A Few of My Favorite Things: Beauty Products I Can’t Live Without

2 Aug

Hi there! Hope you’re all having a great day so far. (I’m personally in dire need of a caffeine infusion.) I thought I’d share my favorite products with you in this post – I’ve found that when friends approach me and ask me for recommendations, I usually turn to these items. They’re my basic, every day, must-use beauty products and tools (so no lipsticks in this post, sadly). You also won’t see a moisturizer in here, because I am on a very frustrating quest right now for a new one. But read on! I’ll be listing my faves in order of how I apply them.

Eye Primer/Shadow: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly

MAC Cosmetics Paint Pot in Painterly

MAC Cosmetics Paint Pot in Painterly

I will say here and now that I credit Kim Kardashian for turning me on to this product. She doesn’t do natural eye looks often, but when she does, she uses this. I tried Painterly after reading on her own blog that she uses it, and once I did, I was hooked. (That post is no longer on her site, but you can still catch up on her faves here on Celebrity Beauty Buzz.) People are generally surprised to hear that I favor this over Urban Decay’s primer, but I do for a key reason – I use this instead of eyeshadow all the time! Not only does it grip pigment very, very well, it is quite close in color to my skintone (but better), making my eyelids look flawless. (Someone once asked me if I was feeling okay because they could see all the veins in my eyelids. It was the first time they’d seen me without Painterly on. Sigh.) A little goes a long way, and I usually apply it to nearly my entire eyelid, not quite up to the brow.

Foundation: L’Oreal True Match in N1, applied with a foundation brush

L'Oreal True Match Foundation N1 and Foundation Brush

L'Oreal True Match Foundation N1 and Foundation Brush

Anyone with a hard-to-match skintone knows how frustrating it is to find your perfect foundation. So far, L’Oreal has been my go-to. If you have fair skin with a pink undertone, you will never be lacking for foundation options, but I have an olive undertone to my super light skin. So far, I’ve found maybe five that are close enough to wear, L’Oreal True Match in N1 being the…truest match. (I found out a while ago that Dita Von Teese wears this shade too!) The key to foundation, however, is applying it over clean, exfoliated and moisturized skin – WITH A FOUNDATION BRUSH. You won’t believe the difference – it’s outrageous. I often have people asking me what my trick is to my supposedly flawless skin – this is it. The brush makes your skin look airbrushed. I only use about a capful of product on the T-Zone area of my face and under my eyes.

Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero

This may come to no surprise to many beauty fans, but this is (as of late) my liner of choice. I wish that I could find a cheaper alternative – I run out quickly as the crayon is so soft and I use it every day – so I’m currently testing some. It’s hard to find a black pencil eyeliner that is dark enough, doesn’t fade, and (my biggest problem) doesn’t print itself onto the upper lid. So far, Urban Decay has the market cornered on all of those.

Mascara: Maybelline The Falsies

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara

People seem to either love or hate this product, but I am a huge fan. I have disliked many of Maybelline’s mascaras in the past, but I feel that this one is a home run. It has an awesome brush and gives me drag queen eyelashes (my goal). (I’ve had people ask me on several occasions when wearing The Falsies if I was wearing falsies. Nope!) But not unlike most of the women in my family, I am constantly on the prowl for the best mascara – so while Maybelline’s The Falsies is the front-runner right now, there is potential for a newbie knocking it out of first place.

Blush: NARS Sin (left) and Orgasm (right)

NARS Blushes in Sin and Orgasm

NARS Blushes in Sin (left) and Orgasm (right)

There’s a reason Orgasm is such a bestseller – it looks great on everyone, and who can resist a product with a provocative name? Despite its name, it’s a fairly modest color, and I use it a lot in the summer (combined with bronzer, which I never wear year-round and thus is not featured in this post) or when I wear red lipstick, which is fairly often. A great alternative to Orgasm is Sin. Sin looks terrifyingly dark in the pan but gives you a fierce pair of cheekbones and a natural, plummy flush. I sometimes mix both so I can get the best of both worlds.

Brows: Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel or NYX Eyebrow Powder

Rimmel Brow Pencil in Hazel and NYX Brow Powder

Rimmel Brow Pencil in Hazel (top) and NYX Brow Powder (bottom)

They have since changed the packaging of the Brow Powder to add brow wax – looks like I need to upgrade! – but if I want a more natural filled-in brow, I use the powder. (I have pretty strong brows already, but I like to fill in my arches to give them some oomph.) If I really want to go all out and make my brows a focal point on my face – great with bright lipstick! – I use the pencil. You can keep them in place with a little bit of hair gel.

Indispensable Tools: Everyone needs a few extra tools to make sure their look is perfect. Sharpeners are generally the same across the board, but try to get a dual sharpener featuring a wide barrel and a normal barrel. My other three favorites (save for the foundation brush, which I’ve already mentioned) are as follows.

Eyelash Curler: Shu Uemura

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler in Black Nickel

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler in Black Nickel

No matter how little room is left in my makeup case when I travel, I force this bad boy in. My lashes are pretty straight (I have straight hair, so that’s probably why), so I couldn’t live without this. Used in conjunction with the right mascara, the curl will hold for hours. DON’T CURL YOUR LASHES AFTER YOU APPLY YOUR MASCARA! Not only will you mess up your mascara application on your formerly flawless lashes, you can snap those suckers right off. Yup, your eyelashes can break off. Be warned. (The one above is limited edition, Black Nickel. It’s the hotness, but I’m not sure you can get it anymore. Don’t worry, they all work the same – I’m just a big sucker for packaging and limited edition stuff.)

Lash Comb: Tweezerman

Tweezerman Metal Eyelash Comb

Tweezerman Metal Eyelash Comb

I know it looks like a medieval torture device, but it’s also one of the most underused and under-recommended tools. It’s a metal eyelash comb. Most are made of plastic, meaning this one actually works and will duke it out with your mascara’ed eyelashes to get rid of clumps. (Try not to accidentally stab yourself in the eye – I’ve done it, and it hurts.)

Tweezer: Tweezerman

Tweezerman Tweezer

Tweezerman Tweezer, Breast Cancer Awareness

I have very little to say about these, because I think Tweezerman’s reputation speaks for itself. However, I will say that they come in all kinds of fabulous patterns, sizes and shapes, some styles benefit certain charities (mine is for breast cancer awareness!) and if your pair has gotten a little dull over time, you can send them in and they’ll sharpen them for free!

Bonus!: Base Coat (CND Stickey) and Topcoat (Seche Vite)

CND Stickey Basecoat and Seche Vite Topcoat

CND Stickey Basecoat (L) and Seche Vite Topcoat (R)

I originally thought I’d save these for a nail post, but I could rave about them all day. Not everyone realizes the difference a good base and topcoat are to a manicure or pedicure – I do my nails myself, and my nails very rarely chip. Sometimes it’s up to the polish formula (I sadly have problems with Chanel chipping), but I’ve found that doing your nails with these two products can keep your manicure looking great for at least five days. You might not want to use CND Stickey with very sheer shades, because if you apply it heavily it will show up turquoise on your nails, and Seche Vite tends to get very thick after several months, but otherwise I have no complaints about them and use them religiously. Seche works especially well protecting heavily designed or glittered nails.

You can get many of these products through Sephora, a MAC store, or drugstore.com, in addition to beauty supply stores. (Disclosure: I purchased all of these myself – except for the Black Nickel curler, which was a supremely awesome birthday present.)

There you have it, everyone! I totally have more products to share with you – eyeshadows, lipsticks, different color eyeliners – but these are the ones I wear every day. I hope that maybe you found a new favorite in here. Are there any makeup items or tools that you can’t live without?


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