Beauty Products

Now and then I get emails/comments asking me about what beauty products I use, and I’ve been crafting this post for ages. While this may seem like an off-topic post for my usual thing on this blog, I’ll have you know: I’m not much of a girly girl, but I am a beauty product addict. This post was really fun to put together, albeit time consuming. I wanted to keep it simple, but I feel it’s necessary to explain the products I use.

I’m not a big beauty blog reader (I’d love to hear about your favorites, I find most of them annoying!), but I love Into The Gloss, and Andrea got me hooked on Lisa Eldridge, a makeup artist who has these incredibly informative video tutorials on makeup. I could watch them all day (her soothing British accept helps, I think). For the longest time I was a drugstore makeup girl, but after college Andrea introduced me to M.A.C, and I instantly saw the benefit of saving up for the good stuff. When I’m low on cash I usually go for L’Oréal or Revlon.

So, let’s start with what I use every single day. I’m pretty low-maintenance, and try to keep things as natural as possible without looking too bare. I usually do my makeup relatively the same every day – but on the weekends I often skip eyeliner, and when going out at night I’ll make my eyes more dramatic.

1. M.A.C Blot Powder – I have oily skin, so this just absorbs oil and mattifies with barely any color.
2. M.A.C Select Moisturecover – My absolute favorite concealer – I use this just on my t-zone, sparingly, to even out color.
3. Boscia – This isn’t makeup, but is worth mentioning as it’s crucial to my beauty routine. I have acne-prone skin and have tried every product under the sun since I was a teenager. Less than a year ago I discovered Boscia – which is totally preservative-free, botanically-based and doesn’t use any of the chemicals I always thought were necessary to take care of acne. It’s incredible, nothing has worked this well for me. I started with this kit and then ended up buying the full-size versions of all of them.
4. M.A.C eyeshadow – Huge range of colors, long lasting. Sometimes I use the Sephora brand, sometimes Revlon, but I prefer M.A.C if I can afford it. My favorite is Motif – a peachy color that’s kind of opal-like.
5. Sephora Retractable Eyeliner – I’m a fan of retractable eyeliner because I hate sharpening pencils, and I love the little sponge on the other end to make lines softer. I like black and matte charcoal.
6. Benetint – My favorite cheek stain, hands down. Perfect flushed-cheek color.
7. Eyelash curler – A lot of people are afraid of them, but I use it every single day as my lashes are not that full. Don’t be scared! I’m not picky about the brand, but usually buy the cheap Revlon kind at the drugstore.
8. BADgal Lash - The absolute best mascara. A few months ago I got a free sample of the plum color, and though I was skeptical of putting colored mascara on my lashes, it’s the best. You’d think it would be good for a night out, but it’s actually good for when you make you eyes up really simple – it makes the color of your eyes pop and the plum color isn’t super noticeable.
9. Clinique Airbrush Concealer – A fairly recent find, it’s already a favorite product of mine I use every day. I only use it under my eyes and on spot breakouts – it’s somehow magical and doesn’t crease, it’s very light but zaps away darkness.

1. Josie Maran Magic Marker – It’s funny putting this on here because I JUST bought it this week, but I’m so obsessed with it, it’s definitely going to be something I use often. Lipstains are hard for me to wear usually because my lips are so dry, but something is different about this one – the color is super intense, and Jive is an amazing shade of fluorescent coral. They aren’t kidding when they call it stain – be careful!
2. M.A.C Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo – A perfect vintage red for a dramatic look. This stuff is pretty incredible and super intense – the trick is to only wear mascara on your eyes to not look like a clown. It’s pretty long lasting, but it does require some touch-up if you’re going to wear it all day. I recommend using a lip liner pencil with it, otherwise it’s difficult to put on straight, especially after it wears down a bit.
3. Nailpolish – I have a hilariously large nail polish collection, but my favorite brands are Essie and RGB for their color selection and being the most chip resistant. Playa Del Platinum is my favorite Essie color. Toast is my favorite RGB color.
4. Sephora Nano Liner - Sometimes a fun eyeliner color is in order for a night out, and I like these little Sephora liners. They’re cheap, too. The silver green color is really nice, doesn’t scream “Hello, I’m going out clubbing in my metallic eyeliner”.
5. M.A.C Studio Fix – When I need a little more coverage this foundation and powder combo is my go-to. I’ve been using it more often lately now that I’m in a more corporate office under harsh fluorescent lights. I usually just dust a little on my t-zone as covering up my freckles on my cheek bones looks weird.

Now, I didn’t cover hair here because I don’t use anything exciting. I buy whatever grabs my eye at the drug store, and I don’t use any product. Somehow I’m obsessed with makeup but could not care less about hair products. Sometimes I use argan oil to smooth out fly-aways, but only because I bought it for my skin and it made me break out, so I found another use for it!

Thanks for reading the longest post in the universe, guys. Please share your favorites, I’d love to hear about them!


  1. Danielle says

    I became a MAC convert a couple years ago, just before my wedding. The ladies were so helpful, and the products all last. I use the All That Glitters and Brule eyeshadows every day. And I love that you get a free lipstick if you take the containers back tone recycled.

  2. says

    I love M.A.C eyeshadow, it is hands down, the best. For skincare, I use Dermalogica and have used their line for over 10 years now. My other favorite brand is Laura Mercier…love the tinted moisturizer.

  3. says

    Thank you for the Boscia recommendation, Kate. Your skin sounds similar to mine and with a couple of dramatic climate changes in where I’ve been living in recent years, I’ve struggled to find things that work for me consistently.

    The awesome hairstylist I go to whenever I’m in San Francisco recommended the Kerastase Volumactive line for my fine hair, and it’s the best shit ever. My hair feels like silk since I started using it. Their products are a bit pricy, but you can find the larger bottles for a pretty good deal online.

    I looked forever for a good facial moisturizer that wouldn’t make me break out. My oily skin has been especially complicated since I’ve been living in the desert. I break out easily and ended up frustrated with every product I tried. But while I was in Portland I visited the Lush store and bought some of their Enzymion moisturizer. It’s like $35 for a small jar, but lasts forever because you only need a little bit at a time. It’s super light, makes my skin feel amazing and doesn’t make me break out.

  4. says

    I got Sephora metallic green eyeliner as a sample and loved it so much I got it in olive green and it’s even better. It complements my eye color and is more suitable for day time.
    Thanks for putting this together.

  5. lauren says

    GREAT POST!! Not too long at all.

    I’m not much of a make-up guru/girly girl either but all the stuff you listed looks so good! I’m more drawn to natural makeup and have always liked your look so it’s nice to finally discover what YOU use! Now I’m going to have to make a trip to Sephora this weekend! Thanks so much! :)

  6. says

    i love this post. i really need a better concealer & that clinique one sounds awesome. i’d love to get my hands on that boscia too. i’ve always had problem skin but it’s always kind of scary to put something new on my skin because weird things happen sometimes.

    i’ve been using a really light cream by la roche-posay. it’s effaclar k daily renewal fluid for oily skin. i bought it as a moisturizer but it’s supposed to keep skin clearer & clear out pores. i thought “bullshit” when the lady was telling me but my skin has been soooo much better since i’ve bought it. so much.

  7. says

    Hooray for makeup! :) I love seeing what works for real women. Totally agree about BadGal lash, I’ve tried nearly everything else in Sephora and keep coming back to it. I think Boscia may be the one drugstore cleanser I haven’t tried, will have to check it out next time!

  8. says

    I love all things Benefit, especially the Boi-ing concealer and the Coralista blush. I have a collection of Urban Decay metallic eyeliners that are super easy to apply and are nice for dressing up. I am a fan of Mac’s Russian Red (Madonna red!) lipstick, but I would never wear it during the day! I recently dumped all of my acne products except sal. acid (used only in emergencies!). Yay post-teenage skin! There’s this Avalon Organic facewash that Target sells (I’ve seen it at health stores, too) and it is INCREDIBLE. Smells like oranges.

    I would love to see the Josie Maran tint on if you can fit it into a Bits post! :) It sounds like a great product.

  9. says

    I love the Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturizer. It’s super smooth and light. I actually still cut it with my regular face sunblock for everyday but use it straight (like foundation) for more coverage. Love Nars lipsticks, Benetint is a long-time staple.

    I use Blinc mascara (tube mascara) because everything else smudges and flakes on me that I had actually given up wearing mascara.

    Face stuff is either Boscia or Alba Botanica depending on my cash flow…

  10. says

    Wow, Lisa Eldridge’s blog is my new obsession. Cue watching videos for the rest of the evening…

    I grew up using Clinique (my mother and Grandmother’s line of choice), I haven’t tried their Air Brush concealer, thanks for the recommendation! As for skincare;I have dry skin, so I’ve been using Neostrata Daily Smoothing Cream and it works wonders. I absolutely love the colour of MAC Ruby Woo, and lately I’m obsessed with Nars Heat Wave and Schiap! I’m endlessly on the hunt for the perfect mascara, so I’ll check out BADgal lash. Thanks for sharing all your favorite make-up!

  11. says

    I love posts like this! I became obsessed with beauty products a few years ago when a friend of mine got a job at Sephora and gave me a makeover. It seems as though we have similar beauty product tastes – I am very excited to try the Benefit Badgal Plum mascara.

  12. says

    That’s too bad about the argan oil making you break out. I use it on my face every night and love it! Which is crazy because I have been burdened with breakouts forever and somehow I can slather this oil all over and it does nothing but moisturize;) Although, it doesn’t seem to keep my lips from getting dry. I use vaseline for that.

  13. Kate says

    I love seeing what products other people use!
    I really want to try the Boscia skincare line, but I’m using Clinique 3-step and it’s changed my skin in the best way possible.
    Thanks for this, I’m excited to try some new things.
    Also, I know you said hair wasn’t top priority, but have you tried the L’Oreal EverStrong or EverPure haircare line? It’s drugstore but often compared to Pureology. Anyway, I can’t say enough wonderful things about it! The smell bothered me at first, but I got used to it. I use the purple one and well… LOVE.

  14. says

    I LOVE Josie Maran’s products. And the best part is, no harsh chemicals! Try her cream blush, it’s the best. I refuse to go back to powdered blush now!

  15. says

    I am a cosmetic chemist and I found that for skin and hair care, nothing beats good fresh cold pressed organic argan oil. I mean the 100% pure variety that you can also add to your favorite products. Good Argan oil needs to be fresh ( less than six months old). A product called Mogador Argan Oil understands that fact and imports its oil monthy. They make sure that it is not exposed to sun and light. You can buy it at It is not expensive and you can be sure that you are getting the best Argan Oil there is.

  16. says

    oooh i need a good concealer and i’ve liked the clinique products i’ve tried before… do you use it before, after, or in lieu of applying foundation in those areas?

  17. says

    Boscia AND M.A.C. be still my heart! You have some wonderful picks here. I use Moisturecover in my kit, it’s the perfect undereye concealer, it never creases or cakes. Setting everything with Blot Powder is a must. It’s only 2% pigment but it won’t make you photograph lighter than the rest of your body in pictures the way Studio Fix does (it’s the SPF), you can use Blot Powder on top to counteract the effect. Definitely try the cult classic Shu Uemura eyelash curler, you will be amazed. Thanks for a great read. Enjoy your weekend!

  18. says

    Great post! I’m a MAC fan too. I just ordered the Select Moisturecover as I’ve been looking for a decent concealer. Have you tried Benefit Creaseless Cream eyeshadows? I like the RSVP and Stiletto shades. I think I got on to them through Lisa E, she’s great isn’t she. I also use Makeup Alley to read up on products before I get them

  19. says

    Ooh, I use that Sephora Nano liner in Pearl Beige on the inside corners of my eyes to brighten them. :)

    Favorite Sephora lip stuff is Fresh Sugar Rose lip balm!

  20. says

    Oh boy, I’ve just spent the entire afternoon watching Lisa Eldridge’s videos! So basically my productivity = 0, but my beauty knowledge has increased tenfold (thanks, Kate!).

    Right now I’m using Make Up For Ever HD Foundation, which goes on SO smooth, but I swear by Studio Fix in the summer months.

  21. RebeccaNYC says

    I love that you are not a girly girl, but list nine makeup items you use daily. As a person who works on the stage I do not like to wear makeup on my time off. (I also don’t like to change my clothes or go clothing shopping on my time off…I change my clothes so often for work! I know, it sounds really strange…) For work I use drugstore stuff, the cheaper the better. It is all basically the same, especially eye liner pencils. I have used a lot of MAC, but it is much too heavy for me. For time off when I do wear makeup, its usually some Clinique tinted moisture, a mascara and a Fresh lip gloss. Sometimes I wish I were more into makeup, but I think its a case of overload.

  22. Elle says

    I have oily/acne prone skin too but MAC (being a cat-walk make-up) is far too heavy for me and made my skin worse. I found MAC to make my skin look great at first but then damage my skin as it doesn’t let your skin breathe. Now I use Laura Mercier foundation (oil free) and it makes my skin look airbrushed and yet it lets my skin breathe, too. For break out days I wear the secret camouflage concealer on top, which is super natural looking and great for covering redness.

    the plum mascara sounds really great, as does the benetint – thanks for sharing!

  23. Amanda says

    Hi! Thanks so much for the tip on the Boscia products! I’m going to get the kit and try it out myself. I have had a bad case of acne since I turned 23 (I know, I much would have rather had it in my teenage years, when everyone else was going through the same), and since then I’ve been using the benzoyl peroxide and AHA products that are sold on I hate using harsh chemicals to keep the breakouts away, but they’re the only thing that have worked for me. I’ll try the Boscia kit while weaning my skin off these other products, and hopefully that’ll do the trick!

    Thanks again for the advice… loved seeing all your beauty picks! :)

  24. says

    i walked into a department store this weekend and immediately thought of your post! ended up buying some more benefit products (i am faithful to them – benetint is one of my favourites as well). have you tried their erase paste & ‘you rebel’ tinted moisturizer? they are nice. light & perfect for ‘daywear’ make-up… the only make-up i seem to wear, anyway.

  25. says

    discovered lisa eldridge a few months ago too! kind of obsessed. she makes it simple to try new looks and her brow routine video was especially revolutionary for me. love her. the maran lip stain sounds awesome. i’ll give it a try soon.

    i tried a sample of bad gal a few yrs ago and it didn’t amaze. maybe it was just dried out. my current loves in general are loreal’s new million lashes, benefit creaseless cream shadow/liner pots, nars velvet matte lip pencils, essie’s turquoise & caicos

  26. Charlotte says

    I’m totally late with this, but you might like the beauty blog Facegoop. It’s really fun and tongue-in-cheek.
    Hope you like it!


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