So, as a result, I've kind of revamped the makeup I use over the past year or two, and I'm finally finding the specific products that work well for me. I think everybody is kind of different in their favorites and what works well for them, so it really takes time and patience (and a little bit of money) to figure out what you need. After a lot of research and a little bit of experimenting, this is my line-up!
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ELF Mineral Face Primer in Clear - This is the first thing I put on my face before makeup...you absolutely won't find a better makeup primer for the price! This primer makes your face feel so silky and really smoothes it out before applying foundation (I also put this on my eyelids too to prep for eyeshadow). I think I mentioned this in another post, but I just happened to be in Sephora the day I bought the ELF primer, so I did a little experiment...half of my face got (the expensive) Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and half got this mineral primer. At the end of the day, I could tell very little difference in how my makeup "stuck" and how my face felt.
Beauty Blender - This isn't necessarily makeup, but I absolutely couldn't apply my makeup without it. It's a small latex sponge that applies foundation so flawlessly...it really gives an airbrushed look! And, FYI, skip the brand name beauty blenders...the one I have linked above is basically the same thing for a fraction of the price.
BareMinerals BareSkin Foundation in Ivory (04) - Ok, this foundation is...interesting. I've been using it for a couple of months and I'm still kind of on the fence about it honestly. It's more of a serum than a foundation. It goes on very smoothly, but it sometimes can make your face feel almost greasy. But it does have great staying power and gives a wonderful glow, instead of the matte look that a lot of foundations cause. Definitely get a decent-sized sample and try it for a couple of days before purchasing, because it's different. I don't know that I'll purchase again...I used Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation before this and really did like it, so that's what I'll more than likely go back to!
Benefit Erase Paste in Medium I've used this concealer for awhile now and it really is one of the best ever! It will cover just about anything you can imagine and has so much staying power. I will also occasionally use Match 2 Cover Concealer if I don't need quite as much coverage...it's a great lower-price alternative.
ELF Cover Everything Concealer in Yellow - This is what I use under my eyes. I tend to get really dark circles (especially if I don't get enough sleep), and this covers those so well. I didn't really understand color correction until recently...basically, you use a color at the opposite end of the color wheel from your discoloration to "balance" it out. Dark under eye circles have more of a bluish tone, so I use yellow concealer to balance out dark circles. Works wonders!
ELF High Definition Powder in Translucent - I've mentioned this before too, but this is another one of my favorite inexpensive beauty products. I put a light layer over my foundation to "set" it. Gives me a few more hours of coverage, and bonus...it makes your face feel softer and a little less oily if needed!
Urban Decay Naked Flushed in Naked - Ok, I absolutely, totally LOVE this palette. It has a bronzer, highlighter, and blush...just enough to do a little contouring without investing a ton of money in separate products. I use my beauty blender to define my cheek bones and nose with the bronzer, brush a little bit of the bronzer on the top of my forehead (for color and definition), and use the blush on my cheeks. The highlighter is great but I've used almost all of it...that went on my cheekbones and bridge of my nose when I did have it. The colors are perfect for my skin tone too!
Benefit Watt's Up Highlighter - This is the highlighter I use in place of the highlighter in Naked Flushed now. It's a cream stick that I quickly brush on my cheekbones, bridge of my nose, and chin (and even out with the beauty blender). It just gives a little bit of a glow without being too much.
Urban Decay Naked Palette - I've sung the praises of this palette a thousand times, and I'll keep on singing them...if you invest in one piece for your makeup collection, make it this. It's the best eyeshadow palette and it seriously lasts forever...I've had this one for over 2 years now and I'm not even close to using it up. It's fabulous. I've got Naked 2 and Naked 3 too, but for some reason I just always go back to the colors in this one. (Naked 3 is so much better for summer colors, in my opinion.)
As far as the colors I use...on my brow bone, I use a combination of Virgin and Sin. I brush a little bit of Buck into my eyebrows to darken them a bit...I don't really want to take the plunge and buy a full-on brow kit, mostly because the Buck works perfectly for what I need and I don't see any reason to spend the money on something extra. It darkens my eyebrows up just a little and fills in any gaps. Then, I use Buck and Smog in my crease, Half Baked on my lower lid, and Darkhorse on the outside of my lower lid. I also use Darkhorse to smudge out my eye liner (more on that below) and a teeny tiny bit of Half Baked on the inside/bottom part of my eye.
Oh, and the brushes that come with the palettes are great too. I use the one that came with Naked 3 as my "light colors" brush (so my brow bone and lower lid) and the one that came with Naked as my "dark colors" brush (so my crease, smudging brush). Seriously, can't recommend this one enough!
Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner in Black - I really had no plans of buying this eye liner when I did get it, but Sephora had a great package deal that I couldn't resist...the Real Tempting Threesome has Benefit liner, mascara (what I originally went in the store to buy), and eye makeup remover. It was basically the same price, so I thought why not? And, I've ended up really liking the liner. It's more of a gel liner, but has kind of a pencil-like applicator...I'd call it a hybrid of the two. It does take a little bit to learn how to apply this one, but once you get the hang of it it's really not hard. My favorite thing about the liner is the staying power...once you put it on, it does not budge all day. I'm not really a big fan of the "sharp eye liner" look...I like more of a smoky, smudgy look, so I use a little bit of the Darkhorse from the Naked palette on a brush to smudge this out once I put it on (plus, I'm terrible at getting a straight line on eye liner, so this makes it much easier to look presentable).
Benefit They're Real Mascara in Black - There is SO much buzz about this mascara, so I had to try it...and y'all, I'm really really trying to like it, but honestly? It's not the best I've ever used. It's not bad, but does have the tendency to make your eyelashes look spidery...and for the price, I don't want spidery and "just ok." I have to use two coats to make any difference whatsoever in my lashes. I'm still trying to like it, but probably won't buy it again if I'm being honest. (Recently, I got a sample of Benefit's They're Real Lash Primer...I will say that putting it on underneath the mascara makes a huge difference. The primer is great to wear by itself if you're wanting to have a more natural day too...it isn't very heavy and just gives your lashes a little bit of "oomph!")
My absolute favorite (and what I'll probably go back to after I use the Benefit mascara up) is Lancome's Definicils Mascara...I should have never cheated on it in the first place. :) A sorority sister in college recommended it to me years ago and I've used it off and on ever since. It's a little pricey, but works so, so well.
One thing I will say for the Benefit Mascara...it does not budge once you put it on! As a matter of fact, the only makeup remover that really works to remove it is the They're Real Remover I got in the package set mentioned above. That is probably my favorite product of the three in the set...it's a cream-based eye makeup remover that works amazingly well without making your eyes all oily. It's definitely a product I'll purchase over and over!
L'oreal Colour Riche Lip Liner in Au Naturale - This is a great, not very expensive lip liner. The color is perfect for the lipstick I'll talk about below (just maybe slightly lighter, but keeps it in place wonderfully).
Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint in TBT - This is the newest addition to my makeup bag, and I am obsessed. OBSESSED. It might be the best lipstick I've ever used! It's a creamy, liquid formula that's somewhere between a lip stain and a lipstick. I like to have some longevity out of lipstick once I put it on, and this definitely fits the bill...I can apply this in the mornings and it will stay put all day. I would recommend using a lip liner (like the one I mentioned above) with it to kind of keep it in the confines of your lips, and use a chapstick underneath (it can be a little drying), but those are my only minor complaints. And I love the color TBT too...adds a little bit of color to my lips without being too dramatic. Perfect for everyday wear!
Mary Kay NouriShine Lip Gloss in Cafe Au Lait - Another lip color that I absolutely love! I apply this over the Lip Paint once it has dried for maybe 10-15 minutes. Just gives your lips a little bit of gloss (something that I wouldn't say the Lip Paint does) and moisture. This color is the perfect neutral too...if you're going for a more natural look, this without the lipstick is great.
So tell me...what are your favorites? I'm always looking to try something new in the makeup department...I can't wait to hear what you love!