Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Beauty Regime: Applying the Face

Yesterday I posted the products I use to cleanse my face morning and night.

Today I'll be sharing my favourite makeup products! This is my daily arsenal. I never leave the house without makeup on - at the very least a light sweep of foundation, blush and mascara. Wearing makeup everyday makes me feels good. It always makes me feel polished and ready to take on whatever the day brings.

I've always loved makeup. I remember begging my mother to let me wear it in junior high. I can still remember my first green Cover Girl pressed powder compact.
In the 90's, when I was in high school I wore thick black eyeliner with a wing everyday.
In university I was still sporting thick black eyeliner, but had stopped tanning and was obsessed with a milky white complexion set off with bold eyeshadow that matched my outfit. Blues, Greens, Yellows, Golds and name it, I had wore it. I spent hours painting my face to go out dancing. And Halloween was my favourite - every costume had elaborate makeup.
It wasn't until I was in my mid 20's that I started refining the more muted, vintage look like I wear today. Nude shadow replaced the bold and lipstick became my new friend.

These days I wear the same look - with varying degrees of "glamour", so-to-speak, every day. And even though I'm not experimenting with colour the same way I did 10 years ago, doesn't mean that I love makeup any less. I still enjoy getting ready for a night out and spending time applying a perfect face.


Benefit "that gal" Brightening Face Primer (buy it here)- I'm a firm believer in primer, especially as I get older (And I happen to be out of it right now - hence the stock photo). 
In my opinion, there is nothing that can replace a good primer if you want your makeup to have all day lasting power. I apply it to my eye area every day (works wonders for keeping my shadow from creeping into the fine lines), but if I've got a full day where I don't want to be reapplying my face every 2 hours I applying it all over. 
There are lots of primers out in the world at varying price points, but this is my go-to. I like the light consistency, the smell and the bit of shimmer. I wear it on my face by itself if we're headed to the beach and I'm not wearing any makeup (ok, so there is one example of me leaving the house without makeup...but it's the only time) - it gives my face a pretty glow. 


MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer (in N15) (buy it here) - I apply my concealer with clean fingertips to any spots and around my nostrils (I do this because I have a bit of redness there and foundation never covers it properly. For a truly flawless finish I find that applying concealer to this area is a must everyday). I do this before foundation and touch up after foundation on problem areas again if necessary.
The trick to concealer is to apply only to the problem area (the redness of a pimple for example) and blend the edges. If you can't do this precisely with your fingers, then I would suggest using a thin tipped makeup brush.

MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation (in N3) (buy it here) - Next is foundation. I love this pressed powder/foundation from MAC. It's a two in one! And its constancy offers several applying options. For a heavier base, I use the sponge located in the bottom compartment of the compact (I'm sure to wash it weekly to avoid bacteria buildup!). Or for a lighter base I use a big fluffy brush to dust the powder all over.
Even applied heavily, this foundation doesn't feel cakey or dry.
I only have one beef about this foundation. It reflects light - which makes you look glowy and lovely in person, but can sometimes make my face look ghostly, weird and washed out in photos taken with a flash.

Quick sidebar: I love MAC products. They are worth the money, in my opinion - particularly in a foundation or concealer for a fair skinned girl like me. Before I made the plunge into buying department store foundation I struggled to find anything in the drugstore that would match my skin tone. And if I did find one I usually had to start from scratch when I ran out because the line was no longer available. Not only did the MAC staff help me with a colour match, I now can walk in, ask for my colour and walk out stress free! That's worth it's weight in gold in my books!

Cheeks and Eyebrows

Benetint Rose Tinted Cheek & Lip Stain (buy it here) - I use this as blush. I've talked about this product in a previous post concerning its capabilities as a lip stain here. I would cry a million tears (or more!) if this stain was discontinued. I have always had a hard time finding a blush that looked natural against my pale skin. Some were too orangey, some were too pink. Benetint has serious staying power and looks pretty and natural.
The product is liquid and has a brush applicator (like nail polish). I paint an 'X' on the apple of my cheek and a 2-3 small vertical lines along my cheekbone. Then blend with my fingertips. I do one cheek at a time to avoid streaks and uneven drying.
It's easy to apply in layers if you want a bolder look, or apply it with a light hand for a barely there blush.

Annabelle Eyebrow Pencil in Medium Brown (buy it here) - I fill in my eyebrows every day. I'm a natural blonde and my eyebrows are a lot lighter than my dyed dark hair. I also like the way a darker brow frames my face.
The trick to a good brow is firstly, in good brow maintenance. I tweeze my own eyebrows and trim them into shape with small sharp scissors. There are plenty of good YouTube videos about this if you are new to it. I won't go into much more detail here.
The next trick is a good sharpener. Mine is from Ben Nye (buy it here). Be prepared to have to buy a new one once in a while - the blades will never be sharp forever.
I love the built in brush on this pencil. It means I can throw it in my purse for touch ups and have one less thing to cart around with me. It's also got good staying power - the crayon is a bit waxy and really sticks to my eyebrow hair. I've even worn it swimming and it hasn't moved too much! So I'm rarely worried about it sliding all over my face.
Otherwise, this is a pretty standard drugstore brand pencil. I go through one or two a month, so purchasing one at a lower price point just makes sense.


MAC Eyeshadow in Naked Lunch (buy it here) - This is the best, most beautiful nude eyeshadow I've ever worn. Seriously. The colour isn't quite pink, or coral or beige - just the perfect nude - a bit of each. And it's not too shimmery - just enough for daytime.
There is nothing quite like MAC eyeshadows. The pigment is saturated and has great staying power.
I apply this shadow to the lid of my eye and just on the outside crease with an eyeshadow brush.

Quo Crushed Diamonds Highlighter - Okay, I'm a bit embarrassed to be posting this, but I bought this a few years ago and it has lasted me FOREVER! It's not available to purchase anymore. This highlighter was available at Christmas at Shoppers Drug Mart (Quo is their store brand) and I bought it.  I've used a few other products intermittently, but am now trying to use it up.
This product does double duty for me. I apply it right at the center of my eyelid over my eyeshadow instead of using another light shadow for highlight and then apply it under my eyebrow, above my cheekbone and in the inside corner of my eye.
I'm currently on the hunt for a replacement powder highlighter for when this one runs out. Any suggestions?

Revlon Eyelash Curler (buy it here) - After shadow and highlighter I curl my lashes. This is a basic model, I've had it for years and it's never let me down.
When curling my lashes I make sure to get as close to the base as possible and squeeze gently. You want a nice arched curve, not a 90 degree angle. I also tilt the lash curler towards my eye as I squeeze to get more lift.
If you found you've crimped your lashed in a square, take your fingers and coaxed them back down gently pressing on the crimped part and try again.

Annabelle Eyeshadow in Ebony (buy it here) - I use this black eyeshadow (it looks dark brown on the website) to tightline my lashes. (Go here for a great tutorial on how to tightline).
After curling my lashes I use a small straight lining brush to press in the powder.
Most days I leave it at this, skip eyeliner and apply mascara. Tightlining my lashes makes a huge difference on how my eyes look. It emphasized and fills in gaps when I use eyeliner and makes my lashes look fuller when I skip the liner.

Benefit BADgal Waterproof Eyeliner in Black (buy it here) - Up until very recently I'd been using Annabelle's Liquid Eyeliner in Black, but wasn't completely satisfied - it was very water soluble and wouldn't stay put. I was stocking up my usual Benefit products and got this eyeliner as a gift one day. I was sold! It has amazing staying power, the colour is a deep, rich black and the pencil sharpens to a fine tip - perfect for applying a wing.
I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a great waterproof eyeliner pencil.
When I apply my eyeliner I start in the middle of my eye and work outwards. I don't sharpen the pencil right away. I lay down a base line from the middle of my eye to the outer corner letting the line get thicker on the outer edge. Then I sharpen the pencil and draw in a thin line from my tearduct to the middle.
After that I sharpen again, if necessary and freehand the top of the wing from the top of the outer edge of the liner and fill in the bottom. When I go to match up the wing on the other eye I grab a hand mirror and look down while I draw and match the lines left to right. Never fails to work (got that tip from Dita!).
I don't line the bottom of my eye. ever.
I'm sure that's incredibly confusing with no pictures. There are dozens of great tips and cheats for perfect winged liner on YouTube and Pintrest. I've developed my own way after years of experimenting and practice. 

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara in Blackest Black (buy it here) - I've tried a lot of mascaras in my day - expensive brands, dollar store, every make and model under the sun and I swear this is the best mascara I've used in years - especially for the price.
It does what it promises and separates every lash. After curling and tight lining - one coat of this mascara and bam! Almost like falsies (ok, I might be exaggerating here..but it's pretty good!).
When applying my mascara I make sure to get the wand right close to the base of the lashes and rock it back and forth and I sweep it to the tips. I dab off the excess product on the tip of the wand in a tissue and use the end to coat the lashes in the corners of my eye and the bottom outside lashes.


A quick note about makeup brushes. I have a wonderful set of brushes from Sephora that I received for Christmas one year (similar to this one) and the silver handled brushes were a Christmas gift another year. But please, don't feel the need to go to a beauty counter and buy brushes. Go to an arts supply store and buy natural bristled paint brushes for a fraction of the cost. I have plenty of other brushes that I've bought at an arts store. There is no denying that some specialty brushes may have to be bought at the beauty counter, but common types of brushes will be available by this method.

Next I apply lipstick.
I've already addressed my favourite lipsticks in this post. So I feel no need to re-iterate here.

And that's it! Ready to meet the world with my face on!

What are your favourite beauty products? Do you love drugstore brands? Or are you fiercely loyal to brands like MAC and Benefit like me? 



  1. I use Benefit's High Beam as a highlighter and it's amazing. Perfect for pale skin and lasts ages. Xo

    1. I've been wondering about High Beam as a replacement hightlighter. I'll have to look deeper into it. Thanks!


  2. I always love reading what beauty products other people use. I used to wear a lot of makeup but my chemical sensitivity won't allow me to anymore. I certainly miss my MAC products. Most of the makeup I wear now is very natural and hard to find (most of it I have to order online or make myself). My everyday look consists of activated charcoal as eye-shadow and cornstarch as a face powder. I've also recently started wearing lipstick again after finding a natural brand that doesn't cause any bad reactions with my skin :)

  3. Such a well written post! I love peaking into other peoples make-up bags. I will have to check out MAC's naked lunch I am on the hunt for the perfect nude eyeshadow:) I use a paint brush for my eyeliner it cost $4 and is 100x better than anything else I have tried great to see you use paint brushes as well.

    1. I learned the paint brush trick in university. When you do an acting degree at UofW one of the requirements a Makeup class where you learn all sorts of tricks about contouring, aging and specialty prosthetic applications. On the first day our Prof told us we were going to need more brushes than our starter kit provided and suggested buying them at an arts store. I've never looked back!


  4. Stellar post! Baring serious emergence, I never leave the house without makeup on either. My mom was (is) precisely the same way, so I don't doubt for a moment that at least a bit of my preference for such to be the case stems from here.

    My makeup bag is a mix of drugstore and department store brands. Price factors in when it comes to my cosmetics choices, but so does how my dry, (super) sensitive skin will handle a certain product/brand. I've lucked out and struck out alike over the years with various products from both ends of the spectrum, but thankfully have found at least a couple brands for all of my daily items that don't (currently) trouble me. Some of my makeup must haves (many of which I've been using for years) includes: Joe Fresh's black liquid liner, Maybelline Great Lash mascara, MAC Russian Red and Diva lipsticks, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer, and lip liner pencils from Annabelle.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. My Grandmother never left the house without makeup either! My Mom has started to on occasion, but she has the most amazing complexion - something I didn't inherit from her. And even if I had, I'm not sure I'd feel right out without it. It's my facial equivalent to sweatpants and UGGs. lol!



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