“Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive. It is misogynistic to suggest that they are. Sadly, women have learned to be ashamed and apologetic about pursuits that are seen as traditionally female, such as fashion and makeup. But our society does not expect men to feel ashamed of pursuits considered generally male – sports cars, certain professional sports. In the same way, men’s grooming is never suspect in the way women’s grooming is – a well-dressed man does not worry that, because he is dressed well, certain assumptions might be made about his intelligence, his ability, or his seriousness. A woman, on the other hand, is always aware of how a bright lipstick or a carefully-put-together outfit might very well make others assume her to be frivolous.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
I’ve had a somewhat rocky relationship with makeup over the years. Sometimes we got along and sometimes we didn’t. I’ve had moments where I’ve disrespected makeup and makeup disrespected me. We’ve been the best of friends and we’ve been the worst of enemies. However, I’d like to think that after years of turbulence as far as my “face beating” skills are concerned, I’ve come to a relatively good place. These days painting my face is a lot more fun and I have a lot more confidence in how I use it to express myself. I am by no means out here looking like a Youtube beauty vlogger but I’m happy with where I’m at. While I equally enjoy my bare face and am happy to present myself to the world makeup-free, I find it to be a great expression of style and personality. Even though I may not be a makeup expert I’ve always been drawn to it and enjoy expressing myself with it on any given day.
Just in time for the holiday season, here are the tools and products I turn to when I feel like making my face look a little fancier.
When I upped my makeup brush game my makeup application skills vastly improved. Never underestimate the power of a good quality brush! My eyeshadow game in particular has levelled up something serious. If you’re in the market for a quality brush set at a mid-point price range these bad boys are for you. I’ve been using Sigma brushes for a few years and I recommend the Essential Kit to anyone wanting a solid starter set.
If you’ve been in these makeup streets for a minute, you know the BeautyBlender is a cult favourite and there’s a reason why. It applies foundation, concealer and even setting powder seamlessly providing a flawless airbrushed finish. I especially like using the BeautyBlender to apply my concealer.
I STAY repurchasing this lip pencil. This was an impulsive purchase I made a few years ago that ended up being a mainstay in my makeup collection. I wanted to attempt a super dark lip and the salesperson paired this pencil with a dark lipstick. I never use the lipstick (I chickened out of the Elvira lip), but I found Nightmoth lip pencil went really well with a number of my lipsticks adding great dimension to my red and plum shades.
If you’re a foundation wearer who hasn’t jumped on the primer bandwagon you’re missing a great ride! Primers act as a base for your makeup creating a smooth canvas for foundation application, blurs pores and helps foundation wear longer. I also like that primers create a barrier between my skin and the foundation itself aiding in the prevention of clogged pores. This Hourglass Primer is my favourite. It’s on the pricier side but a little goes a long way. The lightweight formula has a strong hold and contains SPF 15 to help protect skin against harmful sun ray’s.
It took me a long time to try concealer. I’ve seen my fair share of reverse raccoon eye and was worried the same would happen to me. However, after a lot of online tutorial watching I decided to give it a go. Beauty influencers have been going HAM over this NARS concealer for a while now so I decided to see what the hype was about and try it for myself. I’m already partial to NARS makeup in general because it has never steered me astray so I had a feeling I would like this product…and I was right! I couldn’t have made a better choice. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is not too heavy, applies creamy, and my shade (Caramel) gave me just enough highlight to look awake as opposed to looking like I dipped my under eye’s in white paint primer. You really only need to go one shade lighter than your complexion to create a nice highlighted look. If you’re in the market for a new concealer or are interested in trying one out for the first time, I highly recommend this one.
Listen to me…This setting spray was a game changer. I purchased this to attend an event that I knew I needed my makeup to last all day and night for. Best decision ever! I apply UD’s All Nighter setting spray once I’ve completed my makeup and my face does not budge! I will never again apply a full face of makeup without using this spray. There are several setting sprays on the market but as long as this one keeps performing the way it does I will have nothing to do with any other.
I should probably re-evaluate my life for having feelings this strong about a product but I feel no ways…I am deeply passionate about mascara. It is very important to me. It’s a makeup product that I’ve been rolling with since I was a teenager. I will never give it up. If I had to give up all of my other makeup products mascara would be the one I keep (and eyeliner too but I’ll get to that). I don’t wear makeup often these days since I’m at home with my daughter, but when I do mascara is always a part of the equation. If I want an instant pick me up I throw some on and I suddenly think I should be Naomi Campbell walking down somebody’s runway. I just love the stuff. I’ve been a loyal L’Oreal mascara user since I was 16 or 17 and have yet to outgrow it. I’ve tried several different brands of drug store mascara’s and they just never compare to the L’Oreal brand. I pretty much like all of their formula’s and wands but the Voluminous False Fiber Lashes has been my go to for years. It gives me great length and volume while providing just the right amount of clumping to create a nice full look. And of course, who doesn’t like a product that does what it needs to do at a great price point?
Much like mascara I’ve been wearing eyeliner since my teens. I have to have it. I will never part with it. It is my boo. My boo it is. I’m pretty sure life before I was introduced to black eyeliner was pretty bleak. I once went out to an event and forgot to put on eyeliner and it took every ounce of my “mature adult” reserves not to leave the party and go home just to put some on. If black eyeliner were to ever go out of style I would be that one tacky old lady who continues to rock it like it’s what’s hot in the streets. I will never take the advice of makeup artists who suggest using brown eyeliner for a “softer” look. BLASPHEMY! The blacker the better! But I digress…UD’s perversion eye pencil is a staple of mine. I’ve been through a few already, and while I’m always in the market for a great eyeliner so far this one has not failed me. It’s super pigmented and very creamy making application seamless and mess free.
I’ve hit pan on this blush a few times now and it’s probably the only one that I’ve repurchased more than twice. It does have some shimmer to it but not harsh chunks of shimmer, a really nice finely milled sparkle that will give pretty much any complexion a great natural glow. I particularly love this blush when I’m doing a very minimal makeup look. No foundation required. I just throw some Orgasm on to give my face a fresh look and it works like a charm.
If you’re a fan of the cat eye you know that it requires a lot of skill of which I have none. However, since Kat Von D’s liquid liner has come into my life I’ve gone from struggle avenue to passable street. The felt tip is the perfect size for a nice sharp line and the pen itself is easy to grip making for a lot less expletives being thrown around while practicing the perfect cat eye. The pigmentation is also superb. I’m on my second tube of this stuff and have no plans of switching anytime soon.
I tend to keep my eyeshadow looks fairly neutral but I do enjoy a nice shimmer. The NAKED Palette was my first fancy (aka expensive) eyeshadow palette that I purchased for myself a few years ago and it was worth the coins because I still use it to this day. It took me awhile to get into it but once I watched a few online tutorials I started getting ideas on looks that work well on my skin tone. The pigmentation is great, the formulation of all the shadows are creamy and easy to blend. I would venture to say that of all the NAKED palette’s UD has released this original is the best. I know there have been a gazillion other palette’s to come out since this one was released but I honestly think it’s a classic.
This eyeshadow palette also deserves high praise. I usually go between this one and the NAKED palette. The quality of these shadows is outstanding. Milled to perfection and easy to blend, the colours are diverse enough to create several different looks. I also love that the top row is dedicated to matte shades and the bottom row consists of shimmery shades, making for a perfect balance. I tend to travel with this one a lot as I can create any look with it. Speaking of traveling, this palette is super lightweight and compact making it a great option for out of town trips and events where you need to pack your makeup but don’t want added bulk. To me, this is another classic palette that in my opinion stands the test of time against trendier options on the market.
YAASSSSSSS!!!! I just love this stuff! I’m on my second tube of it and will likely repurchase again. It’s lightweight, provides a nice glow and offers light to medium coverage. I’m not one to go for heavy coverage when it comes to foundation (I like that my imperfections still show through), but I do like any foundation I wear to give me a more polished look bringing my face together. The NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer does just that. If you’re on the oily side beware as this tends to be geared towards dry skin. However, as a former oily girl I still enjoyed this foundation a lot. I had to blot a bit more than I do now as my skin has changed since having my daughter, but overall It still gave me what I wanted.