Several months ago I shared my complete beauty routine in this post. However, I’ve discovered some new favorites, so thought I’d republish this post with all of my updates! I’ve tried a ton of products over the years, so I’m excited to share my best beauty finds and the products I truly use every day.
For future reference, you can always find this post by clicking LIFESTYLE>>BEAUTY via the top navigation bar here on memorandum.com. If you’ve seen this post in the past, I’ve highlighted the new favorites in red as you scroll through the post, so you can check out the newbies quickly that way!
For a little context, I’m not a person who is willing to spend a ton of time on my makeup. Mostly because ten times out of ten, I will decide at 7:00 am that I love my bed more than I love my face. There’s an arguable misalignment of priorities there, but it is what it is. If the whole thing takes more than ten minutes, I’m outta here. For special occasions where I’m really doing the whole shebang (i.e. actually wearing eye shadow, eye liner, and/or lipstick—things that I don’t always wear on a daily basis) I’m willing to spend an extra five to ten minutes. But really, that’s all you got.
Today’s post is focused on my makeup routine and I’m going to do a separate post on my skincare regimen that details all of the more serious moisturizers, serums and magic potions I use, so stay tuned for more details on that. However, there are a few skincare products that are integrated into my makeup routine, so that’s where we’ll start today—with the underlying products that really get this party started…
1. Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum (not pictured)
I literally just ran out of this stuff, so didn’t have it on hand to photograph, but after cleansing my face in the morning (FYI, I’ve been using this First Aid Beauty face cleanser lately and l-o-v-e it), I apply a thin coat of this serum all over my face and neck. It’s anti-aging, super lightweight and has SPF 30 in it to ward off all the bad guys.
I’ve tried a ton of other daily moisturizers and I always come back to this cult favorite. It’s super lightweight, dries really quickly, and really does a great job of keeping my skin hydrated throughout the day.
My skin isn’t particularly sensitive, but I do have a tendency to get preeeeetty damn oily. Because of this, I’ve tried SO many different primers—especially those that purport to help with oil control. Nevertheless, I always come back to this one because it really keeps my foundation in lock step.
4. *New Favorite* Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer
Type: Mattifying Primer – For Oily Skin
I still love the Laura Mercier primer, but for periods of time when it seems my skin is particularly oily, this is a more serious oil combatant. It has worked wonders for me in keeping shine at bay and makeup in place. If you have combination skin, I recommend using your regular primer all over your face, and just dabbing this one in the areas that produce the excess oil (typically the t-zone, chin, and around the nose).
My color: Y365 – Desert
Let me try to understate it: this is unequivocally the best ever foundation on the planet ever in history EVER. Given my tendency to oil up after a few hours, many foundations can start to look pretty funky halfway through the day. This foundation is super lightweight, looks truly invisible (yet still hides everything you need it to hide), has the best, most natural finish, and literally doesn’t budge all day. I’ve been using it for about 18 months now and might name my first child after it, the love is that deep.
My color: Light Buff
Waterproof undereye concealer and eye makeup is a top priority for me because I HAVE SO MANY EMOTIONS ALL OF THE TIME. Kidding. I actually just have super light-colored eyes which makes them a bit more sensitive to light, so on a random bright day without sunglasses, odds are my eyes will be watering. It’s awesome. This concealer stays perfect all day, absolutely never creases, and doesn’t move a muscle if your eyes water. Hands down the best concealer out there.
My color: I’m using the black “pro” applicator, but they’re all the same, they just come in different colors.
I give you a full line up of all my favorite makeup brushes below, but I’ve included the BeautyBlender here because I love using this to applying foundation primer, but I also sometimes use it to apply foundation and for general blending needs—foundation, concealer, contouring—you name it. It’s really great for applying foundation products (whether that’s a BB cream, CC cream, tinted moisturizer, foundation, etc.) when you just want a thin coat—perhaps for day time when you’re going for a more natural look. My favorite foundation above is super buildable—i.e. it can be layered to reach the desired coverage you’re looking for while still looking really natural, so I apply it with the BeautyBlender instead of my foundation brush below when I want a lighter look. Bottom line: it’s safe to say that the hype is legit on this one. It’s crazy good.
8. *New Favorite* Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact Highlighter
My color: Highlight 01 – Golden Nude
In the past, I’ve used the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Contouring Duet (in color Intense 1), and still HIGHLY recommend it. However, on a daily basis, for some reason, I just don’t love cream products. I find them impossible to keep clean, and when trying to achieve a natural look, I don’t find them nearly as easy to apply lightly as powder compact products. Enter my new contouring routine: this Laura Mercier Radiance Compact for highlighting and the Make Up For Ever Foundation Stick (which I discuss below!) for contouring. If I have a special night-time occasion, I’ll sometimes still use the Tom Ford Contouring Duet, but for day to day when I just want a dusting of highlight on my cheekbones, I absolutely love this Laura Mercier highlighter. It comes in a few shades depending on your skin tone, and blends so beautifully and completely invisibly. Personally, I’ve had a hard time finding highlighter that isn’t either (1) a weird tan, peach, and/or white shade or (2) too sparkly/shimmery. I don’t want to look like I’m going to a middle school dance, I just want a little extra cheek bone definition, mmk?
9. *New Favorite* Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation
My color: Y415 Almond
This is technically a foundation stick, and its formula is quite similar to my favorite liquid foundation discussed above, so it comes in all of the same great Make Up For Ever foundation shades. However, if you use it as a contouring stick like me, they recommend choosing a color that’s two shades darker than your regular foundation color, though I’d recommend going up three. They have a nice little video on Sephora’s site here that gives a brief overview on how to use it for contouring (you can skip to about 1:20 in the video). I apply it directly onto the areas of my face that I want to contour (forehead, temples, underneath cheekbones, and very lightly on sides of nose and jawline), and then blend with this Marc Jacobs contour brush. I absolutely love this stick for contouring because it’s easy to apply, blends beautifully stays completely invisible to the naked eye and is just all-around the the actual bomb.
My color: Heather Pop
I’ve been using this blush since high school. I just love it. Some people complain that powder blushes fade quickly—welp, not this stuff. I apply it once in the morning and never touch it again. I also love this line because (in my opinion) it has the best shade selection. For my coloring, a blue-undertoned, almost plum-colored blush works best, and from my experience, those are very tough to find.
My color: Laguna
I’ve also been using this stuff since high school and there’s no question that NARS wins the bronzer game. I use this on my face and even dust some on my chest and shoulders in the summer. It has subtle shimmer, but looks totally natural and never orange which is the danger with most bronzers. Also, their Laguna shade somehow magically works on absolutely every skin tone.
My color: 1.5 Radiant Silk
This magic little pen is not a concealer, yet not a highlighter either. Soooo pointless, right? Wrong. I absolutely love it for brightening up areas that you don’t necessarily need to coat with concealer, but that you don’t want to brush with a true highlighter either. Whether it’s my t-zone, or the corners of my mouth, nose, or eyes, it’s the perfect in-betweener. Honestly, when covering a blemish, I actually use this stuff more than I use my concealer. Just kidding! I totally don’t ever get blemishes!! *flips hair* But for real, it’s super easy to use and covers anything without looking too heavy or shimmery. I actually keep one of these in my purse at all times too because it’s such a great multi-tasker on the go.
13. Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eye Liner – My color: Matte Dark Brown M60
14. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner – My color: Dark Brown
It’s 2016. I simply should not have to SHARPEN anything ever again. While I list one product above (the Make Up For Ever Eye Liner) and two products below in the lip category that are a more traditional style pencil that require sharpening, I tolerate them only because the products are so dope they’re worth it and I haven’t found anything better. But to be clear, I’m not happy about it and personally see it as a societal failure. But back to business… I have two eyeliners listed here, because they produce slightly different results, and I use them in different capacities depending on the look I’m going for. The first one, the Makeup Forever Eye Liner, is a more traditional cream pencil liner that’s super long lasting and can draw a clean line or be smudged to perfection. It’s waterproof and absolutely fantastic in terms of staying power for lining the inner rims of your eye. By contrast, the second eyeliner listed above, the Stila liquid eyeliner pen, doesn’t coat the inner rims well, but is super long lasting, waterproof, and is better for creating a sleek, super precise line (for a cat-eye look, for example).
My color: Nude
When you’re going for a more natural look and want to brighten up your eyes, just swipe this across the inner rim of your lower lid and I promise you will magically turn into Candice Swanepoel mid Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This stuff also really stays put, so the eye brightening effects will stay strong all day. I’m obsessed.
16. *New Favorite* Sephora Colorful Shadow & Liner Stick
My colors: I have both Taupe and Brown in the Shimmer Finish
These waterproof eyeshadow/liner sticks are my favorite for creating that smudged eyeshadow look above and below your lashes. The stick makes it super easy to swipe along your lash lines, and since they’re a cream product, they don’t fade or fall like regular dry eyeshadow can. To get the best smudge effect, I recommend using a smudge brush like this one to blend the product above and below the eye after applying with the stick.
My color: Taupe (formerly called “Ash Blonde”)
I love this eyebrow pencil because it’s one of the few brands that makes one light enough for natural blondes (or dirty ashe blonde in my case) with lighter eyebrows. It’s completely smear-proof and the super fine tip allows you to mimic actual hair when you’re filling in gaps which yields super natural results. Even my darker-haired friends are obsessed with this eyebrow pencil (in a darker color, obviously). I guess there’s a reason it’s got 260,000 “loves” on Sephora. Crazy.
17. *New Favorite* Lancôme DÉFINICILS WATERPROOF – High Definition Mascara
My color: Brown
Previously, I had the Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara in Catwalk Brown here, which I’ve used for years and still recommend. However, for me, the Dior has a tendency to smudge after a while, which has always kept me on the look out for something better. This Lancôme Mascara is something I’ve tried in the past, and wasn’t crazy about, but I always hear people reference it as the gold standard mascara so I gave it another try a couple months ago. This time around, I really fell in love and realized what my hang up was: It seems that when the mascara is brand new, they almost have put too much product in the tube. So for the first couple weeks, it goes on a little too thick/globby. However, if you wait it out or just rub a little off the application brush at the start, it’s absolutely amazing. It lengthens, curls, thickens, errythang. Highly recommend.
My color: I have the original “Naked” palette pictured above, but I honestly have used and love all of their palettes.
The Urban Decay Naked palettes are cult classics for a reason. They’re universally flattering, they apply easily, they stay perfect forever and they never crease. I have the original Naked palette pictured above, but I also own several other palettes as well including their Basics palettes which offer matte versions of many of their most popular shadows. Especially for everyday use, I prefer a matte shadow to something with a lot of shimmer.
19. *New Favorite* Stila Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palettes
My color: Mind
I’ve used the Naked palettes above for years and love them, but this Stila “Mind” palette has now inched out the Naked palette for my favorite eyeshadow palette ever. Lately, and especially during the day, I’ve been preferring matte eye shadow to shimmery or glittery eye shadow. This entire palette is matte (which is tough to find) and the colors are absolutely amazing. I often find that in an eyeshadow palette, you really end up using only a couple of your favorite colors. For this one, I actually use all twelve (not all at once of course) depending on the occasion and what I’m wearing. It simply doesn’t have any of those “clunker” colors that you hate. They absolutely nailed it on this one!
My color: Light (Translucent)
After applying all of my makeup, I finish it off with this awesome finishing powder. It helps to set the makeup, keep everything in place for the whole day, and also keep that oil situation under control. Works like a charm!
This spray is awesome. It’s packed with electrolytes that help keep skin moisturized throughout the day. Although it has “primer” in the name, you can use it interchangeably as a primer, a finishing spray to set your makeup, or even as a misting spray throughout the day to freshen up your skin. I use it most often as a finishing spray after I’ve brushed the above powder over my face to set my makeup. The powder is necessary because it really helps me control the oil and also just creates a perfect velvet finish, but to make sure I don’t look powdery, I love spritzing this primer water as the finishing touch to make sure everything looks natural.
This is my favorite all-purpose straight-up lip balm which works wonders to revitalize my lips if they’re ever looking a little haggard. I also really love the tinted versions of this stuff (Plum is my favorite color) but the translucent “advanced therapy” version is what I consistently use every night after brushing my teeth. About a year ago, I was telling a makeup artist about that my lips seemed to be perpetually dry, and she said that it was most likely caused by my toothpaste which really wreaks havoc on your lips if you don’t thoroughly rinse your lips and apply a lip balm after brushing your teeth every night. I started rinsing and using this balm religiously that very night and voila! No more dryness. I also keep an extra one in my purse and use it periodically throughout the average day when I’m not wearing any lip color.
My color: 3C Medium Natural Beige
Similar to many of my favorite lip products, I have this guy in several colors, and switch them up depending on what lip color I’m putting over it. This natural hue, however, is definitely the most heavily used of the group because it’s the natural color of my lips and therefore blends under just about every lip color that I wear. This liner is waterproof, long-lasting, non-feathering, and non-fading, and it helps make your lips look fuller while keeping your lipstick locked in place.
My favorite colors: Brooklyn and San Francisco (how apropros!),
This stuff does it all. It lasts a super long time, defines lips like a liner, colors lips like a creamy lipstick, and is packed with vitamins to moisturize and care for your lips. It also has a slightly tingly, lip-plumping effect, which produces subtle yet noticeable volumizing.
My favorite colors: Rikugien, Bansar and Hyde Park
You may notice this from maaaaany of my posts lately. I’ve been wearing it like it’s my job. This lip pencil is similar to the drug store favorite below, but comes in richer, more fashion-forward shades and is also longer-lasting.
My favorite colors: Plum Perfect, Almond Nude, and Warm Caramel
The Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick is a favorite drugstore find that does exactly what its name suggests—moisturizes your lips and makes them silky smooth. Above, I actually have the Soft Raspberry shade pictured, but my very favorite shade is called Plum Perfect. I love several of their shades and have amassed a fairly obscene collection of this stuff, but I haven’t found any lip color ANYWHERE that has a more perfect plum pink than their Plum Perfect. I have about 10 sticks of this stuff stashed throughout my house, my purses, and my office and I use them constantly throughout the week.
My favorite colors: C107, C406, and M400
This is my very favorite lipstick. It comes in a satin finish and a matte finish, stays put forever, doesn’t smear or feather and doesn’t dry out your lips. Both finishes come in all of my favorite colors, so this is pretty much my one-stop-shop as far as lipstick goes.
Over the years, I’ve tried (almost literally) a million different makeup brushes and always end up feeling disappointed because (1) they’re often not easy to use, (2) they start shedding bristles right away despite fastidious care, and/or (3) they simply don’t apply makeup evenly. Enter the Artis brush set. These crazy looking part toothbrush, part Star Trek brushes caught my eye a couple months ago when I was desperate to end my seemingly-hopeless hunt for better makeup brushes. To be honest, there was major sticker shock for me on this brush set when I first took a look. However, I then started tallying up all of the crappy over-priced makeup brushes I had bought and tried over the past many years and… ouch. After reading all of the crazy good reviews, I took the plunge, and could. not. be. happier. The non-traditional shape and style of these brushes takes a second to get used to, but holy moly, they apply everything from foundation to concealer to eye shadow to blush to lip color like no other brush. And, it makes sense! Why have other makeup brushes not evolved beyond the watercolor paintbrush concept? In addition to a more natural, ergonomic design, each brush contains three to ten times as many fibers as other makeup brushes which results in makeup application that’s super even and product that isn’t absorbed into the brush (so you use less product, saving even more money). The bristles are synthetic and legitimately softer than a kitten, so even the most sensitive skin types will love these babies. I can’t say enough good things.
Also, FYI, in addition to the set, you can also buy the brushes individually if you want to give one or two a try before buying the full group. I also have the Artis brush cleansing foam and brush cleaning pad pictured above which I highly recommend for both brush maintenance and the health of your skin.
UPDATE: I’ve received so many additional questions about these brushes, I thought I’d answer them in one fell swoop here! So here are the FAQs:
Do they apply makeup too heavily?
Absolutely not. In fact, because they don’t absorb much product, I find it SO easy to control how much product I use. I’ll use the foundation brush to apply a BB Cream, tinted moisturizer or foundation super lightly on days when I just want a thin layer of coverage. Conversely, on days when I need/want more, it allows you to evenly apply product more heavily without a hitch.
Is the weird curved shape hard to use?
The ergonomic, curved brush handle makes using these brushes actually much easier and more intuitive than any other makeup brushes I’ve tried. For me, application is way faster, easier and more comfortable. And, for a girl who doesn’t loooove the makeup process to begin with, I’ve actually started to enjoy my morning beauty routine because the brushes are so comfortable and the application is so perfect.
I can’t afford the whole set, so if I could only buy one, which would you recommend?
I would recommend the “Oval 8” foundation brush hands down. I’m convinced there’s absolutely nothing else out there that applies foundation like this brush (not even the beauty blender!) and this is arguably the most important/hardest part of your makeup routine to get even. Aside from the foundation brush, I’d put the “Oval 3” brush as a close second for applying under-eye concealer or covering blemishes.
What’s the difference between the ones you have and these ones on Net-A-Porter?
Literally nothing, just different handles. I chose the set with the thinner, black handle simply because (a) I thought the white might get dirty looking more easily and (b) I like to keep my makeup brushes standing up in a jar-like container, and the wider handles wouldn’t allow them to fit. However, I the brush itself is identical.
Aren’t they just another makeup brush with a cooler/weirder-looking handle?
Nope. If I could explain these makeup brushes in terms of other application tools out there, I would say that it’s almost like a cross between an airbrush tool and a traditional makeup brush. That may not make sense until you try them, but it’s really true, the application is that flawless and that superior. Easily the best beauty investment I’ve made in years… possibly ever.
*NEW QUESTION* I’ve seen a bunch of knock-offs pop up that are way more affordable. Is there any reason to pay full price for these anymore?
Like you, I’ve also seen the knock offs pop up on social media and online, and a I actually ordered two different kinds to try out and compare to the Artis brushes. I bought this one and this one and despite high hopes, I can say unequivocally that the knock offs don’t even come close. The bristle quality and density (most of all) along with the strength, stability and curvature of the handle are what make the Artis brushes so exceptional in applying makeup and what positions them head and shoulders above the rest. Overall, the knock off brushes did a really poor job of applying makeup, so if you don’t want to splurge for the real thing, I’d recommend sticking with a beauty blender or a regular make up brush.
OK, that’s a wrap! My completely updated front-to-back beauty routine and every last makeup product that I swear by. Have I missed anything? Do you have any favorites that I should try?? Please let me know in the comments!
Happy Thursday guys!!