One summer I had two very important weddings to go to – my brother’s and my best friend from college’s – and decided that I would finally be a grown up and get grown up make-up. I was 22, had my first post-university job and thought an important step on my journey to adulthood was to toss all my mismatched drugstore make-up and blow over $200 at the MAC counter.
So I did it.
I got the full complement of brushes, bronzer, powder, foundation, six different eye shadows, lip gloss and mascara.
For both weddings I did my full make-up with dramatic eyes and heavy foundation. I felt a little silly at both events because I’d never worn that much make-up before. I looked good but it looked like, hey, there’s Rachel wearing make-up.
I made a commitment to “do my face” for work every day which I quickly forgot. Back to my regular routine, mascara, maybe a bit of eye shadow, and my investment make-up and brushes sat unused for years.
Buying expensive things isn’t a hallmark of adulthood. Oh how I wish I had learned this earlier in life.
My make-up bag is now, you guessed it, very simple. As pictured above I have:
- tinted moisturizer and foundation primer
- two eye shadow brushes
- eye shadow kit
Most days I just wear mascara but once or twice a week I like to jazz things up and put on my ‘face’ for date night or just because.
Now, I’m not into shopping for make-up. I find it overwhelming and have bought a lot of useless products in my lifetime. The items I have right now are great, work well for my skin type, colouring and needs. How did I find them? I asked other people what they used.
If you’re make-up challenged ask for help. Not necessarily from a sales person but from someone that has a look that you like. I found my tinted moisturizer from my older sister and my eye shadow kit from my twin (who found it via a friend). The lipstick was purchased from the make-up artist I had for my wedding. I’ll run through a couple of the products because I like them a lot. Note: some of them are what I would consider spendy. But, as you can see, I don’t have a lot of make-up and what I have I use.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. If you’re not into heavy foundation this stuff is great. I recommend the foundation primer as well because the tinted moisturizer seems to look better with it on. I’ve experimented with drug stores brands of tinted moisturizer before but never found one that worked this well. If you have a cheap drugstore find let me know in the comments.
Too Faced Naked Eye – Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection. This could be called eye shadow for dummies. The kit has three sets of three shadows that work together for three different looks. The kicker is that it comes with instructions cards for each of the three looks. This collection is a bit sparkly so if I were working in an office I would have gone with the Natural Eye Neutral Eye kit.
Paula Dorf Lip Color Sheer Tint in Breathless. When I went for a trial run of make-up for my wedding the make-up artist introduced me to this lip stick. It’s a very neutral natural colour. Just gives your lips a plug. I’ve dabbled in lip gloss for years but as I mature (read: get older) I don’t like the sparkly look of a gloss.
My other make-up secret: I get my eyebrows tinted. I don’t have a lot of eyebrow. Comes with the territory of not having a lot of body hair. So while it’s nice to not have to shave my legs that often, it’s a drag not having prominent brows to shape my face. I tried for a number of years to fill them out a little with powders and liners but it was a hassle and never looked natural.
A few years ago I discovered eyebrow tinting when I was getting my measly brows threaded. I haven’t looked back. If I had to choose I would toss the make-up all together for the nice defined arches my Esthetician gives me. Here’s a before and after. Excuse my pasty face in the after shot. I had the flu over the weekend. It wasn’t pretty but I’m now back on solid food.
After a lot of trial and error (and wasted money!) through my teens and early 20’s, I feel like I have finally figured out what works for me on the make-up front.
Less really is more.
I don’t cover up blemishes any more. Instead, I give them some air and patience. I get my brows done every six weeks if I can but sometimes it’s more like 2-3 months. If I’m looking extra tired or my skin is looking sallow I don’t reach for more make-up. Instead, I try to get more sleep, eat more vegetables and drink a lot of water.
When I got married in 2007 I found an inexpensive make-up artist for the big day. She asked me to look through magazines before our consultation for make-up looks. I tried but there really wasn’t much that caught my eye. It was all very heavy handed. I just wanted to look like a better version of me. After a test run with false eye lashes (not for me!) we settled on some neutral colours.
On the big day I woke up to find a zit on my nose. Such is life.
Of course, truly minimalist make-up would be none at all. But I’m into every day minimalism, the kind that anyone I know could apply to an area of their life. It’s not about eliminiating everything but making it simpler with less stuff.
Okay, tell me your make-up finds and gems! Link back to websites if you can.