Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Make Up 101

"You are going to think I am really stupid but..."

This is how my very wonderful, thoughtful and intelligent ex roomie started out our phone conversation a few months ago.

Given that she is a fabulous friend, a successful lawyer, and an all around amazing person, I laughed without knowing what was even coming. And assured her there was no way.

"I need help with my make up. Like, complete start over. I'm still wearing Covergirl from Junior High and I'm 30 years old."

Of course, I giggled a little. Side note: there is nothing wrong with Covergirl. Her point being, she was using the same few staples she started with 15+ years ago. And she wanted to up the quality. It was time to get real! And I get it.

I had to quickly remind her that I am by no means a professional (duh), and that my knowledge base and product recommendations come from my preference, experience and opinion only.

That being said... obviously I wanted to help! Are you kidding me?! Talk about a kid in a candy shop. That would be me at Sephora/Ulta/any product store.

So we planned to hit Ulta together when she got into town. As I thought about this, I realized there are probably a LOT of people out there who don't read product reviews, follow make up artists, or watch you tube videos of how to style your make up and hair. I know a lot of people get into this, but a lot just don't. And for that reason, I wanted to write this post.

If you would like to invest in a few great products, but the thought of Ulta or Sephora completely overwhelms you, keep reading! You may be able to pick up a few starters based on this list. Also, ask for help! Someone you know loves make up. And if not, the ladies at Sephora and Ulta are always so awesome. I learn something new every time!

Well, I love Bare Escentuals. Sorry not sorry. I have been using it for 9 years and I really never plan to quit. So yes, I recommend it. And you know what's great? I would recommend it to people,  even like my friend, who have no experience with foundation. Guess what?! No experience needed. I hooked her up with this starter kit. It's truly a great deal as you get ...

Mineral Foundation - (great coverage. easy to use. I promise.)
Warmth - (not bronzer. just… the key to glow.)
Mineral Veil - (the topper as I call it. lock things in. make your skin radiate!)
Primer - (for use on skin after moisturizer and before foundation)
foundation brush - to apply foundation!

 Which is a $116 value for $49. It's a steal.

I do have a few other recommendations if you are totally against mineral powders as your sole foundation.

I think Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation is pretty freaking awesome. Again, I am not into liquid foundation but if  you want to take the time, try this one!

Another option if you don't feel like coverage is an issue... try a tinted moisturizer. I have never been into this but I hear this one here gets a lot of attention! Any other recommendations?

I went off course and bought an Ulta Mineral blush. I recommended it for her and I also bought it for myself. And I am super impressed. It stays on great and I love the shade! To each their own. I say find a shade you like and who cares what brand it is!
in "Tulip"

Next, eyes. I'll tell you what I told my friend. I have spent a lot of money on mascara over the years. Fancy mascara. Drugstore mascara, Vegan mascara. Blue mascara. Black. Blacker. Brown. Volumizing. Lengthening. Fibers. Everything!  And here's the thing.... I can't say it's mandatory to spend all your money in this department.

I look at make up investments in terms of time. How long am I going to use this product before it should be tossed? How long does the actual product last? Mascara (with everyday use) actually has a pretty short shelf life. And even if you don't wear it everyday, the tube tends to dry up. If you are still using mascara after 3 months, throw it. I don't want to get into the details, but bacteria, eyes, transferring bacteria, gross, etc, you get it. Just toss it.

And as far as quality, I have used expensive mascaras I am impressed with as well as drug store mascaras I am impressed with. So, your call. A few of my favorites across the spectrum are from this to this (a cult fav).

Same principle with eyeliner, if you wear it. I still say one of my favorite eyeliners is Revlon Colorstay! But that's just me. There are great (more expensive) options as well. And I'm not knocking them. :)

On to eyeshadow. Again, this is my opinion. I used to buy the little $4 -7 palettes from Target or any drugstore and try different shades, different brands with no real direction. And it adds up! My friend wanted to buy a quality, reputable palette that would last her a long time. I know that $54 seems like a lot, but you aren't going to be running out and replacing this very often. And you can't beat the colors. And quality. Naked 2 all the way!

And while I'm at it, it would be a smart investment to have some eyeshadow primer on hand. My favorite is THIS one.

So, most novice make up wearers (and myself, to be honest) don't do much with their brows. It's kind of an afterthought. I only recently started to fill my brows in more and I feel like it completes the look a little better. So, if you are interested, I would start with something very inexpensive (like e.l.f).  Or, just use a matte, brown eye shadow. Easy enough. Also, seek out videos on youtube. There are so many bloggers who have youtube channels. Google is your friend!

So... some people hate the feeling of lipstick on their lips. Or anything gunky. I totally get it. My friend is one of these people. I recommended Benetint!
In "Rose"

 It's no different than wearing chapstick but gives you a really fantastic color. Great for a "starter" lip color. I will say, experimenting with lip stick colors is super fun. I actually don't have a brand preference myself ( I frequently use MAC or Clinique) but... I have loved some pretty great drugstore colors over the years. To each their own on this. Find a shade that boosts your look! And makes you feel good about yourself. That's what lipstick is really about, right?!

One of my favorite lipsticks in "Plumful"
Don't mind my chipped nails. That's just real life. 

So, I have always used the Bare Minerals brushes as I feel like they hold the makeup the best. My last brush purchase was the precision face brush, and I still love it. But, if you are starting out, Real Techniques is where it is at.

The brushes are quality and will give you great coverage! Not to mention, super affordable.  A few of the brushes I have and some other products I use are pictured below!

Woo! So, that was a sort of long post. But if you are looking to ditch your old make up bag and start fresh, grab a pen and paper and write down a few of these products! Chances are, you will love them. And if you don't, ask someone for a product to benefit your specific needs. 

Good luck! 


  1. I love Bare Minerals! I've used it on and off since freshman year of college- great coverage and quality!
    Kate :: A Little NW Charm

    1. Ohhhh that makes me so happy!! It really does work the best! What do you use for foundation other than? Just curious :)

    2. I switch between Bare Minerals, Covergirl's BB cream (when I'm feeling like a lightweight coverage) or I've been partial to the L'Oreal True Match Lumi at times.

    3. Love to know that! The girl who did my make up for my wedding/engagement uses the True Match. I loved it when she did mine :)

    4. For being drugstore, it's not too bad. I actually found it on a blog a few years ago - had a good review, application looked easy enough...and so I headed to the store for my own. Been a fan since.

  2. Totally bookmarked this! I'm glad my drugstore eyeliner gets your approval :) And MAC Plumful is one my of favorites, too!!!

    1. Do you use Revlon colorstay, too?! Yay! I love it. And MAC lipstick.. .the best...!

  3. I love the Laura Mercier tinted foundation. I'm totally overwhelmed by Sephora, so I loveeeee that you helped your friend navigate the terrain!! I think you have a great range of products and ideas here for anyone!! Thanks for sharing your expertise!

    1. OHHH! So good to know. Considering purchasing it *just* so I can recommend it better. And thank you for reading :)