Friday, November 18, 2011

My Daily Makeup Essentials! (Pic Heavy)

I would like to share with you all my daily, essential beauty products/items. In the 20+ years I have been wearing makeup, I have experienced the good, the "meh," and the downright bad.  Whether it was discovering Besame lipstick or finding out that Chanel foundations tend to be too yellow for my complexion, I have finally tailored my daily routine down to a select, 'tried-and-true' items.

For foundation, I cannot say enough about Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($59.00 USD)!

I know it's expensive but if you are going to splurge on anything beauty, it should be on a good-quality foundation! Foundation provides the backdrop, the canvas if you will, for your overall look. This formula is light and is buildable. The lightweight fluid simply melts into skin and imparts a natural finish with a soft, dewy glow. I was previously using Guerlain's Parure Gold but I realized it was a bit too golden (yellow-based) for my pale, cool skin.

For eyeshadow application, I refuse to put on shadow without a good primer. I have used Urban Decay and Too Faced. Both are wonderful. But, Nars Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base ($24.00 USD) outpaces them.
I love how this primer makes my shadow last for hours and hours without creasing but I hate the doe-foot applicator/packaging. It tends to waste product.  I prefer a squeeze tube like Too Faced Shadow Insurance. When my tube seems to be running low, I shake it and I get more product. If Nars would make this primer in a tube form, I would be ecstatic.

Speaking of eyeshadow, nothing beats MAC eyeshadow!

You can buy individual shadows in a flip top pan for $15.00 USD or single palette pans (for inserting into palettes) for $11.50 USD.

When it comes to maintaining my brow shape, I get them tinted and waxed professionally at my local salon every 5-6 weeks. To keep my brows looking up-to-date between appointments, I use MAC's Penultimate Brow Marker ($17.50 USD).

It is like a sharpie for brows! This marker comes in one color, a medium-toned, neutral brown. The super-fine tip can draw fine, whispy lines to more intense lines for precise outlining and filling in. The color can also be layered without heavy build-up or creating a "Mommie Dearest" look.

To ensure my brows' shape during the day, nothing beats Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Clear ($4.24 at my local Target)!

The lightweight, clear gel formula keeps brows in place without making them feel "tacked down" or coated. The gel quickly dries down to a feather-light feel while helping brows look perfectly groomed.

For lashes, I swear by MAC Opulash Mascara ($15.00 USD). It only comes in black. Until Cover Girl cruelly discontinued their coveted Marathon Mascara a few years back, I had been searching high and low for a good dupe. I tried everything from Revlon to Yves Saint Laurent and nothing came close to the long-lasting, waterproof magic that was Marathon. Even though Opulash is not waterproof, it holds up well all day without smudging, flaking, or causing raccoon eyes. However, if I get my lashes wet (e.g. laughing so hard I cry, crying at the end of "Strictly Ballroom," putting in contact solution, tearing due to allergies, and/or skiing without goggles), this formula will flake off. Now, it will not come off in a grey, watery mess, it simply "balls up" and crumbles off. Nevertheless, Opulash imparts black, lush lashes that look defined and classic.

For creating a 50s/60s cat wing eyeliner look, I adore Urban Decay's 24-7 Waterproof Liquid eyeliner in Perversion (a solid black) that retails for $18.00 USD.
This liner comes in a total of 11 different shades ranging from solid black to glittery silver to bright jewel green, pink, blue, and gold. The super fine brush expertly draws the thinnest lines as well as thick, bold strokes. I have worn this liner all day at work and even all night at VLV and it does NOT move. I sometimes notice *slight* fading at the inner corners of my upper lash line but nothing glaring or obvious. However, when I used Chanel Automatic liner or MAC Fluidline, I was left with raccoon eyes and upper lid transfer. Other than a little tiny tendency to fade in the inner corners after several hours of wear, Urban Decay Perversion is the best.

For concealing dark undereye circles, blemishes, scars, and discolourations, nothing is better than Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer.
Now, despite it's slightly hefty price tag of $30.00 USD (for .5 ounce), this concealer packs a serious punch! The formula is very concentrated and a little bit really goes a long way! For example, when I do my daily look, all I need is a little dot and a MAC 195 brush. That little amount totally covers everything from undereyes, rosacea, acne, to pimple scars! The formula touts itself as "waterproof" but I have not tested that claim yet. However, this concealer does not migrate, cake, slide off, or settle into lines.

For helping my lipstick stay in place all day, I rely on Trish McEvoy Flawless Lip primer ($26.00 USD).
This slant-tip primer goes on like an emollient balm and it dries down to a grippy, matte finish. To use, simply swipe on the primer and let it set for about a minute. If you immediately apply lipstick, the balm will make your lipstick whiteish and slidey! Not a good look! The trick is to wait for the formula to dry down and then apply lipstick! The primer will help lipstick last longer, prevent feathering, and assist in intensifying color.

For gorgeous vintage, pin up lips, nothing surpasses Besame Classic Color Lipstick ($22.00 USD)! My favorite shade is Besame Red!
Besame Red is cool, bright red that stays true all day! The semi-matte forumla feels creamy without being too emollient and is long-lasting without drying out lips. The color fades evenly and it will not turn pink (as some red formulas tend to do) The level of pigment is high and the result is totally opaque, intense color!

When it comes to lining lips and/or preparing them for red lipstick, Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil ($20.00 USD) is red is a must-have for red lipstick gals!
Bobbi Brown's "Red" is a true, neutral bright red that can be worn with many shades of red (e.g.  Besame's "Besame Red," MAC "Russian Red," Julie Hewett's "Femme Noir," MAC Mattene in "Eden Rouge," Bobbi Brown's "Red" lipstick, Revlon's "Love That Red," and Julie Hewett's "Rouge Noir"). The pencil formula is creamy but the pigment stays in place without feathering or creeping. Moreover, the pencil ensures a crisp, precise line that is a must when doing a strong lip!

Now, the absolute "must-have" for any face is a good set of makeup brushes! Whether you prefer Ecotools, MAC, Japonesque, Smashbox, etc, brushes for face, eye, and lip are vital for proper application! I prefer MAC brushes.
When I was a teen, just starting out with makeup, I used the little sponge applicators that came with eyeshadow and I applied foundation with my fingers. I had no clue what I was doing and when I look back on high school photos, it shows! Nevertheless, I cannot see myself being able to do my face without a good set of brushes. Brushes, whether they are for smoothing on liquid foundation, applying shadow on lids, perfecting brows, polishing cheeks with blush, or setting your look with loose powder, can make all the difference between makeup and "wow factor" makeup!

To conclude, the one item I rely on to keep my makeup fresh all day is a set of oil blotting sheets. I like the ones from Clean and Clear ($4.49 USD for 50 sheets). I periodically use a sheet a couple of times throughout the day to absorb surface oil. If needed, I will then apply a light dusting of MAC Blot Powder Compact in Light ($23.00 USD) to keep shininess at bay.

So, what are your go-to beauty essentials?


  1. I love Helena Rubenstein's Magic concealer, use it everyday to hide my dark circles, and clarins creme blush is a favorite too. Have not tried besame liptsick yet but reading your post really made me want to.. Only have to decide on colour first. :)

    Great blogg btw, just found it and put it on my read list so I will stay tuned.

    / Olivia (from sweden)

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