As much as I lust after and obsess over the beautiful makeup and displays whenever I go into Sephora, truth is I can’t afford it on the reg. So instead, I’ve tested and played with everything I can get my hands on in the drugstore. This is my go-to, simple makeup routine for a daytime appropriate look. These are products I can not go without. I have back ups in my drawers for when I run out. No joke.
1. Prep and Prime
After moisturizing, I slap on this primer by Maybelline’s Face Studio line. I use a dime sized amount and apply it with my fingers. It’s a primer that is supposed to blur imperfections and control redness. It has a slightly green tint to it and I do find that it evens out my skin tone and creates a smooth canvas for my concealer and foundation. It also makes my face makeup last way longer. $10
2. Brighten It Up
Next I take Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle concealer in “Brightener” to cover up the dark circles under my eyes. It has a peachy tint to it that counteracts the blue I despise so much. This stuff is great and blends in like a dream. I use my Real Technique’s Complexion sponge (great dupe for the famed Beauty Blender) to blend it out. I also take this up over the eyelids in place of an eye shadow primer $10
3. Build The Foundation
I have quickly fallen in love with this foundation because it has made all of my skin dreams come true. Dramatic, yes, but real. L’Oreal Paris’ Infallible Line is killin’ it in general, but this product is a stand out. Their Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation is ridiculous.
It’s a demi-matte finish so your skin still has life to it, but it keeps oils at bay. It goes on beautifully with a buffing brush or a sponge and lasts forever without any kind of separation or fading in weird places. It’s a medium to full coverage that’s buildable and claims to last 24 hours. I have not tested that, but have definitely worn it through 12+ hours of serving in New York City and it held up. If you buy nothing else, buy this. $12
4. Set it
The grossness of having oily, shiny skin is rivaled only by having powdery cake face. Setting your face makeup is totally necessary so that concealer and foundation don’t slide around everywhere, but you want to find a powder that isn’t too heavy.
I prefer translucent powders that work to keep my face matte, but don’t actually add more coverage. My favorite at the moment is Rimmel London’s Stay Matte Pressed Powder. It’s simple, reliable, and gets the job done. $4
5. Gimme Glow
I’ve tried out so many different bronzers over the past few years, but I always come back to this one because it’s fool proof. NYC’s Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in “Sunny” is a super easy to work with formula that blends easily, and goes on lightly so you never have to worry about looking like an oompa loompa. It has no weird sparkly stuff in it so it’s great for both bronzing up the face and light contouring. It also makes a nice eye crease color. Solutions. $3
6. Make Me Blush
On most days I can’t be bothered to use a separate blush and highlighter to bring my face to life. And it is on these days that I thank the beauty world for Milani’s Baked Powder Blush in “Luminoso.” It’s a peach color that everyone can pull off. It’s the blush I always go back to. It has a slight shimmer to it that makes you look healthy in all lighting, and makes sure you don’t look like a disco ball in the sun. That’s not cute, ever. This is, always. $9
Wet n Wild has quite possibly the least exciting packaging in all of the land, but the eyeshadow quality is insane, and the prices are even crazier. I’m obsessed with the mini palates they provide that do the color matching work for you.
My favorite is the trio in “Walking on Eggshells.” The shadow tells you where on your eyes you should put it, and if you follow these directions, your eye look is done. So. Freaking. Easy. These shadows have a satin finish that lasts all day on the eye. $3
8. Wake Up
I have found the secret to looking awake when you are not and it is cream colored eyeliner. I use Milani’s Shadow Eyez 12 Hour Wear eyeshadow stick in “Almond Cream” in my waterline to open up my eyes.
It looks much more natural than a stark white liner, but gets the job done and makes your peepers look bigger. It also works as a killer eyeshadow base to make other colors pop. It’s nice. And cheap. Use it. $5
9. Gimme Lash
This is another all-star product that I don’t know what I did without. True story – I have purchased this for all of my girlfriends on their birthdays. Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara gets better as it dries out a little bit and once it does, it does amazing things to your lashes.
The thinner brush allows the product to easily get into the base of the lashes and separate them. The formula is thick, but not heavy. It’s super black and holds a curl really well. It lasts all day and can be built up a lot to get a more spidery look, if that’s what you’re into. The best part is the price tag. I’d pay 3x the amount for this, but it’s so nice that I don’t have to, you know? $3
10. Make It Last
The final step of my makeup routine is always to lock it all in place with a setting spray. It’s a really fine mist that will make your hard work last longer and make all the powder settle to avoid cakeface. My go-to here is another one from that amazing L’Oreal Infallible line.
It is the “Makeup Extender Setting Spray.” And it does exactly what it sets out to do, which pleases me. Tip: Use this at any point in the day to bring your makeup back to life again. $14