Makeup Essentials

If you made use of the tips in last week's clearing space post and your makeup drawer is nice and cleaned out, I bet you're left with a selection of your absolute favorite products. I certainly am and it has simplified my mornings to be able to pull open that drawer and get quick access to exactly what I need (along with a few non-essentials that I couldn't bring myself to part with of course).

My absolute must haves for my morning routine are included below. After years of trial and error, more makeup counter mishaps than I care to mention and struggling with skin that has a major tendency to break out, I have assembled this arsenal. Save yourself the trouble and pickup these items to make your morning routine more manageable and more beautiful.


YSL Touche Eclat - This is my all in one miracle worker. It works great as a highlighter and concealer. I also use it for contouring. To keep the contour subtle, get a color just slightly lighter than your skin tone. For a more dramatic Kim K. situation, pump that up to a few shades lighter.

Smashbox Bronzer - This is actually not an every day item for me, but when I'm going for a slightly more "made-up" look, I dust this on. If you're not accustomed to using bronzer, check out this how-to.

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Original Foundation - If you have skin like mine that has a tendency to break out, this foundation is a lifesaver. Using thick liquid foundations and heavy powders left me with cystic acne. I tried everything - even Accutane - and the acne didn't fully clear up until I ditched the heavy products and started using this powder. I've been a devotee ever since. You can brush on a light layer or use more and really blend it in for more coverage.


Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow Sticks - These guys single-handedly shortened the time it takes me to get ready and lightened my load when traveling by eliminating the need for separate eye shadow palettes and brushes. I'M IN LOVE. I use two colors daily (Golden Pink and Bark), but the whole line is worth exploring. Just use the pencil to draw eye shadow wherever you want it, blend with your fingers before it sets and then it stays all day. The best.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner - I finally switched to liquid liner a few years ago and have tried product after product. This is the best one at there at a reasonable price. It can go on thick or thin and stays put all day.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Waterproof - Am I the only one who ends up with mascara rings under her eyes when using anything aside from waterproof mascara? It may be my cross to bare, but at least I finally found this gem. It's waterproof so it stays in place, comes off easily with eye makeup remover (a necessity for keeping all that black smudge off your nice white towels) and it actually lengthens my short lashes without looking clumpy. Added bonus - you can layer it on so rather than starting from scratch, I can apply another coat after work and before heading out for the evening.


YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres' Glossy Stain - Unlike most lip stain that I've tried, this one turns into a creamy lipstick-like feel once it's set. It's long-lasting and comes in a huge range of colors. Pro tip - don't blend your lips together after putting it on - just let the color set. Corail Aquatique and Rose Tempura are the two colors shown.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil - Great for applying on the way to work (which is actually where 90% of my lip color gets applied) because it's easy to follow the shape of my lip with the pencil without actually having to look in the mirror. The other drivers in Brentwood appreciate this fact I'm sure. I use Walkyrie as a daily color.

Clearing Space; One in a Series

Clearing space. Easier said than done. We all know that feeling when the house is freshly cleaned and the closet and shelves have been rid of clutter. It feels free and full of possibility.

I get a similar feeling when I take time each morning to clear some space in my head. I feel lighter and more connected; ready to take on whatever challenges may come up in my day.

I think clearing space is one of the most valuable things we can do. Tackling all areas at once (think the closet, the kitchen, the fridge, your mind) can seem like an intimidating task, so I started with something simple, by clearing a little space in my makeup drawer. Insignificant to the task at hand? Perhaps, but I find when I start a daunting task by taking one small step, the satisfaction I get from completing one piece of the puzzle is enough to spur me on to tackle the rest.

So, here’s how I clear space in my makeup drawer.

First, I divide everything into two piles a) things I use every day and b) everything else. The things I use every day don’t really have time to expire. Everything in this pile gets an automatic pass into the keep pile.

Now, time to address the everything else pile. Usually the first pass at this pretty easy. I throw away everything that has clearly expired. You know that funky smelling/tasting lipstick that’s a bit long in the tooth or that mascara that should be labeled extra clumpy? Toss. Next, I have to get honest with myself. The many failed attempts at finding the perfect red lip resulted in way too many different, yet very similar shades of red lipstick, lip liner and lip gloss that just don’t work well on me. If some are salvageable, I either donate them or give to a friend who might have better luck with them than I do. The rest that are really too old, but I’ve been holding on to them because I’m just not willing to admit that I made a mistake and wasted that money? Those get tossed away. Along with them? Anything that makes me break out and any sample sizes that I wasn’t excited enough about to try right away.

Next I take makeup brush inventory. There are a lot. Every freebee makeup counter giveaway has at least one brush if not FIVE that I just don’t use. It seems wasteful to get rid of them, but what’s really wasteful is the time it takes to dig through the pile of them to find the one tool I need. I’ve been using eye shadow sticks almost exclusively for some time now, so I don’t need 15 eye shadow brushes. My professional makeup artist friend Katy? She needs 15. Me? Not so much. I keep two foundation brushes, one for my drawer, one for my gym bag, one blush brush, one bronzer brush, one finishing powder brush, the sterling silver brush that was a gift from my mother and a selection of eye shadow brushes in case I ever get tired of the sticks. The rest? Donate or gift to said makeup artist friend.

Now the fourth and final clearing step. If it’s a perfectly good product, works for my skin tone, but I’m just not using it, it’s hard to give up. What if one day I decide this is the magical component to my makeup routine that was keeping me from perfection all along? If that were true (or even possible) I would already be using it. Time to say goodbye to these too. As per above, donate anything you can. Toss the rest.

Now, the fun part. Chances are you have some extra space in that drawer. Time to find a few beautiful dishes to hold the different products. I love this, this and this. And in case you haven’t heard, Container Store is offering 15% off almost everything through February 8th.

Clearing space, step one, complete.