5 Favorites: Beauty edition

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I've been planning this post for awhile because I love, love reading blog beauty reviews and have found some of my best products this way. I used to be sort of a product junkie, always trying new things but never totally satisfied. Now though, I feel like I've found what products work for me. Part of this is trial and error, part is reading great reviews, and part is being willing to pay more for more expensive products that are better for my skin and just seem to work better in general. So without further ado, here are my favorites!

1. Face
  • Foundation: After years of using either Neutrogena or Clinique foundations (the two that never made my face break out), I recently started using Tarte Amazonian clay foundation. I wanted something with a little more coverage and a smoother finish and this fit the bill. I've been using it for a few months now and haven't noticed any increase in breakouts. I've received several compliments about how good my skin looks (even Stephen noticed a difference). I could go on, but overall I just love this stuff. I use the Light Sand shade although the Light Neutral is also a good match for me.
    • For special occasions: Dior Airflash Foundation is what I used on my wedding day. It truly creates a flawless finish and I think the price is worth it for a super special occasion. I still have a little left and am saving it :) A word of caution that this will probably not work for the super fair, I have light but not super fair skin and the lightest shade was almost too dark for me.
    • Runners up: Clinique perfectly real foundation (used this for years) and Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation (although I admit that I hate the glass bottle - so messy).
  • Concealer: After applying foundation, I add a little concealer to red spots, blemishes, and dark circles (I read once in a beauty magazine to apply concealer after foundation and have done this ever since). I've found that stick concealers cover better than liquid or compact ones, and my favorite was the Clinique city stick until they discontinued it. I found Benefit Playsticks two years ago and they are really the best (Sephora stopped selling them last year and I immediately bought three because I was worried they would discontinue them permanently). I use Spin the Bottle, which is the lightest shade, although I have also used Tea Party and these blend so well that both shades worked for me. If I could only have one make-up product for the rest of my life it would be the Playsticks.
2. Cheeks: I always, always brush a little bronzing powder on my forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin after I apply foundation and concealer because otherwise I look way too pale. I used the Neutrogena bronzer compact for years and was happy with it, but I received Clinique loose bronzing powder as a gift last year and admit that I like it a little better than the Neutrogena stuff. And then after reading tons of positive reviews, I recently purchased the Nars mini compact with the Laguna bronzer and Orgasm blush (not a fan of the name) and am convinced it's the best bronzer ever (but it's also a splurge)

3. Eyes: I love Grace's mascara posts and am always tempted to try something new, but I'm so attached to my Urban Decay Supercurl mascara that I am on my fourth tube (and they last a while). My mascara requirements are that the wand has a curling shape (I've never been one to use an eyelash curler), it washes off easily with soap and water (eye makeup remover is just too high maintenance for me), and no clumping.
As far as eyeshadow, I like to apply a lighter shade on the lid, extending up towards the brow and in the inner corner of the eye, and then a darker shade just on the lid. Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette is amazing, with lots of options for both the lighter and darker shades (I like a cream color or pale pink for the first shade and a darker brown or taupe for the second). The palette also has some great options to create a smokey eye for special occasions.

I typically only wear eyeliner for special occasions, and my favorite is Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof eyeliner in Penny (a coppery brown). It goes on super smoothly and lasts. It's pricey, but since I rarely use eyeliner it has lasted awhile (and I've seen a big difference how cheap eyeliner applies and stays versus the more expensive stuff).

4. Lips: I used to always be a gloss girl, but wearing everyday lipstick is a recent addition to my make-up routine and started actually when I was doing my residency interviews. Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in Naked, a nude-pink shade, is my favorite. I also recently discovered Nars lip pencils which are great for long-lasting coverage and come in lots of fun colors (Isola Bella and Descanso are my favorites, and Rikeugen is a nice all-purpose shade). I always add a coat of Burt's Bees on top of my lipstick or lip pencil.

5. Nails: Painting my nails always, always frustrated me because I have a hard time applying the color evenly and it tends to chip almost immediately after I apply. However, I recently discovered the CND Vinylux weekly polish (thanks to the Small Things Blog) which comes in a lot of neutral colors (I'm a fan of pale pinks, greys, and taupes). It doesn't last quite a week, but last week I went chip-free for 4 days and it still looked respectable on day 6. Using the Vinylux topcoat is a must for shine and long wear. I'm not kidding, after applying the stuff it looks like a gel manicure from Ulta but lasts longer and is way cheaper. You can find it on Amazon.com or Beauty Brands.

So there you have it, the favorite products in my makeup bag. I'm not opposed to finding more affordable lipstick and eyeshadow alternatives but for now this is what works for me. What are your favs?

Linking up with Hallie.


  1. Concealer after foundation? And it works? I am going to have to try it for my seriously dark circles under my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So excited to see that recommendation for concealer. These purple gobs under my eyes, the pimples, and the permanent redness on my nose are resistant to most concealers.

  3. Love reading makeup reviews! I've been dying to try that nail polish for a while now!

  4. Ditto about makeup review love! And thanks for sharing the tip about concealer post foundation.

  5. I have the same NAKED palette! Its awesome. But makes me really want the original one and the rose one too hahah. Greedy!


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