My Makeup Essentials

When I was very young, I loved watching my Mom put on her makeup. Visions of pink Mary Kay eyeshadow pans come to mind, filled with hunter green and bright blue [It was the early 90's, after all], and also that neon pink tube of Great Lash mascara [they still sell it!]. I can even still remember what her small makeup bag looked like! I wanted so bad to have my own makeup. But I was forbidden to wear anything other than lip gloss on the regular until I was 13 years old. I AGONIZED over this rule, and the lipsmackers never seemed to satisfy. So the very day I turned 13, I started playing with makeup and never looked back!

My "makeup game" was weak for many years. I didn't know much outside of foundation, mascara, eyeshadow, lipstick and blush - and really I only bought what I liked, not what liked me. But that all changed about three years ago. I discovered what Ulta and Sephora were, and the magic held within. I had no idea how many thousands of makeup types, companies and products existed in the world. How did I get interested in all this? Youtube! I began watching makeup videos online from Jaclyn Hill, and found a bunch more beauty gurus I loved, and then makeup products and application just rolled into a hobby. That hobby became an obsession, and now I have a makeup table set up with a decent size product collection, and I love every moment of it! #cantstopwontstop

Today, I'm sharing with you my very favorite makeup products and why I love them. I would call them essentials for me! Makeup is obviously not essential for everyone, and not even everyone is super interested in it like I am. But......if you are, or if you want to be, I am here to share!

I should probably start by talking about my skin type. My skin is so. very. weird. My T-zone gets oily throughout the day, but I also frequently have dry patches on my cheeks and middle forehead. Serious combination skin! It changes as my hormones change, from dry to oily, back and forth. UGH, it is so very annoying! I have PCOS, and that also takes a large toll on my skin with those associated hormonal imbalances. I get a lot of cystic-type acne around my chin area [a sign of hormonal imbalance, fyi], and the occasional blemish on my nose, but never on my forehead. As if it couldn't get worse, I have a decent amount of hair that grows on my chin that has to be removed frequently [like life is not hard enough]. 

I think it's so funny how I thought when I was a teen that all my skin problems would magically disappear when I was oh, I don't know - mid-twenties? I laugh at that person now. 

All these products mentioned below are good for my crazy face skin type. If you are totally dry, I can't help you, the only thing I can say is drink more water and find a very good moisturizer and see if that helps. And if you are totally oily, I can only recommend that you use clay masks! Those are my only top non-professional tips. Ha! 

Without further adieu....

my makeup essentials a cheerful life blog

1. Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer for Combination Skin, $11.99 - I have been using this many years, and have strayed many times, but I always come back! It's very good for the price, makes my skin feel and look much more hydrated, and doesn't seem to make my t-zone any oilier than normal [as some other moisturizers I have tried have done just that]. I have splurged last year with Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar and loved it, but can't afford it for everyday use. 

It's my opinion that moisturizer as part of a makeup routine is ESSENTIAL. If you don't use moisturizer before applying makeup, it's like using $1000 oil paints on a piece of plain paper - it doesn't make any sense! Moisturizer is needed to even out your skin texture and prep your skin for things to cling to it.

2. Becca Backlight Priming Filter, $38 - I talked about this in my March Favorites post, and for good reason! It is my very favorite primer. It provides a healthy glow for my otherwise dull skin. I have heard a lot of people on Youtube and on blogs say that they don't think it helps their makeup to stay on longer, but I beg to differ! I believe that it does, and I wear it almost everyday. It's pricey, but I scored it for 40% off at the 21 Day of Ulta sale this Spring, and a little bit does go a long way. 

3. Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer in Fair, $25 - If you look up this product online, you will see that is many makeup guru's favorite concealer of all time. It was the continuous praise that prompted me to try this sometime last year, and I'm so glad that I took the chance! It's totally full coverage, blends nicely, and once again, it's higher priced, but also higher quality, so a little bit stretches a long way. 

4. Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden, $20 - This is a nude matte eye shadow primer that goes on smooth and opaque. The small, doe foot applicator makes application easy. It is over all the best I have found for eye shadow longevity, and once again, a little goes a long way! 

5. Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation in Fair Honey, $36 - I have two foundations on this list, because sometimes you just need two to fall back on, you know? This foundation is powdered but full coverage, which seems like an anomaly, but truly works! After buffing it into the skin, it morphs somehow from a powder to a silky matte, totally full coverage foundation. This is my favorite foundation if I'm not going to be doing anything fancy. It is so lightweight, I don't feel like I have anything on, but evens out my skin tone and even covers blemishes! 

6. Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation in Ivory & Buff, $11.99 - This foundation has stood the test of time with me - I've used it for YEARS now - and if they ever discontinue it, I will be so devastated! It's not a mousse, but it does have a cream consistency, much more than your standard liquid foundation [kind of like pudding]. It glides on so smoothly, and applies best with a medium-dense brush [like the one I will talk about below!]. I use two colors - the lightest in Ivory is a bit too pink, and the Buff is a bit too dark, but combined they make the perfect shade for me. I have strayed from this product, but I always come back! 

7. NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder in Dark Brown, $5.99 - This product is a STEAL! It comes in so many colors, it is a powdered-duo, and even has a setting wax. Really I just have no interest in finding "the best eyebrow product" anymore, because this was the second eyebrow product I ever tried and never felt the need to try anything else. It has no fallout and stays all day with no smudging. It just makes your brows look more full and defined, at such a good price! 

8. Loreal Voluminous Lash Primer, $8.99 - I bought this last year, and I had never tried a lash primer before - but once again, I've never had to search for another because I am totally and completely satisfied with this one! It goes on white - but once you apply your mascara, you cannot tell at all! It lengthens my stubby lashes significantly and applies without clumps. 

9. Arrow Endure Water Resistant Mascara, $18 - I haven't had to re-purchase this mascara, because I received a sample in February in my first Birchbox and it has yet to dry up or run out. [Yes, I know it's been 3 months and I should get rid of it, but I can't yet!] It doesn't flake, and plumps up my lashes. It seems to work well with the afore-mentioned Loreal primer. Win-win! I will be purchasing a full size soon.

10. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black, $22 - Let me start by saying, I really don't like liquid eye liner much. Liquid is often hard to apply, has high shine, and don't even get me started on flimsy tips! But this liquid liner is just perfection! It does not move around, it is truly stays all day, and has more of a matte appearance. The control on the applicator is just right to line either thick or thin, but limber enough to give a good wing. Worth every penny! A tube usually lasts about 4 months with everyday application.

11. Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette, $42 -  Inspired by the colors of paintings from the Renaissance era [I mean, how cool is that?!], this boasts a wide range of colors in a variety of mattes and shimmers. There are neutrals, warm tones, cool tones - the works! The formula is perfection - they are a little powdery, but they blend and apply so flawlessly, and are so pigmented. They stay on all day. I am hitting pan on a few colors and will probably repurchase within in the next few months. Another product well worth the price tag! 

12. Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer, $14.99 - This comes in two colors, light bronze and regular. I bought the regular color, because one of my favorite Youtubers, Thataylaa, reviewed the light bronzer and declared it too orangey - but the viewers in the comments recommended the regular because it's more neutral toned. I just use a light hand to warm up around the edges of my face, and it works perfectly. And it smells like a tropical vacation! You can't get much better than a drugstore product that works well and smells like coconuts. 

13. Urban Decay Afterglow 8 Hour Powder Blush in Rapture, $26 - I don't know officially if this is being discontinued, but Ulta has had these on sale for a while! I hope they are not being axed, because they are awesome! Another long lasting product, applies evenly, lots of colors to choose from. 

14. Essence Eyeshadow in Apricotta, $1.99 - Based upon another tip by Thataylaa, I bought this to try as a highlighter, and holy cow - it is amazing! It is illuminating while not being glittery, you can apply subtly or really layer it on the cheekbones for a "highlighter on fleek" vibe. [I love using cool kid language!] I love to apply this with a stipple brush, like this one

15. Urban Decay De-slick Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray, $31 - I understand makeup setting spray is kind of a luxury to most, but I can't quit it! The life of my makeup is extended significantly by using it, evidenced by mornings I forget to use it. I prefer the De-slick to the classic All Nighter Long-Lasting makeup setting spray because it does the same thing, but adds oil control, which my t-zone desperately needs.  

16. Elf Selfie Foundation Blurring Brush, $6 - I'd much rather spend my money on colors, so splurging on application tools is hard for me! I bought a Morphe brush to apply foundation when I first really started getting deep into makeup. It worked pretty good, I was satisfied. But I wanted to get a good backup brush, and not even spend $14 again, so I picked this Elf brush up and I have never used another since. In fact, I ended up buying an additional one of these and retired my Morphe brush! It blends flawlessly and has held up very well for the amazing price. 

17. Real Techniques Miracle Mini Eraser Sponges, $5.99 [pack of 2] - I got these for Christmas from my sister, and they have worked so well to blend out the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer. I know it's recommended to wet makeup sponges, but I use these dry to blend, and they work much better for me. I'm still using the two from Christmas, and just washing them - they're holding up well so far, although I will probably replace them soon. 

18. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso, $24 - One lipstick of two. I chose this one as my essential liquid lip. Blue-based red lipstick is a necessity, I believe, and it's always the color I gravitate towards. This liquid lipstick is a beautiful, smooth formula and once again, lives up to its namesake. It may not actually stay "all day", but it lasts hours longer than most liquid lipstick [especially drug store], even after eating and drinking. While it dries down matte, it doesn't seem to dry out my lips. Be warned - you must remove with makeup remover or face wash! But it does not stain. 

19. NYX Pin Up Pout Lipstick in Red Haute, $7.99 - I never expected this satin finish lipstick to be as amazing as it is! It stays on super long, but is very creamy and moisturizing. The color is another great blue-based red. So worth the price. I'm planning on trying other colors soon! 

So there it is! My makeup essentials, with my honest opinions. Hopefully they will help you out on your next makeup adventures.

I'd love to know your makeup essentials in the comments below!