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Pretty in Makeup

July 19, 2011

Over in the Twittersphere, when we’re not talking with boys about why wearing pantyhose is a miserable experience (that was an interesting debate, which continued on in the comments section of our pantyhose blog post), we’re also chatting with our fellow Kate bloggers about a variety of topics. This week, it was on what type of makeup we prefer.

I’ve actually had a few people ask me about what eyeshadow I use on the blog and on Facebook, so I figure I might as well do a post on it, because like Kate, I prefer a more natural look.

On the few occasions I do wear makeup (my eyelashes are pretty dark and my complexion pretty even, so when I’m at work, I usually go without unless I have an important meeting), I prefer Bare Minerals for my foundation and eye shadow. The stuff lasts forever, and as long as you are washing your brushes once a week, the powder goes on smooth and flawless without looking caked on. I think where people get frustrated and stop using the stuff is when it starts to look too thick and not natural (that’s probably happening because you’re using too much AND not regularly washing the brushes). Simply washing your brushes with shampoo and letting them dry does the trick and will actually help your complexion. (Here is a great post from on how to wash your brushes and why washing your brushes is important.)

But I’m an equal opportunity makeup brand person. When I was in high school and college, I almost exclusively wore Clinique (then MAC) because that’s what everyone else was using at the time. But over the years, I’ve learned to wear what looks best on my skin and not what  brand is the most popular at the time. Hundreds of dollars later, I think I’ve finally figured out the perfect mix (for me) to achieve a natural look:

  1. Take good care of your skin. Washing your face regularly and using moisturizer is key. I am a huge fan of the Murad line of skincare, but now that money is tight, I’ve had to make concessions. I now use Target’s up & up™ Deep Cream Cleanser ($3.35) for my face cleanser, which lasts a long time and because it’s cream-based, the cleanser is great for taking off makeup. After seeing the Tyra Banks freakout on Vaseline (she uses it to cure a variety of dry skin problems) I started using Vaseline Petroleum Jelly ($3.50) under my eyes and on my lips and I can’t tell a difference between that and the Clinique All About Eyes ($30) I was using. And finally, I use Pond’s Dry Skin Cream ($7.70) for my moisturizer. I may smell like a grandmother afterward, but my skin feels ten million times better than it ever did using the expensive stuff. Up until recently I had incredibly oily skin and awful breakouts (I have the scarring to prove it), so it’s been very interesting to use these products and have almost zero zits, unless it’s that time of the month.
  2. Have the right tools before you get started. I use a different brush for each step of my makeup: my foundation brush, from Bare Escentuals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush ($28, which I scored for free in an all-girls 5K I ran); all-over-color brush from Bare Escentuals Flawless Radiance Brush, ($22, which I got as part of a package); a powder brush (for the Mineral Veil), cheek brush (for the blush), and an all-over eyeshadow brush — all part of the Mary Kay Brush collection ($48 — my sister in-law sold Mary Kay back in college and this was the best purchase I made); and for a few more brushes for my eyes, including an eyeliner brush from Sephora ($14), a Bare Escentuals Eye Defining Brush ($16), and a Bare Escentuals Full Tapered Shadow Brush ($16 — but I got as part of an eyeshadow kit). These were accumulated over the course of about six years, which helped offset the cost!
  3. Make sure you apply a primer for your foundation and eyeshadow. I remember the days of carrying around my Clinique Superpowder Double Face Makeup compact to reapply every 2-4 hours. In high school, it was usually during orchestra, lunch and maybe Spanish class. And within the month, I was devastated when I already ran out of foundation powder. “I just spent $15 of my hard-earned cash for this!” (Life was so much cheaper in the 1990s!) Little did I know, if I had applied some primer, I would not have been re-applying so often and probably saved myself money in the long run. Today, I use Bare Escentuals bareVitamins Prime Time ($21) that I’ve had for the last three years (a dab will truly do you) and Too Faced Shadow Insurance ($18) that I’ve had for almost as long. Again, I only wear makeup on the weekends and when I have important work meetings, but the stuff has still lasted longer than I expected and has saved me tons of money since I don’t have to reapply my makeup as often — or at all.
  4. Always apply eyeshadow first. The last time I was at the outlet malls (with Heather actually), we went into the Bare Escentuals outlet (amazing for good deals on the makeup) because I was in the process of converting her to the stuff (win!) and I needed a tutorial on how to better apply my eye makeup, because I had never actually learned how. I think I got lucky, because the girl who was helping me out gave me some great tips for applying a more smoky eye (the best way to purchase their eyeshadow is from Bare Minerals is to get the fun collections because they’ve already paired colors that look great together)  and reiterated some basic common sense. Most women apply eyeshadow after they’ve applied the foundation. But what if you mess up or sprinkle some eyeshadow below your eyes? You screw up your foundation. So always apply your eyeshadow first to you can clean up any mess you create on your face. But don’t apply any mascara until the end.
  5. Using — or not using — foundation. Depending on the occasion, sometimes I’ll wear my Bare Escentuals bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation ($25), but usually only in the evenings. Otherwise, I’ll use Bare Escentuals bareMinerals All-Over Face Color in warmth ($18). When I apply the “all over face color” I really just do it in an “E” on the left side of my face and “Reverse E” shape on the right side of my face (another trick from the lady at the outlet mall).  Then I apply Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Blush ($18), starting at the temple and working my way down (that’s better for blending). While Bare Minerals typically doesn’t put its foundation on sale, the outlet is a great place — like the eye shadow — to score the all-over-color and blush on the cheap. And buying the Get Started Kit ($60) gives you brushes, foundation, all-over-color, the mineral veil and the Prime Time primer in smaller sizes so you can see if it works for you and your skin.
  6. Set everything in place! I use Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil ($19) to set everything in place, including my eyeshadow. Again, you don’t have to use a ton, just make sure you evenly apply it throughout your face. If you use too much, it looks caked on and not natural.
  7. Apply mascara and lip color last. I used to be a mascara snob. Big time. My right-eye eyelashes curl really well, but the left side stays flat as a board. And despite buying the best eyelash curlers and even hot eye curlers, I couldn’t get the left side to stay curled. I tried Dior DiorShow Mascara, but my left side was still flat as a board after 10 minutes. After the bank account took a hit, I ventured back into the drug store land and discovered Maybelline The Falsies Volum’Express Mascara ($6). This stuff rocks my world and I’ve talked to other friends who’ve converted from the more expensive brands and swear by it. As for lipcolor, I usually use Vaseline or Blistex. HA. My lip color is already a bit dark, and lately lip color has been drying out my lips, so it’s been medicated ointments for me! HELP! If anyone has any recommendations on how to make my lips stop peeling, let me know. I have even tried putting olive oil on my lips (apparently an old Italian housewife’s tale) with minimal results.

A few final notes: don’t feel pressured to buy makeup at the department store or high-end cosmetic stores. If you’re like me, sometimes you need to try the stuff on your face before you can make a purchase, especially if you have sensitive skin. Don’t get caught up in the sales/marketing lines. Who cares who makes it, what they’re trying to sell you, how “gorgeous” they think your skin is (it’s all a way to get you to purchase). They are trying to make a sale and most of them work on commission. You must remain diligent and focus on what looks good on you!! There are tons of horror stories online about people getting pressured into buying things (read this old Fortune article about some of the tactics these so-called “experts” employ to make a sale).

Other than a little too much liner on the bottom lashes, perfection. (Image Credit: AP)

Finally, I encourage you to add this blog to your blogroll: A Line of Beauty. It’s written by Arabella Preston, who is the makeup artist that “taught” Kate how to apply her own makeup for the wedding. (That’s if you read the Daily Mail. Over at People, they posted via a confirmation on Facebook from Bobbi Brown, that says members of the “royal party” got lessons from Bobbi Brown makeup artist Hannah Martin). Regardless, Arabella’s blog has scores of amazing tips, tricks and advice.

P.S. Arabella seems ridiculously down to Earth. On her business Website, she lists out some of the items in her own makeup bag (Vaseline makes an appearance!) Heart!! I swear, Kate certainly knows how to surround herself with the right kind of people 🙂 If you live in Austin, the team at Kiss n’ Makeup has a similar philosophy and were tremendously helpful in getting my eyebrows in tip-top shape after an unfortunate incident with a wax-happy aesthetician (She also tried to pluck my nose hairs. But that trauma is for another post.)

P.P.S. Also check out Arabella’s blog post on what drug store/high street drug brands/products she recommends.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    July 19, 2011 3:23 pm

    I love reading your articles.
    As for lips I heard only good things about Reve de Miel lip Balm by NUXE, I want to try it. And also Lip Balm by EOS in an egg shape. Those two are highly recommended.
    I use mostly nivea cream, but when my lips are really dry sometimes, it doesn’t help.

    As for make up tips I love gossmakeupartist:
    For make up in general Pixiwoo sisters. They are amazing.

    • July 19, 2011 3:29 pm

      I’m so glad you like them! And I can’t wait to check out some of these links. Thanks for sending them!

  2. Brittney permalink
    July 19, 2011 4:54 pm

    I too have lips that shed like a snake. It helps me to exfoliate them periodically. I also was told by my dermatologist that vasiline is the best for lip dryness.

    • July 19, 2011 4:57 pm

      Another reason to have vaseline in your makeup arsenal! 😉

    • Anna permalink
      July 19, 2011 5:00 pm

      As for home make peeling simply mix a little bit of honey and brown or white sugar and put it on your lips and massage. Also you can put honey on your lips, it is known from ages of it’s heeling aspects 🙂

      • July 19, 2011 5:11 pm

        Great tip!! I’ve gone to spas that have done the same thing with the honey and sugar and always thought I shouldn’t be paying someone to do this to me!

      • Anna permalink
        July 19, 2011 5:16 pm

        Jenni, if you can do it by yourself (and I’m sure you CAN 🙂 ) there’s no point in paying for that 🙂
        I left you also few tips on face routine at FB 🙂

  3. Nickie W permalink
    July 20, 2011 1:58 pm

    I have to second the “Bare Minerals” suggestion. I love their foundation, it is like a magic eraser for my face. I also love their lipglosses and eye shadow.

  4. Becky permalink
    July 21, 2011 2:23 pm

    I wore bare minerals for years and am no longer loyal. Mac face and body makeup is Humudity Resistant and seeing as I live in Houston, I sweat bare minerals off right away. I’m also really picky about mascara and am a believer in ” you get what you pay for. ” I always got racoon eyes no matter what brand or level of waterproofity (lol). I wear blinc macsara now. It’s the tube kind and is ah-mazing!

    • July 21, 2011 8:28 pm

      waterproofity…. i may have to use that in a future post! haha 😉 love it! when i used to travel to houston, i would break out in zits within 3 hours of being there it seemed… that town is a beast when it comes to makeup and facial care!!

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