Most days, I’m wearing yoga pants or jeans with holes in the knee, a t-shirt, and my hair is pulled back in what I hope is a messy bun, but in fact makes me look like The Trunchbull. I don’t wear clothes that require dry cleaning, because everything has snot or milk sprayed on it within ten minutes of putting it on. I don’t wear complicated shoes because I am naturally clumsy and my years in Austin wearing flip flops have made my feet allergic to being covered unless it is absolutely necessary (in cases of deep snow or rattlesnake defense). And, I don’t wear a lot of makeup.
With that background, it seems ridiculous to take makeup tips from a busy, often sloppy, mom. I absolutely disagree. I don’t have time for makeup every day, and when I can sneak away from the kids for a second to throw on some moisturizer, I don’t have time for fuss. Sure, spending an hour contouring and shading and airbrushing would give me the most rested and put-together look, but that is never an option, even on weekends. If I had all the time in the world I wouldn’t bother with layers of spackle because babies touch faces, snuggle faces, and occasionally lick faces. I am looking for products that quickly cover the heroin-chic, maybe-she-has-mono look I’ve got going on naturally, but will also smudge and wear evenly.
Catering to my specific needs has taken a lot of trial and error, so I thought I would share what has worked for me. I am not an expert, I can’t do winged eyeliner or apply falsies, but I am loyal to products I like, and when shopping for mascara involves begging my toddler not to touch the perfume display and handing the baby a continuous stream of snacks to keep him happy, it’s nice to know exactly what you want so you can keep the trip short, or better yet, order online.
First and foremost, the face. This is a recent addition to my routine after being unhappy with several other options. I wore a light MAC powder, which I still use on top of this moisturizer if I am trying to look pulled together for an outing with people other than my children, but alone the powder doesn’t do much for my dry skin and it doesn’t last long. Josie Maran uses argan oil in her products and this tinted moisturizer is light but does wonders for dry patches. It only comes in one color that promises a rosy hue, and though it looks fine on me with some blending around the jawline, I can’t imagine one color really suits everyone, so try it out first in the store. Another thing I like about this stuff is the sunscreen component because at spf 47 (an obscure number, I know) it is higher than the other products I’ve tried but not as awful as plain old spf 60 under your regular makeup. I’m Irish and live in El Paso, aka Sun City. Protection is paramount. Disclaimer: if you live in a humid place and are not planning to set this moisturizer with a light powder after applying (I wear it alone most of the time), maybe try Clinique’s Moisture Surge CC Cream (spf 30). If I sweat with the argan oil-based moisturizer my face shines like a disco ball. I like the CC Cream as well, but it has more tint and requires more blending. The CC has several shades, though, so if you find that the one-shade-fits-all Josie Maran moisturizer doesn’t work for your skin tone I’d recommend Clinique instead. Most beauty lists put the NARS tinted moisturizer as their top pick, and while it is comparable to the Clinique CC Cream, I had trouble finding a good color match. My skin is very fair, but my face is covered in darker freckles, so if I match the skin on my neck I look like a geisha, if I match my freckles I look like I went HAM with the self tanner and neglected the rest of my body. With powders I look dusty, and when I get whacked with a flying alphabet block that hurts so bad it brings tears to my eyes, a single tear digs a ditch in layers of powder, but just slides off a moisturizer. For a more sheer tint, stellar moisture, spf above 30, and quick application, Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer FTW. Shop here: Josie Maran Argan Oil Moisturizer and Clinique CC Cream
NARS has always been a sexy brand, and I recently switched from MAC concealer to this because I like the texture and the color options. I have been a MAC loyalist for years, but every time I went in for more concealer the makeup artists recommended a shade that came out yellow on me. Who wants to cover up-all-night under eye circles with jaundice? If you find a good shade with MAC, I’d go with the Matchmaster stick for the creamy texture, but I have permanently switched to NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. You can get major coverage from other products, but I end up having to layer on the tints and powders to get everything to match up nicely. The NARS concealer blends easier, covers acceptably, and wears evenly without getting cakey or settling into fine lines.
Also in this picture is NARS Illuminator, a nice extra if you have the time. I was wearing a more bronze shade on my cheek bones instead of blush, but it looked a little shiny, so I wear a paler shade in a C shape from my brow bone to my cheek bone (after much hand-holding from the makeup artist). I think kids today call this “strobing”. Shop here: NARS Concealer and NARS Illuminator
I never in my life would have purchased a palette of 16 eyeshadows for myself because I would be afraid to try anything not beige, but my cousin gifted me a Chocolate Bar Palette from Too Faced, where she works in marketing. I love it. I was skeptical, because their cutesy packaging makes me feel like I’m too old to be using their products and why do my eyes need to smell like chocolate? I love the different shades and it’s easy to play around with the colors when they are all in one place. If I hear my kids starting to fight, then it’s one swipe of a nice base to keep my lids from looking purple and shiny. If the kids call a truce, I’ll add a darker shade to the lid crease. If they are napping at the same time (the Holy Grail) I might do a third shade on the edge of the lid crease and a light brush of shimmer on the brow line. Nah, I’d take a nap myself. That sounds nice.
Lazy lady bonus: this giant palette is easy to locate. I have 5 or 6 shades of MAC shadow and I have to dig for each one and check if I’ve grabbed the right one. This baby is the size of a chocolate bar and even more satisfying. It makes a great gift because you don’t have to know someone’s perfect shade preference or perfume scent- there is something for everyone and it smells like a chocolate shop! Shop here: Too Faced Palette
I must have 10 mascaras right now, and most are unwearable. Even if I manage not to touch my face during the day I end up with black dust under my eyes which totally negates the concealer efforts. I used waterproof for a while, which definitely decreased the smudges, but it was murder to remove and seemed to encourage my lashes to fall out. I am fairly sure some medication for Crohn’s is making my eyelashes fall out and break off anyway, so I considered getting extensions, but they are pricey and require free time to get them filled every few weeks. Plus, they are glued to your natural lashes and if mine are already threatening to jump ship I don’t want to add weight and end up going eye-bald. Too Faced makes great mascara called Better Than Sex (though if you agree with the branding you’re not doing it right) and it gives major wow factor, but for me it gave me smudgy smokey eye in all the wrong places. My mom uses it with a coat of waterproof on top to keep it in place and it looks great, but I guess my eyes are smudgier than most. A makeup artist in a department store confirmed my suspicions that skin primer is for chumps, but I am now hooked on lash primer. Some pharmacy brands make a two-in-one wand that has primer and mascara, but I like MAC Prep and Prime. Mine has been discontinued, but replaced with False Lashes Maximizer and appears to be the same. It’s white and lets you build up your length and volume before applying mascara. There are tons of mascaras on the market, and the ones that promise length and definition smudge less, but don’t give much impact. The primer allows me to use a less clumpy mascara and fill in my sparse lashes without extensions or black eyes. I love my department store brands, but I haven’t found that designer mascara is worth the up-charge. I like this Maybelline Cat Eye mascara with the curved wand to grab the lashes on the outside corner of your eye. No flaking, but easy to remove. Shop here: MAC Lash Primer and Maybelline Cat Eye Mascara
I use other products if time allows, which it usually doesn’t, but these are my favorites right now. These things can withstand a day of snuggles, sprayed squash puree, happy tears, and trips to the park under the desert sun. It isn’t much if you’re looking for a red carpet appearance, but when you blow raspberries on your baby’s belly it won’t leave a smear like the Shroud of Turin on his onesie, and it’ll hide the effects of the 2am feeding!