Sunday, April 14, 2013

A junkie recommends

The word has gotten out about my beauty junkie status. My close friends and family have always known about my habit - they've seen how my eyes light up when I step inside a beauty supply store, and laughed at the amount of products I deem as essential for travel (while then borrowing liberally from the stash). But for the most part, colleagues and casual acquaintances have been in the dark about my addiction, other than perhaps noticing that I change my nail color frequently.  But when your boss mentions your habit in an all-staff meeting, along with an accompanying slide show that really hammers the point home - the jig is up. Suddenly folks I barely ever talked to before are asking for product recommendations. And I am in hog heaven. :)

So since just this past week I've gotten questions and requests for recommendations from half a dozen different sources, I thought I'd write about my current favorites and "holy grail" products - in case you're one of the people who have asked, or you're looking for something new, or are buying a present for someone and want some tips, or are secretly a junkie too. If you are none of these things....well, thanks for stopping by.

These are a few of my favorite things:
My favorite RT brushes
  • Real Techniques makeup brushes. I own all but 3 brushes in the line, that's how much I love them. I spent most of my life applying makeup with the little applicators that come included in the packaging, using brushes that were gifts with purchase, and in the last couple of years, a cheap little travel brush set I got on sale at Sephora. I knew it wasn't the best, they kept on shedding and were a little scratchy, but I just couldn't justify the cost of MAC or other professional makeup brushes. Then last year I discovered this line created by Samantha Chapman of my beloved Pixiwoo YouTube channel, and boom! Worldview changed. Applying makeup is so much more enjoyable, easier, and quicker when using decent tools. The brushes are all synthetic, so that makes them easy to clean and safe to use with cream and powder products, and they're also super soft, versatile, and affordable - no single brush is over $10, and they often go on sale at Ulta. I haven't had any problem with them shedding, and they dry pretty quickly after cleaning. They come in sets or sold individually - the brushes in sets aren't sold individually, and the individually sold brushes aren't sold in sets. Which is the only thing I don't love about them - some of the sets only have 2 brushes I really like/use. My favorite brushes are the blush brush and the expert face brush - both sold individually. :)
  • Milani Infinite Liquid eyeliner. Milani is a drugstore brand I hadn't really tried before last year, but I was in the market for a truly waterproof eyeliner, and heard this stuff didn't budge, so I tried it. Sure enough, once it sets, the stuff is 100% sweat proof. Great for summer, if a bit tricky to apply. Also really love their Liquid Eye pencil. It's not 100% smudge proof for me, but I know I'm a tough customer, and it performs better than the vast majority of liners I've tried.
  • Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion. This stuff. I love it so much. I use it as my daily facial moisturizer. It isn't greasy at all, just quickly absorbs, soothes, doesn't irritate, and it has helped improve my skin. 
  • NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base was another product that changed my life. I have oily skin and oily eyelids, and avoided any kind of smokey eye for years because even high-end shadow would start creasing on me after about an hour or two. But a couple of years ago, I was introduced to the concept of eye shadow primers. Genius! Where had these been all my life? I have tried several, but for me, nothing works as well as this one. It extends the wear of all shadows, and I often don't see any creasing until the end of a long workday. I had a tube taken from me by a family member after I used it on her, and her makeup remained miraculously in place throughout a wedding in 90+degree heat. This stuff is expensive, but a little goes a long way, and I haven't found anything, high end or drugstore priced, that works as well on me.
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Gel Shadows - As mentioned above, I have super oily skin, and it only gets worse with the heat and humidity of summer. Most attempts at wearing eyeshadow in the summer start melting in minutes. These shadows actually stay in place well, and they also make a good base for powder shadows. They're great for easy application on days when you don't have a lot of time - you can just apply with your fingers. Add some (waterproof) mascara and you're out the door. I own them in like 8 different shades. My fav for a quick swipe & out the door look is Bad to the Bronze.
  • Wet and Wild Color Icon eye shadows. Seriously, the best value in the drug store, hands down. These are not the chalky, bad color payoff shadows I remember from my youth. They now come in a wide variety of colors that apply smoothly, blend beautifully, have solid staying power (especially over primer), and cost like $3. What more could you ask for?
  • Sleek i-Divine eyeshadow palettes. If I lived in the UK, I would own every single one of these. Super pigmented, high quality, long lasting, and each palette of 12 shadows is about $10US. I have tried shadows that cost triple that amount that I don't like nearly as much. I am thankful they ship to the US at a pretty reasonable price (especially if you order several when they have a sale).
  • Benefit Erase Paste - my under-eye concealer of choice. Inevitably, if I'm not wearing it, someone I know will tell me I look tired. I try not to ever leave home without it.
  • Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara - seemed like a silly concept to me, until I used it, and I stopped having raccoon eye issues. Now it's a staple.
  • My favorite blushes are definitely NYX powder blush and Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush. They both come in a wide variety of super flattering shades, and have nice staying power - but the Tarte blush is about 5 times as much as the NYX. So you've been warned.
Some of my favorites - so colorful!
These are the things that have a permanent place in my makeup bag. I do like raindrops on roses and brown paper packages tied up with strings too. :)

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