It’s no secret that I love makeup, but I’m the kind of person who loves makeup when I have the time to stuff around and play with it at my leisure. I’m decidedly less of a fan of the chore of putting on makeup before I go to work. My last post was all about the super-fast lazy approach I use when I hit the snooze button one too many times, but sometimes I want to look a little bit more like I put an effort in (without really putting an effort in). With that in mind, I thought I’d take you through my current daily routine and review a bunch of products along the way – think tutorial turns review turns rambling. Personally, I’m a busy-body and I love seeing which products people actually use on a regular basis, so I thought some of you might enjoy that peek into my routine for the spring season.
I am absurdly extra with primers. Honestly, it’s a miracle my foundation ever lasts at all given the twenty layers of skin care and primer that go on before it. Somehow, however, we seem to work it out. These are the current three in my rotation, as well as why they work at this time of year:
Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base
Spring weather means that it’s warming up, but not yet hot enough to crack out the full arsenal of sweat proof makeup. With this in mind, I use this primer all over my cheeks and the perimeter of my face. Basically, anywhere except the T-zone. This is one of those products that I enjoy using because it feels so nice on the skin, but I can’t say for sure it does much for the longevity of my makeup (but then that’s not really what it’s designed for). I find that it just adds that extra layer of moisture for my dry zones and it means that product sits on top much more smoothly, which is saying something as I have pretty textured skin at the moment. As a bonus, it smells divine. As it heads into full-on summer and I need less moisture, I’ll start phasing this one out, but at the moment it’s perfect.
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier
No, I’m not sponsored by Bobbi Brown, and no they did not gift me any of this (though I would certainly welcome it), but I did fall into the hype trap by seeing so many of their products pop up and I got curious enough to want to try them. I had a generous sample of this one from my local Bobbi Brown counter before I took the plunge, and I’d suggest you do the same (actually, I recommend that with any product that you can get a sample for). I use this primer pressed into my T-zone and chin because I’m combo and get oily there. If you have super oily skin this probably won’t be mattifying enough for you (and I suspect come summer I’ll need something heavy duty), but for me with my combo skin it’s perfect. I still get a bit of shine throughout the day, but I welcome that because it combats the dryness, and if I need to I can just pop on a blotting powder. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I’m genuinely impressed by how perfect it is for me. Supposedly you can use this to blot throughout the day, but I’ve generally always preferred a powder for that purpose so I can’t say for sure.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Original
My eyelids are basically an oil field. I’m rather shocked no one has waged a war over them. Because of this I need to put down a primer no matter what I’m doing over the top. Even if I’m not wearing eyeshadow I need to do this or else my foundation and mascara will actually crease in my eye socket. It’s a good look I promise. I’ve tried so many primers over the years, but this one is still my favourite. It still can’t last a whole day on me, but it puts in a valiant effort and lasts longer than any others I’ve tried. This one is clear, which I prefer as I find coloured ones hard to blend (and they show up more visible with they end up smeared all over my face).
Base – Foundations and Setting Powders
Spring means combo weather for my combo skin. And that means combo products.
Too Faced Peach Perfect Comfort Matte Foundation (Porcelain)
I switch between foundations pretty often, and I’m a little on the fence with this one. First of all, the colour name “porcelain” is a joke because it’s way too dark to qualify for that title. It’s workable, but I suspect I needed the next one down again until I see some sunshine. I feel like this is the kind of foundation which will be better as the weather heats up. It lasts well, and while it’s not super matte, it’s probably a bit too matte for my skin during winter. There’s a lot to like about it and I like the way it wears, but the finish just isn’t quite what I like best. It is, however, the best of the options I have without mixing foundations (which is what I do when I really want something nice looking) and because it’s long-wearing, it works well for a work day.
Too Faced Peach Perfect Setting Powder
I use this powder purely on my T-zone because it’s great for oil control, but I keep it away from my cheeks. If you had oily skin I think this would be a great all-over powder for you, but for me it’s a little bit too dry for that purpose. It also has the strangest texture. It’s super finely milled, but to the point where it almost feels like it’s so dense that it “grabs”. Basically, I find it difficult to blend dark powders like contour or bronzer over the top. It may just be my choice of contour and bronzer (highlight and blush seem to be fine) but I’m all about speed in the morning and it’s faster for me to dab this on my nose and forehead with a damp beauty blender then switch to a different powder for the rest of my face rather than stuffing around with difficult blending.
Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder
This powder is the dry skin savior of powders. It doesn’t mattify the way most translucent powders do, nor does it sink into fine lines (mostly) or leave that “powdery” finish. For that reason, I use this under my eyes (the creasing is real if I use anything else) and on my cheeks and dry areas. Powders blend well over the top too, so it works well with my contour and bronzer. My gripe with this powder is purely the expense – it costs a lot for the quantity you get. If you’re after something oil controlling, I don’t think this is up your alley either. I mainly find this useful for setting liquid products so I can blend powder over the top. It also does a good job under my eyes of stopping my mascara from transferring (bane of my existence – thank you oily eyeballs). I’ll usually apply it under the eyes with a damp beauty blender (not baking per se – this powder doesn’t really go on heavy enough to bake) and then the rest of my face with a super fluffy bronzer brush for a light finish. I love the wy this allows you to powder but still keep a bit of natural finish and glow to your skin. Perfect for a fresh spring look.
(Optional) Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer (vanilla)
Truth: I rarely use concealer these days. It honestly annoys the crap out of my because I always find it hard to blend. My under eyes are also so dry that absolutely everything settles into those tiny fine lines or creases. This concealer is, however, far and away my best bet. It works well on the face and reasonably well under the eyes (still settles into my fine lines, but FAR less than anything else I have including cult favs like the Tarte Shape Tape). With that in mind, if I’m looking particularly dead tired and my foundation doesn’t hide it sufficiently, I’ll crack out the tiniest dab of this. A little goes a long way and makes a big difference to making me look like I’ve slept. I apply it first with a finger and then smooth over with a beauty blender, then set with the Hourglass powder. It lasts all day (in fact it sometimes outlasts my foundation… which is a look I could do without).
Base – Contour, Bronze and Highlight
I love a good glow and shine, but I have to be careful not to go too bronzed before the true summer sun hits, otherwise I end up looking like someone dunked me in Cheeto dust.
Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder (Medium)
I have tried other contours but I keep coming back to this one. It’s simply the best because it’s blendable, highly pigmented and, perhaps most importantly, has the right colour tone. Most contour shades on the market are far too warm for me and end up looking like bronzers (which you never want in a contour – a contour is meant to mimic a shadow, and consequently is generally neutral or cooler in tone). I apply this using a MAC 140S fan brush. I dip in JUST the edge as lightly as I can and then tap off roughly. Seriously, this powder is so pigmented that you absolutely have to be careful to grab only the tiniest bit. That being done, I run it along the bottom of my cheekbones and quickly blend. It’s the perfect shade and adds the perfect shadow to make your cheekbones stand out. Make sure you don’t bring it too far down (no further than in line with the outside edge of your eyebrow, generally speaking) or it can look like you’re growing a beard. Likewise, I take the remnants on the brush or dip in very lightly (and tap off like crazy) to run this just under my jaw line to help hide a double chin (won’t get rid of that six cheeseburgers you had last week, but it will make a difference to a weak chin). Again, make sure you don’t come up too high or add too much or you’ll definitely look like you’ve got a five o’clock shadow. I also grab a fluffy eyeshadow brush and run this all over my eyelid and into the crease (make sure you blend well). It takes about 10 seconds but it adds the perfect definition to my eyes without needing to waste a lot of time with eyeshadow or liner.
Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil (or any matte bronzer)
After I’ve contoured, I grab either the same MAC brush or another bronzing brush and apply bronzer just above the contour line and around the perimeter of my forehead. I use the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil (I have a travel size from an old set they released) in cooler months purely because it’s extremely light in tone which means it’s nice and subtle for when I’m much paler (I keep out of the sun but by nature of living in Australia I still end up one to two shades darker in summer just through incidental exposure). It’s a good staple product – nothing fancy but the perfect tone and does the job without being too warm or too cool. It’s the perfect bronzer if you’re pale and scared of bronzers. As we get deeper into spring and it starts to warm up, I’ll usually start to branch out more with shinier bronzers or deeper tones, but that’s because these look more in keeping with the warmer seasons. This early on though, I feel like it kind of looks out of place to have such a tan going on.
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (Beige)
I vary which highlight I go for depending on my mood or how excessive I’m feeling. This Bobbi Brown shimmer brick is a good option for when I want something natural but still visible. I tend to use the lighter shades in the compact, but I love that as the weather warms up I can start to edge into the warmer tones down the bottom. The versatility of this highlight is what sold me in the first place. I don’t find that it emphasises my texture, though I would say it does so slightly more than the MAC option. It is very slightly glittery, but only a tiny bit, and I like the effect it has.
Mac Mineralize Skin Finish (Soft and Gentle)
There’s a reason this is a cult favourite. This highlight was the highlight that finally convinced me I needed to start wearing highlight (say highlight ten times fast). I take the Wayne Goss Air Brush and apply this to the tops of my cheek bones after all other powders. I also sometimes take a pencil brush and apply it to my inner corners just for a little pop. I love the finish of this. It’s natural if you go light handed, but can be built up to blinding easily enough. It doesn’t emphasise my texture, and it has the most beautiful sheen. If I could bathe in this all day, I probably would.
Irrelevant Expensive Chanel Highlighter
This one’s name is irrelevant because it’s discontinued (it was called the Plisse Lumier if for some reason you’re morbidly curious), but I did want to add that I also keep a much more gold and metallic toned highlighter in my daily rotation because I’m indecisive. This one is for good skin days because the metallic finishes will emphasise texture a lot more, but daaaaaamn they’re pretty. Although you can’t get this specific option, I highly recommend treating yourself to at least one ridiculously over the top luxury product in your daily routine. Something about it just makes getting ready for work feel less boring.
Brows and Lashes
Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel
I wish one thing about this product: that the brush were smaller. I recently got my brows tinted and consequently I wasn’t bothering to put on any coloured brow products, and man did I enjoy the convenience. I just ran this sucker through my brows after a good spoolie to comb them and I was done for the day. Loved it. When I need colour or my brows aren’t tinted, I use the Hourglass brow gel (which is annoying because it’s expensive but it’s perfection in a tube). I do find with this clear gel that it can get crunchy, so you have to be very careful not to apply too much (which is exactly why I wish the brush were smaller).
Hourglass Caution Mascara
All right. Fine. I’m on the bandwagon. You win Hourglass. I was hoping the hype on this mascara was exaggerated, but it’s replaced all my other favourite mascaras and is slightly cheaper than they were to boot. It doesn’t flake or smudge (so long as I powder under my eyes) and it lasts all day looking ridiculously pretty. It lengthens my lashes well and adds volume without being clumpy. Well played Hourglass, well played.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (apple lime)
A lip sleeping mask during the day? Whaaat? But really this is a great balm for the morning. I use it over night as well but I love throwing it on after I finish my makeup as it adds a really pretty shine to the lips that’s still really natural. If I’m specifically wearing a lipstick that day, I’ll usually throw the lipstick in my bag but wear this on my drive over to work so that my lips are nice and hydrated by the time I’m applying a colour later. It’s a great way to ensure that any other products you’re using apply really well (especially if they’re matte).
Aerin Roller Ball (Waterlily Sun)
This is my current go-to spring scent. When I first smelled it, I liked it but wasn’t entirely sold. Buuut then I smelled how it sat on my skin for the rest of the day. My rule of thumb is that if I can’t stop going back to sniff my wrist, it’s probably a fragrance I want in my life. It’s a floral scent with bergamot, water lily and jasmine, but the base note is musk which gives it a really unique twist. The musk is probably what I like the most about it as it just sits wears so well. It’s delicious and light and fresh for Spring.
So there you have it – my current Spring daily makeup picks and some tricks I use to get my face done quickly in the morning. The whole look will take me from 10-15 mins depending on how much I accidentally blink while putting on my mascara (or if I inevitably sneeze from hay fever – yay Spring).
What are your go-to products for work?