Beauty potions and other witchcraft

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Julia Stiles this evening so in an effort to switch gears, I’d like to respond to the two angels who recently asked me about my makeup routine via the internet.

In middle school all I wore was contraband black liquid eyeliner and in high school my favorite product was a makeup brush that had powder in the handle. Suffice it to say I was a bit of a late-bloomer. By the time I started college I had something resembling a makeup routine, but it barely changed over my four years at school as I was too busy aggressively spending my “lab technician” paychecks on ill-fitting sweaters and “going-out tops” I would hate 6 months later. Pretty cool huh?

Since graduating, my interest in beauty and makeup has ebbed and flowed. I’ve spent my fair share of nights watching makeup videos on youtube until 3 in the morning and have definitely been In A Phase more than once, but I still always pick clothes over beauty stuff during a tight month. I’m a fair-weather makeup freak. Our relationship is elastic. Makeup Economics 101.

I do, however, have a fairly consistent routine these days. I’ve never really known how to do heavy makeup without looking like a clown, so I guess I’d call this a “natural” look…by default. It takes about 15 minutes, which I can easily double on the weekends via the introduction of music and snacks and instagram.

Unwashed hair not included.

Step 1. Moisturizer


I know it has the word moist in it, but moisturizer is my favorite beauty product in the world. I know more oil-prone people feel differently, but to me a shiny face looks healthy and beautiful and is the antithesis of evil. If I wake up feeling gross or hungover, I crave moisturizer like a zombie craves flesh and blood. Having dry skin means I am not sensitive to looking oily, in fact I bask in it when my boyfriend lets me know I “look a little shiny and may want to double-check that.” Thank you for the compliment!

Josie Maran Argon Daily Moisturizer is the first moisturizer I’ve liked in a while. It hits all three for me: smell, look, feel. It’s also 47 SPF which is always good and never bad because I don’t frequent red carpets and all my favorite paparazzi know not to use flash on me.

Step 2. Foundation


I’d prefer not to wear foundation, but a weird *teen hormone acne moment* I had a couple years ago left me with about 10-15 red spots along my jawline that are taking infinity months to fade away.

Both Mac Face and Body and Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation were on various Lisa Eldridge favorites videos which were the main drivers behind both of these purchases. I use the former when my spots are looking mild, the latter when they aren’t.

For both I just use my hands to put a thin layer over my jaw and chin. I’ve recently also started applying it to my forehead because I’ve found that an evenly-colored forehead goes a long way. I never put foundation on my cheeks because I prefer to keep my freckles uncovered. I think it was my girl Lisa E who said to avoid putting foundation on the cheeks if you’re going for a no-makeup look, which is usually what I’m loosely aiming for. Again, by default.

I used to use a fancy brush for foundation but I grew tired of picking spider legs off my face throughout the day.

Step 3. Concealer


Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer goes on all my spots and odd veins and around my nose to cover redness. I use this brush to apply it.

I found this stuff in a random drawer at my parents’ house years ago and have bought it over and over ever since. It’s a little frightening how many things I could apply that sentence to.

Although my first bottle’s previous owner left it for dead, I’ve been validated multiple times by other people who swear by it too.

Step 4. Highlight + Contour


Next up: Clinique Airbrush Concealer, Illuminates, Perfects. Thanks to the unnecessarily long name which might be overcompensating, this one is pretty self-explanatory. I put the tiniest of dabs under my eyes plus a very thin strip down my nose then pat it in with my third finger (the snow white of phalanges).



Kevin Aucoin Sculpting Powder is one of the best things that ever happened to my face and it was all because of Chelsea.

Yes, you may be nervous about applying what is essentially brown powder to what is essentially the middle of your face, but it’s not as scary as it sounds and the payoff is cheekbones.

Over the thanksgiving holiday last year I offered to put some on my sister, which lead to putting some on my cousin, then my other cousin, then my aunt, and then my mom. And after that first night I became a one-stop-contour-shop before every event the rest of the weekend. They were all obsessed and rightly so. It’s magic.  I use the medium shade and apply it underneath my cheekbones, on either side of my nose, and around my hairline with this cheap elf brush.

Step 5. Cheeks

I might skip this step if I’m running late but in the interest of looking alive I usually add at least a little something. Recently I’ve been wearing two things at once: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector + Bobbi Brown Blush.

I don’t just layer them, I literally combine them like so:

You could probably do this with any blush and illuminator, the question is whether you’d want to. Genius or gross? U be the judge.

Did I mention I haven’t washed my hair in many many days?

Step 6. Eyebrows (and Eyes)

In the last year or so I realized I either don’t know how to properly do eye makeup or don’t particularly look good in it. The latter supports my theory that my eyes are too close together, even just by a millimeter or so, that one swoop of black eyeliner and I go goth FAST. Either way, I’ve been wearing light mascara lately and skipping the other stuff.

Brows, however, are another story. I don’t have particularly full brows, but I was lucky in that I never plucked them growing up (see: makeup brush with powder in handle) and have thus easily preserved what little I do have. To make them look fuller I brush my eyebrows straight up. Literally. Last time I did this Chelsea warned me that I looked like an evil cartoon character which I took as a compliment. Then I use a brow pencil to fill in any spots and I finish off with a clear gel, which is essentially hair gel for your brows so that’s pretty hip and cool.

E.l.f. Cosmetics Eyelash & Brow Wand + Anastasia Brow WizMac Brow Set in Clear

That’s about it. I may add lipstick but other than that I don’t often deviate. That is, until the next time I discover something I’ve been doing horribly wrong and then change it forever, which has been my pattern for the last 15 years or so. If you think you know that thing based on the above, I wouldn’t be mad at a comment.

10 thoughts on “Beauty potions and other witchcraft

  1. Oh hey, I love that Josie Maran moisturizer too! We’ve talked about the JM love before (rare_vos on IG). Im going to have to try that blush trick.


  2. That look really is natural/beaut on you! Thanks so much for sharing. I have freckles too, but for some reason I never thought NOT to cover them with foundation… and that’s officially ending now.. I’d love to know what you do for your skincare routine if you ever have the time! Always on the lookout for tried and true recommendations.


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