As a beauty lover and product hoarder, I love a good challenge when it comes to adapting my makeup routine. And about one month ago exactly (while on a press trip with PCAskin in San Diego) my makeup bag and I accepted the ultimate contest—a full day's worth of activities, events, and free time that would take us from downtown San Diego to La Jolla and back again. So, you can imagine my increasing anxiety around 6:30 a.m. that Saturday as I embraced the exciting unpredictability of the day ahead—especially regarding my TBD makeup look. How is this going to work? I thought.
Scheduled promptly at 8 a.m. would be an outdoor breakfast, followed by kayaking and cave exploring in La Jolla, followed by free time (which a fellow beauty editor and I ultimately filled with sunning, pooling, tropically flavored cocktailing, and some impromptu shopping). Next, there would be a scheduled cocktail hour and a lateish dinner at a clubby sushi joint aptly named Bang Bang, after which the rest of the San Diego night would be our oyster (which ultimately kept us out until around 3:30 a.m.).
My point? I had a sneaking suspicion my makeup would need to last for the better part of the day, as I didn't see any real windows of opportunity for in-depth touch-ups or an entire start-from-scratch-overhaul. So, crossing my fingers and placing faith into my tried-and-true products and application methods, I hoped for the best. Sure enough (and as un-ideal and gross as it may sound), I wore the exact same face of makeup from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. the following day. The miracle: It stayed perfectly intact, and I was even receiving compliments on my skin and makeup by 7, 8, and 9 p.m. later that night. Yes, I did brush through my eyebrows and pat on some lip tint for a fresh flush of color once or twice, but overall, I was shocked (and secretly very satisfied) with my makeup's endurance.
So, with the never-ending days of spring and summer nearly upon us, what better time to share my makeup routine, which miraculously kept me dewy, glowy, and fresh for virtually every kind of activity one can take on in a day? Ahead, every single product I used the time I went 21 hours without retouching my makeup.
When it comes to the finish of my makeup, I'm incredibly finicky. I don't like anything too matte, but I also resent my skin's natural tendency to veer shiny and greasy—and not in that effortless dewy, lit-from-within kind of way. So, over the years, I've slowly but surely experimented my way to find the perfect two base products that give me the one-part satiny, one-part glowy payoff I've been searching for. I've used Bliss Fabulous Face Lotion ($36) for years (no really, since high school) and have never found a better moisturizer to prep my skin with pre-foundation. That being said, left to its own devices, it can start to look a tad too oily come midday or afternoon.
However, I had a breakthrough moment a few months ago when I mixed it with the newly reformulated Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base in Yellow ($52). Essentially, the combo is the answer to all of my prayers. Thanks to the lotion, I get SPF, vitamins, omegas, and other skin-boosting benefits, and thanks to the primer come reduced darkness and discoloration, plus a touch of matte, which staves off those aforementioned afternoon greasies. By mixing them together (I do about a pea-size amount of each for my entire face and neck), my foundation has never looked (or stayed) better.
Then, while I let the combo soak into my skin, I'll take a few minutes to curl my eyelashes. I've tried plenty of lash curlers over the years, but this one ($24) from Lash Star is by far one of the best and actually keeps my long, albeit very straight, lashes curled—with minimal time spent crimping and re-crimping, which I've found contributes to annoying lash fallout.
I have commitment issues when it comes to foundation and have found myself rotating through about three or four favorites over the past few years. However, the Too Faced Born This Way Foundation ($39) has been a constant, and if I had to choose my number one (though it's kind of like choosing a favorite child), this one would be it. (Editorial Director Faith Xue is also a fan.) That being said, it still wasn't the 10/10 foundation I'd forever been hunting for. Until, that is, I mixed it with It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream ($39) (a product which, funny enough, I don't really like on its own.) Also, are you sensing a theme here? Perhaps I was meant to be a mad mixologist in another life. But I digress.
So, what led to the somewhat random combination? Well, during a trip home to Arizona a few months ago, I realized with frustration that my Too Faced foundation was verging a tad too dark for my ultra-fair skin (it was the dead of winter and cold by even my native Minnesotan standards). In an effort to diffuse the color and avoid the dreaded "floating face," as I once heard makeup artist Patrick Ta call it, I added a pump of my mom's It Cosmetics CC cream in Fair to a pump of my Too Faced in Natural Beige. The colors melded beautifully, and in addition to perfectly matching my neck and décolletage, the combo imparted a wonderful ratio of coverage, blendability, and natural luminosity. I've been hooked on the combination ever since, and Mom, if you're reading this, you now know where your missing tube went. (By the way, I simply apply my foundation with clean fingers and then buff out the edges with the MAC 159S Duo Fibre Brush, $35.)
Next come concealer and a strategic concoction of powders I've found that don't impart flashback yet keep my foundation and concealer bright, creaseless, and fresh-looking. Though I also love Revlon PhotoReady Concealer ($11) for a budget-friendly alternative, recently, I've been revisiting Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer ($29) after makeup artist Sir John reminded me how amazing it is.
To combat dark circles, I pat and blend its lightweight, creamy formula underneath my eyes and add a touch to my chin, Cupid's bow, and T-zone for additional dimension. Then, with a fluffy brush, I add some reinforcement with MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Light ($34) and sweep Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($28) underneath my eyes, on top of my eyelids, and where I know my smile lines will want to come out to play in a few hours.
Ah, my favorite part of doing my makeup: lips and cheeks. After having quite the (muddy and unflattering) affair with bronzer in high school, later in college, I discovered the cult-favorite Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer ($30) and haven't looked back since (it smells like and is infused with cocoa and looks natural on my fair skin to boot). I use the Sephora Pro Contour Brush ($30) to brush it on top of my temples, underneath my cheekbones, along my jawline, and on the sides of my nose.
Then comes Onomie New Boosting Lip + Cheek Stick ($30), a recent hot-and-heavy discovery turned obsession. (Byrdie contributor Kaitlyn McLintock and I have already dished up all the details.) I love the rich wine hue Tamar and use it on my apples, blending upward and diagonally toward my ears, and also onto my lips. It's so good, and I'm 100% smitten.
Last but certainly not least: highlight. I'm monogamously committed to The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer ($24), and if you've never tried it and consider yourself a lover of all things magical and radiance-enhancing (while not overtly looking like a disco ball), you're missing out on a real treat. I use the same small blush and contour brush I use for the bronzer and dust the stuff on my cheekbones, underneath and above the ends of both brow bones, and on my Cupid's bow and the inner corners of my eyes. (As an aside, I'm also obsessed with pairing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat, $40, on my cheeks and Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Do Me Baby, $27, on my lips.) However, for this trip, I stuck with Onomie. Because multitasking.
Okay, I completely realize having a three-product mascara routine is entirely unnecessary and over-the-top. That said, I honestly swear by the above triple-threat combo, and my method is the only way I can get the exact kind of flutter I desire (a practically impossible mix of length, curl, and volume sans any extensions or falsies). I've previously broken down how to apply mascara in detail, but essentially, I prime my lashes with Covergirl LashBlast Volume Mascara ($9)—it's my forever favorite—enhance and secure curl with Dior Iconic Mascara ($30), and then, if I'm truly going to go for it, which I was on this trip, I'll add Origins GinZeng Brightening Mascara ($34) [ed note: discontinued] for sky-high length. Excessive? Yes. Effective? Definitely. Also, I'm going to ignore the fact I just realized my mascara routine in its entirety runs around $60. Oops.
Since I've never been an eye shadow girl—if I do anything on my lids, it's usually a quick swipe of whatever blush or bronzer I used in my crease—I rely on the above lash routine and defined brows to maximize my eyes. Currently, I'm really loving the Kelley Baker Brow Defining Pencil in Blonde ($22). Also, if you're in the Los Angeles vicinity, I highly recommend going in for a shaping. (Kelley Baker is the genius behind such brow-gifted beauties as Lucy Hale, Zendaya, and the Kardashian and Jenner crew.)
I appreciate the creamy, natural, and durable payoff of the pencil, and after brushing through with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #14 ($18) (I just really love this double-ended tool and am convinced it's the best at diffusing my pencil marks ), I'm ready to take on whatever the day has in store. And in my case, one month ago, this included everything from kayaking with sea lions to dinners and cocktail hour. The ultimate test, to say the least.