Makeup Makeover - Must Haves for Your Makeup Bag


Is your Makeup in need of a Makeover? Are you feeling like your products just aren't doing you justice? Have you searched endlessly for favorite products and still not satisfied? You've come to the right spot!

I would consider myself a makeup and hair product junkie, always looking for the newest and best products to test and find new favorites. I've had many people ask me what my favorite go-to products are so I've compiled a list of some of my tried, tested, and true all-time favorite makeup essentials and must-haves.

Back to Basics...

Before we get to the good stuff, let's first talk about the basics. My #1 makeup secret is that the best makeup for your skin is your lifestyle: drinking water, eating a well-balanced diet, taking good care of your skin, taking vitamins, exercising, using a good skincare regimen, and getting sufficient amount of sleep as these all do wonders for your complexion, under-eye circles, hair, and overall appearance.

Now that we have that covered, the next part is accenting your best features and finding the products that work best for you! When it comes to makeup, there is no perfect 1-for-all product that works for every single person, but there are some great products out there that work for most skin types. I myself have challenging combination skin to begin with, so I feel like I'm pickier than the average bear. From trying countless products on myself and others, I've created my list of favorites that are my everyday go-to staples that I keep coming back to. These beauty basics are some of the many essential products in my Beauty Bag for clients as well.

My Everyday Staples...

I have included below both Beauty Splurges (mostly found at Sephora and MAC) and Beauty Steals (found at Target and drugstores). Click the link after "WHERE TO BUY" to be directed to the product online. I have *'d some of my favorites below that I use on a daily basis.

All About Eyes...

EYE SHADOW PRIMER:

For me, eye shadow primer is a non-negotiable for when I want my makeup to stay on all day. Not only does it help to keep your shadow on longer, but it serves as a canvas to help the eye shadow blend and work with your eyelid. I've included my favorite below.

*URBAN DECAY Eye Shadow Primer: $12 - $20

For me, eye shadow primer is a non-negotiable for when I want my eyeshadow to stay on all day. Not only does it help to prime your lids and act as a base to keep your shadow on longer, but it serves as a canvas to help apply and blend your eye shadows. Use this first before applying

The travel size is $12 and the full size if $20.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

EYE LINERS:

*LANCOME Precision Point Eye Liner: $30.50

This is my favorite liquid eye liner as it stays on all day/night and is easy to apply. I use this on just my top lash line. It's easy to make thin lines or build with thicker lines.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora, department stores

BUYING TIP: Keep your eyes out for special deals around the holidays at Sephora and department stores as you can usually find a $35 ($110 value) package that includes this favorite liquid eye liner, mascara primer (which I really like too), and eye makeup remover along with 2 pencil eye liners and mascara.

*URBAN DECAY Glide-On Eye Pencil: $10 to $20

This is my all-time favorite waterproof pencil eye liner as it is versatile, easy to apply, waterproof, and stays on all-day. I use it in a variety of ways and places depending on the look I'm going for. For everyday, I use it on my upper waterline (under my eyelashes on the top) to give the appearance of thicker lashes, upper lash line to add a little drama to your eyes, blended softly on my lower lash line for a more natural look, and when I want to achieve a smoky cat-eye effect, l use it on my lower waterline.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

BUYING TIP: Around the holidays, they usually offer a great kit which includes 3 travel size pencils for $10. One full size pencil costs $20 so this way you get the best of both worlds and get to try out the other colors too.

EYE SHADOWS:

URBAN DECAY Eye Shadows: $19 - $54

Some of my all-time favorite eye shadows are by Urban Decay. The smaller palettes are $29 and the larger palettes are around $54. They are pricey, but worth it as they are long-lasting, the colors are beautiful, there is minimum fall-off, and they have longevity. Any of the eye shadow palettes called “Naked” are wonderful. You can also buy individual eye shadows for $19. My favorite individual color is called Sin.

URBAN DECAY Naked 2 Basics: $29

This mini palette contains neutrals and browns and is great for an everyday natural makeup look.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

URBAN DECAY Naked Basics: $29

This palette has softer tones with mostly lighter neutrals along with a brown and black option.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

*URBAN DECAY Naked Palette 3: $54

This palette has mostly neutrals and browns and is good for everyday makeup as well as has some fun options for an evening out.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

SEPHORA COLLECTION Eye Shadows: $5-10

I have found a few Sephora colors that I love as well. Some of my favorites are ________. Prices range from $5-10 per eye shadow so they are affordable and are a great option if you only use a couple colors on a regular basis.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

BUYING TIP: Around the holidays, they also offer new Sephora Collection Eye Shadow Palettes for a great deal. I found a fun collection for $12 last year that included a wide range of neutrals and browns.

*MAC Eye Shadow Pigment: $22

This is one of my favorite individual eye shadows as it creates a soft illuminessence (yes, I made that word up) to open up the eye and brighten up the eye. This does wonders for tired eyes and I use it almost every day. My favorite colors are vanilla and melon, but all of their colors are fun to work with. They last a long time too. They can be applied dry or for a little more intensity, slightly wet your brush and apply the color.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom, MAC, Dillard's, other department stores that carry MAC

COVER GIRL Tru Naked Eyeshadow Palette: $10

This is about as close as you can get to the Urban Decay Naked palette, at a drugstore price. I liked the three color palettes: Nudes, Goldens, and Roses. There does seem to be some fall out, so make sure to tap the brush first to get rid of excess shadow before applying.

WHERE TO BUY: Target

Eyelash Curler:

If I only have time for two makeup products in the morning, I use Mascara (with my favorite Sephora brand eyelash curler) and undereye concealer. I feel like this opens up your eyes and makes you look more awake along with making your lashes look fabulous. The Sephora brand eyelash curler has been my favorite for years as it fits to my lashline so I don't pinch them and results in a soft, natural curl. Here are the two I'd recommend:

*SEPHORA COLLECTION Show Curl XL Lash Curler: $16

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

SEPHORA COLLECTION x Utowa PRO Universal Curler: $19

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

MASCARA:

*PETER THOMAS ROTH: Lashes To Die For™ The Mascara: $22

This is my ALL-TIME favorite mascara, and let me tell you, I've tried MANY! My friend Mal discovered this for me and now I'm a huge fan! I have finer lashes and hate clumpy mascara. This mascara applies easily, doesn't clump, and looks amazingly natural while adding length and volume like your lashes were born that way, without that over-caked on mascara look. It conditions lashes while creating a long lash fringe. This is my go-to everyday mascara.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

MAYBELLINE Full & Soft Mascara: $6

If you want to try out some lesser expensive options, my favorite is Maybelline Full & Soft Mascara. I use this for both top and bottom lashes.

WHERE TO BUY: Target

*MAYBELLINE Lash Discovery: $6

If you have thinner bottom lashes, this mascara is great because it’s not clumpy and looks more natural for bottom lashes. I use this for my bottom lashes. I use the waterproof if I know there's a chance my mascara will run or on a hot day, but wearing waterproof mascara daily can dry out your lashes, so keep this mind when choosing your mascara.

WHERE TO BUY: Target

EYEBROWS:

*TARTE Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse: $29

This is for defining and filling in eyebrows which makes a huge difference in pictures as eyebrows are like a picture frame for eyes. I have dark brows naturally but I still use this when I’m going out for an evening to fill in the sparse areas and create a more defined eyebrow. I have the color “Ash Blonde” which is similar to a light brown and pretty versatile.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

MAKEUP TIP: Someone once told me a great analogy that eyebrows are like shoes. They are a necessity and complete the look, but are only noticed if they are either awesome or terrible, so make sure to play up your eyebrows right so they attract the right attention and complete your look. :)

EYE Cream:

(DARK CIRCLES & ANTI-AGING)

*RODAN & FIELDS Multi-Function Eye Cream: $62 (or $55.80 Preferred Custom price)

This is my go-to morning must-have. I rarely get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. I put this on first thing in the morning, and it definitely has helped to moisturize and lessen the appearance of my dark circles. If I don’t wear any make-up at all, I still use this eye cream in the morning as it helps me look less tired. I do sell Rodan & Fields, but this is definitely my all-time favorite under-eye product I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried lots!) It’s pricey, but it lasts a long time and it’s definitely worth it. Mine has lasted over 3 months where as other brands I have bought that aren’t as good are around $48 to $90 and last less than 2 months.

I think this is something every mom (or sleep deprived woman) would enjoy as they call it “eye crack” since it’s so good and addicting. (Word on the street... ha.)

If this is something you would like to order, send me a message on the Contact Me page as I’ll be doing monthly drawings for free products for any of my new client orders, so I'll make sure to add you to the drawings!

WHERE TO BUY: Rodan & Fields

LASH Boost:

*RODAN & FIELDS Lash Boost: $150 (or $135 Preferred Custom price)

If you've always wanted longer, thicker, stronger lashes, and would love to not even worry about applying mascara, this is the product for you! I've been using this for 5 weeks and can already tell the difference in my lashes. It is a nightly conditioning serum that lengthens and strengthens lashes in as little as 4 weeks. The Before & After's are incredible. Feel free to message me for more information and current promotions on the Contact Me page.

WHERE TO BUY: Rodan & Fields

All About Skin...

PRIMER:

After moisturizing skin, using a primer on your face before you apply your foundation acts as a canvas for applying your makeup. Not only does it even out skin tone and blurs fine lines and imperfections, but it also can extend your foundation. Use a primer before applying foundation to act as a canvas for the rest of your skincare. Since I have oily to combination skin, I've included my two favorites that work best for my skin.

*DR. BRANDT SKINCARE Pores No More® Pore Refiner Primer: $45

I use this on my T-zone under my makeup but also keep a small travel size primer with me to dab on my T-zone when it gets shiny.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

*SMASHBOX Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer: $36

I use this primer on my cheeks and under my eyes (and all over when my T-zone is not as oily).

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

NYX Honey Dew Me Up Primer: $15

This primer doubles as a serum and helps to smooth skin, act as a base, and seems to help repair and erase stubborn acne marks over time.

WHERE TO BUY: Target

FOUNDATION:

Foundation is something that every person has to select for themselves since each person varies on their preference for a certain feel, look, skincare needs, goals, and overall color. I'd recommend making a trip to Sephora as they can help match you to what you like and the color you need. For my skincare needs, I currently prefer Make Up For Ever foundation but there are many others I like too.

BLUSH/BRONZER:

*NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo: $24-$42

This is my favorite combo as the colors are versatile on many skin types, gives that sun-kissed look, and it comes in travel size for $24. I have had my travel size for 6 months and it is still going strong. My favorite color duo is the Orgasm/ Laguna combo which includes the peachy-pink shimmer blush and a sheer light brown shimmer bronzer. This is a must-have in my makeup bag.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

UNDEREYE CONCEALER:

*NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: $29

I am always searching for the best under-eye concealer as I am a night owl and don't always get the recommended 8 hours of sleep, so dark circles can be a problem for me. So far, this concealer has exceeded my expectations. It also doubles as a highlighter as I use it for contouring as well. I'd recommend going to the store to get the right color match. I have lighter skin tones and use this concealer in Vanilla.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

CONCEALER:

I am always testing out new concealers trying to find that elusive all-in-one perfect skin concealer to hide those pesky blemishes, ornery red spots, discoloration, and dark circles. I'm still on the look out, but so far, these are my two favorite multi-purpose concealers as they have buildable coverage, seem to stay on longer than others, are easy to apply, and blend well with my foundation.

LANCOME Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Concealer: $31

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

*MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Cover Concealer: $34

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

BEAUTY Sponge:

*The Original Beauty Blender®: $20

This is my favorite beauty splurge tool to apply liquid foundation as it applies and blends foundation smoothly and easily. Just moisten it with water and squeeze out remaining water so it remains slightly damp, then apply foundation to sponge. Lightly dab and blend foundation into your skin.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Studio Pro Beauty Sponge: $5.50

For a beauty steal, I've found this beauty sponge to be the best alternative to the Beauty Blender as it is high quality, lasts a long time, and a great price! Applying and blending liquid foundation is easy with this beauty sponge. Just moisten it with water and squeeze out remaining water so it's slightly damp, then apply foundation to sponge. Lightly dab and blend foundation into your skin.

WHERE TO BUY: BH Cosmetics

CONTOURING:

*KAT VON D Shade + Light Face Contour Refillable Palette: $20

This is my favorite larger contouring palette as it provides a variety of shades for many skin tones and applies evenly. Make sure to tap excess powder off brush before applying to face to avoid applying too heavily. As with any contouring, make sure to blend, blend, blend!

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

For a smaller palette, I have a tie between KEVYN AUCOIN The Contour Duo On The Go ($25) and the NARS Contour Blush Palette ($42). Both seem to be fairly versatile for most skin types (though fair skin may need something lighter). I'll take one of these when I'm traveling and just want something smaller but still effective.

KEVYN AUCOIN WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

*NARS WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Finishing Powder:

Finding a good finishing powder depends on your skin type and the overall makeup finish you're trying to achieve. I've included my two favorites below (with KAT VON D Lock-It Setting Powder coming in a close 3rd).

LAURA MERCIER Translucent Loose Setting Powder: $38

I have found this powder to be great for most skin types.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

*MAKE UP FOR EVER Super Matte Loose Powder: $31

This powder seems to work well for oily skin, but may be to drying for other skin types.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

NYX Face Powder Mineral: $10

This powder seems to keep shine to a minimum while setting makeup to last all day. For a drugstore brand, I think this works quite well.

WHERE TO BUY: Target

Makeup Setting Spray:

*URBAN DECAY All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray: $20

For times when you need your makeup to last all day or night, I use this spray to mist on after applying my makeup to add longevity to my makeup.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

All About Brushes...

Makeup BRUSHES:

I love a good makeup brush as it enables you to apply products easily and effortlessly and can do wonders for your overall makeup look. Makeup brushes can be expensive, but If you take good care of your brushes, they can last a long time.

There are some great brushes at Sephora, but brushes can be $14-32 per brush. To save some money, there are still some quality brushes you can find at Target, HomeGoods, Marshall’s/TJ Maxx, and Kohl’s. If you buy a set, many times there are a lot of useful brushes that come all together in the set. If I would pick 4 skincare brushes, I would suggest the following:

  • Concealer brush

  • Contouring brush / Blush brush

  • Finishing powder brush

  • Eye shadow brush

I also love a great blending brush, especially if you are contouring your face. I’ve included a few links for Beauty Splurges at Sephora along with Beauty Steals and brush sets that are more reasonable from Target. My favorite Target/drugstore brand is “Real Techniques”.

Angled Contour Brush:

*SEPHORA COLLECTION PRO Airbrush Concealer Brush #57: $24

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Angled Contour Brush:

*SEPHORA COLLECTION PRO Angled Blush Brush #49: $32

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Foundation/Powder Brush:

*SEPHORA COLLECTION PRO Flawless Airbrush #56: $32

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Contour/Blending Brush:

*SEPHORA COLLECTION PRO Contour Kabuki #82: $19

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Blush/Shape and Highlight Brush:

*SEPHORA COLLECTION Classic Double Ended - Shape & Highlight #204: $28

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Eyeshadow Blending Brush:

*MAKE UP FOR EVER 216 Medium Precision Eye Blender Brush: $25

(Great for applying crease shadows)

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Flat Contour Brush:

REAL TECHNIQUES Bold Metals Collection Cosmetic Brush - Flat Contour: $14

WHERE TO BUY: Target

Starter Eye Set:

REAL TECHNIQUES Starter Set Eyes: $15

WHERE TO BUY: Target

Concealer Setting Brush:

*REAL TECHNIQUES Setting Brush: $4

(Great for setting powder on undereye and blemish concealer)

WHERE TO BUY: Target

Travel Brush Set:

REAL TECHNIQUES Travel Essentials Set: $12

WHERE TO BUY: Target

All About Lips...

LIP Balm:

*SEPHORA COLLECTION Super Nourishing Lip Balm: $4

My lips are constantly dry so I'm always on the search for the best lip balm. This is hands-down my favorite and at a great price too!

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

LIP liner:

*MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil: $20

My favorite neutral shades are 1C Nude Beige and 2C Rosewood and my favorite fun coral shade is 24C Vintage Coral.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

LIP Stain/Gloss:

*BUXOM Full-On™ Lip Polish: $20

If I had to select only 1 lip gloss, this would be it as it has a great shimmery shine as well as lip-plumping tingling effects.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

*LIPSENSE Lip Stains & Gloss: $20-$25

My go-to lip colors are by LipSense as the colors actually do stay on for hours upon hours. My favorite go-to colors are Bombshell (a nude lip shade), Fire 'N Ice (a fun shade of red), and Plum Pretty (a soft mauve pink). Reapply the clear moisturizing gloss throughout the day to keep lips conditioned.

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