After wearing more than usual makeup this past week for my dance performance in Ghungroo -- a large Southeast Asian cultural dance show at Harvard (more on that to come later!) -- I had numerous people come up to me and ask about the makeup I use. As someone who strongly prefers a more natural look, I am quite picky when it comes to how much and what kind of makeup I use. So here's a little sneak peek into my ultimate staples I've kept around for at least the past year -- once I find something I like, I stick with it! Also, this post felt incredibly strange to write! I ended up feeling like I am so into makeup, but I'm quite far from that but I hope it will still be helpful to some of y'all...
1. Foundation - Make Up Forever Professional High Definition (HD) Foundation - $40:
My foundation is by far the most expensive piece in my staples list, yet no fear! There is more to this small bottle than meets the eye, I promise! I discovered it a bit over a year ago to my surprise because I used to be a powder only type of gal. Not only is there a variety of tones represented in the line, a struggle generally for darker skinned ladies such as myself, but there is also variations within each tone based on 'underlying skin colors', such as peach, beige, yellow, or olive. The best part about this foundation is that a little goes a really long way. Literally. On regular days when I decide to wear a lil' somethin' to hide the minimal sleep I've been getting, about half a small pump is plenty enough. Given that I have had the same bottles for more than one year now and use it on average 2-3x per week, this is definitely a bargain despite the upfront costs. Since I tend to pale a decent amount in this Boston weather but glow quite a bit over the summer, I got two bottles that fit my tone when it's lighter and when it's darker (I suggest having a makeup technician help you with that!). Nowadays, I like to blend the two together and I get a much more natural feel. (Isn't weird that we say make up makes you appear 'natural'? Sorry, that's my philosophical critique coming in...I diverge).
2. Blush - bareMinerals Blush - $19:
I used to be a HUGE bareMinerals fan. I usually bought their $60 starter set and called it a day. The blush that I still have from maybe two (?) years ago was bought in addition to that set. I generally tend to use it only on more important days, like for interviews/events/performances/etc. A little also goes a long way with this. Generally 2-3 strokes with a dab of powder for each cheek does the trick! Given that I've had this for over 2 years and there's still about 1/3 left -- did somebody say amen??
3. Primer - Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, Radiance - $18 or $32:
Okay, I am actually not too into this primer. To be honest, I got it as a free sample when I purchased something online from Sephora last year. Nonetheless, it does work great as a primer for my foundation when I want my make up to go on smoother and stick a little longer. Again, I generally reserve this for more important days. I haven't had many experiences with other primers to say where this is actually all that amazing or not, but I generally suggest using a primer if you are seeking a smoother, less 'cake-y' look or if you struggle with makeup fading throughout the day.
4. Mascara - Make Up For Ever Professional Smoky Lash, Rich Black - $22:
If I had to choose only one thing to keep from my makeup bag, this would be it. Hands down. I have been a steadfast fan of this mascara after trying beyond numerous others -- from CVS to department store to 'designer' mascaras -- and this wins every time. It is incredible at both elongating your lashes and curling them at the same time. Even though it is thick, it does not clump easily unless you try hard enough. I always get the non-waterproof kind because I don't want to struggle even more with taking off makeup, but there's the option for those who want it waterproof or in other colors I can never pull off (or just maybe won't even be visible? Has someone actually successfully worn green mascara?). Anyways, I end up buying this only twice a year so it's a check-plus for me!
5. Eye Liner - Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner Pen - $22:
I actually don't own this specific eyeliner. The one I have has the label completely work down so I can't even read which brand it is, but I've heard positive reviews about this Smashbox liner and may have to try it out when my current one runs out (especially since I don't even know what it is!). I bought it just right before departing for Brazil and found that I love eyeliner pens. It takes out all the fuss and hassle and sloppyness and TIME. Nowadays, it takes maybe one minute or less to do both eyes without looking like some hybrid between a clown and showgirl in the rain. Definitely try out eyeliner pens if you haven't yet!
That's all folks! In general, the best advice I can give (which sounds weird since I don't think I would come close to ever calling myself an expert in this realm) is to always play it on the safer side. Less really is more -- not just in terms of how you look cosmetically or the style in which you want to present yourself, but also in terms of keeping your skin healthy after you've covered it all up. That's why I limit how much makeup I use in general, partly because it's not always the best thing for your skin and partly because I don't mind my (for real) natural look! Hope it helps, and sorry again for the delay with posting this Friday's Faves -- what a week it's been!