I'm lucky to be able to test so many wonderful beauty products, but when it comes to the day-to-day I rely on
nine eight products that fit in a portable makeup pouch to keep me looking polished, groomed, and natural. My rules? These products must be easy and quick to apply, no brushes required (just clean fingers blending on freshly cleansed and moisturized skin, because these days I'm terrible at washing makeup brushes regularly). Longtime readers will recognize a lot of these products, which are a mix of deluxe and drugstore finds; perhaps the more recent readers among you may discover a new favourite to add to your daily five-minute face!
To even out my complexion, I rely on Revlon Colourstay 2-in-1 Compact Makeup & Concealer in 180 'Sand Beige' (
$19.99 on sale for $14.99 at London Drugs, previously featured here). It's affordable, spill-proof, and long-lasting, and because it's two products in one (colour-coordinated concealer and foundation), I carry one less product. The sponge applicator it comes with has a lot of large holes and picks up too much product, resulting in a mask-like application, so I dip clean fingers in the product and apply and blend directly on my face wherever I need it most: across the ruddiness between my brows, on my chin, across my cheeks, and under my eyes. If you use a light touch and blend well and choose the correct shade, you'll get compliments on your skin all evening.
The Japonesque portable eyelash curler ($12.99) was purchased on a whim when I needed a portable lash curler that wouldn't clank around in my makeup pouch and end up getting caught on other things or breaking. Honestly, I'm not crazy about it. The curvature of the curl pad doesn't suit my eye shape, so I have to shift it around to curl every single lash. If you have a better suggestion for a portable lash curler that's suitable for Asian eyes, please let me know in the comments.
This da lish Cosmetics Lip/Cheek Balm in B02 ($15) is so old, da lish doesn't even use this packaging anymore. I don't know if the formulation has also changed, but my da lish lip/cheek balm is pigmented and has very little creaminess or slip. A little blended on the high point of the cheek bones creates a natural-looking flush, but it's too drying to be comfortably worn on the lips. I do like the almond-shaped twist-up stick format more than the current screw-top pot (no product will stuck under fingernails) and the fact the formula is 75% natural. If you're curious about da lish's natural(-ish) approach to beauty, check out this interview I did with founder Melanie Cruickshank in 2015.
The Diorblush Light & Contour Sculpting Stick Duo in 001 'Light' was part of the fall 2016 limited edition collection, and has since become my go-to bronzer and highlighter in one. The colour combo is meant for fairer complexions, but I still find that this creamy product demands a very light touch when applied. It has a slight sheen and no discernible shimmer, which translates to a natural glow. Thumbs up all around.
All mascaras have been failing me lately. Is it too much to ask that a mascara be non-clumping, smudge-proof, and flake-proof, and wash off with a bit of regular cleanser and water, no special makeup remover required? When mascara doldrums hit, I always end up returning to Estee Lauder Little Black Primer ($27), which creates a natural-looking, fluttery, "like your lashes but better" effect that stays put all day. The tiny curved brush is ideal for Asian eyes and lashes too—it grabs every little lash in the outer corners without smudging on the lids. If you need more details, check out my review from 2015. This tube is a PR sample and I'm seriously considering buying a replacement, despite the countless mascaras I have waiting to be tested, when this one bites the dust.
The fact that there are three brow products in my minimalist routine definitely indicates I've been drinking the "Brows are important!" beauty blogger Kool-Aid, but in the process of writing this post, I've discovered that I really only need two of them. You'll see why.
The tiny spoolie brush is from the Dior All-in-Brow Long-Wear Brow Contour Kit and seriously the most brilliant thing ever—so small and compact, no long handle getting caught at an awkward angle in the makeup bag. This wee gem brushes stray hairs in place before pencil and gel. I love how functional and luxe Dior's travel-size brushes are, like the kabuki brushes that come with Dior Nude Air Luminizer compacts; you'll be tempted to keep and re-use them long after you run out of product.
The small spoolie is no longer necessary though, as I've just discovered that the top of my Diorshow Brow Styler Brow Pencil in 002 'Universal Dark Brown' ($29) has a built-in spoolie to groom stray hairs and blend out too-dark pencil. I feel like such an idiot for not having discovered the hidden spoolie sooner! The other end boasts an ultra-fine, ever-sharp point that easily draws narrow strokes to mimic brow hairs. I usually favour a charcoal brown for brows, but the universal dark brown is just cool enough to suit my colouring.
Finally, I set everything in place with a few strokes of Diorshow Brow Styler Gel in 001 'Transparent' ($36). One click does both brows beautifully.
I usually opt out of wearing eyeshadow, but Lise Watier 24 Hrs Glam eyeshadow sticks ($24 at London Drugs) are so easy to use and wear, adding only a few more seconds to my routine. I swipe this shade—a shimmery light pink similar to Stila's cult fave 'Kitten'—all over my lids and blend with my ring finger before it sets. Long-lasting waterproof wear with no creasing and no primer needed.
And that's it! Eight products and 8-10 minutes for a look that transitions from morning to night. Usually I'll also finish off the look with whatever lip colour I have on hand, but the makeup is light and natural-looking enough to complement a swipe of lip balm as well.
Are you a makeup minimalist, or would you consider becoming one?
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