So I certainly do not claim to know what I’m doing when it comes to makeup or skin care, or really anything that’s traditionally “girly.” In fact, most traditional trappings of “girly” tend to just be a major pain in the ass for me – I’m honestly a major tomboy at heart. Give me jeans, a band or university tee, and sneakers over nice clothes any day of the week. That said, as I’ve gotten older I have found myself wanting to, well, not look like I’m still 16. So despite my best efforts, over the years I’ve just kind of had to develop a beauty/makeup routine.
But no matter how long I’ve been using makeup, simplicity is still everything to me – quick, easy, no muss, no fuss is the name of the game. Some mornings I’m lucky if I have 10 minutes to spare before I have to be out the door (and honestly, I end up leaving the house without ANY makeup due to time constraints more often than I’d care to admit), and as a result I noticed that I ended up with a very narrow “core” collection of products that I can apply in a hurry and still end up looking good.
Finding these were all a matter of luck and trial and error, but at this point I’ve narrowed it down to a list of 12 must-haves for me. And even though the internet is awash in amazing beauty tips (most of which are far too complicated and involved to spark my interest), in case there’s anyone out there like me, I figured I’d share
1) Urban Decay Naked and Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palettes: I don’t wear eyeshadow often, but when I do, these two palettes are my go to supplies. Neutral colors are my jam – I’ve never really been one for loud eyeshadow (honestly, more from ignorance of how to use it than anything else) and so when my mom decided she didn’t like her original Naked palette and handed it to me, it immediately became the makeup item I use most. Downside? They’re pricey at $54 dollars a pop – I’m lucky I got both of these for free (Naked 2 was a Christmas gift from my Aunt). But they’re eyeshadow, so they last a long long time.
2) Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner: This little tube was a godsend for a liquid eyeliner dunce like me. It’s constructed so it feels more like a brush marker than any other liquid eyeliner I’ve ever used, which makes it exponentially easier for me to control – it pretty much feels like using a wet pencil. It made winged eyeliner possible for the first time in my life, and I couldn’t be happier about that – I’ve always loved a good cat eye. It is pricey (it is Stila after all), but in this case I think it’s worth it. Bonus: Totally stays put. Even after I’ve accidentally rubbed my eyes after a long day.
3) Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer: Best moisturizer I’ve found for my acne-prone skin. It’s light, not greasy, but still has enough punch to address my perpetually dry spots on my cheeks and nose. Bonus: contains acne meds so it helps keep my skin from breaking out.
4) Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion: I don’t wear full eye makeup often. Because it’s a rather rare occasion, when I do it’s easy for me to forget that I’m wearing it and totally screw it all up by rubbing my eye or something. So when I do put a bunch of effort into my shadow and liner, you can bet this stuff is going underneath it – it’s by far the best primer I’ve used so far. It won’t protect from a full on eye-rub, but it keeps it all in place through all my stupid accidental touches and scratches; long enough for me to remember, “oh yea, I’m wearing eye makeup and shouldn’t do that.”
5) Hello Kitty Noir Eyeshadow and Lip Gloss Palette: My other “go to” palette – this time for colors. Unfortunately this one was a limited edition and is hard to find anymore. This was another christmas gift, bought for me because I have a slight Hello Kitty problem, that ended up not only enabling me to toss huge amounts of old cheap makeup (it was a collaboration with Sephora, and so is good quality shadow) but has made working with color a bit more accessible for me. It includes browns, purples, greens, and blues all in handy color coordinated rows – taking the guesswork out of what to use where. Additionally, while they are colorful, they’re still on the more muted side. It allows me to break out of my little makeup box without going tooooo far for my own comfort. Bonus: The lip glosses are pretty great too!
6) Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil: I love this eyeliner. It’s a pencil, but still gives you a nice, bold, gel-like line. Fast, easy to use, and stays on super well even without primer. A staple in my super-quick-oh-shit-I’m-going-to-be-late makeup routine. Downside: like most Urban Decay products, it’s pricey at $20 for a full size pencil. But Sephora and Ulta often have little sets of them on sale around the holidays.
7) Maybelline Full N’ Soft Mascara: This has been my mascara of choice since I was first allowed to wear it – in fact, this brand was the very first tube of mascara I ever owned. And I still love it. Perfect for everyday use – defines while staying soft and without being too flashy or clumpy. My only complaint is that they stopped making the Black-Brown color and that Very Black is now the only option.
8) Batiste Original Dry Shampoo: This stuff was a life saver for me. My hair is thin and straight and limp – and because of that, the “shine” that comes with healthy hair actually translates into looking greasy on me (it’s actually WORSE when it’s freshly washed, believe it or not). This stuff not only mattes up the finish, but adds texture so that I can actually put my hair up. Due to my financial fast, this is a product I’ve relegated to emergency use only – I’ve switched to a DIY version for every day (post coming soon) – but it’s not quite the same.
9) CND Stickey Base Coat: This, in combo with #10 is what enables me to paint my nails and have them last for more than a day. Lovely stuff.
10) Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Clearly Quick Top Coat: Part two of my “keep my nails from chipping for more than a day” combo. Thanks to this and the CND, I can actually make a manicure last for the work week. Bonus: SUPER fast drying, but doesn’t cause shrinkage the way Seche Vite can.
11) Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter: Lovely stuff. I’m not good about keeping up with my hands, and so Lemony Flutter is a god send when things get really bad and everything starts cracking and peeling (gross, right? Nail blogger I am not). I put it on before bed and by the time I wake up in the morning I can see a visible difference. Downside? Again, pricey. But it lasts forever – I’ve had my current tub three years now.
12) Pampers Sensitive Wipes: I saved this one for last, because I’m sure many of you will find this one bizarre. Because they’re baby wipes. Like, for wiping poop off baby butts. But honest to goodness, these things are the best and most effective makeup removers I have ever used. I had always struggled with makeup removal, particularly eye makeup, and after years of issues had settled on just avoiding makeup as much as possible since the only thing that seemed to work were those super expensive makeup remover wipes (most liquid eye makeup removers irritate my eyes and skin), and buying them for everyday use just wasn’t in my budget. But then I was tipped off to the baby wipes thing by a fellow cast-mate in my college opera as a solution to removing stage makeup (which is basically like trying to remove permanent marker – it’s awful). A few swipes and it’s all gone. It was supposed to be just for heavy stage makeup, but when the opera was over, my skin was clearer and healthier than it had been in years despite having basically been spackled over for the last week, so I just kept using them. A bit of experimenting with brands, and ultimately I settled on these Pampers Sensitive Wipes as the best for make-up removal – just as effective (even on eye makeup!), but gentle and doesn’t dry my skin out when I do use them daily. Bonus: they’re WAY WAY cheaper than the branded “makeup remover wipes” and honestly work better and are less drying.
Any of you fans of these things too? Do you have any recommendations for me?
[disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned above in any way – I’m just a happy customer!]