Favorite: Beauty Products

Hi friends!

So I have a really fun, fashion-themed sponsored post coming your way at the end of the week (involving leggings and tights, the staples of my winter wardrobe), so as a precursor to that, I thought I would spend a little time this week posting about other girly things that I love. The few times that I’ve posted about makeup in the past, a few of you have requested a post about what my favorite beauty products are. Well, ask and ye shall receive!

Makeup looks

Male readers, feel free to X out of your browsers now. I think you’re done. πŸ˜‰

Doing makeup

So, as you all know by now, I’m kind of obsessed with putting crap on my face. In the best possible way, of course. And I’ve posted about certain products that I like, as well as my Sephora obsession, but never really broken it down beyond that. To be fair, it’s because I really am not the kind of person who has one everyday, go-to look. I really enjoy playing around with my makeup and having lots of options. But, if I were forced to whittle down my ridiculous makeup collection into the basics, these would be it.

Now, it should be noted that this list is of predominantly higher-end makeup brands, so if you’re shocked at the sticker prices… well, yeah. Believe me, I know. But, they really are amazing! And I do use drugstore brands too (you might even see one below…!) it’s just that, well, these are supposed to be my favorites, right? Right. heh.Β (Oh, and sidebar: none of the links below contain affiliate links.)




I don’t wear foundation on a daily basis, but when I do, it’s Makeup Forever’s HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($42). I wear color #125. Though I know I’m lucky because I have pretty clear skin naturally, I suffer from a LOT of redness. This stuff really does cover my redness, and gives me a blank canvas to work with. It is fantastically lightweight, and doesn’t get cakey on me, which is a problem I’ve had in the past. It is definitely expensive, but for me, since I don’t wear it daily, one bottle lasts a looooooong time.



I’ve mentioned NARS Blush in Orgasm ($28) on this blog before, and it’s because it’s the miracle blush. I have yet to find a single person that this blush does not look amazing on. It’s a subtle, shimmery, peachy-pink, and it really is just gorgeous. As I mentioned above, my cheeks are naturally very red, so I really only wear blush if I’m wearing foundation. That said, this is the only blush I can ever imagine needing again. I threw out my other ones. True story.



Hands-down, the most-used product in my makeup box… tray… shelf… thing (…) is theΒ Naked Palette from Urban Decay ($50). This single palette has 12 colors, almost all of which are neutral, and all of which look AWESOME. I use it for almost all of my daytime looks, and Creep + Gunmetal (the black and silver on the end) make an awesome nighttime smokey eye. The palette comes with a brush (that IΒ don’t really use, haha) and a mini bottle of Primer Potion, which IMO, is absolutely the best eyeshadow primer out there.

Sin, the second shadow from the left, is an amazing, shimmery pink color, and Buck, 5th from the left, is a matte brown. They look awesome together (Sin on interior half of lid, Buck on outside and in crease). If you didn’t want to fork over the cash for the entire palette, but would like a couple shadows for a great daily look, I’d suggest getting those two colors individually. The individual shadows sell for $18 each.


Confession: I have this eyeliner in six–yes, SIX–different shades. I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. Yep, Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner ($19) glides on smoothly, stays on forever, and comes in the bessssst colors. I have it in Zero (black), Gunmetal (silver), Covet (green), Flipside (teal), Lust (purple), and Woodstock (pink). It is, quite simply the best, and I will fight you over it.

I will admit, however, that I have also been using UD’s 24/7 liquid liner, and I’m not 100% sold on it. So I’m looking for suggestions for your favorite liquid liner–feel free to pass ’em forward if you use the stuff! I’m especially interested in trying out the marker-style liquid liner, as opposed to the bottle-and-brush kind, which is what UD’s is.



I don’t wear a ton of “real” lipstick, since, like 83% of the day I have something in my mouth (I’m talking about food, you gutter minds!) and it never really lasts long enough to make it worth it. In fact, one of the only times I wear lipstick-lipstick, is when I feel the occasional need to rock the red lip that I love so dearly. My color of choice? Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Intense in #42 ($19). Highly pigmented and pretty long-lasting, when I do the whole fill-in-lips-with-lip-liner-and-use-multiple-coats-thing.


Lip Gloss

Now, gloss on the other hand… gloss, I love. I have a lot of them. And they’re sticky, and they’re shimmery, and Sean hates them. πŸ˜€ And my favorite of the bunch is NARS Lip Gloss in Orgasm ($24). This gloss is actually pretty UNsticky, and the shimmer is subtle and beautiful. Along with the Orgasm blush, this is the product I used on each one of Anne’s bridesmaids when I did their makeup for her wedding, lending credence to my theory that this color just looks good on errrrrybody.


I’m kind of funny when it comes to my makeup. I don’t use (or even own!) concealer, but I’ll tout highlighter as a must-have from here to kingdom come. See, highlighter is one of those products that is generally overlooked. Not a ton of people use it, and it does seem a little superfluous on the surface. But to me, there’s nothing that brightens my face more than just a tiny touch of a shimmery sheen here and there. Smashbox’s Halo Highlighting Wand ($32) is my current fave, although I haven’t tried TOO many different brands yet.

I dab it under my eyebrows, along the inner corner of my eye, over the tops of my cheekbones (above my blush-line), and in my cupid’s bow (the little dip at the tip of my upper lip). It lets my face catch the light in really flattering ways, and looks great in photos.


Hokay. So. Had you asked me like, a week ago, what mascara I would recommend, I would have proclaimed from the rooftops Diorshow BlackoutΒ ($25), no question. J’adore Dior. It is a thick formula that actually clings to my tiny, weak Asian lashes (seriously, if you catch me at the wrong angle sometimes it doesn’t even look like I HAVE lashes) and is a real, true BLACK, which is what I love. And I still love it, don’t get me wrong.


SOMEBODY just HAD to have dinner with me whilst sporting the most incredible lashes in existence, to the point that I could not stop staring into her eyes during dinner. So, yes, Aileen, I am a total creeper, but thank you for introducing me to this magic.

CoverGirl LashBlast Luxe in Black Platinum ($7.50, I got it at Target) is the bomb-diggity. And yes, I’m bringing that back. It is thick, and amazing, and a third of the price of Diorshow and… it has SPARKLES. Yes, this mascara actually glitters. The bomb. It comes in a range of subtle tints, too, but I went with basic black. And I’m not sure if I’m going back. Stay tuned.

So! There you have it! Whew. Obviously, the basic lesson of this post is that I spent entirely too much money on makeup, so that I could report back to you with my faves. The things I do for you people, I tell ya. πŸ˜‰

I know I’ve basically asked this question before, but considering the topic of this post, I think it bears repeating:Β What are your makeup faves?


  1. Things I can’t live without

    Anna Sui – Liquid Eyeliner
    Shiseido – Foundation/Powder
    Anastasia – Eyebrow Pencil
    Bobbi Brown – Concealer
    Smash Box – Primer
    Estee Lauder – Lipsticks/Gloss (they smell so good too!)

    I’m such a girly girl so I appreciate this post to the nTH! degree πŸ™‚

    You are rocking red lipstick! Nothing says “I feel sexy and powerful!” like a red lipstick

    • Oh, I didn’t even mention primer! I use Makeup Forever’s HD Redness Correcting primer. It’s greeeeeen, which is creepy, but it really helps keep my pink cheeks at bay. Guess I gotta go test our the Anna Sui liquid liner — your eyeliner always looks awesome. πŸ˜€

  2. Now I want to do a post on this too! I love your makeup posts. I am a lover of the LashBlast, but I haven’t tried out the Luxe yet. SPARKLES. WANT. I use the fusion, because while I have nice dark lashes, they are short and stubby. I deeply envy my husband’s long, curly lashes.

    • Right?! What is with men getting these amazing long lashes while we have these tiny, straight ones? I know this is like, the ultimate #firstworldproblem, but still. I sigh.

  3. Chris Zeiglersays:

    I’m generally a fan of L’Oreal – but only because they seem to use it on Project Runway. I have no idea if it’s any good….and I don’t think I could name another brand beyond them πŸ˜›

  4. Liquid liner = Eyeko liquid liner for $15 – Love it

    Lipgloss – I love Bare Minerals brand.

    Love these updates an Love Sephora too.

  5. Nice to know about the lash blast – do they have a brown shade? Sometimes I think black is a little too harsh on me with how light my blue eyes are. It’s funny, I rarely wear makeup but I really got sucked into this post! Thanks Gretchen!

    • They have subtle-tinted colors in Green, Blue, and Red. I imagine the red one probably looks more like it’s brown from the demo? It’s called Cabernet, or something. I don’t think they have a an actual brown one in Luxe, but maybe it’d be worth a try?

  6. I definitely need a good liquid liner too. One thing all my blurry eye makeup shots showed me was that my liner is almost always a little too thick. I have the first Naked palette on my wish list right now. I’m starting to feel like Urban Decay pokemon – gotta catch em all

  7. MY PRECIOUS LASHBLAST LUXE. YOU TOOK MY PRECIOUS. But I’m glad you loved it as much as I do. Mascara is my would-bring-on-a-desert-island-with-me makeup essential, and of the dozens of brands I’ve tried over the years between acting in plays and finding a good everyday face, this has always been my favorite. One time I decided to change it up and try a fancy Sephora brand, and that expensive Sephora tube is still sitting somewhere at the bottom of my makeup bag, only slightly used.

    I will never stray again.

    P.S. Most of my makeup products are just my way of compensating for the fact that roll-on face/body glitter doesn’t exist anymore.

  8. I use Mary Kay everything! (I sell it…and love it!)
    Do you ever use primer? I don’t wear foundation very often myself but I love makeup/eye primer because they seem to even out my skin without any color and the eye primer always helps my eye shadow stay on waaaay longer!

    • I do! I forgot to put it in the post, but I mention it in a comment above. I use Makeup Forever’s redness correcting primer, and I agree, it really evens things out. I’ve never really considered using it without foundation on top though. Maybe I need to take it for a spin!

  9. Jamiesays:

    Liquid eyeliner (marker style) – I second Eyeko…I got it as a sample in my birchbox and love it. Sephora sells its in black but the company (UK company) makes a brown, teal and purple that I would love to get my hands on. I have a dark green liquid eyeliner from Stila as well which I like (also marker style) and they make a ton of colors too!

    • Jamiesays:

      Also, another Birchbox discovery that I love is Blinc mascara, it is the cool tube type that comes off without smudging and their primer/mascara make my barely existent lashes look great!

      • Mmmm, Birchbox. I only signed up for it back in August, so I haven’t gotten too many boxes but man, I can’t believe I waited so long. It’s ah-mazing. I just got a face wash from them that I am in looooove with. I gotta try this Eyeko!

  10. So, I wear liquid eyeliner every single day, and this Stila one hands-down is my personal fave – http://www.sephora.com/product/productDetail.jsp?skuId=1221084&productId=P253818&_requestid=68909#!keyword=STILA%20Stay%20All%20Day%20Waterproof%20Liquid%20Eye%20Liner%20P253818

    I’ve even worked out in it, and it stays firmly in place.

  11. Your last Sephora blog inspired me to go there (Tysons Corner even) and try the NARS Orgasm gloss. LOVE it!!! I don’t own the UD palate, as I have the Two Faced palate instead (I wanted something that was a bit more portable). Make-up is expensive, but it lasts forever and honestly, you get what you pay for. I’ve gone through so many purple eye liners (5 to be exact) that I’ve bought at drugstores that I finally bit the bullet and got the UD one. It’s just nice being able to try the make-up before you buy it as well. Thanks for this post! I told Anne that you and your family should really start a wedding business…you’ve got photographers, event planners, make-up/hair artists…;)

  12. I saw that you did Anne’s wedding party make-up and thought it looked AWESOME! I totally wish you would do mine for any ritzy event πŸ˜› I’m a big fan of Trish McEvoy and Nars, but also a few generic pharmacy finds!

  13. Jessesays:

    I found your blog a couple months ago and I’m in love! You’re the bee’s knees chica! Now to makeup… I have to make a comment only because I’m a HUGE fan of liquid eyeliner and my hands down favorite is a drugstore brand (yay for cheap!)! That said, Maybelline Line Stiletto is awesome! Not for the new liquid eyeliner folks though…as the brush is flexible and you need a steady hand :).

    Other stand-outs: Cheers to Urban Decay eyeshadow! And Benefit They’re Real mascara really does make you think twice as to whether you have on falsies.

    Happy Makeup-ing!

  14. Rachelsays:

    I have a question for you about the Naked palette. I have it too and loooove the shades. So pretty! However, I always get glitter fallout on my cheeks. I always use e/s primer (Nars being my current fave – it is awesome!) and a nice firm MAC e/s brush, but I still get glitter on my cheeks throughout the day. Okay for evening but not so professional at my uber conservative office. Any tips or tricks to minimize this? It bums me out to skip the sparkly shadows in the palette!

    My other makeup faves are Bare Minerals foundation (I alternate between this and Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer), most anything by Tarte (especially their palettes), Dior mascara, and Fresh tinted lip balms (especially the Rose one).

    • You know, that happens with me too! Mostly with Sidecar, and I unfortunately don’t have a solution. It also prevents me from using that one very often. I’ve seen some girls apply tape to clean it up, but that sounds like too much effort, haha. If I figure anything out, I will definitely let you know!

      Oh, and I LOVE those Fresh lip balms too. So smooth.

  15. Ok…after reading your post about Anne’s wedding and now this I’m going to break down and buy NARS lipgloss and blush in Orgasm. You’ve sold me.

    As for my favorites depends on if I’m going for a full made up look or just a bit of a made up look. But I love…

    Daily Look:
    Dr. Jart+ BB Creme…I have natural redness and this tones it down but it is easy to put on.
    Clinique Natural Mascara…it gives you a coat without anything crazy.
    Urban Decay Lip Junkie lipgloss…I love the Midnight Cowboy for everyday it is a nice nude color.

    For a Full Evening Look:
    BareMinerals Foundation and Mineral Veil…it gives me great coverage. Just make sure you use a primer first.
    BareMinerals Big Tease Mascara…for me this is as close to false eyelashes as I’m going to get. I love it!
    Urban Decay Eyeshadow…it is amazing, easy to use, and stays forever. My go to is the Midnight Cowboy collection.
    Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner…in Spandex it adds a bit of fun to your eye liner. Just don’t open your eyes until it sets a bit.
    BareMinerals Buxum Lip Gloss…it has a bit of peppermint so it plumps your lips and it does a good job staying on. My favorite is gabby.

  16. Please try Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner! I love it!! It applies smoothly and doesn’t budge. I picked it up a couple of months ago at Sephora and it still amazes me =)

  17. Kathrynsays:

    How sparkly is the mascara? Is it OK for daily use, or is it too “flashy”?

    • The sparkle is REALLY subtle. You have to look pretty hard to actually see the sparkles, so definitely definitely good for daily use! πŸ™‚

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