Beauty Talk: Favorite Face Make-Up Finds

Hey there, ladies! Let’s talk make-up today. This post will be the first in a three-part series. Up first: face make-up. Coming soon: eye make-up and lips. I envisioned these posts to almost be like slumber party chats: just the girls getting together sharing their favorite make-up finds…Cozy up and stay a while. This post features the (detailed) opinions of two make-up junkies!
Make-up is the unsung hero of a woman’s style. No matter what outfit I’m wearing, if I’m feeling confident in my make-up, all seems right in the world. Though I’m a stay-at-home mom right now, I still wear make-up most days of the week. It makes me feel like a functioning member of society. 
This post’s timing couldn’t be more ironic because my complexion is all kinds of angry right now…Does anyone else’s face freak out when the weather changes? It sounds so strange, but that always happens to me at every change in season. And in northeastern Iowa last week, it felt like the unpleasantness that is January. 
Anyway…you’re not only getting my opinions in this series. I have a very special guest in this post: my sister-in-law Kaurie!
My first thought when I saw the gorgeous picture of her new lip color on Facebook was, wow, Kaurie looks awesome in that color! My second thought was, why haven’t I asked her to guest blog on this post yet? So I asked her. And she agreed! Woo hoo! She is seriously so knowledgeable about make-up, and any time I have a question on a major make-up purchase, I always ask her for advice. So glad she agreed to help me out!
Let’s get started by saying we are not make-up artists. We just know what we know by trial and error. You may have a different routine, and if that’s working for you, awesome! I just know my “four years ago” self would have benefited SO much from a post like this one.
Here are some starting points on which we both agree:
Go get a consultation. And pay a little more than you want for good make-up.
Me: Going into your favorite make-up store (I love both Sephora and Ulta, though I’m shopping more at Ulta these days since one opened in my town) and talking to an associate is a must. Tell the associate about what you want (products-wise: I want everything…), your skin issues (if you have any: mine are breakouts and general sensitivity), and your likes and dislikes in the look of your make-up (like: soft finish and full coverage, dislike: the cakey look). These associates are great at setting you up with products to try that work for you. In fact, twice a year, I will go in for consultations, just to make sure my current shades are still working for my coloring and to try another product if my current product isn’t working for me. I just started this process four years ago, and it has really helped me out so many times.
Investing in make-up is a must for me. I have horrid pictures of me wearing drug store foundation that was either WAY too light, WAY too cakey, or WAY too dark. (Shudder.)  To me, a finished face gives me so much more confidence. I only get the “polish” I’m desiring when I spend a little more on make-up. And if you use your make-up the way it’s intended to be used, it will last you a good while. I actually wear TONS of concealer, and I buy a new (small) tube once every three to four months. I buy foundation about every five to six months, so I think the upfront cost isn’t so bad when you really think about how long it’s lasting.
Kaurie: When Sephora moved to the Champaign mall (nearest mall in my area) a few years ago, I was perplexed. A whole store dedicated to makeup?!  I was used to getting my makeup from the nearest drug store. When I was in college, I completely focused on my eyes. Smokey eye shadow, smudged crayon liner, lots of mascara, quick dust of powder on my face, and viola! Then I got older. And realized that that $5 drugstore powder wasn’t doing my skin any favors. I always struggled with acne, but now I was struggling in a different way: cake-face. 

I began a very rudimentary internet search, literally typing in Google “how to not have cakey makeup.” That’s the point where my makeup journey really began! A thread named “MakeupAddiction” on a website called Reddit popped up. This is essentially a site where women post pictures of makeup they’ve applied on themselves and ask for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. That’s the difference here. Moderators monitor the subreddit, and any malicious comments are removed. This is strictly a site to enhance your skills and get tips from real makeup artists!

A big point made by artists was to embrace consultants in stores like Ulta or Sephora. I used to have a huge social anxiety and dreaded any social interaction with strangers. This was a huge hurdle for me. I finally worked up my courage and awkwardly asked a consultant for help. These women have such a passion for makeup and love to talk about it and teach others about it. I used to have a habit of trying to look tanner (I’m a red head and struggle to have any type of color in my skin) using face makeup. BIG MISTAKE! I learned to embrace my light skin and found a color to match my own pigment perfectly. I found myself not being interested in looking darker anymore. This new “me makeup” gave me so much confidence because it didn’t look like I was wearing anything! I felt like people were seeing an enhanced version of me, not a “it’s obvious I’m trying to look a certain way” me.

Application is key. Buy some good make-up brushes. And practice using them!
I’m going to defer to Kaurie on this one…She knows way more about brushes than I do. But I agree with all of her points made, and I’m still experimenting with types and sizes of brushes!!

Kaurie: My first consultant also stressed that the application was just as important as the makeup. She showed me several foundation brushes, and I was astonished. I thought that they cost so much for what seemed like a paintbrush I could get at a craft store for $2! I revisited the MakeupAddiction page and researched brush reviews. I decided to start with the cheap route and bought inexpensive brushes online. They lasted maybe a month. The hair is synthetic and doesn’t blend makeup well. The hair falls out. The hair doesn’t stand up to cleaning (which is EXTREMELY important when it comes to brush maintenance!). I finally broke down and bought high-quality brushes from Sephora. This was three years ago, and I just used them today (monthly washing is imperative for longevity!).

I cannot stress the word practice enough. My makeup journey has been just that…a journey! It has kind of become my hobby. If I’m bored on a Tuesday night, I’ll practice my full face. This is how I honed my skills!

Here is a picture of the brushes Kaurie currently uses.

Now on to our routines and product picks!

My Routine

In the winter months, especially, I start with a moisturizer and follow up with a primer before applying any makeup to my face. I’m not going to say too much about these two products I’m currently wearing because they’re fairly new to my regimen. I love the feel of both right now, but I like to give products at least a month of so of use before I fully “endorse” them.

Moisturizer: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

*I like the feel of the gel; it doesn’t feel super thick to me like a typical moisturizer.

Primer: Urban Decay Brightening and Tightening Complexion Primer Potion

*Again, I like the feel of this primer because it doesn’t feel super heavy. I do feel like my face tightens a little bit after applying. I have been the biggest primer skeptic, but honestly, I have to say my foundation goes on much more smoothly and lasts longer with the primer base.

Now onto the good stuff…

My Picks

*I use these five products when I go “full face.” On some days, I will only wear concealer, blush, and powder. 

*My complexion requires that I wear full coverage foundation, and I know full coverage isn’t for everyone. I know there are TONS of amazing qualities this foundation has to offer, but I really like it because it covers what I want it to cover. I have never had a foundation that covers as well as this one does. Plain and simple. My shade is medium honey.

*I have used this concealer for about three years straight, and that is probably 10 times longer than I’ve ever used any other concealer. I follow up with concealer in just a few key problem areas after I apply foundation. Again, I sometimes use this concealer alone when I need to get out of the house in a hurry. It’s just like the name says: amazing and covers so much. My shade is medium golden.

*I actually started using this bronzer because it came in a Bare Minerals kit. I got so used to applying it that I still wear it, even though I’m not currently wearing Bare Minerals (though I still think Bare Minerals makes great product). I just know exactly how much I need, which is not much. Seriously, a little goes a long way. 

*I love the way this blush is “build-able,” meaning you don’t look like a clown after putting just a little bit on. If you want more, you put on more. I love the fearless shade. 

*I have tried so many expensive setting powders, and I always come back to this Cover Girl powder. I love the polished, soft finish it gives my face. So here’s where I am saving a little cash… I wear the translucent medium shade.

Kaurie’s Routine and Products


*I ALWAYS use a BB cream. I moisturize my face like a maniac. I use the Clinique Oily Skin kit. I’ll wash my face in the shower, get out and use the toner and moisturizer. Then I’ll use a BB cream. This is one of the few products that I’ll still get at the drug store. I use Maybelline Dream Fresh BB cream in Medium. I’m a chemist, so I don’t wear much makeup at work. But I NEVER skip my BB cream. It’s a moisturizer with a tint, so my skin looks smooth and even like I have a little foundation on, but all I did was rub some lotion on my face!

Primer: Sephora Anti-Shine Foundation Primer (in store)

*I have very oily skin and would find that my face would get really shiny after 2-3 hours. This primer makes my face matte for hours!

*I use so little of this product. I literally only buy it once a year! (Kaurie’s shade is light natural beige.)

*I use Sephora concealer in medium. This is a small pot that I use every day. I have to buy it about every six months for $15. I like to use my finger and rub it under my eyes (I have bad dark circles) and on any red on my face. I personally don’t like a concealer brush. The warmth from my finger melts the concealer and allows it to blend better.

*I will sing the Kat Von D line’s praises all day. I started with her eye shadow palettes, then decided to try out her face powder. WOW! I use so little (using a Sephora powder brush) to dust my face and neck. I cannot stress how long these products last! A little bit goes a long way! I use Kat Von D’s Lock-It Tattoo Powder Foundation in Medium.

That’s something to note. Personally, I’ll use a liquid foundation and a powder foundation on top. I don’t feel finished with just liquid, and I feel naked with just powder. So I use a little of both (with no cake!).

Contour: Sephora Microsmooth Sculpting Trio in Mat Tan (in store)

Contouring has by far been my biggest challenge. Browse YouTube for tutorials (which is what I did), then practice practice practice! Bronzer below my cheek bones, under my jaw line, and at my hair line. Blush on the apples of my cheeks. Highlight on my forehead, nose, under my eyes, cupid’s bow, and chin. I lucked out and found a 3 in 1 that matched my skin tone.

I use Wet n Wild’s Take on the Day Mattifying powder. I love Fergie’s Wet n Wild brand. Finishing powder is silica, which will eliminate shine. Personally, I don’t see the need to splurge for an expensive version of this product, as it should be 100% silica. 

I use a light fan brush to apply this lightly all over my face. Apply as sparingly as possible, especially if you’re anticipating pictures. Because this product is silica, it can intensely reflect a flash. If you’ve ever seen red carpet pictures of celebrities that look like they have white powder smeared all over their face, finishing powder is to blame. If you were to see them in person, they would look flawless. But the powder reflected the camera flash and made their pictures look awful!

*If I’m REALLY preparing for a long day/night, I’ll also finish off with a finishing spray. This particularly came in handy when my brother got married on the beach this summer! I use Urban Decay’s De Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray (did I mention how oily my skin is?!). I apply this product like I do my perfume: one quick spritz in the air then I walk through it.

Kaurie also says…This might sound like a lot of products, and I know I’ve said this several times, but it’s all about thin layers. The finishing products make SO much difference!

And here is Kaurie in her full face…

And with a heavier contour and flippin’ awesome bold lip…

Simply GORGEOUS! So now you can see…You can trust her opinions!

(P.S. I wear my “full face” in every blog picture, so you know what mine looks like!)

And there you go! Now go forth and find your products! Get that face make-up routine DOWN. The holidays are coming up, so you’ll probably be taking tons of pictures. Kaurie and I hope you’ll take the time to think about your make-up…maybe we’ve given you some food for thought in the gift department even? If you’re worried about the money you might spend, ask for a Sephora/Ulta gift card for Christmas to offset the cost! I get one nearly every Christmas, and it’s like Christmas again when I get to use the gift card to stock up on new products.

Thanks again to Kaurie for all of her AWESOME advice on face make-up…Come back soon when we will talk eye make-up!

Leave a Reply