When I was in high school (and even in early college), it seemed to me that the very height of style was the smokey eye. After applying a nice thick layer of my Aquatique eyecolor base, I would pile different colors of eye shadow (ALWAYS at least three, sometimes more when I was trying to look like a peacock [I’m not joking]) onto my eyelids until I achieved that “gouged-out” look whenever I closed my eyes. I would then swipe on some mascara and some nice dark purple lipstick. And voila! Insta-vamp.
I think the reason I used so much makeup, despite being generally apathetic towards cosmetics in general, is because of my mother. Her makeup routine, which I would watch in the mirror while I waited for her to get ready from the side of the bathtub, was long, complicated, and unvarying. I imagine there was something meditative about it for her, because it was always pretty calming for me to watch. For every step in this protracted process, she only ever used the same products and colors. When Clinique or Lancome gave her a free gift with purchase, which they always seemed to do, she had no use for it. So they became mine. This resulted in my first and most serious episode of hoarding. I had drawers and boxes FULL of lipsticks, mascaras, eye shadows, “Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotions,” lip glosses, wrinkle creams…you name it, I probably had five. When I was bored, or waiting for my mother to get ready, I’d put it all on.
Boredom and an unnecessarily huge cosmetic arsenal made it such that, in retrospect, the makeup I wore was really…excessive. Hence the intricate layers of smokey eyes, and unnatural lipsticks I tended to wear on banal occasions, like going to the bagel store. Like many of the girly tendencies of my girlhood, my interest in makeup was simultaneously both emotionally distanced and obsessive. I would have much rather read a book, but since there were so many novel products just sitting there…why not put them all on at once?!
I’ve thrown out and given away a lot of that hoard, and have drastically pared down my cosmetics into a manageable routine. As someone who likes to keep things simple, yet has an absurd amount of experience with different products, I like to think that my current repository reflects a sort of informed minimalism. And I’d like to share it with you! I’m like your own cosmetic guinea pig, masochistically traumatized by self-inflicted inhumane testing.
After serious reflection and hoard-liquidation, here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to:
Clockwise, from top left: Dr. Jart’s Water Fuse Beauty Balm (aka BB Cream), M.A.C Zoom Fast Mascara, Davines Oi Oil, Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm, Tokyomilk “Tainted Love” Eau de Parfum, and Sephora Long Lasting Eyeliner High Precision Brush
Dr. Jart’s Water Fuse Beauty Balm
Works like a foundation/concealer, but actually feels like I’m not wearing makeup. Plus there’s SPF! Just a pea-sized amount blends naturally into my skin tone…so I have actually been using this same BB cream for almost a year now.
M.A.C Zoom Fast Mascara
I have owned what feels like thousands of mascaras, primarily Clinique and Lancome, but also some drugstore type brands. And they are all blown away by this little tube from M.A.C. Zero clumps. Fluffy lashes.
Davines OI Oil
My favorite accessory is my hair, especially when I can get it to grow out long. I’ve tried a bunch of different oils to keep my ends from looking frizzy, and this is the only one I’ve encountered that can give me shiny locks all day without getting crunchy or too oily. I let my hair air-dry and all I need is just two squirts run through the bottom of my hair with my fingers…and that’s it. No other styling required.
Tokyomilk “Tainted Love” Eau de Parfum
I got this as a sample in a pack of three perfumes (the other two were shared with Natalie and Colleen). It was love at first whiff. Dark Vanilla Bean, Orchid, White Tea, and Sandalwood come together into a sultry sweet musk that is both unique and bewitching.
Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm
A hint of color, a lovely scent, perfect texture. I carry this everywhere. I’ve been through the gamut of lip balms from Chapstick to Ecolips and this is hands down the best. Just trust me.
Sephora Long Lasting Eyeliner High Precision Brush
I’ve given up the gouged-out look entirely in favor of a simpler cat-eye, and this inexpensive Sephora liner does the trick quite nicely. Simple and constantly good results that last all day, even through extreme sweat.
And here’s what what my face looks when I put all that together!
Have you ever hoarded anything? Have you been able to stop? Any makeup suggestions? Talk to me in the comments!
PS. If you want to see more of my face/some really amazing photography, check out my friend Vish’s blog: