13 February 2014

back to the basics!

WARNING: This is a super long post in which I discuss my very minimal look from today and the basics for a makeup stash. I am super long-winded in everything that I write for this blog and this is the most long-winded post I have written to date. You have been warned!

We actually have sunlight here today in the Chicago suburbs! It's insanely bright and I sort of hate it, but that's because I'm basically a vampire. The sunlight is reflecting off of the mountains of snow heaped everywhere which makes my head hurt, alas.

I had a few errands to run today, so I put on very minimal makeup. I filled in my brows and put on a little lipstick and that was it, nothing else on my skin except my morning moisturiser with SPF.

I had my blinds open so there was actually sunlight in my room, but my flash likes to wreak havoc on my skin anyway. You can't actually see the red blotches on my cheeks close to the jawline, but those require a metric shit ton of concealer to cover. I still look a little peaky, but that's to be expected, and damn those under-eye circles... They're awful.

If I'm not feeling exceptionally lazy and therefore leave the house with zero makeup on, I like to at least fill in my eyebrows because I think they make me look somewhat put together and less like I just rolled out of bed. The lipstick was a haphazard choice because I bought a bunch from NYX last week and they came in and they're fantastic.

(Wearing: Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Express brow kit in Brunette + NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick in Little Susie, a deep pink with a yellow undertone.)

I somehow managed to wrangle my hair into a side braid without it falling apart!

My hair is so straight that even when I haven't washed my hair for a day, it doesn't have much grip. Generally, when I braid my hair, little pieces stick out everywhere because the ends are stick straight and don't like to be bent at all. This is also why this braid looks really polished--I tried to mess it up by massaging it and pulling at it, but it refused to do anything cool.

I also pinned my bangs back which sort of worked against my favour because in addition to the sunlight, it's hella windy outside and pieces kept flying out of the bobby pins.

At the request of Livy, I've compiled a list of what I consider to be the basics. This will of course vary from person to person! I'm a makeup fiend so I have loads of products, but these would be a great place to start. I will be listing the products in the picture but I know that a lot of the products are pricey, so I will try to provide good alternatives.

Sometimes foundation seems like too much work, so for face products, I'd suggest a BB cream and a concealer. BB creams originated in Korea and often only came in one shade with a sort of ashy undertone. American BB creams tend to come in more shades, though the extremes of the skintone spectrum often have difficulty finding a good match. (If you have very dark skin, AJ Crimson has a really great selection! If you're really fair like I am, the Dr. Jart+ V7 Beauty Balm, pictured above in the top left, is a little thick but has good coverage, and Tarte and Too Faced make some very pale ones, too.) BB creams were originally formulated to give a great deal of coverage, but when the US came out with new formulations, most of them were a bit more sheer. There are several drugstore versions now, including but not limited to Garnier, Ponds, Maybelline, and Flower Beauty.

A good concealer will cover anything that your BB cream doesn't cover quite so well. I've found that I need a concealer for my redness and a second concealer for my under-eye circles, as thicker, creamier concealers provide more coverage but crease under the eyes, while liquid concealers have less coverage but are better at staying put under the eyes. The concealer in the picture is Benefit's boi-ing concealer (the round container to the right of the BB cream) and you can see that I use it a lot--quite a bit of pan is showing! I generally use Benefit's Fake-Up or Maybelline's Fit Me concealer under my eyes. If you're looking for a full-coverage drugstore concealer, Hard Candy's Glamoflauge is well-known and well-loved in the beauty blogosphere, though the colour range is limited.

Onto lips! It's always good to have a solid lip balm because so many things can damage your lips: weather, constant licking, dehydration, etc. The dark red tube in the top right corner is fresh's Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15. Always look for a lip balm with SPF because the skin on your lips is very thin and very prone to sunburn regardless of the season. Smith's Rosebud Salve is a popular one, too, but it's really up to you as there are so many balms on the market. I would also suggest a thicker, more moisturising one for the evening to slather on before bed. I have a lip butter from The Body Shop for this purpose, and I know Bite Beauty has an agave lip mask that is relatively new which has gotten great reviews.

You don't need more than two lip products if you're low maintenance. One shade should make your lips look just a bit more pigmented--your 'my lips but better' (MLBB) shade. Mine is Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Honey, a medium rosy mauve. Chubby lip pencils are generally easier to wield, in my opinion! An MLBB can double as a cream blush. Just put a dot of it on each cheek and blend with your fingers. Your second shade should be a red. Everyone looks good in red lipstick and if you think you don't, you just haven't found the right red. I'll be making a post about red lipstick some time in the future! The one pictured is OCC's Vintage lip tar, which is called a deep burgundy, but I tend to find that a thin layer across the lips just looks like a superb red, but a second coat makes it more of a deep, brown-toned red. This lip tar was sent to me by my darling friend Charlotte!

There are so many products for your eyes that sometimes it's difficult to know where to begin. I would suggest an eyeshadow primer (pictured is theBalm's Put a Lid On It! eyeshadow primer), a neutral eyeshadow palette (mine is Urban Decay's Naked Basics palette), a black eyeliner (I have a love/hate relationship with Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion), and a mascara (Maybelline Volum' Express the Mega Plush mascara in Blackest Black). Eyeshadow primers help your eyeshadow to last for hours and prevent creasing, that annoying thing that happens when your eyeshadow starts to clump together and separate on your eyelids. I have very oily eyelids so this is a huge problem, and primer helps so much. There are a lot of drugstore primers that I just can't remember off of the top of my head, but I mostly use high-end ones.

A neutral eyeshadow palette is great because you can pull off simple looks that don't require a huge amount of effort or blending. The Naked Basics palette is all matte shadows with one semi-satin highlight shade, but any neutral palette will do. (To all of you other makeup mavens out there... Is it just me, or do you own a whole bunch of neutral palettes even though you know you really only need one? Seriously, guilty as charged.) Additionally, if you have a matte neutral eyeshadow, you can use it to fill in your brows if you were so inclined.

As for the eyeliner and mascara, feel free to experiment with this. If you think black is too intense, go for brown liner and mascara! I have naturally black hair, so I've always just bought black mascara because you wouldn't be able to tell I had brown mascara on if I tried. I always buy Maybelline mascaras because they're a great drugstore price that doesn't break the bank and their formulas are usually pretty great. You're supposed to replace your mascara every 3 months, so I can't even justify spending more than $8 on one, but I'm a cheat and don't replace mine that often because I don't even use mascara that often. I just forget! Urban Decay eyeliners are great in that they come in a huge variety of shades, but I often don't wear makeup for more than an hour at a time when I'm coming up with looks for the blog, so trying to get Perversion off of my face is nearly impossible. Their eyeliners are kind of price-y, though, so look to the drugstore. There are so many good varieties to look into these days!

The above picture is of items that I think aren't completely necessary but are great to have. First, an eyebrow powder + wax. That's the Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Express brow kit in Brunette in the top left. It comes with wax on the left, a brow powder duo in the center, and eyeshadow on the right. I've barely touched the eyeshadow, but everything else gets a lot of use. There's a tinted brow gel in the bottom row, between the foundation and the NYX lipstick--also from Anastasia Beverly Hills--I use both to fill in my brows.

For eyes, I always think it's fun to have a colourful palette, and pictured is Saucebox Cosmetics' Temptation palette. As you might have guessed, I loooove colourful eye makeup and I think it's always a good idea to have a few brights to play with from time to time, even if you're more of a neutral makeup type of person. The pink eyeshadow underneath the brow kit is Sugarpill loose Chromalust pigment in Decora--I have all of Sugarpill's eyeshadows that have been thus released, so I'm a bit of a glutton that way. Next to the NYX lipstick on the bottom row, there's a conical black shape and that would be my liquid liner. Liquid liner is a step up from pencil liner and it is a little more difficult to manage, but it's a great way to create a winged shape. I prefer gel liner, but it takes so much time!

For the face, I have a bottle of Urban Decay's Naked Skin liquid foundation in 1.0. This is a great foundation that photographs really well because it doesn't have any SPF in it and it has buildable coverage. I can add more foundation to red areas on my face to cover them up with no problem. In the center of the picture, I have a highlighter (rms beauty's living luminizer). Highlighters help to give your face a glow, and rms beauty's is especially good at making the glow really natural. Another suggestion would be Benefit's high beam. To the right of the luminizer is a powder blush--Too Faced's Sweetheart Perfect Flush Blush in Candy Glow. To bump up the staying power of your blush, apply a cream blush first and then a powder over it. In the bottom right corner is Urban Decay's All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray. Setting sprays help to keep your makeup from fading.

For lips, there are so many options out there. I have a ton of colours--nudes, pinks, corals, shocking oranges, plums, black? I am really partial to darker lips so I've included NYX Butter Lipstick in Licorice, a deep plum colour. Don't feel limited because I've chosen a dark colour here. Go with what you think suits you best! If you're not much of a lipstick person, there are glosses, stains, and a real plethora of other products to explore, too.

In the lower left corner is Embryolisse's Lait-Crème Concentrè. I need to emphasise how crucial skin care is because I'm actually pretty awful at it. If you don't take care of your skin, nothing you put on it will do what you want it to do. My current morning routine consists of splashing my face with water and applying a little of Indie Lee's squalane facial oil followed by Everyday Coconut's daily face lotion with SPF 15. SPF is super important, regardless of your skin tone, skin type, everything. My only regret is that I don't have a morning lotion with SPF 30, which is recommended, but my skin is sensitive to most chemical sunscreens, especially octinoxate which seems to be in so many lotions. When you shop for anything with SPF, please make sure it's marked Broad Spectrum, as that means it will protect you from UVA I, UVA II, and UVB rays. (Check this site for more information.)

My current nighttime routine varies depending on how my skin is feeling. Generally, I use Everyday Coconut's cleansing face wash followed by the Indie Lee facial oil. If I'm removing makeup, I'll use wipes, remover, or an oil-based cleanser first. If I need to exfoliate, I use Yes to Grapefruit's daily facial scrub. At night, sometimes my skin gets very dry and I'll put on a layer of the Embryolisse cream. It can function as a lotion, a primer underneath your makeup, or a makeup remover. I generally use it for the first two uses.

Listen to your skin! I have combination skin, which means my cheeks are dry and my T-zone is oily, but my skin is currently very prone to flakes all over. My skin also happens to be sensitive, unfortunately, so I don't want to adjust my routine too drastically and cause it to freak out. My routine may not work for you!

That last statement, by the way? It applies to everything I've listed here. If you don't like wearing makeup, that's fine! Don't let anyone cramp your style. If you prefer more dramatic looks, then stock up on some more variety. If you want to wear blue lips, go for it, and might I suggest Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics , Limnit Lipsticks, or Melt Cosmetics for places to start? Makeup can change your features, mask something you'd rather not show the public, or be used as a form of self-expression. Ultimately, you should do whatever you feel the most comfortable doing.

IF YOU HAVE READ ALL OF THIS, bless your little heart and I'm sorry.

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