Reader Request: my makeup essentials. It’s about time I finally published all my beauty essentials in one place!
The following products are makeup items that are *tried and true* in my routine. I don’t switch up things very often these days — I feel like I’ve finally found a product lineup that is perfect for my skin and desired look. I prefer to keep my makeup routine to a max of 5 minutes on the daily. I am way too lazy and busy to bother with anything overly complicated or time consuming. However, I do have a few special products for those fancy face occasions that I’ve also shared in this list.
Generally, I look for products that are cruelty free and clean-ish. Truth be told, efficacy is higher on my priority list than a “squeaky clean” ingredients list. While I do have a few non-CF brands/products below, I am currently looking for CF swaps that are as effective.
I don’t use a proper primer on the daily, but events or weddings, or any time I want my make up to *last*, I rely on Becca First Light Primer. It’s weightless (not sticky, and has no silicon slip texture), with the perfect amount of subtle shimmer. And it helps my makeup last alllll night.
For my everyday face, I use Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen (less “grippy” than a traditional primer, and has a silicon smooth texture. Some people hate this feeling, but I don’t 🤪). I love that this is a sunscreen AND a primer. This product doesn’t settle or soak into your skin, but rather, kind of sits on top. It’s honestly a game-changing product. I can’t sing its praises more highly. Check my Skincare Routine post for my other favorite daily facial sunscreens.
Light Coverage: My latest combo Supergoop Glow Screen (very sheer and dewy) mixed with Supergoop CC Cream. I also enjoy the new Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint with SPF. It starts quite dewy and very hydrating, but sets after a few minutes to a sheer light coverage (it is layerable!). I recommend layering a sunscreen under the Ilia product, I personally don’t find it to be a substitute for sunscreen, but rather an addition. Kosas has a similar product (their tinted face oil) which didn’t work for my skin, at allllll. I found that it accentuated all my texture and caked up on dry areas. Not a fan 🙅♀️
Medium/Full Coverage: It Cosmetics CC+ Full Coverage Cream, or Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation. Both of these give a solid amount of coverage (Charlotte Tilbury is the fuller coverage of the two) but have a very skin-like texture. I apply both with a beauty blender sponge. Doesn’t look like you’re even wearing makeup!
Full Coverage: Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer. Really easy to apply with your finger. Soft and blendable. Does not settle into your creases nearly as much as other concealers that I have tried.
Medium/Light Coverage: Ilia True Skin Serum Concealer: super creamy and hydrating, however it is on the lighter coverage side.
Light Coverage/Setting Powder: I use the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter Setting Powder to set my foundation, or if I’m not wearing any, my concealer. This powder has a tint, but doesn’t really offer much coverage on its own.
Full Coverage Powder: Makeup For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Blurring Powder Foundation. Oh mannnnn this is a hero product. Is it a powder, or a foundation? Yes. It’s both. I love that I can wear this alone (no foundation) OR with a base underneath. It creates a flawless skin-like finish — never cakey. I apply with a brush, not the sponge that it comes with.
Currently I’m using Benefit Gimme Brow (not CF) and I just discovered the Kosas tinted brow gel which I actually love even more. I’ve also heard great things about the Ilia Volumizing Brow Gel and the Thrive Brow Gel. I had my eyebrows microbladed a few years ago (you can read about that here) so I don’t have to fill in my brows very much. But I do like running a tinted brow gel through them to add more oomph and keep them fluffed up.
Hoola Light by Benefit, the perfect blendable matte powder bronzer for fair skin. Again I’m on the hunt for a good CF swap — but haven’t found one yet. I am very fair skinned, and I find that most bronzers are too dark and orangey for my complexion.
Cream Blush: Kosas Color & Light Cream Blush and Highlighter Duo in 8th Muse, Nudestix Allover Dewy Color in Cherry Blossom Babe. I prefer both of these to the Ilia multisticks because they are more pigmented, buildable, AND they don’t pick up any product underneath. I’ve found the Ilia multisticks tend to pull up my base underneath them.
Powder Blush: Kosas Color & Light Pressed Powder Duo in Papaya 1972, the most stunning soft apricot/peachy pink. Very blendable and soft. It is quite pigmented, you only need a TINY bit. Nars Blush in Cotton Candy Pink, super bright pink — gives you a gorgeous flushed-face look.
I tend to go for the liquid-to-powder eyeshadows (I find them easier to blend and they have less fallout). I love the Kosas 10-Second Eye Shadows in Globe, Element, and 333. I recommend laying down an eyeshadow primer (I use Urban Decay Primer Potion, it’s the best!) before your shadow. It really helps with creasing.
The Ilia Limitless Lash Lengthening mascara is THE BEST. It’s really creamy and buildable, lengthens and volumizes. And it doesn’t rub or flake off at all. But it’s also super easy to remove at the end of the day, which is actual witchcraft. This mascara has a cult following for a reason! I don’t curl my lashes so I can’t speak to its holding power, but it’s one my absolute favorites for lengthening and volumizing.
Lipstick: Kosas Weightless Lipstick in Thrillest (the perfect orangey red) or Rosewater (soft natural nude/pink). Kosas lipsticks are incredibly creamy and soft. They never dry out your lips but have long lasting power. The also smell good!?? Another orangey red lipstick fave is Heat Wave by Nars.