
Looking natural is über important in my books and my makeup philosophy always relates back to that. To me, it is a really incredible invention that allows you to hide what your expensive skin serum has failed to fix, to enhance your glow when your paraben-free toner did not fulfill all that it had promised you it would and to give you eyelashes (ok, that's just my personal hangup, nothing in skincare pledges to grow and thicken your eyelid hair). The purpose is to elevate what you have, downplay what you don't and to present to the world the best physical manifestation of yourself. That way, when you reveal your nude face to your man (or woman) at night, they still recognize you. And thus here begs the question: how does one achieve the everyday face?
And yes, that was my bare-not-an-ounce-of-makeup face! To be clear, I am by no means a beauty expert, nor connoisseur, for that matter. I am not one to be at the forefront of beauty trends and there are so many products that cater to problems I am not even aware I want or need to tend to. But what I do know is that I clean up pretty well and like any girl, I absolutely get excited about playing with makeup. When I fall for something, I fall hard and I master its use, which is something to be said for all this advice I am thrusting upon you. So let's break down the steps you saw in that video!
Apply to the areas that have the most visible lines and pores. I don't know if it's just in my head, but I feel like applying concealer and foundation atop the skin area slathered in a layer of Pore Perfecter makes the less-than-desireable creases less visible.
This foundation is THE BOMB. It goes on super smoothly, blends immaculately, offers perfect coverage and is incredibly light -- it doesn't feel like you're actually wearing foundation. It's kind of magical. One pump of this guy and you're off to the races. I know that a lot of women like to use a brush (or an egg) to apply their face goo, but i prefer to do it all with my hands. I find I can blend it better and that half of the product stays on the sponge when I use one, which I find to be a waste.
This NARS concealer is the epitome of perfection. Were there to be a concealer kingdom war, this one would win the iron throne without question (can you tell my life revolves around Game of Thrones? #Sorrynotsorry). Get it, you won't regret it. A couple slabs on each of those pesky dark circles and you're as good as fully refreshed. Again, I like to blend with my fingers, but feel free to use whatever your little heart desires.
This step may or may not apply to you. I happen to have really light eyebrows due to my blond disposition, so I don't have much of a choice in the matter. On top of having light eyebrows, I have another embarrassing confession: when I was a kid, I found a razor in my parent's bathroom and of course, decided to test out its functional capacity by taking the blade to my left eyebrow. BIG MISTAKE. To even things out, I decided to just go ahead and do the right one too. They haven't been the same since and my antidote of choice is Bobbi Brown's blonde eyebrow pencil. I also just the discovered the Anastasia brow gel, which could be a great investment for those of you with unruly, thick ones, but I don't use it every day.
It's important to set your concealer and your foundation with powder to make sure it doesn't budge and avoid it melting off your face. This particular loose powder is amazing for a few reasons: its lightness is unparalleled, it goes on fully clear and is akin to applying a cloud to your face. Not only that, but it gives an immaculate finish, as well as the assurance that your makeup will last all day. Another pro I've come to find is that it doesn't dry out the skin at all, as some powders do, thanks to how light and airy it is.
Allow me to confess something to you: I wasn't even sure what contouring was until some time last year when my girl friend Steph mentioned it to me. She used to be a beauty editor, so naturally, she is incredibly well-versed in all the ins and outs of makeup and how to use it. To be fair, I was aware of the existence of that application trick, but I just had no idea that it was called contouring. Moving right along, my face is quite round and applying a darker shade in the crease of my cheeks is something I've instinctively done for a long time, usually using a dark cream blush. This NARS contour blush palette is so perfect for giving your face some natural-looking definition. You need a flat brush to be able to create the blurry lines that will make that shadowing do what you intend it to. To make sure I'm applying at the right spot, I suck in my cheeks and brush along the crease. After the cheeks, dust the darker color on the temples right near the hair line and then on your jaw line to generate some definition.
I am the biggest fan of the Multiple. It's probably one of my favorite makeup products of all time -- I have the regular sticks in 3 different colors and I use them everywhere: face, lips, collarbone, arms, chest bone, the list goes on. So you can imagine my excitement when the Matte Multiple came out. I use it on the apples of my cheeks and on my lips and I like to blend it in with water for a seamless, dewy finish. The Anguilla color is a pretty, bright baby pink, ideal if that natural rosy flush is something you desire.
The eyelash curler is the number one tool for achieving eyelash success, I just can't stress it enough. I favor this small plastic one over the traditional metal clamp kind because I find the size to be practical and it allows for a lot of control. Ringing in at less than $15, it's kind of a must-own.
I hate to be dramatic, but I don't think I could live without this YSL mascara -- it is EVERYTHING. I mean it, I'm kind of an expert in the matter. This beats them all, including DiorShow, trust. If you're looking for more eyelash solutions, click here.
Some of the NARS products you saw in the video were gifted and some not. Regardless, I fully, wholeheartedly endorse everything I present to you on this blog and would never show you something I don't believe in. I actually do use everything you see here every single day.
Now tell me, what are your makeup philosophies and the brands and cosmetic items you couldn't live without? And keep sending in your style and beauty questions, they might just be the next #AskFOR topic!