I Went 21 Hours Without Retouching My Makeup—Here Is Every Product I Used
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 which 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 to myself.
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 flavoured cocktailing, and some impromptu shopping). Next, there would be a scheduled cocktail hour, a late-ish dinner at a clubby sushi joint aptly named Bang Bang, and 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? Though I didn't know exactly what was in store for me at 6:30 that morning, aside from the assumed sun, sea lions, water, mingling, and sweat, I did have a sneaking suspicion my makeup would have 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 re-flush of colour 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? Oh, and did I also mentioned I met the guy I'm currently seeing while wearing said look? Probably a coincidence but worth mentioning all the same. 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 finding the perfect two base products to give me the one-part satiny, one-part glowy payoff I've been searching for. I've used Bliss Fabulous Face Lotion ($61) for years (no really, since high school) and have never found a better moisturiser 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 ($60). 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, reduced darkness and discoloration, plus a touch of matte, which staves off those aforementioned afternoon greasies. Mixed 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 ($33) from Shu Uemura 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 favourites over the past few years. However, the Too Faced Born This Way Foundation ($57) has been a constant and if I had to choose a favourite (though it's kind of like choosing a 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've forever been hunting for. Until, that is, I mixed it with It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream ($61) (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. Alas, I digress.
So, what led to the somewhat random combination? Well, during a trip home to Arizona a few months ago I realised 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). So, in an effort to diffuse the colour and avoid the dreaded "floating face" as I once heard makeup artist Patrick Ta say, I added a pump of my mum's It Cosmetics CC cream in Fair to a pump of my Too Faced in Natural Beige. The colours melded beautifully, and in addition to perfectly matching my neck and decolletage, I also couldn't help noticing the wonderful ratio of coverage, blendability, and natural luminosity the two imparted. I've been hooked on the combination ever since and mum 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 a brush.)
Next, comes concealer and a strategic concoction of powders I've found don't impart flashback, yet keep my foundation and concealer bright, creaseless, and fresh looking. Though I also love Revlon's PhotoReady Concealer ($25) for a budget-friendly alternative, recently, I've been re-loving Urban Decay's Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer ($46) 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's Mineralize Skin Finish in Light ($52), and sweep Laura Mercier's Secret Brightening Powder ($40) 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 favourite 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 Too Faced's cult favourite Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer ($44) and haven't looked back since (it smells like and is infused with cocoa and looks natural on my fair skin to boot.) I brush it on top of my temples, underneath my cheekbones, along my jawline, and on the sides of my nose. Then, comes highlight. I'm monogamously committed to The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer ($30) 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 controur brush I use for the bronzer, and dust it on my cheekbones, underneath and above the ends of both brow bones, and atop my cupid's bow and the inner corners of my eyes. (As an aside I'm also obsessed with pairing Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat ($55) on my cheeks and Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Do Me Baby ($39) on my lips.)
Okay, I completely realise having a 3-product mascara routine is entirely unnecessary and over-the-top. That being 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 go in-depth to my application process here, but essentially, I prime my lashes with Covergirl's LashBlast Volume Mascara ($19)—it's my forever favourite—enhance and secure curl with Dior's Iconic Mascara ($56), and then if I'm truly going to go for it, which I did on this trip, I'll add Origins' GinZeng Brightening Mascara ($28) for sky-high length, Excessive? Yes. Effective? Definitely. Also, I'm going to ignore the fact I just realised my mascara routine in its entirety runs around $100. Oops.
Since I've never been an eyeshadow 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 maximise my eyes. And currently, I'm really loving Kelley Baker's Brow Defining Pencil in Blonde ($30) 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 klan.).
I appreciate the creamy, natural, and durable payoff of the pencil, and after brushing through with Anastasia Beverly Hills' Brush #14 ($32)—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.