Almost a year ago, I began a mini-series of posts called Daily Essentials. My thought was that I would write a series of posts about items/products/practices I use every day.* As a continuation of the series, I'm writing about the personal products or cosmetics that I use everyday or nearly everyday.
I'm fairly low-maintenance (perhaps unskilled is a more apt term?) in my beauty routine. As such, I don't use a large number of products, nor do I spend much more than five or ten minutes on my makeup, on average. Once I find items that work for my routine, my complexion, and my preferences, I stick with them.
A note: I like to think about what I'm putting in my body (via the food I eat), and I also try to be mindful of what I put on my body in regards to cosmetics and personal care products. I haven't arrived at a perfect mix of products, but I'm okay with that. I don't personally see the virtue in throwing away the contents of my makeup bag simply if they don't meet the highest of standards. Instead, I appreciate the freedom of grace and a gradual transition to a cleaner, more chemical-free beauty routine. I am a proponent for using up what I have, then replacing each product, one by one, with something that contains fewer chemicals or harmful additives. For the most part, I don't have brand loyalty, I just wanted to share what types of products I use. However, I'll specify with brand names when there is a specific product that I enjoy.
All this said, I've separated my beauty routine into a few sections, by category:
I have normal/combination skin that is best suited to washing once a day. To wash my face, I use Yes To Carrots Daily Cream Cleanser** whenever I shower, or before bed, if I skip a shower. Other favorite products (lots of brand loyalty here, actually) include:
- Acure day cream as a general moisturizer. It smells so good. When I want a daily lotion with SPF coverage, I use Yes to Carrots daily moisturizer (not pictured)
- Laura mercer primer is wonderfully smooth and keeps foundation looking fresh all day. I use this primarily for special occasions, or when I'm investing more time in getting ready for an occasion. This is pricey, so when my sample runs out, I'll have to weigh the worth of investing in a new container of it. But it does wonders to prep your face for makeup.
- Mitchell and Peach fine radiance face oil** is just the thing after I shower before bed or if my face feels a little dry. It's not greasy and it has a pleasant, light scent. Even though it's an oil, it feels a light lighter than most nighttime facial creams.
For a foundation
I prefer easy-to-apply formulas and a simple routine to make my face appear brighter and more evenly-toned.
- Eye highlighter to the inner corners of my eyes for brightening
- All-purpose concealer to combat dark under-eye circles or as an eyeshadow primer.
- Zuzu Luxe dual powder foundation**. It's a bit pricey, but it covers well and lasts all day. Also, the company sells refills so you don't need to buy a new compact each time you run out. It's my favorite powder foundation I've ever tried (and you can find it at Whole Foods).
- Highlighter for brow bones/cheek bone enhancement. I'm no expert at applying this, but I like to add it to my makeup routine when I'm getting dressed up for a special occasion.
I have fairly long lashes that are a medium brown color. Mostly, I like to add a little definition with mascara and sometimes liner. The formula I choose depends on my mood, and the time of day.
- Mascara**, generally in a black/brown tone (not waterproof). I like the one pictured (from No7) but I haven't found an absolute favorite yet.
- Eyebrow pencil**, in brown. It changes everything. Okay, that was dramatic, but it does add helpful definition and framing to my face.
- Eyeliner pencil, in black or plum, applied to my top lash line only, on days when I want my eyes to have a little more definition.
- Clinique Cream brush-on liner. I don't wear this every day, but it has been my favorite eye liner formula since high school. I have it in black honey, but it looks like that's a discontinued color, unfortunately.
- Liquid eyeliner, in black. It's fun to wear, but difficult to apply and difficult to remove, so it's reserved for special occasions.
Although I don't add color to my complexion every day, I frequently like to add a little color with subtle eyeshadows and happy lip color.
- Eyeshadow, most often from Clinique, Estee Lauder (thanks, Grandma Donna!), and most recently, Pacifica.
- Shimmery lip balm
- Lip stain for a longer-lasting color on a special occasion
- Anthropologie lipstick (all the time)
- Burt's Bees lipstick (a new favorite)
For my hair
I'm laughing to myself as I type this, since it's hardly a routine. That said, I do the same things again and again with my hair. My hair is naturally blond, with a slight wave/texture. Usually, I wash my hair every other day. I shower at night, towel dry my hair, and then go to bed with wet hair, as my hair is less frizzy when I do this. If I want curls, then on day one of clean hair, I'll wear my hair in a high bun, and then sleep with the bun in. The next day, I take it out and my hair will hold the resulting curls all day long, and even into a third day, if I feel so inclined. To spruce up between washings, I use dry shampoo. And that's it. Hair spray is reserved for special occasions. I can't be bothered to use a hair dryer or straightener, and I keep my hair long to avoid style-intensive cuts. (I say all this like I know what I'm talking about, but really, I'm just lazy). Instead, I'll wear my hair down (un-styled), braided to the side, or in a high ponytail.
And just for fun, here's a photo of me and my adorable sister-in-law, Katelyn, when we got all dressed up for Mexican food (as you do)
**products I use every single day, whether I'm working or not.
*Other posts in the Daily Essentials series include:
- Daily essentials: Kitchen, regarding my most-used kitchen tools and supplied.
- Daily essentials: My wardrobe, regarding my most-worn pieces + styling tips
- Daily essentials: Our morning coffee routine + a how-to
P.S.—There are so many cosmetic and self-care products on the market. My tendency is to become overwhelmed and buy too many products that I don't use and eventually discard, or to feel paralyzed from the huge number of choices we have and settle for buying the "not great, just okay" product. We'll continue to be bombarded with choices (all in the name of your most beautiful self, they'll say) but I have found one way to help combat this. Some months back, my sister-in-law gave me an Ipsy subscription, which enabled me to try a handful of new products each month in a low-pressure manner. In fact, I discovered some of my favorite products via the service (nearly all the moisturizers I use). These are products that I now know are worth the investment, since I've given them a lengthy home trial.
P.P.S.—You're beautiful. And our appearances couldn't matter less in the light of eternity. May we never forget that a pretty face doesn't indicate anything about the condition of our hearts. There are much more important things than makeup to put on.
Colossians 3:12-14 says:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Winter is coming, and along with it, dry skin and the subsequent need for a reliable and effective moisturizing routine. Almost as soon as the temperature starts to drop, I notice that my skin requires a lot more TLC, especially my hands. Since I really enjoy routines, I thought I'd write out my "moisturizing routine," if you want to call it that.
Since I wrote about my rest and comfort routines, it only seemed fitting to write about the converse: my activity routines. Although I've never been sedentary, I didn't partake in organized sports in my youth. I danced for many years and marched in marching band in high school, but otherwise, I wasn't particularly accustomed to workouts or time at the gym. Now, as an adult, exercising as a routine is still a bit of a struggle for me. I've committed to pockets of discipline over the years, such as when I trained for a 10k and a half marathon, but nothing in terms of a gym routine has permanently stuck. All that said, I do try to sneak in a good bit of activity each week via other means.
Life is a balance of rest and activity, isn't it? Sometimes, those lines are blurred. Rest can be active, and inactivity can be work. I'm particularly curious about the little routines we all implement in our lives, either subconsciously or consciously, to various ends. I've noticed trends in my own practices of resting and activity.