My Makeup Essentials


While I love skincare, makeup has always been my one true love. I still remember the first time my mom said I could use makeup – a clear mascara and clear lip gloss. I felt like a whole new woman.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve ditched the heavy makeup of my college years for a more natural, fresh faced look. Also, I’m lazy and ain’t nobody got time to do a smokey eye every single day, I save that for special occasions and nights out. I’ve narrowed down my makeup essentials for a look that I can do in about 5 to 7 minutes.

After I cleanse my face and finish my morning skincare routine, I apply a primer. To me, a primer is a must have in any makeup stash. I prefer ones that not only blur out any imperfections, but also help my makeup last longer, as I’m not a big fan of having to touch up multiple times a day. I found a few that I loved in Korea, namely the Faceshop Velvet Primer, and the Innisfree No-Sebum primer, but before I left I repurchased the Etude House Goodbye Pore Ever Primer and fell in love again. The creamy texture doesn’t slide around on your face like most primers, and it really helps create a smooth canvas for makeup. Plus, my makeup lasts all day! I love it.

After priming my face, I use my NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in the color Seychelles. I don’t like really heavy makeup, so tinted moisturizers are my base of choice. I was using Laura Mercier’s offering for a few years, but the NARS one is a better option for my skin tone, as it has quite a golden undertone. I put a bit on the back of my hand and use my Too Cool for School beauty blender dupe to apply. It creates a flawless finish that’s incredibly lightweight, almost like I’m not wearing makeup. After that, I apply my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Caramel, which I raved about here. I find that the NARS tinted moisturizer does a good job of evening out my skin tone and covering any acne scars, so I only use the concealer for under my eyes. It instantly makes me look more awake.

After my base has been covered, I go in with a bit of bronzer. My favorite is the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder in Warm Bronze. I get so many compliments on this every time I wear it, and people are always asking me what blush I’m using that looks so natural. It’s this bronzer! It’s lightweight and very finely milled, giving me a natural, healthy, bronzed glow. I’ve found that using blush alone sort of gives me a one dimensional look, but the bronzer takes it up a notch. I apply it using my Real Techniques retractable kabuki brush on my cheekbones and a bit on my hairline and jawline. After the bronzer, I apply my blush. If I want something a bit more natural, I use my favorite NARS blush in Lovejoy. If I’m going full blown bronzed goddess, I use NARS Taj Mahal, which is the orange blush pictured above. Yes, it looks insane in the pan but it’s the most glorious blush of all time. If you’re a dark skinned woman, YOU NEED IT. It gives you the most gorgeous golden color that looks like you’ve been hanging out on a tropical island all day. Obsessed.

I then move on to my eyes. Before I apply any eye makeup, I always use my Etude House Proof 10 Eye Primer. It’s a dead on dupe for Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, and it’s a fraction of the cost, at about 6,000W. I used this primer faithfully in Korea, and bought a few extras to Vietnam with me. I have incredibly oily eyelids, and without fail, this primer helps keep my makeup crease free (even in crazy ass weather), for up to 10 hours. After my primer, if I’m really running low on time, I’ll just smudge a bit of my holy grail cream eye shadow on my eyelid, the MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Eclair (sadly limited edition, but the formula is still amazing). It adds a bit of dimension to the eye and lasts all day. If I have more time, I’ll add a bit of color to the crease, usually MAC’s Cork, and a little bit of a golden eyeshadow in the inner corner, normally either the Etude House or Too Cool for School offerings I mentioned here. I then use my all time favorite eyeliner, the Clio Kill Black Eye Liner pen, and finish it off with a generous dose of Maybelline’s Rocket Volum’ Express Mascara.

When I’m in a rush, I don’t do a bold lip, so I keep things natural. I’m obsessed with NYX’s Lipstick in the color Mocha, or MAC’s Lust. Both are amazing nude colors for women of color. I top my lipstick off with a bit of gloss, usually from MAC. I love the Creamsheen Glass in Deelight or Over Indulgence, or the Lustre Glass in Love Nectar.

As a final step, I do a light dusting of translucent mineral powder all over my face. I currently use the Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Pact, which is so much more convenient than the loose powder version. I can take it on my purse with me for touchups and don’t have to worry about powder getting everywhere. Throughout the day whenever I see myself getting a bit shiny, I use the Etude House Blotting Paper Pact, which is a super adorable compact that has blotting tissues that attach to a beauty sponge. It’s so much nicer than using a blotting sheet and your hands!

I know it seems like a lot, but trust, I always woke up late for work in Korea and always managed to squeak out this makeup routine in just enough time to make the bus. Simple, glowy, natural makeup for the win!

Do you have any favorite makeup tips? How long does it take you to do your makeup in the morning? Let me know in the comments! 

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