I knew that the bronze skin of a quintessential California girl in the ’70s was my favorite beauty look, but it wasn’t until we shot this photo that I realizedjust how much my makeup reflects that. I have double luminizer, double bronzer, and triple self tanner in a single group of musts! This story sold me out to myself. Here are the details on those products, and my other faves. (You can check out Emily’s version here).
1. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil in Night Violet.
I discovered this pencil at an Estee Lauder counter years back, when the color was called Blackened Plum (they kept the hue and updated the name/formula a few years ago). I have green eyes, and purple eyeliner with green eyes is a super flattering combination because they’re complementary colors. I apply it on my lower lash line, smudging from the outer corner about 3/5 of the way into the inner corner. I do this when I want to feel my most confident – a date, Friday night out, party, etc. Not really on your average work day, though sometimes, depending on the itinerary.
2. Avene Masque Apaisant Hydratant Soothing Moisture Mask.
I bought this on a whim at Violet Grey one day, because I’d heard great things about Avene for soothing highly irritated skin like mine. It works wonders. They say you can either wash it off or leave it on overnight for additional moisture, which is what I do, alternating between this and their skin recovery cream. My skin always looks visibly better the morning after using it.
3. Benefit Hoola Bronzer.
This is truly my most OG of beauty products. I think my friends and I started using it freshman year of high school, so literally the year 2000. One of us got it at Sephora, then another one did, until every one of us owned it. It is one of the best bronzers to ever hit the market. Somehow it works on a variety of skin tones, has absolutely zero orange, and looks so natural. Almost every girl I know has tried it at some point (Emily goes through stints of using it, too) and as she wrote in her beauty trial post, it’s excellent for someone new to bronzer.
4. Stila Smudge Pot in Black.
I have flitted around from black eyeliner to black eyeliner (cream, gel, liquid, pencil, pen, you name it) over the years, but this remains my holy grail. Like the purple eye pencil, I return to it for special instances. I know I can rely on it to make me feel my best, and I run out of it and re-buy frequently. I apply it with a slanted eyeliner brush for the perfect cat eye.
5. Victoria’s Secret Self Tan.
This is a product I have to stop myself from saying too many good things about, because I have too many. The bottom line is that I’ve never not gotten complimented the day after I’ve applied this – it makes a huge difference. It looks crazy true to life, like you tanned in a tropical location for seven days, and has an automatic slimming effect. It’s a guaranteed confidence booster for me to the point where I still buy it for an insane price on Amazon because the company inexplicably no longer makes it. Any time I have something like a pool day on the books, a trip, or just want to feel un-pasty, I slather it on and wish it was what my skin looked like always. (This version is supposed to be similar).
6. Armani Fluid Sheer Liquid Luminizer in no. 7.
As I shared in our top beauty tips post, I mix this liquid luminizer into my foundation for glowy, even skin. I buy this and the foundation in tandem, and have been re-buying both products for years.
7. Bare Minerals Faux Tan Face (discontinued, but I’ve heard great things about this one).
This is my face version of what the Victoria’s Secret self-tanner is for body. It’s an incredible product that a Sephora employee me tipped me off to years ago. I still own a few bottles because I’d basically buy it in bulk when I’d re-stock.
8. Caudalie Instant Detox Mask.
I just adore this mask. Any time I have a blemish coming on, I apply it as a temporary spot treatment and then on the rest of my nose and chin for a little boost. My skin looks so smooth and clear the next morning. It’s amazing, and I love that the ingredients are natural. Emily uses this too.
9. Avene Skin Recovery Cream.
I use this as my nightly moisturizer. For awhile I couldn’t find any moisturizer that didn’t make my skin freak out. I’m so happy the Avene skincare line exists. This one calms down and hydrates.
10. DryBar ‘Detox’ Dry Shampoo.
This is one of my favorite dry shampoos and I’ve re-bought it several times, potentially just for the smell. It’s so addictive and gets the job done without creating build-up.
11. Kevyn Aucoin Beauty ‘The Precision’ Brow Pencil.
I keep one of these pencils almost everywhere because it checks off every box I want in a product: slim and compact, so that it’s portable and discreet; does a killer job; and streamlines application by combining pencil and spoolie (cutting out the need for a separate brush). I respect the intention that went into the design of this product, and it’s an all-star.
12. DiorShow Mascara.
While I cheated on DiorShow with Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara for a bit, I recently started re-using the former and love it as much as ever. Lashes look so lush, full, and separated with this on. It’s always been worth the hype it gets and has kept me happy for almost a decade.
13. James Read Sleep Mask Tan.
I got a sample size of this when I was a beauty editor, and loved it so much I bought the product when I ran out of the sample. I like that you apply it at night and wake up with a little color. It’s very natural-looking and I alternate between this and the Bare Minerals. I think this one somehow makes my skin look clearer in the morning, though, so they’re neck and neck.
14. Trish McEvoy ‘Dual Resort’ Powder Bronzer.
This bronzer makes you look very tan and glowy, and has shimmer, which Houla does not. I use Houla when I need a matte effect, and this when I want a more glamorous effect. I’ve re-bought this countless times since I started using it.
15. Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in no. 5.5.
I could write a thesis on how good this foundation is so I’ll keep it short and sweet. It’s the best foundation I’ve ever tried, and my job used to be to try foundations (and all beauty products). Makeup artists agree, and my job used to be to interview makeup artists on their favorite foundation! Consider it verified. It gives utterly luminous coverage and I’d be lost without it.
16. NARS Illuminator in ‘Orgasm’
When I’m applying foundation, I actually have a threesome cocktail in which I mix this, the Armani luminizer, and the Armani foundation in equal parts. Works like a charm. The two illuminators are different colors (Armani being a light champagne, and the Nars color almost a copper), and I feel like they were made to mix.
P.S. – Though I do rebuy all of the items shared in my beauty bag post, I didn’t include them here because I had already covered them. The eyebrow pencil, however, was worth another shout out.