Makeup can be intimidating with such a saturated market of products, techniques, and influencers telling you what to buy. As an avid makeup wearer and makeup artist, I have tested hundreds of products over the years. Here is a concise list of products I have used and loved, I've added in a few options for various skin types as well.
It can be hard to know which tools to use and how to use them when applying makeup. Below are the basics you will need to achieve a flawless, everyday makeup look.
Beauty Sponge - it is important to use these damp. Run it under water until it doubles in size, then wring out any excess water before applying your foundation. Use this to blend out concealer and even use loose powder to set the under eye or t-zone.
Foundation Brushes - I like to use these to apply my foundation, then blend out with a beauty sponge. Brushes don't soak up as much product as a sponge. You can use these brushes alone by adding a small amount of foundation all over the face, then add a little more each time to get the desired coverage without leaving streaks, These are also great to use if you like to cream contour.
Powder Brush - I use this fluffy brush to dust the remaining powder from my ender eyes to set the rest of my face. This step isn't super necessary if you have dry skin, but it will allow your bronzer to blend seamlessly. Not setting the area will make other powders stick to wet foundation.
Bronzer Brush - Very similar to the powder brush, nice and fluffy to give an airbrushed look / bronzed skin. This is technically a blush brush, but I like to use a different type of brush for blush.
Blush Brush - I prefer a stippling brush over a more concentrated brush. I think it helps the cheeks not look too clown-like.
Under Eye / Highlight Brush - I like to use this smaller brush to apply highlight to my cheeks or a brightening powder under my eyes.
When it comes to primers, the best thing you can do for your makeup is give it a clean, well treated canvas. Your makeup will only look as good as the skin under it. I like to make sure my face is washed and hydrated (even with having oily skin).
I have really been enjoying this Vitamin C serum to use as a primer. Once worked into the skin, it becomes tacky, creating the perfect base to grip foundation.
Another trick I like to use is spraying a tiny bit of setting spray before I apply my foundation.
Foundation choice is unique for everyone because we all have different goals for coverage + different skin types. I've tried to narrow down some of my all-time favorites for my normal/oily skin combo.
Estée Lauder Double Wear - I've worn this since high school and still use it today. It's the most expensive foundation I own but it's totally worth it. It's great at controlling oil and full coverage, I have also sheered this out with a moisturizer for days that I don't want a super full coverage look. I use the shade 4N1 - Shell Beige when I have a spray tan.
Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation - such a great drugstore dupe for the Estée Lauder! Not *as* thick but definitely a similar consistency.
Super Stay Full Coverage Liquid Foundation - this is like the more hydrating sister of the two foundations mentioned above. As someone who is oily, this doesn't control my oil as much as the other two but this would be great for me as a winter foundation to put some of that moisture back into my skin.
Outlast Extreme Wear Foundation SPF18 - I just tried this one out the other day and it's already a favorite. Great coverage that can be built up to an ultra-full coverage look. Stayed in place for the 11 hours I wore it.
Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation- for my dry skin girls or for my ladies who want lighter coverage in the summertime. I love the glow this gives you. I like to set my entire face with a light layer of powder bc I am on the oily side.
Concealer / Cream Contour
When using a full-coverage foundation, I do not use concealer to further conceal blemishes. Instead I use concealer to bring back dimension in my face. I will choose 2-3 shades lighter for under my eyes, nose, chin, and center of my forehead to bring back brightness. I will then use a darker concealer to cream contour (I don't always do this and if you are REALLY oily, I would stick with powder products to contour)
Tarte Shape Tape - Everyone and their mama has heard or has used this concealer once in their life. Some find it drying, I personally have not experienced this but they do make a more creamy version now.
Hydrating Camo Concealer - here is the more hydrating version for my girls with dry skin. I like to use this one in the color "Deep Cinnamon" for my cream contour.
Magic Lumi Highlighter - I like to add this product right under my concealer / on top of my cheek bones for a "glow-from-within" look. It gives the slightest touch of highlight and is perfect for those "no makeup" makeup days.
I am super picky when it comes to setting powders. My main concern is "flash back" when the camera flashes, is there a white powder look on my face? These three powders are in my rotation as a makeup artist.
Huda Beauty Setting Powder - this one comes in a few colors, I use the color "pound cake" for a more translucent / highlighting powder. I love how this one works well with the natural oils of my skin and doesn't look too powdery. Great for all skin types in my opinion.
Laura Mercier - an oldie but a goodie. If you are SUPER oily this one is great to set your T-zone, as I've gotten older and have developed more fine lines, I don't put this under my eyes like I used to but still love it for my more oily areas.
Coty Airspun Powder - this is a great dupe for the Laura Mercier but maybe not as drying. I first gravitated towards this one bc the price is amazing for how much you get. The only drawback is that is has a floral scent at first but isn't detectable after application.
* I apply my setting powders under my eyes and T-zone with my damp beauty sponge, this gives is a skin-like finish. I will then use my powder brush to lightly set the rest of my face.
Bronzer + Contour + Blush
I prefer high-end bronzers and contour palettes over drugstore. I am still on the hunt for the perfect drugstore options but here are my top rated bronzing and contour products.
Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer - I've used this one for years and each purchase will last me almost a year before I need a new one. I like that this one is a super rich, milk chocolatey brown, not too ashy and not too warm.
Shade + Light Face Contour Refillable Palette - this one is pricey but hear me out. It comes with 3 different highlight shades that I like to mix together to lightly dust under my eyes for a super bright under eye. The 3 contour shades are the perfect amount of ashy to create a flawless shadow on the cheekbones. I also use the brown shades as eyeshadow almost every day.
Orgasm Illuminating Loose Powder - OMG! Love it. I wasn't a blush person up until recently and I love that this is a loose powder. It has the perfect amount of sheen to it, which has replaced my need for a separate highlighter. It gives the perfect amount of youthful glow, and I have used this as eyeshadow too!
You really only need a few brushes to achieve any eye look. I love this brush set because it has every brush you'll need. I'll break down each brush by its purpose to give you a better idea on how to use them.
Fluffy Blending Brush - This is a brush I use to blend my transition (light tan) shadows when creating a smokey eye. It will help blend all of you other colors together without smearing them around too much. This is great for smoothing out the edges near your eyebrows and outer corner.
Tapered Blending Brush - I use brushes like this when I'm adding a darker shadow that needs to be in a a more concentrated area like the crease. When I do a smokey eye, I like to use this brush to keep that darker shade where it needs to be.
Blending Brush - If I only had to pick one brush to use for eyeshadow, it would be this one, It can be used for the same purpose as the other two brushes above.
Smudge Brush - I use this one for multiple purposes. You can use this to smoke out your lower lash line with eyeshadow or for your inner corner and brow bone for highlight.
Precise Blending - this one is for more intricate looks when it comes to multicolored smokey eyes. If you have a smaller space to work with shadows, this would be a great option for you.
Packing Brush- I use brushes like this for packing on shimmery eyeshadows on the lid. I also use this to add highlight to my inner corner and brow bone as well.
Mini Packing Brush - same purpose as the brush above, just a smaller version. You could also use this to add details or small amounts of shimmer OR use it as another smudge brush.
Eyeliner Smudge - stiff brushes like this are great to dip into gel eyeliner and smoke it out for a softer look rather than a harsh line.
I hardly wear eyeshadow on a daily basis, like I previously stated, I usually will throw a little bronzer in my crease and call it a day. When I do my eyeshadow here are a few thing I like to use:
Tartelette™ In Bloom Palette - I love that this palette doesn't have any random blue or green shadows. Perfect for everyday wear and includes some deeper shadows to take your look into night.
Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow - love how pigmented and shiny these are. They are a liquid eyeshadow that dries down to a powder, I wore these on my lid for my wedding day!
Brows + Lashes
I am a true lash queen and wear them daily. I use to have extensions but there's nothing like being able to furiously rub your eyes, so glue ons it is!
Wow Brow Gel - since I have naturally thick brows and a pretty decent shape, I use this tinted brow gel to set them in place and add just a touch of color.
Brow Definer - on the days when I want a really defined brow, or maybe got too tweezer happy, I use this brow pencil.
Voluminous False Fiber Lashes - I'm not super picky about mascaras and am always trying new ones, but I always go back to this one. I like a formula that is on the drier side and I really like the wand on this one.
Lashes - these are my all time favorite lashes. They look like eyelash extensions and are on the more dramatic side. I cut these up and glue them under my real lashes to conceal the band (I have a tutorial saved on IG)
Lash Glue - one of the best I've tried. You don't have to wait long for it to become tacky before applying them to your eyes, *tip* I like to leave the glue bottle open for about 30 minutes because the glue works so much better when it's been used a few times.
Scissors - I use scissors to trim my eyebrows and to trim false lashes when they are too big for my eye shape.
Tweezers - I like these super thin tweezers to pluck my eyebrows but to apply my lashes as well. CAREFUL they are pretty pointy!
These are my go-to's. You can add a little bit of concealer in the middle of your lipstick to lighten it up / give your lips a more plump look.
M.A.C Liquid Lipstick in "Burnt Spice" - the perfect brown/pink nude lipstick. If you like a darker nude, this one is a favorite.
Morphe Liquid Lipstick in "Virgin" - more of a pinky nude, lighter than the M.A.C liquid lipstick and a great summer color!
Lipgloss - I use the shade "Moon" it has small flecks of glitter and gives the lips a great sheen. These are suer moisturizing without being sticky.
Thank you so much for trusting my recommendations and sharing my page with others! It means the world to me!