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Before beauty was my actual job, I was a beauty soothsayer among friends, family, and acquaintances. I’ve always been obsessed with both skincare and makeup products beyond the norm; I was using Korean snail creams in 2014 when the idea was unheard of and made people ick, and I learned to bake my face back when Ben Nye Banana Powder was the only option. People knew they could come to me and get an opinion, ask advice, or just be able to talk shop.
Fast forward nine years, and this is still happening, but now even more. I get calls and texts from friends asking about specific products, looking for recommendations, and talking about skin or makeup issues. Plus, Instagram has made it so that strangers can ask me their beauty-related questions, too.
Frequently the message from coworkers, fellow beauty editors, friends, family, and strangers is simply something like, “drop the routine.” So! Here it is. The 3-4 step, 10 product makeup routine that I have refined via years of work and thousands of products.
I used to swear by a primer, but I no longer think a primer is necessary for getting your makeup to last throughout the day. Now, if I use a primer it’s because I want a dewy, glowing face akin to a glazed donut. Kjaer Weis’ recently gifted me its just-launched The Beautiful Primer, and it is astounding even without makeup. I will, however, skip this step when I am doing the streamlined, in-a-hurry version of my routine.
Left: Primer and eye makeup. Right: After adding foundation.
I am obsessed with eye makeup, and I feel like it doesn’t get its dues. I am not talking about TikTok-worthy, art-degree-requiring looks either — I like an eyeshadow I can basically just smear on without too much attention. This is the part of my routine that changes most often, but for the last six months, I’ve cared about nothing other than About Face’s eye products. It started with Matte Fluid Eye Paint in Dionysus, a barbie pink, and currently, it’s the newer Fractal Glitter Eye Paint in all colors, but mainly Smolder.
This is going to sound like heresy, but I only just started believing in mascara, so I am still flirting around product-wise. One of my go-tos (and the one in the photos) is MAC’s Magic Extension.
There are a few skin tints and foundations that I like, but I have been wholeheartedly obsessed with Rare Beauty’s Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation since I was first gifted it two months ago (for reference, I am shade 210N). While at first I was sent a free sample by Rare Beauty to try out, I’ve since purchased my own because it’s now my go-to. It’s silky and light, and it falls somewhere in between light and medium coverage. It still feels like my own complexion but leaves me glowing without falling victim to my oily skin.
As I said about looking like a glazed donut, catching light is the crux of my finished makeup look. I like when I’m in a dark bar and a random person asks me how it is that I am shining in the dim lighting. With that said, I’m very picky about my highlighters. I don’t want it to look like I’m wearing sparkles or straight-up glitter, but rather like I’m glowing from within. The two highlighters that I use are under-the-radar and incredibly overlooked: Cle Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion in Glinting Buff and Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick in Nectar. I use my fingers to apply and blend both, starting on the high parts of my cheeks under my eyes and making a c shape up to my eyebrows. I tap the excess onto my nose and cupids bow.
I finish things off with my lips. Like my eye makeup, I have a vast arsenal of products that are variations of ’90s mauve, brick, brown, and dusty rose shades. I like to start with Makeup by Mario’s Ultra Suede Sculpting Lip Pencil in Lauren or Kelley. I fill in both lips and then top it off with About Face’s Light Lock Lip Gloss in Blame Game or Playdate. And there you have it! I’m ready to leave the house… or stay in and take selfies.