I have always had a thing for makeup. Growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer, loved art and photography, and beauty was an extension of that. Fast forward 30-some-odd years, and the fashion/beauty world didn’t end up being my calling, but it’s still fun to dabble in. On rough days at the office, my old boss and I used to joke about how we should just up and leave our careers and go work at Sephora. It was our happy place.
Now that I’m a mom, my beauty routine has changed, along with most of the other things in my life. Gone are the days of multiple beauty subscription boxes (diapers are expensive!) and being able to leisurely put on makeup that went with my mood or outfit every morning before work or a night out.
Hudson + Bleeker Avion cosmetic case is the best! My aforementioned former boss – the queen of fashion meets function – got me this bag many birthdays ago, and I have been using it ever since. They’re not cheap, but they last forever and are worth the investment. In addition to daily use, mine has been around the world with me during extensive work travel and has also remained intact through my toddler’s exploratory phase (is this a phase? please say yes). This case is super stylish (it comes in many colors and patterns) and oh so functional with brush sleeves, a removable zipper pouch, and a large main compartment.
Before my wedding several years ago, I gave this a try and since then have been hooked: Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer. I love the fact that it’s all in one and light on your skin but still provides good coverage. It also lasts forever because a little goes a long way. I’m also partial to Almay Clear Complexion Concealer, a drugstore find. It’s perfect for dark circles and covering blemishes. It comes in a small bottle and gets used up quickly, but it’s so inexpensive I typically buy a few at a time.
I have Sephora shadow and liner sticks in a wide range of colors. These eye pencils are quick and easy to apply, and the color truly lasts all day. You can stick one in your purse for easy touch-ups throughout the day, but I promise you won’t need to. I use them primarily as an eye shadow, but they also work well as a smudgy eyeliner. If you prefer your eyeliner more defined, one product I can’t get enough of is Julep When Pencil Met Gel eyeliners. These also last and last and apply very smoothly. They also come in a wide range of colors, my favorite being Smoky Taupe Shimmer which blends well with my olive complexion and dark brown eyes but would really work well for most skin tones, I think.
Mascara is definitely not an everyday thing for me, but when I do use it, I love Benefit’s They’re Real. It doesn’t clump (my pet peeve!), and you can’t believe how long and full it makes your lashes look. For a waterproof option, I prefer Clinique’s High Impact Waterproof Mascara though you definitely need to use eye makeup remover to get it all off.
I have pretty defined eyebrows and am religious about getting them done every three weeks. Usually, I leave them untouched/natural most days, but if I need a touch-up, I use my Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil to fill in any gaps and keep things looking neat. I received a sample of this pencil years ago in a beauty subscription box and have loved it ever since; it’s so natural looking in color and texture. Another great option is Sonia Kashuk’s Tinted Brow Gel, which is inexpensive, can be applied on the go, and is found at your local Target. It provides very light color correction, and the gel helps keep hairs in place. When it comes to eyebrow tools, you cannot beat good ol’ Twezerman tweezers (Slant is my favorite).
Also not an everyday thing, but if I am feeling particularly blah, I might apply some bronzer or highlighter to liven things up. There are tons of great options out there, but my favorites are Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer and Wet-n-Wild Megaglow Highlighting Powder. You’ll want to go easy on the application, but when done well, the bronzer transports you to the beach, even if it’s the middle of winter. Wet-n-Wild’s Megaglow is a cult favorite in the beauty world, and you won’t believe how well it works for the price. A little also goes a long way with this stuff.
I’m the kind of person who constantly needs to have some lip balm/chapstick on. Currently, I go back and forth between EOS Smooth Sphere Balms and my old standby, Smith’s Rosebud Salve. For something more colorful, I love anything by Bite Beauty (especially their liquid lipstick). Lately, I’m also into Revlon Balm Stains which come in bright shades but are so moisturizing you hardly feel like you’re wearing anything.