Absolute Essentials: Products That Will Make Your Life Easier!

I love doing my clients makeup but every woman needs her own arsenal of honest-to-goodness products that are worth their weight in gold. Most website “articles” I’ve seen about beauty products are sponsored over blown advertisements. And while I do have my favorite companies, I’d never direct anyone to one single cosmetics brand. In real life, your bag of tricks has a little of everything. But these products are the ones I can’t live without and have never let me down. Trust me when I say that these products deliver the goods, I’m pretty hard on my makeup and if it isn’t long lasting, I just can’t use it. (Click on the pictures to check the products out for yourself)

  • Lip liner

Regardless of what you use, (lipstick, gloss or even if you never use lip liner under your lipstick) Borderline lip pencil from Too Faced Cosmetics is your life saver. ESPECIALLY if you love dark and dramatic colors like I do. Did you ever wear red lipstick and after an hour or two the corners of your mouth start to look fuzzy and the color is bleeding past your lip line? Even if you used red lip liner as a base? Consider that the last time you’ll ever have that issue. This is a totally clear, non-glossy pencil that you apply OUTSIDE your natural lip line before applying your colored gloss/lipstick/lip liner. Once it’s on, your lip color will not move past that border. Period.  All day and all night. An added bonus that I have found out on my own……sometimes when I apply lipstick without a lip brush I will notice that edges of the color are a little jagged (or maybe I was in a hurry). I use the pencil again to help “erase” that jagged line. Love this stuff!

  • Mascara

I was totally guilty of being one of those women who bought tens of different mascaras looking for “the one” (I swear, finding my husband was easier, sheesh). But once I was recommended Buxom Lash Mascara from Bare Escentuals from multiple women, I had to try it. Lo and behold, it ended my search. You can check out the brush on the website but I have to say that it’s much more impressive in person. Those bristles have laser precision matched with a seriously wicked formula that lasts for hours and stands up to everything I’ve put it through. They also make a waterproof formula but I haven’t needed it, I cried through my wedding and it still didn’t move. If you have perfected your mascara applying technique, you’ll especially love the brush’s shape. Want a less costly drug store option? L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara has been my long time fall-back (also comes in waterproof).

  • Eyeshadow Primer

You’ll hear lots of people recommend Urban Decay’s eyeshadow Primer Potion and I do like it too. However Too Faced Shadow Insurance is slightly cheaper and it does it’s job flawlessly. Apply it after you dust a little powder foundation on your eye lids and your eyeshadow is guaranteed to be locked down for hours upon hours and makes the pigments show up truer and bolder. It also currently comes in 3 other formulas besides the original: “Lemon Drop” for correcting eyelid skin discoloration, “Glitter Glue” for glitter and eyeshadow that contains glitter which bonds it to your eyelid to solve the problem of the glitter spreading all over your face, and “Candlelight” to give you softly illuminated glow. PS, the Candlelight formula is part of a few other products Too Faced makes in order to give you (you guessed it) a soft, flattering candlelit glow regardless of the lighting in the room. They also work fantastic, I’m a big fan of using the Candlelight collection for brides.

  • Eye liner

I’m going to recommend three different types here, one for density/smudging, one for clean lines and a liquid liner. Obviously you need different types in order to accomplish different looks, that’s why I can’t direct you to one single liner. For intense color in pencil form that you can smudge for a smokey effect, Makeup Forever’s Aqua Eyes comes in almost 30 colors in both matte and shimmer. I’ve never seen an eye liner pencil that performs like this one, it’s gorgeous and extremely long lasting. For a liner that gives you clean and sharp lines, you want Sephora’s own brand called Waterproof Smoky Cream Liner for when you need precision. The colors are beautiful and is genuinely waterproof. Apply it with a Sephora brand ‘I.T. Angled Eyeliner Brush’ and it’s totally fool proof, I swear! Double bonus, that brush comes with a protective plastic cap that keeps the bristles from getting smashed and guarantees a long lasting precision point. As for liquid eyeliner I only mess with Makeup Forever’s Waterproof Liquid Liner. Once again, super long wearing and waterproof. I prefer a liquid liner with a long, super thin brush as opposed to a sponge or felt tip.

  • Foundation primer

Truthfully I could write a whole entry about foundation primer but I’m going to stick to the nitty gritty here. Smashbox is known for it’s awesome foundation primer. I love Makeup Forever as well but Smashbox is a tad cheaper. I’m all about products that pull double duty and with both brands you not only get a primer that makes your foundation and concealer last for the entire day and night but you get the added bonus of a function specific to what you want to conceal or correct. All you need to do is pick a primer that’s geared towards you problem areas. Have pink and red undertones or breakouts? Green tinted primer is your friend. Need a color boost? Bronze tinted primer will give you a glow. Or maybe you just want your skin to look amazing in photographs. Makeup Forever’s HD Primer is king and Smashbox primers are all “photo ready”. I also recommend Sephora brand primer if all you want is a clear formula to lock down you makeup all day. You’ll save a few bucks and since it’s clear, it eliminates any guesswork. Each brand also makes a  mattifying formula if you are like me and need some extra defense against that afternoon shine.

If you feel overwhelmed with choices or just feel a bit lost in those big aisles, the good news is almost all of these fave products of mine come in mini and trial sizes. You can save a few bucks a decide what works for you without waste. And always keep those receipts! You should never have to feel stuck with a product that you aren’t satisfied with. I also am a big believer in “You get what you pay for”. I have genuinely tried to find drug store brand equivalents of these products in the interest of saving some cash but I have yet to find anything that measures up (with the exception of that mascara). What is perfect about these products however is that they become a solid foundation for your makeup routine. If you splurge on great eye shadow primer, you can use almost any decent quality eye shadow on top of it and get good results and in that aspect you can definitely save money in the long run. As long you have those never-fail products that you love, you’ll have more good makeup days and less time trying to fix and correct!

Got any products that go above and beyond the call of duty or that you can’t live without? Share them in the comments!

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About Nicole Dunn

I am a freelance makeup artist building her skills and her portfolio.

Posted on June 29, 2011, in recommendations, reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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