After many years of beatin’ my own face, I feel like I have a really solid base kit to work from. I have experimented and edited it many times, but this group of essentials has been pretty consistent. I thought it might be handy to do a series focusing on these tried-and-true basics for those of you still working out the important elements of your own kits.
My recommendations are twofold: first, I’ll suggest the fundamental elements that I think make a well-rounded, personal makeup kit. Then I’ll recommend a product in the category, like a specific concealer or brand of lipstick, for example, that I’ve tried and can attest to it’s awesomeness. I think this might be more helpful if you’re looking for a place to start!
Keep in mind that the products I recommend are just that: a place to start. If the foundation or mascara I choose doesn’t work for you, identify exactly what it is that you don’t like and take it back to look for something else! Drugstores, Ulta, Sephora, Target, and Walmart have excellent return policies, so keep your receipts. Don’t be afraid to try something new because that’s how you learn!
Here’s a peek at the upcoming posts in the series:
- Fresh Face
- Everyday Eyes
- Lickable Lips and Some Optionals
- Fabulous and Functional Makeup Bags
A little photo disclaimer:
The products I’m showing you are ones that I own and have used, which is why I feel comfortable including them in an essential kit. Because I have used them, they look BUSTED. These products have battle scars from all the face beatin’!
Today’s essentials are all about the eyes:
Laura’s Essentials Kit: Everyday Eyes
Kind of a no brainer that eye shadow is included, but finding a palette that can be multi-functional takes a little more consideration. An eye shadow palette can provide eye shadow, liner, and face/cheek highlighter if designed well. And of course, you don’t have to pay an outrageous price for one that does all of the above, either!
I chose the Wet ‘N Wild ColorIcon Eye Shadow Trio in Silent Treatment. This line, and this particular palette, have definitely been Wet ‘N Wild’s star for the past two years or so. The bottom shade, which is a lavender, silvery taupe, is an EXCELLENT shade, completely blendable and buttery soft. It works perfectly on its own or with the other two shades.
The middle dark shade of Silent Treatment is pigmented, but a bit dry. It’s perfect for beginners because while it is a dark brown-black color, it’s not so immediately opaque that it’s scary to use. It applies easily and blends well, too. It does have shimmer in it, but the shimmer really doesn’t show as strongly once applied. Great for the crease or the outer corner of the eye.
The top shade, a shimmery light pink, is great for brow highlighting (as the stamping suggests), but works well as an all over lid shade AND a cheek highlight as well! If your skin is very light or very dark, this product will show up too pink or too ashy, respectively, as a cheek highlight, but will still be a great eye color. (More information to come on face/cheek highlighters to come.)
If these colors don’t work for you, have no fear! Wet ‘N Wild makes a great selection of three-color palettes that will work for your skin tone. Some of my other favorites are Walking on Eggshells and I’m Getting Sunburned.
Eyeliner is one of those magical tools that can transform the shape of your eyes to almost anything you want. With eyeliner, you can have fuller eyelashes, make rounded eyes more elongated, or small eyes seem larger, among other things. A good liner is one of those products that really can transform your look with just a few simple swipes.
It’s important to find an eyeliner that will last as long as you want it to, will stay where you put it, and when you sharpen it (if it’s not automatic), you won’t waste a considerable amount of product in the shavings. You also don’t want a liner that doesn’t apply smoothly. Tugging and pulling are easy signs of low quality eye liners and can be abrasive to the skin when applied.
A black eyeliner can do so much, especially when it meets the criteria discussed above. I chose the L’Oreal Extra Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner in Carbon Black. Easily one of the most pigmented drugstore liners available, this pencil applies so smoothly you won’t believe it! It almost has a gel-like formula, so it might require a slow, steady hand at first. The other end of the pencil has a great angled smudger, so you can really get a dramatic look that doesn’t look like a mess. Make sure you work quickly with this liner if you are smudging it; once this product dries, only makeup remover or face cleanser will get it off. I have used this liner in my waterlines with no problems. Find this liner anywhere L’Oreal is sold for $8-9.
Oh, mascara. This may be one of the most beloved beauty products EVER. If you ask women what one beauty item they would want if stranded on an island, chances are you’ll hear mascara over and over. But to say which mascara would depend on the woman. Each person’s lashes are different, and while some want their lashes to appear longer, others just want more volume, and some want both and then some!
We definitely don’t want our mascara to smudge, flake off, or make the curl in our lashes go limp, regardless of what else we need. A great starting point in discovering the best mascara for you might be the CoverGirl LashBlast Volume. (Normally in orange packaging, the white tube above is special for the Olympics.) Despite containing “volume” in the name, I really think this mascara provides lengthening as well. It has a plastic wand with short, well-defined bristles that seem to grab every lash. The formula of the product isn’t too wet or too dry, and though I have pretty good lashes, it makes them fuller and thicker at the base without clumping. This is probably my all-time favorite mascara! I recommend Very Black, unless your hair, brows, and lashes are pale blonde naturally, in which case Brown might work best for you. Find it anywhere CoverGirl products are sold for around $6-7.
While this may seem optional to some, I think most eyelashes are going to see a huge benefit from using a curler. Having curled eyelashes seems to help open up the eye and it gives off this “I had a full night’s sleep” look. Read this post for more information on how to use a curler.
I really like the lash curler in the photo (and in the linked blog post above). It’s made by Revlon and costs around $5. Find it anywhere Revlon is sold.
Laura’s Essentials Kit: Everyday Eyes
I hope you’re finding this series useful! Next week I’ll show you my favorite essential lip products and talk about some optional products that help round out your personal kit.
If you have any question or comments, let me know! Would you add or change something?
Much love (and happy Hump Day!),