I’m sure you’ve seen the meme. The one which says something about having two moods. Or two modes and no in-between when it comes to makeup. Maximum glam and a fully beat face. Or vaguely resembling a swamp monster. I always chuckle when I see it because it’s scarily accurate. I’m very much guilty of being all or nothing when it comes to makeup. My ‘no makeup’ makeup look included 7000 products. And took a good hour. My makeup bag consisted of four drawers, filled with products. There was no traveling light. Or just throwing a few things in my handbag to touch up.
Who has time for that? I don’t. So when working from home, taking a flight or having a weekend in, I frequently ditched the makeup. I’ve woken up late and had to make a mad dash for work, sans makeup. Only to have people ask me all day if I’m ok, or feeling well. In contrast to layers of makeup, my natural skintone is quite pale. And people aren’t used to seeing it.
Makeup is supposed to make us feel good. But it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re trying to achieve. I found myself feeling really insecure about the pores on my cheeks. They looked so noticeable. And initially my reaction was to try and add more makeup to cover them.
I quickly realised that whilst primer, full coverage foundation and copious amounts of under-eye concealer may be perfect for photographing. It’s not ideal for every day. I’d then emphasise that unwanted texture with a load of powder highlighter. And feel rubbish whenever I noticed it.
I set myself a little challenge. To go back to basics. I wanted to go back to wearing a little bit of makeup every day. And focusing less on trying looks I’d seen online. I love playing with makeup and trying new things, but somehow whilst my blending has improved and I can now do a cut crease, I had stopped paying attention to the basics.
I’m not suggesting minimal makeup is what should be worn every day. Far from it. But for me, I knew the fewer products the better. What would I grab if I had to do my makeup in the car? Or take on holiday with me? What makeup do I feel naked without? During hot Summer days, what would I wear as a bare minimum?
What’s In My Makeup Bag?
For me, the majority of my focus goes to the base. My skin is pretty pale and I have redness I prefer to cover. One of my reasons for not bothering to wear makeup when working from home, is if it feels uncomfortable. So anything included in my ride or die products should be lightweight. Ease of application is important too. I love cream contour and highlighting but there’s no denying it takes longer. And as I’m a bit rubbish at applying it, it normally requires blending out. Whilst a bit of mascara goes a long way towards making me feel more human, anything unessential has been omitted from this list. Think desert island. Only where they allow you to bring 6 things instead of 1. Because 1 is impossible!
Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base
A good base is essential. I find wearing primer helps foundation last longer, but also makeup look less caked. I reviewed this Bobbi Brown Face Base a while ago and am still very much loving it. It’s a skincare / makeup hybrid which acts as a moisturiser too. It doesn’t add colour or texture, so has worked well under any foundation I’ve tried it with.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation
My absolute favourite foundation. Of any I’ve tried. I wore this on my wedding day. And find myself going back to it all the time. It’s medium coverage but buildable with lovely even colour. I find it does an excellent job of covering unwanted redness, whilst not blocking out all of my skins natural varying tones underneath. It’s not sheer, just magic as the name suggests.
Charlotte Tilbury Rockstar Bronze & Glow Palette
As I do go for a lot of coverage with my foundation, I find not adding some variation with contouring and highlighting looks a bit strange. I adore this palette. The colours are absolutely perfect for my skintone, which makes applying it a doddle. I can carve out my cheekbones, nose and add a bit of the depth back around my forehead. All without the need to blend. The highlight shade is subtle but looks very flattering on. Charlotte Tilbury describes it as a candle lit glow which I think is a perfect description. Unusually the contour shade has very finely milled shimmer through it too. I personally normally hate glittery highlighters, never mind contour powders! But actually it’s not noticeable on the skin and helps it look more natural than a totally matte formula which can look powdery. I’ve been using this palette every day for the past two months and it’s barely removed the press.
A lot of Charlotte Tilbury features in my makeup bag -unintentionally- but I have to say, I feel her range is worth the slightly more expensive price tag. Everything is so carefully formulated and with multiple benefits. I really love using her products.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Whiz
Brows are absolutely essential. I just feel so naked without them. My poor eyebrows have suffered at the hands of my tweezers in the early 2000s. When it was seemingly cool to pluck them into oblivion. And naturally all I have left are two thin lines. With an annoying chunk missing from one. No amount of letting them grow has worked and I don’t dare shave them off. Just in case they never come back.
So a good brow pencil is a must. And I love Brow Whiz from Anastasia Beverly Hills. It’s another product I picked for my wedding makeup. And that I’ve continued to repurchase. I can quickly sort my brows out with this, with minimal effort. Even in a moving car. Making a mental note to add that to my LinkedIn.
Benefit Gimmie Brow
I love using a pomade like Dip Brow -also from Anastasia Beverly Hills- to do my brows if I have time. But for quick days, a brow gel is a great compromise. It helps blend it all together and make the drawn on parts and real eyebrows live together harmoniously.
Nude lipsticks are my favourites. I feel like they tie everything together. Whilst I love a nude lip in any tone, for daily wear and minimal makeup I find shades closer to my lip colour are easiest to wear. I recently wrote about the Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick. I’ve not stopped wearing it. It feels moisturising on the lips and is so comfortable. Plus it goes with just about anything. I said in my last post that because the lipsticks in this range were a bit pricey, I wouldn’t be collecting them. But I’ve already fallen in love with other shades. After wearing this lipstick repeatedly and adoring the formula, I think it’s safe to say I’ll be picking up a few more. Naturally in nude shades because you can never have too many.
What’s In Your Makeup Bag?
I’ve been wearing these essential products every day and really enjoying it. Even if I want to make more of an effort, this stripped back base works well for me. And speeds everything up. For times when I’m in less of a rush, I add a matte neutral eye with my beloved Tarte In Bloom palette. Some mascara and an eyeliner flick.
What are some of your favourite products? Do you have any you take around with you? I’d love to hear what your ride or die makeup products are. The daily essentials you keep in your makeup bag.