Confession: I’m a bit nervous.
I’m so incredibly humbled to get such a great response from you all on my last post. I mean, how on earth can I follow that up?!
However, I’ve gotten so many questions about my favorite go-to eye makeup products that I wanted to address it in a post. I also purchased a little selfie tripod on Amazon, so hopefully a little tutorial will come later. I am constantly compelled to stress I am not a makeup artist, but since I’m get questions, I’m happy to share everything I can.
One caveat: I wear eyelash extensions. This means my product stash might be a little different than people who don’t. I steer clear of eye makeup with oils in them, because they tend to make extensions fall out quicker.
Let’s get down to business.
Most of these you might have heard of, so I’m not reinventing the wheel, but here’s what I love right now.
1. Benefit Erase Paste: This is a thick, pink-based concealer for brightening and correcting. I LOVE it for under my eyes to correct dark circles. Fair warning: this product does NOT play around. It is quite thick and heavy, but if you want a solution for under eye circles, this is the best I’ve found. I like to apply my foundation first, to give me an idea of how much of this concealer I actually need. Then I apply it under the entire eye area with the little spatula in dots, and feather it out lightly with my ring finger. I finish by setting it with the Makeup Forever pressed powder I mentioned in an earlier post. By the way, NYX Cosmetics also has a cheaper alternative for about $5, but I’ve never tried it. I love a lot of NYX products, though.
2. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Naked Palette 2: This was an impulse buy and I’m pleased with the quality. Many of the shades in the palatte are a little too shimmery for me, which I don’t think reads very well on television. Three shades really stood out as winners: Foxy, Tease and Blackout. All three are matte shades, have a fantastic pigment and can be used wet or dry. Also, Urban Decay eyeshadows are vegan, in case this is important to you.
Foxy is a wonderful neutral, that serves as a bright base on the entire eyelid. You can also use it as a brow bone highlight. With a bit of a yellow-ish tint, I find this shade eye-brightening and color correcting.
Tease is a matte, neutral-purple. I love this on the crease of my eye, and blend it into the crease in sort of a sideways V shape. It mimics the color of an actual shadow on the face, which is very flattering. I also find the application forgiving, because it isn’t too harsh of a hue.
Blackout is a versatile, matte black shadow. Just a warning, there will be fallout from this shadow and it is very pigmented. After you dip your brush, tap it out first. I’ve made the unfortunate mistake of not tapping off my brush, and ending up with trail of little black specs and lines under my eyes. Not fun. Try it with a flat, angled eyeliner brush, as this color makes a bombastic eyeliner. Or, use a bit after applying an eyeliner to blend and soften the line for a smoky look.
NARS Eye Paint Pot Liner: I don’t use this as much anymore, but if you need a bulletproof eyeliner, this is it. I prefer the control of a gel liner with an angled brush over say, a liquid liner, because its more foolproof. Press an angled brush gently into the pot, and apply it as close to the lash line as possible. You can also smudge it with some shadow for a softer look.
Blinkliner for Lash Extensions: This is the liner I’ve been using recently because it’s made specifically for eyelash extensions. It’s got a nice glide and pigment for an eyeliner pencil. I tend to think the pencils are a little tough to work with. If you have extensions and want an eyeliner for special occasions, give this a try. I bought this at Pink’s The Beauty Boutique in Seattle.
Ardell Brow Defining Palette: This was a surprising find a few years ago at Sally Beauty Supply and I LOVE IT. Each palette comes with two brow colors, a color to highlight the brow bone, a fresh angled brush for filling in brows, an applicator and even a tiny pair of tweezers to clean up stray hairs. The angled brush makes brow application very easy. Brows are all the rage these days, and there are so many brands popping up. At about $10, this inexpensive palette is still my holy grail.
Mascara: Lately everyone wants to sell me their mascara on social media, but I don’t really wear any these days.
When I did, I liked L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes and DiorShow. For me, the defining factor of a great mascara is the brush. Both of these pass the test, at very different price points. Tip: start the wand at the base of the eyelash and wiggle the brush side to side as you work out towards the ends. I like how this method coats, but also separates the lashes.
It took me a few years to realize this, but I’m a convert: good brushes are a wise investment, and the key to any makeup application. A bad brush won’t do you any favors, even with the most expensive makeup in the world. If there is one thing you take from this entry, invest in some good brushes, and take care of them.
Here are my must haves:
MAC Small Angle Brush 266SH: This tight little brush is perfect for applying shadow as eyeliner, and pot liners. It provides foolproof control.
MAC Tapered Blending Brush 224SH: I love this brush for lightly blending my shadow in a V shape into the crease of my eye.
MAC Blending Brush 217SH: This is my standard eyeshadow brush to apply a neutral color all over the lid.
MAC Pencil Brush 219 I didn’t know how much I needed this brush until I got it for Christmas from my sister-in-law. It works well to blend out liner and shadow. The precise tip of the brush is great to smudge out liner on the lower lash line..
Don’t forget lid hygiene.
I spent so much time ignoring lid hygiene, but I’ve learned the hard way. This absolutely matters.
First, take off your makeup every night. Leaving on old makeup is bad for your skin, and buildup can create infections.
I have used eyelid wipes in the past and I love them for cleansing and getting the eyelid really clean. The formula also won’t irritate eyes.
Pay attention to makeup expiration dates. Take a look at your makeup and most likely you’ll see a little container sign on the package. This shows how long the product is good for. I used to ignore these expiration dates, but recently have noticed that expired makeup irritates my eyelids.
Here’s a tip: the moment you buy a new product, figure out how long it’s good for and add a reminder to your phone for that expiration date to replace it. That way, you don’t need to think about it again until the reminder pops up.
Also, clean your brushes. I need to take this advice also. I don’t clean mine nearly enough. Makeup pro Bobbi Brown recommends twice a month for brushes used around the eyes.
Here’s the takeaway…
I’ve had a lot of people tell me how frustrated makeup makes them. To solve this, find a look you love and bring that picture or screenshot to a professional makeup counter like MAC or Sephora. Show the photo to an employee and ask if they can recommend shades that work for you. Ask them to go step by step and show how to apply your makeup to achieve the desired look, while you watch in the mirror. Then, either have them write down everything they used, including brushes. From there, buy a few of your favorites or keep the list to build your collection later. I’ve done this several times, and it’s really helped me learn what works for me.
Do you have any eye makeup you can’t live without? Share with me your favorite brands in the comments.