It’s been a while since I’ve done this, yeah? With the season changing, I figure it’s time for another installment of What Anna’s Been Putting All Over Her Face Lately. A lot of you have asked about my skincare regimen, but honestly, I don’t think I have that part of things figured out well enough to make many recommendations. My skin is very finicky, and it reacts badly to lack of sleep, stress, too much wine, etc. I’m still looking for a perfect solution.
Here are the products I LOVE and use all the time (in the order I use them, more or less):
Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel
I only use this at night a few times a month, otherwise it becomes ineffective. Used sparingly, though, it is an excellent chemical exfoliant. I wake up with soft, glowy skin every time I use it. I wish that meant I could use it every day and get the same result. Alas, that is not the case.
Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30
I’ve been using this sunscreen/moisturizer every single day (every season; rain or shine) for years. It softens without being greasy, it doesn’t sting my eyes, and it offers very good protection against sun damage.
DERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge Rescue & Protect Eye Balm
I’ve written about this wonder-product before (the packaging has since changed, and the price is lower to reflect the smaller size), and my feelings about it remain the same. Sometimes I need to supplement it with something more moisturizing, but I swear by Wrinkle Revenge for keeping the skin under my eyes smooth.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (Nude)
I don’t know how I lived without this stuff for so long. I started using it at the beginning of the summer, and every time I skip a day and try something else, I regret it. For something so sheer and light, this tinted moisturizer goes a long way in terms of coverage. It feels nice going on, too.
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage (SC-1)
I’ve tried every concealer known to humans (and animals, too, probably, though I suspect they tend to worry about these things less than us people do), and for any kind of spot, blemish, capillary, or redness, this is the BEST. I apply it with a synthetic taklon brush.
BECCA Compact Concealer (Praline)
I have dark circles so matter how much sleep I get, so I never go without undereye concealer! I’ve had this little pan for several years now, and I keep coming back to it after trying other products. It’s taken some trial and error to get the application right, but patting it on with my finger after moisturizing well seems to be the best method. I’m still not 100% convinced this is THE ONE, but for now, I have no complaints.
Pixi Sheer Cheek Gel (Flushed)
I used to be able to buy this at Sephora, but I think the whole line has been moved (in the US, at least) to Target—though sadly, it is not a bargain brand. I like to use this as a color boost under my powder blush. (I love blush.)
NARS Cosmetics Loose Powder (Flesh)
I switched from pressed powder to loose recently, and NARS and I have been getting along well. I dust this powder on lightly with a Stila #8 powder brush (I had it for years—sadly, it appears it has since been discontinued). So far, so good!
NARS Cosmetics Blush (Orgasm)
I know, I know, everyone loves this blush. And with good reason! It’s an excellent color for fair skin—it gives a noticeable, rosy flush without looking muddy or brown, which is the problem I have with most blushes. It has just the right amount of shimmer to give your face a little glow without looking like you have glitter on your face. My advice with blush is to apply way too much. (Again, I love blush.)
Too Faced Cosmetics Lockdown Eye Base (Bondage)
This cream shadow is a replacement for a product I fell out of love with, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. The packaging on the UD primer is frustrating (unless you saw the thing in half, you can only access 1/3 of the product), the primer itself dries out quickly, and it was making my eyelids too dry. Lockdown serves the same purpose, but without the drawbacks—it keeps my eye makeup from creasing, looking greasy, or fading. This particular shade, Bondage, doesn’t add much color of its own; it’s more of a very sheer, slightly-glimmery wash. I use it over my whole lid.
Bare Escentuals Glimmer Eyecolor (Pussycat)
BE eyeshadows are great overall, but this is my favorite one. Pussycat is a deep, neutral brown with subtle gold flecks. It’s a loose powder, but it doesn’t end up under your eyes during application. I usually apply it dry for sheerness, but you can also dampen your brush and use it for a “foiled” effect. Stays put all day!
Make Up For Ever Star Powder (Pearl Gold)
I don’t use this every day, but it’s nice for going out (or on days when I’m just feeling fancy). I put a little bit in the inside corner of my eyes, and just a wee smidge on my browbone. I’ve had a tiny jar of Star Powder for years, and it never seems to diminish in volume.
Urban Decay Cosmetics Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner (Spandex)
Okay, I admit it—I LOVE GLITTER. (Almost as much as I love blush.) This isn’t as scary as it looks, though. I don’t use this every day, but when I feel like putting black around my eyes, this is my favorite liner. (Hard Candy used to make a black glitter pencil that was even more amazing, but that line has become a discount Wal-Mart brand, sadly, and the pencil has gone the way of the dodo.)
Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil (Medium Ash Brown) and Clear Brow Gel
I’ve had this pencil for about five years now, and it never gets any smaller. It’s the only brown brow pencil I’ve found with absolutely no red or blue tones at all. I just use a tiny bit each day—just enough to fill in a couple of light spots. I’m not big on over-grooming my brows (though I do pluck strays every single day). The brow gel is great, too. I know it seems crazy to spend 20 bucks on glorified clear mascara, but it really is better than anything else I’ve tried.
Max Factor Lash Perfection Volume Couture Mascara (Rich Black)
In just a few months’ time, this mascara (along with the rest of the Max Factor brand) will no longer be available in the US, and I will probably have to move to Europe for that reason alone. Seriously. This is the BEST mascara ever. I make that claim as someone who has used a whole lot of mascaras. It keeps the curl, it doesn’t flake or smudge, and it adds fullness without being fibrous. I keep trying to switch to other brands to prepare myself for the impending trauma, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about starting to stockpile. SIGH.
Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss (Black Honey)
Former readers of Absolutely Vile will recall my obsession with Clinique’s Black Honey Almost Lipstick. After years of use and many, many tubes of it, though, it suddenly starting turning orange on me within minutes of application. I don’t know if they changed their formula or my body chemistry changed, but I had to find something else. This gloss (in the same shade) is the answer. It’s the perfect color for everyone. Everyone! Unfortunately, it’s exclusive to Sephora, so it’ll probably be discontinued at some point.
Adobe Photoshop (CS4)
Let’s be real here. If I have a pimple or dark circles under my eyes or whatever in a photograph, I’m not going to just leave it be. Why would I? This is the reason why the geniuses at Adobe invented Photoshop: to make us look good. I encourage everyone to learn use the Clone Stamp and the Healing Brush to their best advantage. With a little practice and experimentation with various tools and layers, you can also learn to fix uneven lips, fluff-up eyelashes, hide roots, and, of course, add more blush.
And yeah, since you’re wondering, I pretty much look like Diane Ladd in Wild at Heart when I’m done “putting on my face”.
Have you tried Lancome’s “flash retouche” as an under eye concealer ? For me, it’s the best…
Malia, I’ve tried Dior Skinflash and YSL Touche Eclat, which are also pen-style products. I didn’t get enough coverage from either, despite all of the good reviews. How to does Flash Retouche compare with those two? I am hesitant to try another pen, but I do love concealer-experimentation…
Too bad you can’t regularly count on the glycolic acid. I’ve just started using Alpha Hydrox AHA Enhanced Lotion (also 10% glycolic acid http://bit.ly/2WofUm) again for the first time in at least a year, and it’s such a miracle product. I hope my skin doesn’t stop responding to it any time soon…
love your blog! just let me know when you need another max factor mascara, and I will buy one for you here in norway 🙂
Great post! I have new makeup ideas floating around in my head now. Thanks for the inspiration!
This is such an informative post! I had totally forgotten about Eucerin, somehow… And Hard Candy is at Wal-Mart now?! I’m not sure if I’m kind of delighted that I can get it so cheaply, or if I’m just sad for them. And when you move to Europe to follow the Max Factor mascara, will you mail me tubes? I am SO sad at this news!
Well, compared to the Touche Eclat, i find it more efficient and it lasts longer. Maybe you could try it at the shop…
La Prairie makes an amazing undereye concealer pen. I use it all over my face, actually. The color’s fantastic, neither too pink nor too yellow.
Oh Anna you just made my day with this post! While we’re talking makeup, can I just add that I tried Laura Mercier’s eye primer and I was disappointed to find that it doesn’t have the staying powder of Urban Decay’s or Too Faced’s.
Also, Lorac makes a great oil-free tinted moisturizer with SPF that I just love. I prefer it to LM’s for some reason. And lastly, have you tried Smashbox’s Halo powder? It’s insanely good. Insanely expensive too but you really have to try it. It makes skin look like it glows in photos. And it’s a mineral powder but doesn’t make me breakout like Bare Minerals does.
P.S. Love that you included Photoshop.
Um, I have to apologize in advance for what will seem like the longest, most insane comment on your blog. Ever.
I have sworn by Clinique’s Black Honey forever (seriously–since the 90s) until it started turning orange on me, too! Glad to know the gloss works. I also recommend Pixie’s gloss in Sindri. Very close to Black Honey, and I love the application. It can be somewhat matte or downright glossy, depending on your application.
I love Pixie’s Flushed cheek gel, too. Have you tried Tarte’s cream blush? It looks like deodorant. The application is a bit easier than the Pixie gel. I have and love both. Orgasm I don’t love as much. Are there two versions? Mine had too much glitter!
Anastasia–I’ve also sworn by those products. I agree, the gel is expensive but worth it.
Max Factor–it’s already gone from my usual haunts. Le sigh. I’ve been using BE’s Buxom with some success. I find I can’t wear it two days in a row…the lashes on the second day don’t look as long and fat.
Sorry, I could go on and on. I love dissecting beauty products.
I’m definitely a fan of Laura Mercier’s products.
Any suggestions on daily face care products – I started with Clinque, then switched to Garnier after trying a sample product but it didn’t work as well as the samples and I feel as if Clinque isn’t working on my skin anymore either….
I am getting married on Saturday and I loved your tips. I have never found a concealer I like, so I will try Laura Mercier. Thanks for your post!
Thanks for all the makeup tips. I’m an idiot when it comes to this stuff so I think I’m just going to print this out and then head to the store!
I have a couple questions though, what is your skin type?
How long does your makeup routine take on an average day?
I was so excited to see this post. I too have similar coloring as you. I am a little lighter. I use Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer too. If you are looking for more coverage, her oil-free version in the dark brown tube will cover so much better. For concealer, I recently discovered a heavy duty, miracle worker, Benefit’s erase past–I use #1. It has a pink hue similar to Bobbi Brown Correctors, but not as thick and I find it is finally my holy grail of concealers and I have tried everything out there. I wanted to mention that I have used NARS Orgasm for years and recently went to buy a new one when the Sacks lady recommended a pink tone. I love it for winter, it’s called Desire. It’s so scary looking, but applied gently it gives the most beautiful pink glow like you came out of the cold. For mascara, CoverGirl lash blast is pretty good. Not as good as Max Factor, but comparable after you get used to using that large brush. CoverGirl lash exact is a bit easier to use. Thanks so much for this post. I love it. What do you use to wash your face? I have used so many different products, but cannot find the right one. Any recommendations? (I noticed the Kiehls creams were missing–I guess you don’t like them that much.)
Yay! I follow your blog religiously and love this post. I had tried Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer as a sample from Sephora and really loved it. So now I know to get it! I’m super glad to hear about products for fair-skinned gals like myself. Especially excited to get that NARS blush! The one I use now is waaaay too brown.
This post was hilarious. Photoshop really is the best skin product ever, you’re so right!
Also, I’m itching to go to Sephora now.
I love both your Diane Ladd reference and your Photoshop reference! When I visit you this year, which will happen, I need you to help me pick out a concealer that actually works!
I love this post! I am a beauty product junkie – even though it’s hard to get products where I live in the midwest. Thanks for the inspiration.
not the max factor! NOOOOOOOOOO! i had no idea. i’m crestfallen.
i still haven’t tried the clinique, but i’ve been using covergirl outlast lipstain (400) with a bit of lip balm over the top or sephora’s lush flush.
and since i have rosacea, i can hardly use anything on my face. even egyptian magic made me break out. the upside is that i don’t need blush. but that’s not much of an upside. i’m trying some face stuff from garden of wisdom. we’ll see how that goes.
i love when you do these posts…
Ahhh! I’ve been using the max factor mascara since your last post about it…and I LOVE it! thanks for the heads up that it will be no more…I’m grabbing several extra tubes for my christmas stocking 🙂
i’ve got light reddish-brown hair, light brown eyes and my skin’s on the light end of “medium” and nars orgasm blush looks the bomb on me too :). and, i don’t think you can put too much of it on. the more the better!
blush blush blush! I loooooooooove blush!
Love these posts!
I love the Max Factor too, but I switched to one of the Almay mascaras (in the white tube) and I like it even more.
Hey there Anna,
Fantastic post – I so prefer learning about make-up and skincare from real people instead of beauty editors!
Wondering if you would mind telling me how you made the collage of all the products? It looks great!
Those highlighter pens like Touche Eclat aren’t really meant to be used as concealer. You use them *over* concealer to brighten, and it really works. I’m a bit of a product snob, but I am completely in love with Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer. The lightest shade works really well with my fair skin, it covers brilliantly (a little really does go a long way!), blends beautifully and, best of all, has its own highlighter on the other side, so you can dab a bit on after you’re done concealing. So much love.
Thanks for the recommendations 🙂 I’m now really wanting to try the DERMAdoctor eye balm.
I have bad undereye problems too. I found that with concealer and a light application of highlighter it helps a lot. I use Benefit High Beam and it reflects so it looks like I don’t have under eye bags.
I also found a substitute for Nars Orgasm – Boots No.7 Blush in Honey, Works for everyone.
Love reading your blog! This post inspired me to do one of my own.
I love reading people’s make-up/skin favorites! I’m definitely going to try the Eucerin face lotion. My face lotion + SPF isn’t greasy but it makes my eyes sting (no good).
One Black Honey-esque product I like is ULTA’s store brand Moisturizing Lip Tint SPF 15 in Wine. It’s a very sheer red tint and I like having built-in sun protection.
i too have been using the Max Factor mascara since you recommended it. i had no idea it was going away! i guess i’ll have to go back to Mac’s Zoomlash. it works great, but costs more.
we have many of the same favorites. i have a question, though… do you put the laura mercier tinted moisturizer on top of the eucerin? I have both, but I need REAL sun protection because I’m in So. Cal, and have trouble layering the LM TM, so i usually just use it at night.
for day i use the eucerin, (and often skinceuticals phisical block) then stila’s powder foundation which is the only thing i’ve found that totally disappears.
thanks for all the inspiration for my home and now my face!
donna: No, I haven’t tried Halo powder, but it sounds very nice! Maybe I’ll try it out when my NARS is empty.
Jules: I have tried Tarte blush (I had a stick of ‘Flushed’ that lasted about 5 years!), but it just disappears on me. I find that the Pixi blush goes on best if you put it on immediately after your moisturizer/foundation. And yes, there ARE two versions of Orgasm — it sounds like you have Super Orgasm, which has a bunch of gold glitter in it. (And no apologies needed, I love to talk about this stuff!!)
Kara: My skin type is…all types? Seriously, it really depends on the day. Sometimes it’s very sensitive, sometimes it’s dry, sometimes oily, etc. I tend to break out badly if there’s any kind of disruption to my regular routine, or I have too much wine/don’t get enough sleep. Putting on my makeup takes 15 minutes if I’m lying, and 30 minutes if I’m telling the truth. 😉 I’m convinced that the concept of a “5-minute face” is a giant farce designed to make women feel badly about needing more time…thus encouraging them to buy more (“better”) products.
Mary-Ellen: I don’t have a face wash that I love, so I don’t want to recommend anything. (And I linked to the Khiels post above — I do like them!)
frannie: Are you able to use mineral makuep? A lot of people with very sensitive skin swear by Aromaleigh (some of the more commercial brands like Bare Escentuals can be very irritating). Maybe try some samples? I think there’s even a rosacea guide on the website somewhere…
Erin O: The photos in the collage are just product shots from the web, and I put the whole thing together in Photoshop.
cvjn: Yes, I put the Eucerin on first! I like to let it sink in for about 15 minutes before I apply any other makeup. I use that time to feed the dogs, make coffee, etc.
Thanks so much for the reviews, I’m in desperate need for new makeup! One question – do you have a brand of brushes that you reccomend? I’m specifically looking for new blush, eyeshadow and powder brushes. Thannks and i love your home!
Katie: I like Stila brushes a lot, though it seems they’ve discontinued some of their classics. I’ve had mine for years and years, and even with regular washing (I use baby shampoo and warm water once a week), they barely shed at all.
a little off subject…I love what you’ve done with the house…what’s the square footage?
of the listed products, which ones do you actually use every day? i can’t afford to buy much, and i currently wear VERY little make-up on the regular. but i’d like to buy a few good staples. what do you suggest?
Annette: My house is just under 2000 sf, I think. There’s a floor plan here.
lauren: I actually use everything on this list every single day with the exception of the items I noted (glycolic acid, Star Powder, and the glittery eyeliner). I don’t know what kind of products you’re in the market for (face, cheeks, eyes, etc.), but if you want to try one thing on this list, go for the LM Tinted Moisturizer.
I forgot to mention that the best part about Smashbox’s Halo powder is that it provides buildable coverage. It is very expensive in my opinion but definitely worth it as lots of powders I’ve tried in the past made me break out or made me crepey-looking. I actually wasn’t a fan of Smashbox when they first launched. I found the quality lacking and I couldn’t figure out how they got so popular. But now I can’t say enough about Halo. Go figure.
I love your list! Your routine seems really similar to mine– and I don’t often find that! I am glad someone else recognizes the wonderfulness that is Maxfactor mascara. You should try LORAC’s concealer. I have fair skin and I use C2 under my eyes and on the sides of my nose:
It blends really well on moisturized skin. I should try to find the Eucerin SPF instead of the Olay Complete that I use, it is so much cheaper.
As I was putting on my makeup this morning I realized it has been almost 2 years…yes 2 YEARS since I have bought shadow! I just use Bare Minerals blush and then some bronzer and mascara…but I think it is time for me to get a good shadow! 🙂 love this post >>> thanks <<<
I love a nice girlie makeup post from time to time! I have similar coloring, and I certainly trust your taste in things. Thanks for the run down!
So awesome! Thanks for this post. I love finding out what makeup other women use. I stick to a few tried and true brands, and I have a hard time branching out because I just never know what to look for. Your list gave me some good tips. I’m definitely going to hunt down the Nars blush and that Clinique lip gloss. Thank you!
best. post. ever.
what max factor is going away!?? I LOVE the volume couture mascara – and i’m definitely going to stockpile.
theresa: ALL of Max Factor (the entire brand) is going away in the US! Sad.
Excellent post – I always enjoy reading your thoughts on skincare and beauty and have always found your product recommendations to be right on which is precisely why, after following your lead and learning to LOVE Max Factor’s Volume Couture I am absolutely HEARTBROKEN to read the news that it will no longer be at my disposal. Seriously, this may just be THE MOST devastating beauty-related news ever.
Your post could not have come at a better time– I’m finally caving and getting laser treatments on my face this month to eradicate the brown spots that showed up after I turned 40. One of the post-procedure rules is to wear sunscreen EVERY DAY, but the smell of sunscreen nauseates me, so I’ve been fretting. Bought the Eucerin yesterday and am stunned to find it really IS fragrance-free (unlike so many other products that claim to be, but aren’t). Thank you so, so much, Anna! xo
LOVE this post. thanks!!
a. definitely stockpile if you’ve got a mascara you love, but; b. Clinique’s Long Pretty Lashes is just about perfect.
A friend just sent me this link re: makeup and skin care products on a budget from April, 2009. Even though it is fairly clear that you know what you like, thought I would share it with you. Since becoming a mom, I have stopped wearing all makeup but lipstick…and worse, recently when my high end face moisturizer ran out (Mario Badescu) I did not replace it with anything comparable. Your post sort of nudged me back on track, reminding me if anything, how important moisturizer with a good spf is to a girl.
Sorry for long comment I will post now. We have many of the same favorites!
I love Becca too, Nars also, your mascara too, superbalm. I don’t use photoshop because people see me every day live and I dont won’t to awake a feelling that I look bad in real LOL
I also need lot of coverage under my eyes and use Full Cover Concealer by Make Up For Ever.
But best cosmetic for my skin seems to be real AHA/BHA peels (once a year, winter time) done from my skin doctor. My little secret ;-).
And don’t use same package for years, once when open it is healthy max for a year or less.
Now why some products are not that good (from the above list):
Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 isn’t worth considering, despite its light, creamy texture because the SPF lacks UVA-protecting ingredients!
Until Mercier gets the sunscreen right, look to Bobbi Brown, Aveda, or Stila for superior tinted moisturizers.
But I do like Secret Camouflage by Laura Mercier.
Compact Concealer – if you need still more camouflage, you can dab on the Extra Cover formula.
I think, Compact Concealer is much easier to work with than Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage.
Ana: I don’t rely on the tinted moisturizer for sun protection. The second item on my list (Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30) is what I use every single day, all year long. It is broad-spectrum. The fact that tinted moisturizers sometimes contain a nominal amount of SPF doesn’t make them “not that good” or “not worth considering”, it just means you shouldn’t use them as a primary SPF.
Anna–have you tried Bare Escentual’s Well Rested undereye concealer? It’s what I use (I love BE). As a Greek girl, I get huge dark circles under my eyes, and I swear by this stuff. It stays all day and really brightens up my face.
Thanks for this post, your suggestions are great!