What’s In My Makeup Bag. Like, Right Now.

The contents of my makeup bag vary on an almost daily basis.

Because I frequently switch up what it is I’m using from day to day, it’s hard to predict what I’ll want to take with me to work, or out on the weekend, or wherever I go.  I want everything with me, readily available, but it’s hard to be sure I’ve got it all as I’m dashing out the door and I’ve put on a different combination of things compared to what I used yesterday.  There’s usually something for my hair, some kind of rollerball or perfume sample, some kind of skincare item, and a variety of other things.  And Lord help me when I’m having a real “night out” and I put a full face on; I end up practically taking my entire kit with me, brushes and all!

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So what was in my makeup bag when I opened it up just before I began writing this post?  There’s almost always some kind of pinky-nude lip color.  Right now, it’s L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Balm in Nourishing Nude for a shiny look, and Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands for when I want a more matte look.  However, if I’m not wearing other makeup already (as was the case today), I typically don’t end up using these at all.

There’s really only two unchanging items that have been guaranteed to be in my bag over the past few years, and that’s the Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm and CoverGirl’s Clump Crusher mascara.  Those two are always there, and I have, like five more tubes of each floating around in other nooks and crannies of my life.  Glossier’s Boy Brow hasn’t moved from my bag since I got it either.  It’s so easy to show up at work without it on, dash into the bathroom, and emerge with my brows even and in place five seconds later.

The Alterna Caviar CC Cream has been good for flyaways, and is especially good for smoothing out a midlength cut when it looks a bit too frazzled or feels too dry.  However, when it’s volume I want with perhaps a little bit more texture, Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray provides a quick pick-me-up.  I spray my little travel-size bottle a couple times into my roots and then flip my head upside-down and shake it out.  It’s so hard to define exactly what this product does, but it gives hair that elusive, lived-in, cool girl look.  And it smells incredible.  It gives you a little luxurious moment of escape in your day when you use this stuff.

That Vitamin E eye cream by The Body Shop is pretty great.  I’ve used it before and I’ve tried a couple other kinds since, but I came back to this one.  I like that it’s not a pot, making it much more sanitary as opposed to dipping your dirty finger in the same pot over and over and then applying the contaminated product to your eye area (which can technically happen with a rollerball, too).  I think tubes are the most sanitary for eye cream.  And I commonly have bad dark circles, so the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat is the fastest at getting rid of these without being too thick and cakey like some formulas.  Undereye concealer that’s too thick can sometimes make you look older, or even more tired.  That little Caudalie moisturizer is a deluxe-sized sample I’ve had, and its nice.  It’s very straightforward; it provides plenty of moisture and leaves my skin fairly dewy for the next couple hours.  No sun protection, but it’s easy to throw in my bag because it’s not in some giant jar like so many moisturizers are.

And that white perfume rollerball you see there is Elizabeth And James Nirvana White.  It’s a tea-based fragrance, and I love it.  It’s feminine and light, but very sophisticated.  They sell a dry shampoo of this fragrance now at Sephora, so maybe once I manage to use up ten more product in my empties challenge I’ll be able to get (because I have a list of like, five things I already want to purchase once I use up accumulate more empties).

One thing I notice that’s missing that usually isn’t is a blush compact.  I usually have some kind of blush on hand with a mirror, but there’s my point- I never know what I’ve managed to grab and throw in here until I have a minute to look later in the day.  I only used half the items pictured here today, anyhow!

For some girls I know, the contents of their makeup bags never changes, and it doesn’t change at all for years in the case of some.  I do have some admiration for that quality of consistency and knowing exactly what you like, but I on the other hand am a bit more unsure of my preferences.  And there’s always the fact that I just have too much to begin with.  xo, MR

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The Three Products I Don’t Leave Home Without.

As 2013 begins to wrap up, I’m starting to mull over a “Best of” and “Worst of” post for this year concerning all things beauty.  For whatever reason, those posts were really easy last year.  So much seemed to happen in 2012 concerning things like celebrity pixie cuts, heavy makeup seen on camera, and my own discovery of some amazing beauty blogs.  I suppose it’s easy when you haven’t written a “Best of” post before, but this year I’m finding it a bit tough.  So, perhaps I’ll manage to turn something out more along the lines of “Best Products of 2013”, but we’ll see.

But for now, I’m concerned mostly with one thing- getting through the next couple weeks at work leading up to Christmas break.  I’m literally hours away from going back to work after a week off for Thanksgiving, and  let me tell you, this week was the worst kind of teaser.  There was so much shopping, so much sleeping, and so much eating.  I stayed up and watched Psycho one night and a David Lynch film the next night.  My husband and I spent one night at a gorgeous resort in Palm Springs.  And all this revelry went by in a blink.  Combine this sort of holiday hangover with the fact that I’m notoriously bad at waking up at a reasonable time and I can already tell you that tomorrow morning is going to suuuuuuck.

So you see, I’m just concerned about getting through the next twelve hours.  You’d think with a full-time job I would’ve learned to wake up with my alarm and allow myself the time to enjoy a getting-ready routine (you know, with coffee and eyeshadow and morning prayers and Disney cartoon birds singing to you), but noooooooo.  I’m still a zombie.  My husband still has to drag me out of bed about fifteen minutes before I need to literally be in my car on the road.  I have strong feelings about this needing to change and my frustrations with myself are never-ending, and I know I’ve posted on this subject matter before, but for now, here’s my question …

What do I do, as far as beauty is concerned, to not look like a trainwreck when I’m going from bed to desk in a matter of a half-hour?

Well, as far as the hair is concerned, it depends on how it looks when I get up.  Sometimes it’s in well enough shape to just stay down, but it frequently goes up into some kind of knot with a black  headband for a little polish.  But beyond that, it’s really the makeup that I’m concerned with here.  And for these mornings of terror that are more reminiscent of 28 Days Later than The Devil Wears Prada, I rely on the following three products:

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Alright, what have we got here?  That would be lip balm, eyebrows, and undereye concealer.  When I wake up, one of the first things I notice is how dry my lips are.  And it only gets worse once I’ve brushed my teeth.  That has to go, and Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (the original, in case you’re wondering) is the only product I will use.  The menthol brings a tingly sensation of immediate relief, and I only find myself reapplying it once or twice more during the day (which is a good thing, by the way).  The Burt’s Bees is more of a necessity than anything, and if absolutely nothing else makes it on my face that morning, this does.

I’ve started filling in and brushing my eyebrows just within the past year or so because I’ve found that it makes such a difference in how polished one can look.  Brows frame your face and give it expression; I’ve grown much more fascinated with them over the past two years.  The best product I’ve used in the past year is the CK One Color Brow Pencil + Gel Duo in Crafty Raven.  The convenience of the product obviously sold me, because it’s more than just a pencil (and the pencil is also self-sharpening).  I used to think I absolutely had to walk out the door with mascara on, but when I’ve seen pictures of myself with full mascara and yet ungroomed brows, things just look … I don’t know … like I’ve made the wrong choice?  I guess I’ve grown to prefer a more European standard of good skin and good brows over the years as opposed to color on the face and well-done hair, and so I’ve adjusted my emergency routine to that preference.  When I pull into the parking lot, before I step out of the car I tend to do a quick one-minute brow check.  I tend to feel much more confident with just that one minute’s work.

And finally, we’re at concealer.  I don’t waste my time trying to conceal zits or spots or anything like that.  I just let my zits deal with nature when I have them.  It’s only the dark circles underneath my eyes that I’m concerned with.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve been told how tired I look at work (yeah, I know).  It’s not that I’m shocked, because I know I’m tired.  It’s more just the fact that one will actually say this to another person that I find so frustrating.  If one looks tired, how about saying something that might perk their spirits up?  Or ask them a question about how their day has been?  Just avoid the “You look tired” comment entirely; it conveys neither empathy nor genuine concern.  And it also makes you appear spoiled.

And so, if I must fool the folks I see on a regular basis, I choose to fool with undereye concealer.  For a drugstore choice, I recommend L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Concealer.  The shade range is highly impressive, it’s thin consistency is fantastic, and it does a great job at reflecting light.  For two high-end options, I like NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and Yves Saint Laurent Touche’ Eclat.  I’m actually still giving my YSL product its first real go-round because I just exchanged my original purchase for my correct shade, and so we’ll see if it tops the NARS.  However, I do like that the YSL can also be used as a highlighter on the cheek bones, brow bones, and other areas where light hits the face.  It’s specifically meant to reflect light and give a bit of glow.

So in conclusion, a little polish of the brows, a bit of cover-up for the dark circles, and some moisture for the lips carries me through my work days.  If I, by some miracle, manage to get up any earlier, I still tend to just push for basics like face makeup and blush.  And moisturizer with sunscreen.  Good Lord, the fact that I can’t even make that happen every day is devastating.  I guess I really can’t expect too much from myself, and yet, you wonder why this continues to be the case as I continue writing this at 11:45PM on a Sunday evening.  xo, MR