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:

morning - Copy

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

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Weekday update! And how I have no sales resistance.

So, an update.

I’ve been using the same very cheap under-eye concealer for a couple years. I’m pretty sure the shade is wrong (a cool tone, which is not even a characteristic of my own skin), but for some reason I continue to use it. I thought I’d perhaps purchase the same concealer but in a neutral shade instead. So I stopped by Ulta (so that I also might purchase some new cologne for the husband … Givenchy Play smells like swag, but the nice, helpful, courteous, I-may-not-be-loaded-but-I-still-have-good-taste kind of swag) and found myself experiencing an acute lack of confidence as I checked for a better shade of my beloved L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable concealer. It’s not often that I feel the confidence drain out of me as I shop for makeup. I’m usually the one bossing someone else around in that situation. You need THIS blush! You’ll make your eyes pop more with this eyeshadow, dummy! Stop it- that shade makes you look like Snooki on an even worse day! So what did I do? I did the last thing … literally, THEE LAST THING … that I ever like to do in the beauty department: I asked for help from a sales associate.

It’s a strange combination of anxiety and exhilaration that I experience when I ask a beauty sales associate for help. On the one hand, I almost have this sort of avoidant disorder that makes me want to throw up when a sales associate approaches me and asks if I want to try anything or if I need any help. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m asked for money by a solicitor outside of Target. I’ll put my phone to my ear and pretend I’m talking to someone just to avoid contact with the person, or I’ll run past them as fast I can. I just hate having to say no. However, if I decide that I do want to try something on my own terms, I throw all caution to the wind and I want them to go absolutely crazy on me. The only problem is that, well, it’s really awkward if a sales associate tests a couple things on you and you don’t purchase something. In fact, if an associate ever does apply a full face of makeup on you at your own request, it is expected that you purchase at least two items. I’ve taken this policy to the extreme in that I feel obligated to purchase something shown to me by any associate if I’m helped at all.

So anyhow, I sort of on-purpose ran into a woman working at Ulta and explained my dilemma. She perked up, went and grabbed her favorite undereye concealer, and proceeded to perch me on a chair and blend the product neatly under my eyes. And it looked alright. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes I experience this feeling of not liking something so much because I didn’t find it myself, even if it does exactly what I need it to do. But like a moron, I thanked the woman and walked away with the concealer- which was priced at thirty bucks. Ugh. Seriously? Not even $24.99? I don’t know, sometimes I can be pretty spineless when it comes to sales resistance. This stuff wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t even Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche’ Eclat (the legendary luxury undereye brightener and concealer that I own but am continuously underwhelmed by). The drugstore kind I’d been using never tops ten dollars, and I just felt like a sucker. And yet I did not want to say no and hurt the nice lady’s feelings! Her whole career in makeup might hinge on that thoughtful, enthusiastic sales pitch of hers!

So what did I do? I picked up one of the L’Oreal concealers in a better-matched shade, held on to the thirty dollar one too, stood in line, flashed the thirty dollar one unmistakably and reassuringly when my friendly helper walked by as she assisted another customer, made it to the register … and proceeded to sigh and whisper, “You know, I’m not going to take this today”, and handed in the thirty dollar concealer to be put back on the shelf, discreetly out of view from my helper. And then I bolted.

There’s something extra difficult about resisting a sale in the beauty department. Beauty sales feel more personal to me because usually the associate has taken the time to assess your personal features and desires, and has then used their technical skills by applying the makeup to your face. You feel as if they’ve pampered you a little bit, and you also may feel that they’ve played “artist” a little bit, and turning down a sale would be insulting to their artistic abilities. It’s something I really need to get over, though.

I don’t exactly have any pictures of my escape from Ulta, but here’s a picture of the current state of my medicine cabinet!

medicabinet

There isn’t a whole lot that’s new here. I found that Caudalie Vinexpert Radiance Fluid for about a third of it’s original price (which always makes me worry that it’s old) and so I snagged it just to try. It leaves you looking very glowy, which I love, but it’ll never be worth the full price. I ran out of eye makeup remover (and I’d been using Caudalie’s) and so I picked up some of the famed Lancome Bi-Facil. It works really well, but I’m not used to the feeling of oil left on my eyes (as I’m pretty sure it’s not oil-free). I love having a pretty, sparkly, blue fluid in my cabinet though! Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream is a cult favorite for dry lips and skin, but it feels and smells as if it’s almost one hundred-percent petroleum or mineral oil, which freaks me out and makes me want to use the smallest amount possible. I got it for Christmas and luckily I know it wasn’t very expensive, but it definitely isn’t what I thought it would be. I’m about two-thirds through my Boscia B.B. cream, and half-way through my Acure night cream.  And nowhere through that Bio-Oil.  Anyone want that stuff?

And for a last little bit of excitement, I busted out my most saturated shade of pink yesterday in celebration of the spring-worthy weather we were experiencing.

CoverGirl

I’m wearing CoverGirl’s Lip Perfection lipstick in Spellbound, the most kick-butt shade of fuschia EVER.  It’s very much pink, but it’s got enough purply-plum in it to give it some edge and keep it from being too baby. The purple makes it more flattering for darker skin tones too.   I first applied a couple coats of it around ten in the morning and I think I reapplied a total of three times (one coat each time) during the whole day (and I think I finally scrubbed it off around nine at night).  I probably didn’t need to reapply any at all because the stain it leaves is very even, but over time the purple fades out of it and you’re left with the hot pink base.  I just like keeping it looking fresh.  Oh, and this photo is unfiltered!  No joke!

Let me know how your medicine cabinet’s looking these days, what spring makeup you’re trying, or your awkward stories from the makeup counter!  Believe me- I didn’t even get into my worst tale.  That’s yet to come.  xo, MR