This is what I look like right out of the shower, with a towel on my head:
And this is what I look like (at least the weird-lighting iPhone photo version) after I’ve spent about 45 minutes primping, fussing, blow-drying, and spackling:
If you’re thinking there isn’t a THEATRICALLY DRAMATIC improvement between the first photo and the second, I’m right there with you. Why, I remember a time when I’d put on a little makeup—uphill both ways, in the snow—and it would be like, damn, girl, you sure clean up nice.
Now it takes a ridiculous amount of effort just to appear as though I’m not wearing much makeup at all. Forget smokey eyes and defined cheekbones and dramatic contouring and all that, for me it’s pretty much all about trying to look awake and somewhat refreshed. My entire makeup strategy is this: REDUCE THE HAGGARD.
Since I really, really love it when other people talk about what beauty products they enjoy, I’m going to tell you about some of my favorites for Operation RTH. (This isn’t a sponsored post or anything, but I have included some Amazon affiliate links which you can always delete.) If chatting about makeup isn’t your thing, may I recommend this super-awesome video of a 4th grader’s first ski jump, which doesn’t at ALL seem like the kind of thing that could make you cry, but it totally will.
Okay! Here’s what I use on a regular basis, in the order I apply it:
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Treatment. This is a very unromantic-sounding moisturizer, but I absolutely love it. I feel like it helps my skin stay clearer and less dull (although this sort of thing is also highly affected by what I eat), and it absorbs quickly with no gloppy films or scents.
Missha M Perfect Cover B.B. Cream. I recently switched to this cream foundation after I started noticing that the Bare Minerals powder I’d been wearing for years was starting to … settle into my various face-creases. This is a Japanese product I’d never heard of and I bought it solely based on its positive customer reviews, and I’m very glad I found it—for me, it does a great job of providing even coverage while still remaining sheer and breathable. I’ve been wearing the Light Beige color, which is pretty light, I’d try a darker shade for the summer (I think “Natural Beige” is about as dark as this line goes, though).
It does leave my face a little shiny as the day wears on, whether that’s because it’s a cream or because of the SPF 42 factor. But it doesn’t look oily like other liquid foundations sometimes do, so I don’t really mind.
Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer. There’s no product on earth that can eliminate the major dark eye-circles I’ve been blessed with, but this concealer makes a pretty big difference. It last forever, too—I think I bought this tube like 2 years ago.
Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder. After I put on the foundation/concealer, I dust this all over to set mah shit.
Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder. I use this powder to fill in my brows (with a narrow brush), and I also sweep it over my cheeks and just under my brow bone. Another long-lasting item, because I’ve had this little box forever.
BareMinerals Multi-Tasking Powder in Summer Bisque. I sweep some of this on as a sort of eyeshadow, from lid to brow. It doesn’t have a color, exactly, it just creates a smooth, finished look that also hides the fact that I don’t have perfectly groomed eyebrows.
Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil in Stormy Grey. This is about the only eye pencil I’ve found that goes on smoothly to create a subtle amount of line. I use a small amount on my top lid only, which gives a little boost of definition.
Benefit High Brow. Speaking of boosts, this product is insanely awesome and it’s hard to describe why. It’s basically a very light creamy pencil that creates a highlighted effect—I draw it under my brow line, then blend. It’s like, poof, instantly refreshed.
NARS powder blush in Orgasm. There’s a reason this blush is a cult favorite, it’s super easy to blend and the subtle golden/pink-ish color seems universally flattering. Plus: orgasm. Heh.
Blinc Mascara. I don’t use mascara every day, but on the days when I do, this is the best I’ve ever tried. It goes on like a dream, without creating gloopy lashes that stick together, and it lasts—with no smearing—until you wash it off. For extra va-va-va-voom effect, aim a blowdryer at your lash curler for about ten seconds before curling your lashes (thanks for the tip, Sarah Lena!), then apply your mascara.
Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm. Last but not least, the best lip balm in the whole world, bar none. Not sticky or overly shiny, super-natural soft color. Love this stuff.
WHEW. Yeah, it takes a fair amount of work to REDUCE the haggard, but since the alternative is EMBRACING the haggard, so be it.
Tell me, what are your all-time favorite beautification products? What do you use on a regular basis?