My little "makeup area" is fast becoming one of my favorite places in the entire house :)
I decided to put together this post to detail my favorite products, some essential must-haves, the products that I’ve unfortunately wasted money on, cheap thrills, and a few tricks of the trade I’ve picked up along the way. This will also be added to the sidebar for future reference (updates will be organized by category).
- Korres Thyme Honey 24 Hours Moisturizing Cream $35 – The texture is super rich so I would avoid this if you have oily skin. Because of the extra creamy consistency, I put this only on my problem areas (under-eye, bridge of nose, and any other dry spots I may have at the moment.
- Clean and Clear; Clear Acne Spot Treatment $7 – Salicylic acid at its very best.
- Lancome Maquicomplet Correcteur $28.50 – The only thing that really helps diminish the dark circles I have under my eyes.
- Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler $19 – The only eyelash curler you should ever own.
- Orlane Paris Vitalizing Exfoliate $45 – Very gentle; exfoliates without being too gritty. Only negative is the smell.
- Davines Defining Hairspray ($20ish??). Run your fingers through your hair as many times as you want - the style will hold the entire day and you wont feel like you have super glue in your hair.
- Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner $21 - Please do not waste your money on any other gel liner. I'm dead serious. This stuff is amazing. I love it, love it, love it. Please tell me I dont need all the colors cus I'm about to add all of them into my shopping cart.
- Philosophy Booster Caps $50 - My mom and I have died and gone to night cream heaven. One capsule every night with your regular night cream and you too can join us up in night cream heaven.
- DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask $38 - Now THIS is what I call a real sulfur mask. Unbelievable. I kid you not, you will see a difference in less than 12 hours. The directions say to only use once a week but thats only if you use this as a full face mask. Its fine to use this more than once a week for spot treatment. I should probably recommend this to my co-worker who has HORRIBLE acne :P
- NYX Eyeshadow $5 - Better than Mac eyeshadow. Way cheaper too. I'm in the process of collecting every color.
- Chanel Translucent Powder $60, Givenchy Loose Powder $62 (??), ELF Studio Kabuki $5 - I couldn't decide between Chanel and Givenchy cus both are equally good. Both are VERY finely milled so your fine lines aren't accentuated and you'll never end up with the dreaded cakey look. The ELF Studio kabuki is only $5 but is super duper soft and the perfect size - way better than my other kabuki brushes.
- beautyblender Sponge $20-40 - I realize $20-$40 is a lot to pay for sponges but these are magical. I dont even know how to explain how/why these works so well, you just have to try it to understand!
- Make Up For Ever Flash Color Palette $95 - I was on a cream eyeshadow phase a few weeks ago and my eyes lit up when I saw the Flash Color Palette at my local Sephora store. I waited until IMATs to get the palette since I didn't want to shell out the $100 but this little thing is wonderful. You can use the colors as is or you can mix them up however you want. Unbelievable color payoff and its just plain fun to play around with.
- Face and eyeshadow primers - easier application and allows your makeup to stay in place for extended periods of time.
- Makeup brushes should be cleaned after every use or at the very least, once a week. Using soap and water is fine but if you want to decrease the amount of time needed for the brushes to dry, get yourself some brush cleanser:
- Have your very own makeup army. At the very least you should own and use a face exfoliant, a facial cleanser, a toner, a day moisturizer, a night moisturizer, and sunscreen...DAILY! Okay, maybe just exfoliate once every other day but for everything else, DAILY USE IS REQUIRED!!! Neck cream, eye cream, clay masks, and moisturizing masks are also recommended.
- Whether you are blow drying, straightening, or curling your hair, its all about the sectioning hair clips. Seems obvious but I'm willing to bet that many ppl just use hair ties or regular hair clips without realizing how much more convenient a few sectioning hair clips can be.
- Finish with loose powder. I dont have oily skin but I still find that without powder, my concealer will run as the day progresses. Remember to use just a little bit bc too much can mean cakey makeup and we all know theres nothing worse than cakey makeup.
- Benefit Boo Boo Zap $20 – For $20, I think it actually gave me pimples instead of zapping anything off my face. It also smells like bug repellent - yuck.
- Benefit Depuffing Action Eye Gel $28 – Absolutely no depuffing action.Save your money and keep two spoons in your freezer.When you wake up in the morning, take the spoons out and put them over your eyes for a few minutes – this will work a lot better than this overpriced tube of chemicals.
- Benefit Ooh La Lift $32 – The description claims this is an instant under-eye boost which supposedly gives you an instant eye lift.Yea, no.Save your $32 cus this really is just fancy way of saying “highlighter”.
- Benefit Lemon Aid $20 – Color is way too yellow and plus, you can just prime your eyelids and apply concealer instead of paying another $20.
Important Note: I know many of you are big Benefit fanatics but to be honest, I feel like many of their products are nothing more than marketing gimmicks. They give it a snazzy name, add some cool graphics and dream up fantastic product descriptions. You read the name, have no idea what you’re suppose to do with it but you buy it anyway cus it sounds like it’ll work wonders. I’ve even heard some people say they can “feel it working right away”. Really? I doubt it. Its probably because the packaging told you that you’ll feel an immediate change and your mind is playing tricks on you.
- Dior Liquid Eyeliner $32 – Avoid like the plague. The damn clicker does not work. You click and click and nothing comes out so you click some more and before you know it, you have globs of eyeliner on your hands cus apparently 49 click is not enough but 50 is too much.
- Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner $45 – Not a very good vacuum cleaner and I think the directions are confusing – tells you that the product will change color and you’ll feel a cooling sensation. Um, isn’t that what you feel with any mask as it dries???
- Bobbi Brown Cream Shadow $22 - I'm not sure how Bobbi Brown messed up cream shadow but she did. These are dry, thick, and not very pigmented. Shame.
- YSL DESSIN DU REGARD CRAYON YEUX HAUTE TENUE Eye Pencil $28 - I bought this only cus I was trying to spend $100 at the YSL counter in order to get the free gift and I would also like to add that I bought this without realizing it was $28. Overpriced makeup at its very best.
- NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss $5 - I love me some NYX but I hate this. It smells like cough syrup. Bad cough syrup.
- NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil $3.50– Use as base or eyeshadow. Very creamy texture, easy to apply, and a nice variety of colors to choose from.
[Important Note: Coastal Scents is a popular brand that many consider to be good quality makeup at ridiculously cheap prices. They're well known for their eyeshadow palettes and gel eyeliners. I myself have palettes from them. However, after some research, I discovered that if you type in say "88 eyeshadow palette" on ebay, you will find a certain seller who offers the EXACT SAME products for about a third of the price. Could it be that Coastal Scents just buys in bulk from this seller and then marks up the prices for a quick buck?? If so, wouldn't it be a lot cheaper for us to just buy directly from the source?? I'm not pointing fingers but something to think about :) People are also constantly going back and forth on if NYX is better than Coastal Scents and vice versa. For me, its plain and simple...NYX ALL THE WAY. However, to be fair, Coastal Scents is great for ordering empty packaging jars and their angled liner brush is excellent for gel liners.]
- Essence of Beauty Makeup Brushes – Good quality brushes that wont cost you an arm and a leg. ALTHOUGH, the powder brush by Essence of Beauty sucks. Sucks so bad I actually threw it out. Other than that, these are good brushes for incredibly cheap.
- ELF Makeup - $1 and up for a wide range of beauty products. You can even get one of everything and still be saving a ton of money.
Tips and tricks:
- Buy sets or palettes – allows you to get a bunch of shades for a lower price. Especially if you're like me and have a helluva hard time choosing between all the different shades of brown eyeshadow. Palettes are also a great way to conserve space.
- If you're not feeling any of the pre-made palettes, create your very own!
- Buy empty jars for shattered eyeshadow or maybe the last bits of your favorite lipstick. If you really hate working with pigments, you can solidify them by adding a few drops of rubbing alcohol.
- I personally like to use cream eyeshadow as a base -g ives the powder eyeshadow something to stick onto and the color will be much more vibrant. You can also apply your powder eyeshadow with a wet brush if you want more vibrant colors.
- Do not waste your money on lip primer - just put lip balm and a little bit of concealer on your lips before applying lipstick or lip gloss. If you're wondering why you need the concealer - you need to mute the natural color of your lips before you can really show off the color of the lipstick and/or lip gloss. Of course, if you have naturally pale lips, you can skip the concealer part.
- Though it may sound kinda gross, vaseline is a great way to keep your lips moisturized. I make sure to apply a thin layer every night before bed.
- Right before applying lipstick or lip gloss, run a towel under warm water and scrub your lips with the towel. This should remove any dead skin you may have.
- Click here to read my tutorial on eyelashes.
- For dry spots, mix concealer with moisturizer or you can apply the concealer immediately after you put moisturizer on ("immediately" as in DO NOT wait for the moisturizer to dry).
- Opaque concealers offer the best coverage but they can also be hard to apply. A quick fix is to slightly melt the concealer with your blow-dryer right before application. Key word = slightly = you dont want to turn your cream concealer into liquid concealer, you just want it to be easier to work with. You can also do this with gel/cream eyeliner. Note: Since this point and the point above both deal with applying concealer to dry skin, I think it might be helpful to mention that out of all the concealers I have tried and tested, Bobbi Brown is probably the creamiest. I still like Ben Nye and Amazing best for opaque coverage but Bobbi wins in the creamy category :)
- Cover red spots with green concealer – make sure it is a light, creamy green and blend well with concealer that matches your skin tone. You do not want to go for the Wicked Witch of the West look!
- If you apply foundation as a normal part of your makeup routine, look at yourself in the mirror and ask "Do I really need foundation?" I used to cake on foundation every single day and then it occurred to me that all I really need is some concealer under my eyes, around my nose, and on any red spots that I may have at the moment. Saves time and prevents unnecessary clogging of my pores.
- If you have a hard time blending or applying makeup with brushes, do not be afraid to use your finger tips! I normally use brushes just to load the product onto my face but use my finger tips for the actual blending.
- While it may look nice to display all of your makeup brushes out in the open, you really should not let your brushes sit out in the open where they become magnets for dust and other particles in the air. If you keep your brushes in storage containers, make sure to separate the eye brushes from the face brushes.
- Conditioning your makeup brushes will not only preserve their quality but will also make them extra soft.
- Makeup brushes are expensive. If possible, buy the travel kit versions. Though smaller in size, they work just the same and will help you save a few bucks.
- Always apply hair mousse to damp hair and never to dry hair.
- Dirty hair or second-day hair is the easiest to style. For example, if you want curls for Saturday night, I recommend washing your hair Friday morning and then styling it Saturday evening right before you leave the house.
- Read reviews and look for swatches before buying products – Sephora.com, makeupalley.com, or good ole google are great ways to find out more before you buy. Don’t trust the product descriptions because they will ALWAYS be amazing. Why? Because they are trying to get you to buy their product – DUH!!! I typically spend 1-2 days on pure research before I commit to buying a new product.
- Wait for promotions to purchase splurge items that are not for everyday or immediate use. Be honest - do you REALLY need that $58 Dior eyeshadow palette? I'm gonna go with NO.Wait for a promotion before you splurge! Even if a sale or Friends and Family event is not currently going on, often times you can still find coupon codes online (ie retailmenot.com).
- Practice makes perfect and when in doubt, watch tutorials on youtube :)