It’s been a ridiculously long time since my last post, and for that I apologise yet again. Life has got in the way of my having the energy to sit down and actually write out my future. Still, in spite of this time lapse, I’ve managed to secure myself a home in a city I love, complete my degree (I’ll graduate in November with a 2:1 – something I’m still astounded by) and am very happy in a new job. All is not lost.
HOWEVER, this certainly does not mean I’ve not had time to apply make-up. In fact, I do it pretty much every day, I’m incredibly lucky to work for a company that embraces self-expression, so if I feel like going way over the top with my eye make-up, I’ll be met with compliments instead of make-up remover. The trouble is of course, being at work means I can’t take the time to re-apply/powder my face, so finding really hard-working products has become even more important.
After spending time trying out a variety of different products, I’ve come up with my ‘top 5’ that I’m pretty sure I’ll swear by forever, or until they get discontinued…
So here we go!
5 – MAC Pro-Longwear Foundation NW20
When I originally ran out of my MAC Pro-Longwear Concealer I had considered buying a foundation to go with it, but not this one. Initially I had my eye on the Matchmaster foundation but when I actually got to the MAC store, I decided to go for the Pro-Longwear Foundation. My thinking was, as I’d not had any issues with the concealer in terms of staying-power, why not stick with that range. That teamed with the fact that I couldn’t see the other foundation anywhere and I was so out of the old concealer I’d have had to resort to smashing the bottle open to get any more out of it.. the struggle was real.
Anyway, after a brief conversation with one of the make up artists (something along the lines of ‘Excuse me, does this make me look orange?’ ‘No babe it’s perfect’ ‘Awesome, I’ll take it’), I got myself a new foundation. Before I bought it though, she did recommend I buy the foundation in NW20 and use a lighter concealer to avoid the orange complexion I dread.
So a month or so down the line, do I still think it was a good buy? Of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be getting a mention. As a liquid foundation I find it very easy to blend using both fingers or brushes, offering what I would consider to be a medium (but buildable) coverage that really does last.
I’ll give you a couple of examples, a few weeks ago, back when we were going through our ‘summer’ (in comparison to the crappy sporadic sunshine we’ve been having now), the air conditioning wasn’t working at my work, meaning we were working in an oven for about a week. In instances like that you’d probably have sweat your make-up off within an hour of being there, but by some miracle my full-face barely moved an inch. Another example; I worked from 7am to 6:45pm one day without re-powdering, and my make-up was still damn near perfect at the end of the day.
4 – MAC Pro-Longwear Concealer NW15
I had a love-hate relationship with this concealer a long time ago. After deciding I wanted some MAC make-up for Christmas about three years ago, my parents gave me Debenhams vouchers and off I toddled to the MAC counter in Chester. The assistant recommended that as I had quite clear skin (at the time) I should just buy this concealer in NW20 and the Mineralize powder to set everything.
I was quite happy with it for a while, but then my winter tan faded and my make-up started looking a little too orange for my liking, so I put it away and forgot about it for a couple of years. Then not too long ago while I was having a clear out I found it again and decided to try it, and for whatever reason, I liked it. Anyway, after using it pretty much day in day out for a good while, I ran out and with my first pay cheque in my new job, I trotted off back to MAC to buy some more.
As I said earlier, the artist at MAC recommended I buy the concealer in a lighter shade as I’d be using this AND the Pro-Longwear Foundation (the queens of up-selling I think). Having a lighter shade has proved an inspired decision, because not only does it work wonderfully as a concealer, it can also kind-of double up as a highlighter for someone still a little intimidated by the concept of contouring.
Like the foundation, this is a liquid concealer. For whatever reason I find that they work best on my skin, and at £17.50 a bottle, you’d bloody well hope so! Still, after using this for so long I’ve found that it covers and blends perfectly, especially when set with the MAC compressed powder, and incredibly it doesn’t seem to slide down my face, perfect for a lazy being like me who doesn’t necessarily have the time to be scrambling around finding my powder half way through the working day (I doubt my boss would be too impressed either).
3 – MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Medium
After I’ve applied my foundation and concealer I can’t just leave it there, for me there’s nothing better than a quick powdering to take away some of the shine and set my make-up in place. I’ve been using this product for a couple of years now, and I’m convinced I’d be lost without it.
Granted I’ve never really given any other brands a try, but why bother when I’m happy with the one I’ve got?
I bought this the same time I bought the Pro Longwear Concealer a couple of years ago and similarly fell out of love with it a few months after buying it. For whatever reason I started using it again and ran out, I then went and bought another in what I think was a lighter shade than before, though the assistant was adamant it was just the packaging that had changed, not the formula..
Whether the formula changed or not, it seemed to work for me even before I began to use the Pro Longwear foundation. I find it takes away any excess orang-y tones, sets everything into place and doesn’t dry out my skin. I remember how I used to use a mineral foundation, my skin got so dry and flaky I pretty much had to baste my face in moisturiser all the time I wasn’t at school..so there’s always a worry that too much powder will result in a throwback to teenage years.
Thankfully I think I’ve found a good balance combining the three products together.
2 – Stila Eyeshadow Stick + Primer ‘Kitten’
This is probably the most recent purchase out of the whole list, utilising my staff discount at work I snapped up this and another Stila liquid eyeliner for a bargain price.
I’ve seen people rave on about Stila but as a die-hard MAC fan, I’ve never really been that interested. I bought this eye-stick thinking it would be perfect as a base for when I’m using light coloured eyeshadows (particularly gold/shimmery pinks etc). I’ve also learned in the brief period of dabbling with make-up, that using a cream eyeshadow as a base helps powder eyeshadow last hours longer than it otherwise would, and this product has proved itself just as effective.
As I predicted at the time, I tend to use this product as a base for my ‘every-day’ gold smokey, covering the whole lid and then blending it lightly with my finger in-case I missed a spot; it works a treat! It also works very effectively lightening the inner corner of my eyes when I apply the darker eyeshadow a little too liberally than usual. So I suppose you could consider this shadow stick more like the make-up equivalent of an eraser, without having to use any kind of remover and start all over again.
1 – Make Up Revolution ‘Eyes Like Angels’ Palette
I think this has to be my most prized eyeshadow palette. I’d been hankering after it for months, but told myself I had enough make-up and I didn’t need any more, then I eventually caved in and spent a whopping £8 (did the sarcasm come through there?) on what I now consider the most versatile palette I own.
I use this thing every day, whether I’m in work or not I always find myself playing with it. The palette has a perfect combination of bright in-your-face shades for a night out (or a stand-out day look) and more subtle, nude shades for during the day, or in my case when I can’t really be bothered doing anything elaborate because I’ve just spent half an hour blow drying and straightening my hair and I have to be in work in 20 minutes.
So even if you’re reading this thinking ‘I can’t realistically afford all this MAC make-up’, don’t worry, all I’ll say is I 100% recommend this palette, regardless of whether you’re making millions and think you’re above this shit, or doing a paper round every day to earn a tenner a week, it’s absolutely worth it for such a hard-working product.
Oh, and one more for good measure..
Real Techniques Face/Eye Brush Collection
I know I said 5 staples in the title, but I lied, it’s about 11 (if you count each brush individually). Yes it goes without saying that I would probably be nothing without a good brush collection. Sure I could probably do my make-up everyday using just my fingers but that can get awfully messy and I doubt the results would be as good.
I’ve owned both sets of brushes for roughly a year or so, and I don’t think I ever fully understood how to use them effectively until I dipped my toes back into the blogging world. After reading lots of ‘guides’, watching tutorials (the ladies at Pixiewoo are goddesses) and plenty of practice I finally feel pretty confident in my ability to paint my face. Sounds stupid but with so many people ready to criticize the slightest smudge or slip of the brow pencil, it can be much more daunting than it should be!
There’s quite a few brushes in the Real Techniques collection, especially after the launch of the Bold Metals range (something I’m yet to try, though I doubt I will for a while given the price..), but I’m more than happy with my decision to only buy the essentials. I bought the Core Essentials (face) and Starter Set (eyes), and to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever used ALL the brushes; not because I don’t like them, just that I’ve never really desperately needed them (more specifically, the finer eye brushes). Still, it’s handy to keep them just in-case…
Anyway, I’ve used these brushes pretty much every day for about a year (I’ve cleaned them of course, I’m not a scruff) and they still give the same results as they did the day I started using them. The bristles don’t fall out when you used them, they’re incredibly soft on the skin and they actually pick up and blend the product you’re using. Handy for good results and not spending forever in front of the mirror trying to build up make up when you don’t really have the time.
So there we have it, all the beauty staples I can’t really live without… well, I probably could but I’d probably look rather pale and I suppose I’ve grown to like applying my make-up.
What are your most treasured beauty staples? Do you own any of the products I’ve mentioned, what do you think of them?
Till next time