An eyeshadow primer
I can’t believe the number of women I met when I was working beauty retail who didn’t use eyeshadow primer and wondered why their eyeshadow creased. I’m still not sold on foundation primer, but an eyeshadow primer is a must–especially if you have deep set eyes like I do. The MAC paint pots are pretty good for this, that’s what I started with. Urban Decay, of course, has the most popular primer that works great for most people, but I need a SUPER sticky one with my eye shape. I use Laura Mercier Eye Basics, which lasts all day for me, under the most extreme circumstances. Plus the wand makes it super easy to apply and I bought it over a year ago and it shows no signs of running out.
Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tints
Hi. Can we please talk about these? They are The Best.
I LOVE lip color, but I don’t like the heavy feel of lipstick and I’m kind of lazy. I want to put a color on and forget about it, unless I feel I need to reapply a layer of chapstick. I used to use Origins Pinch Your Cheeks cheeks stain for this. Literally a product designed to stain your cheeks. I would put it on my lips and it would last forever. Then I discovered this Tarte line– tons of color options that are semi-moisturizing stains that last forever! Just put it on and forget about it. My two favorite colors are Envy (for a natural look) and Lively (a fun, fuschia).
A good exfoliator
Great beauty begins with great skin. If you’re going to do ONE thing to get great skin, it’s exfoliating. Don’t use a cheap drugstore brand, the little exfoliating beads are cheap and will cause micro tears in your skin–which bacteria gets inside of and your skin gets worse. Pick a high quality one that’s recommended to use a few times a week. That means it’s high performance enough to get your skin bright and clean, but not one that’s going to rub you raw. Clarisonics are great for this but I prefer a scrub (get your Clarisonic recos from Chelsea). My two favorites are the Laura Mercier Face Polish and Origins Modern Friction. Save exfoliating for the days you have an important meeting or date–you’ll look extra radiant.
The Naked Palette
This is a standard issue product for women. If the only reason you have one is so that you feel like part of the Sephora cult on Tumblr, well, that is reason enough.
NARS The Multiple
I have two of these. One is a bronzer, the other is a blush. They are extremely versatile and last forever. I swipe the bronzer down my legs when I’m going out to the bars in the summer or use it for contouring. The blush works on my cheeks, as an eyeshadow base, or as a lip color. This is easily the most versatile and easy beauty product I own.
Benefit They’re Real! Mascara
The verdict is in and the all time best ever mascara is this one. It lifts and fattens all your lashes up. My mom has literally three tiny, stubby lashes and when it made hers look like they were a thick and full set, I knew it would work on anyone. I used to have a basket full of all the mascaras I was trying, but now this is the only one I buy.
A good brush set
There is literally no point to having nice makeup if you don’t have nice brushes. It’s like asking Da Vinci to fingerpaint, okay? Invest once in a nice set of brushes and they’ll last for years and years. I wash mine once every few weeks in a mint hair shampoo (mint is naturally anti-bacterial) and just let them dry overnight.
I’m a die-hard believer in the Coco Chanel-ism “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” The day you stop spritzing your favorite scent in the morning is the day you stop believing your life is a great adventure. I wear Coco Mademoiselle when I’m feeling feminine and domestic, Emporio Armani when I want to kick ass at work, Billionaire Boyfriend when I’m going to brunch, and Desire when I want to attract a man.
Once you see what you look like with your brows filled in, life will never be the same. I have thick, well-shaped brows naturally so I spent years and years exploring beauty products before I ever tried filling in my brows–I just assumed I don’t need to. Wrong! It looks so. much. better. It’s that piece of the puzzle you don’t realize is missing until you pop it into place. The Smashbox pots are the best in my opinion, because it’s a powder and a wax, best of both worlds. Plus there’s two colors so you can make them look really natural.
High quality moisturizer
Here’s a secret: the ONE thing that’s going to prevent lines and wrinkles the most is the amount of moisturizer in your skin. Oily skinned women may have a terrible, acne-ridden adolescence, but age shows on their skin much slower than their dry-skinned peers. No matter what your skin type–wear moisturizer every day! Twice a day. Hell, if I wake up in the middle of the night I slap on another layer. I am OBSESSED with the Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Brightening Sleeping Facial. It smells divine, and it feels so luxurious. For day use, their Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream is boss.
You know those girls who look great in photos? Like, really youthful and vibrant? They’re just like you, the only difference is a really good highlighter applied to their cheeks. I like NARS Super Orgasm.
If I was rich I would get spray tans all the time, but I’m not, so I do it myself. I’ve tried probably every self-tanner on the market. The best, hands down, is St. Tropez. In the summer when I’m going out with bare legs, I can’t leave without applying a layer of One Night Only. It gives me the most amazing glow. The trick to a flawless self-tanned look, unfortunately, is the rather unsexy applicator mitt. (It works! And your hands don’t get dirty!)
A lipstick that makes you feel like a woman
On the baddest of hair days or when I’m strung out on anxiety and deadlines, there’s nothing that improves my mood like blasting a solid pop hit and applying a bossy lipstick shade. For me, this is fuschia. It’s a universally flattering color and so feminine and just, FUN. It feels impossible to be in a bad mood while wearing this color. My pick: YSL in Le Fuschia.
Makeup remover pads
Sleeping in your makeup is terrible for your skin. Washing your face at night is kind of a drag though, so I think makeup remover wipes are a perfect compromise. Keep them in a drawer next to your bed so you can lazily do self-care while semi-unconscious.
Sugar lip treatments
If you survive winter in a cold environment like I do, your lips suffer. The sugar lip treatments feel like rubbing velvet on your lips. They’re absolutely insane. You haven’t tried a chapstick until you’ve used one of these.
An eye brightening stick
Use it to highlight the inner corners of your eyes. BAM. You’re welcome.
My most beautiful attribute is my hair. I think this is true of a lot of girls. Hair is feminine, it’s sexy, it’s a sign of womanhood. However–the longer it gets (and believe me, mine is LONG) the harder it is to keep the ends healthy. Hair is naturally moisturized by the oils from your scalp, but there’s no way for those to reach down to long ends. You need a great conditioning treatment to keep your whole mane soft and healthy. I recommend the Kerastasse Cristalliste deep conditioner. It’s expensive as fuck, but totally worth every penny. Seriously. If you have any friends that work in salons bug them to get you the larger salon versions. The Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner is a good alternate.