I love "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens," but when it comes to makeup, these are a few of my favorite things....
Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear
It is a little thicker in consistency than most liquids, but it gives great coverage without feeling like you're wearing a Halloween mask. I choose to rub it all over with my CLEAN fingers as I feel like I get a smoother, more even finish. The packaging is not very user-friendly with its screw-top lid.
**TIP: Mac sells a $6 foundation pump that fits on the Double Wear bottle. It's easier to dispense the foundation, and it is more sanitary. I also recommend starting with a face primer before applying your foundation (and after your moisturizer). It acts as a sort of "spackle" by filling in lines and pores so that your foundation glides right over a smooth surface. Smashbox makes a good one, and I've also used a primer by Borghese.
Powder: Maybelline Oil-Free Loose Powder
Yes, I said Maybelline...it works well, and it's super cheap! To me, powder is powder. It's used to set your foundation and give you a matte finish, plus it helps keep oil at bay. I think the powder brush is what really makes the difference. The denser the brush, the fuller coverage. By the way, I use Studio Gear's kabuki brush ($50). I know, that's EXPENSIVE for a brush, but I actually got it as part of a holiday gift set for $17!!!! The great thing about Studio Gear is that their brushes are guaranteed for L-I-F-E! Come on, you can't even get that kind of insurance for your car! If the bristles fall out, it breaks, your dog eats it (I wouldn't tell the salesperson that's what happened)--just bring it into any Ulta. You don't even need a receipt. They will give you a brand-spankin' new brush as a replacement. So the (sometimes) higher price--as compared to other brands' brushes--is well worth the extra money!
Eyeshadow Primer: Too Faced Shadow Insurance
If you just asked yourself, "What the heck is an eyeshadow primer?" then girrrrrl, we need to talk! I never--repeat NEVER wear eyeshadow without first applying a primer for several reasons. First, it makes your eyeshadow stay on longer. Second, it keeps the shadow from "creasing." Third, and perhaps most importantly--it makes the COLOR more pigmented! The reason I choose Shadow Insurance over the ever-popular eyeshadow primer from Urban Decay is because I believe it lasts longer. Shadow Insurance comes in a squeeze tube, so it's easier to get every last drop of the product, whereas Urban Decay's wand-style bottle prevents total usage. (Perhaps a marketing ploy? Hmmmm......). Give primer a try and see for yourself the amazing difference it makes!
Eyeshadow: It's a tie between my Lancome quad, Urban Decay, and Lorac. I love 'em all! They are all very smooth and super pigmented! I like to do my makeup differently everyday, so I have tons of eyeshadow, but I firmly believe you can never have too much! Your face is like the canvas on which you create your artwork. You wouldn't paint using the exact same colors for every single painting, would ya? Didn't think so.
Blush: I switch between several blushes. I love Bare Minerals' color "Dusk," but I hate the fact that it comes in loose-powder form. Lately, I've been using "Rome" by Cargo. It is a coral-like color with a hint of shimmer. I actually like it for a summery look. FYI, if you're looking for a drugstore alternative to save a few bucks, try Rimmel. I have used a couple of their blushes and have been surprisingly happy with them. I have used "Apricot" and "Peach." (I have never been a fan of pinky blushes--on myself).
Mascara: Lancome Definicils
Mascara is probably one of the most controversial cosmetics. By that I mean everyone has their own opinion of why they like and dislike certain mascaras. What one woman swears by, another woman hates! As with most anything else, trial and error is the best way to figure out what works for you. Unfortunately, I wasn't blessed with foot-long, perfectly curled eyelashes. Isn't it ironic and totally unfair that most men have gorgeous lashes?! Why are the fabulous lashes wasted on men who don't even know what mascara is used for?! It's one of life's mysteries to me. The reason I love Definicils so much is because it's not goopy and clumpy. The brush is a regular mascara brush (not synthetic plastic bristles), and it's great for lengthening and thickening.
Wanna know what the REAL secret is to fab lashes is? A Shu Uemura eyelash curler. Well, any old eyelash curler will do, but this one is the best. Anyone who knows anything about great lashes has one of these babies in her makeup drawer. By boyfriend sees curling my lashes as an unnecessary extra step in my getting-ready routine....(Of course, he was naturally blessed with long, curled lashes!)....but I can honestly say it's one of the most important steps. If I were stranded on a desert island with only one possession, I'd take my Shu Uemura eyelash curler. Ok, maybe that's a little too extreme, but it IS the one item I'd use if I could only do one thing to improve my morning appearance.
(pencil) Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Liner
Not all eyeliners were created equally. I tend to have "raccoon eyes" by the end of the day if I'm not using a waterproof liner because I line both the top and the bottom lash lines. While there's no such thing as a 100% perfect pencil liner, I have to admit that Urban Decay's 24/7 pencils are pretty close! They have really soft lead and don't smudge nearly as bad as a standard pencil. They also come in a rainbow of fun colors. My personal faves are "Bourbon" (a bronzey color with subtle gold sparkles) and "Zero" (regular matte black).
(automatic) Ulta Waterproof Automatic Eyeliner
Automatic eyeliners are quick and easy since you don't have to mess with sharpening it after each use. I really like this one because it really doesn't smudge much at all (like Urban Decay's pencil). They are also very affordable. In fact, I usually pick up a few whenever they're on sale (buy 1, get 1 etc.) Just make sure they are the waterproof liners and not the smokey liners--because those are NOT waterproof!
(liquid) Stila Waterproof Pen Eyeliner
I almost fainted when I first swiped this liner across the back of my hand and saw how truly rich black it was. It costs more than I prefer to pay for a single eyeliner ($20 at Ulta), but it's totally worth it! I have never used a liquid liner that was as easy to apply (it's like a felt-tip marker) with such a dark black pigment that lasted all day without smudging. This is the MUST-HAVE liner if you're a liquid type of girl. It will eventually dry out like any marker would, but it's lasted me quite awhile. I don't mind buying a couple of these a year--they're amazing!
Lipstick: Maybelline Moisture Extreme
I am and always have been lipstick-obsessed. My sorority sisters in college didn't call me "Lipstix" for nothing! I just feel as if my look is incomplete without some sort of lipstick or gloss swiped across my pout. When it comes to choosing a lipstick, there are several things that are important to me. The biggest one (obviously) is color. My favorite color at the moment is Sunlit Bronze. It's pretty for winter, spring, summer, fall. I love how smoothly it goes on, too since it's a moisture-enhanced lipstick, which brings me to the second thing I look for in a lipstick: consistency. I would prefer that it also be long-lasting, but let's face it, no matter what lipstick you wear (unless it's colored on with a permanent marker) is going to last all day. I have found that using a stain as a base and then applying lipstick on top is a good way to get a little more lasting power. My lipstick-application routing involves three or four steps. First, I may start with a stain, then I apply my lipstick. After that, I line my lips (yes, I line AFTER I apply lipstick), and then I finish with a gloss. Voila--all done!
Having worked in the beauty industry, I've been able to try lots of different cosmetic brands and products. It has ended up costing me a LOT of money after getting hooked on particular "prestige" brand items. I'm always looking for the next great product, so I also do a lot of research. What are some of your favorite things?
....and then I don't feel so bad!"