I spend a lot of time mooning over color cosmetics: eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, etc. But the “fun stuff” is all made possible by the support of a few great, “behind the scenes” products. So I’m opening my medicine cabinet to share with you the products for which I am most grateful.
1. Laura Mercier Moisturizer with SPF 15 (the jar)
I really like LM’s skincare line, and her daily moisturizer may be my favorite product. It contains SPF 15; it’s extremely light, quick-absorbing, and non-greasy (which is rare for a moisturizer containing SPF). It’s neither a very potent moisturizer nor a very powerful sunscreen, but it’s perfect for daily use, and it feels so delicious when I apply it — like my skin is drinking.
2. Cosmedicine Medi-Matte (the blue tube)
My skin is normal/combo, but my entire family has extremely shiny t-zones (you should see our family portraits). One by one, I’m converting them all to Medi-matte. Medi-matte is a mattifying lotion, and I apply a very thin layer to my forehead and nose (after putting moisturizer on my cheeks, chin, and throat). The thin layer is important — if you use too much, it feels like glue. But it kills shine the moment it touches your skin, and lasts all day. It also contains SPF 20.
The first time a Sephora sales associate showed me this product, she poured some hair oil into the palm of her hand, then soaked it all up by rubbing in Medi-matte. I don’t know how scientific that demonstration was, but it was definitely impressive.
3. Fresh Lotus Eye Gel (the pump tube with the white cap)
Lotus Eye Gel is full of botanical stuff supposed to diminish dark circles, reduce puffiness, and erase signs of fatigue. Does it do any of these things? No.
But it does make my concealer go on really smoothly. As a primer, this stuff is too expensive to re-buy. I’ve been looking for a cheaper replacement, but haven’t found one yet. When I do, I’ll let you know — and in the meantime, I’d love to hear your suggestions.
4. MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW20 (potted concealer)
Since the age of 5, I’ve had some serious hereditary undereye circles (as mentioned in my review of Kinerase) — on a bad day, I think I can see blue, purple, and green (?!). Concealer resets that discoloration to “Skin Zero,” giving me a blank canvas on which to build the rest of my eye look.
My requirement of concealer (as with foundation and mascara) is that it do the job AND look natural. My choice for that is MAC’s potted, SPF 35 Studio Finish. I apply it with my fingers (and if the house is really cold in the morning, I put the pot in my pocket to warm the product up before applying).
If your circles are “not that bad,” I really recommend Neutrogena’s 3-in-1 Undereye Concealer. It’s a fantastic and natural-looking product, sold in any drugstore for around $7. When this was my daily concealer, I did use a flat, domed concealer brush (rather than my fingers) to apply.
5. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends Translucent Oil-Control Powder (mosaic pressed powder)
I use powder to set my concealer (or cancel shine, on lazy makeup days), and my favorite is Neutrogena. It’s the most invisible-yet-effective powder I’ve tried, and I love the price.
Concealer erases a lot of color around my eyes (there were a lot of colors to erase), which makes them look “fresher” but also smaller. Eyeliner puts emphasis back in the right place.
In my opinion, eyeliner was meant to define the eyes and create the optical illusion of fuller, darker lashes. For me, eyeliner is also completely necessary when wearing eyeshadow, to define the lash line. I’ll wear eyeliner without shadow, but I won’t wear eyeshadow without liner.
I have found many eyeliners to love, and I’ll have to detail them for you in another post, but the one I wear most often is MAC’s Buried Treasure. It’s a very dark brown (near black) with tiny sparkles, in a waterproof, non-mechanical pencil form.
Mascara is so important — long, pretty lashes make me feel feminine — but I haven’t yet subjected you all to a mascara review. (1) Because we all have different expectations of our mascara, (2) because results vary so much from person to person, and (3) it’s hard to swatch. I want mascara to make my lashes look fuller, thicker, longer… but still natural. If you notice that I’m wearing mascara, I’m not wearing the right one.
My favorite mascara is Prescriptives False Eyelashes (followed closely by Prescriptives Lash Envy). It’s just my perfect, volumizing, soft-touch, gorgeous-looking, go-to product.
There are a lot of lip primers out there — this one is the best. I dot it on before applying lipstick to prevent settling or chapping. I also put it on top of lipliner for a matte lip look that isn’t drying. Okay, I’m also a Chapstick addict.
It smells faintly of vanilla and contains SPF 15.