Straight from our bathroom vanities to yours.
Let us tell you: our journey to perfect (or seemingly so) skin has been a long, sometimes treacherous, and ongoing one. See, there’s the first step of actually getting our skin to look blemish, fine line, and pore free (we’ll call this a work in progress); and then, there’s mastering the non-cake-y, even-skin-tone-while-still-glow-y-and-flushed makeup application. And, while we like to think we have practically every makeup magician on speed dial, doing it ourselves is admittedly a whole other deal. Then again, we’ve put their myriad sage advice to good use and narrowed down what we consider our perfect foundation, concealer, and highlighter techniques (plus our key go-to products). At this point, we kind of know what works for us.
I'm a creature of habit, especially when it comes to my makeup, which tends to stay the same from day-to-day and day-to-night—for me, evening makeup pretty much means an extra dusting of bronzer.
So after I moisturize my perpetually parched skin (seriously, it soaks up every last drop of the stuff), I pump a couple drops of Dior Diorskin Forever Perfect Makeup Broad Spectrum 35 (for its sheer, smooth texture and the SPF) and M.A.C's Studio Waterweight Foundation (for its matte, almost powdery finish) on the back of my hand and mix the two. I change up the ratio depending on how my skin is feeling that day and find that the combination of two textures and shades makes for a more even complexion. I kind of swear by it. Then I dab a fluffy brush into the liquid foundation (trust) and blend lightly all over my face, making sure to lightly blend over my eyelids (it's a great base) and down my neck (so there's no cake-y mask), which leaves me with an airbrushed look. I then use M.A.C's Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer, which is super high coverage and creamy (yet somehow doesn't melt off midday) for my dark circles and blemishes. On days when I'm feeling extra sluggish from a late night, I'll use YSL cult-y Touche Eclat to brighten some key areas.
Once my base is perfected (guys, keep in mind all the above takes all of five minutes—really), I bronze to avoid reflecting off of the surrounding snow, use Tarte Cheek Stain in Sheer Berry to give me some flush and smooth on some Dior Diorskin Illuminating Powder in Smooth Air on my cheek bones, down the ridge of my nose and on the bow of my lips for some glow.
So after carefully slathering on my AM skincare (eye cream, serum, moisturizer), I roam around my apartment, make my bed and drink some coffee while I let everything sink in properly. Then I get started on my makeup. Per usj, my overly dry skin controls much of what I do, so sometimes I’ll even lightly swipe on some extra moisturizer on my cheekbones and nose at this stage. Then, I spot-treat with NARS Creamy Concealer and Make Up For Ever’s HD one—first on my permanently deep-purple under eye circles (once you accept that it’s genetics, you feel a lot better. Promise.) and then on any spots or blemishes. I’ve been using a Beauty Blender to, uh, blend everything and I’m kind of addicted to it now. I dab a kabuki in some NARS powder and spot treat only over the concealer one more time. I’m aiming for longevity and I feel like this helps but who really knows. Next comes bronzer; I’ve been enamored with many over the years but right I’m on the same Benefit Hoola train as everyone else. It’s matte, so it’s basically like adding a natural tan. I don’t notice a huge difference (but that's probably the point...). I finish up with Charlotte Tilbury’s blusher in Ecstasy (although right prior to writing this, it cracked and I almost cried). Which kind of sucks because unlike the other products listed here, I flat out refuse to use anything else. Halpppppp.
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After slathering on SPF, I usually start out my makeup with a primer—preferably one with more of a lotion-y vibe over a silicone one. I just finished a bottle of M.A.C.'s Prep and Prime Natural Radiance, but just started on a tube of Make Up For Ever's Step 1 Skin Equalizer in yellow—both are great and I notice a huge difference in how little time it takes for my makeup to slide off my face when I skip. I've started adding Tom Ford's new Radiant Moisture Souffle (#baller) into the mix if I'm going out, too––it has the most subtle sheen that almost negates the need for highlighter. While I wait for it all to settle into my skin, I wet my Beauty Blender, which deserves an essay in and of itself. I've never been totally confident in my foundation and face makeup application skills, and this little pink sponge is what changed that. I know it feels and sounds like a gimmick not out of place in an infomercial, and no, knock-offs do not do the same thing. Accept no substitutes! It will totally change the way your face makeup looks—all airbrushed and perfectly buffed in; not streaky or stripe-y. Just. Try. It.
Once it's soaked through and starts to swell up, I mix together a dot of Bobbi Brown's BB cream and M.A.C.'s Studio Sculpt Foundation (I totally realize using one negates the intended use and coverage level of the other), and apply all over. I top it off by applying M.A.C.'s Studio Fix Powder Foundation all over with a huge, fluffy brush; followed by NARS' x Christopher Kane's Silent Nude blush on my cheeks. I then both de-cake-ify and seal that in with a few spritzes from my bottle of Jurlique's Rosewater Balancing Mist. Voila!
To be completely honest, my ideal is to wear no makeup at all. But, as my mother once exclaimed before catching herself; it just makes me look so much better. And because my skin is wildly unreliable, face makeup is a given whenever I need to look presentable. Here's how it goes... If I have it, I like a good primer—I find it makes a huge difference when it comes to smoothing out my skin and pores. My favorite is Smashbox Oil-Free Foundation Primer. From there comes either BB cream or foundation depending on both the state of my skin and the season. Typically, when it's hot and I have a tan, I use a darker shade of Clinique Acne Solutions BB Cream, which has SPF in it and provides pretty good coverage without looking to makeup-y. In the winter, when my skin is pale and blotchy, I use Too Faced Born This Way foundation, which provides amazing coverage, and, again, doesn't get cakey. And then, of course, the all-important concealer: my fav is Laura Mercier's culty Secret Concealer. Otherwise, nothing has changed since high school, which essentially means I finish it off with a bronzer (currently Stila Stay All Day Bronzer) or a blush (Charlotte Tilbury's).