Makeup must-haves, skincare saviours, heavenly hair and my personal best of beauty.
I’ve been very hesitant to post anything beauty related. I’m very aware from the response I receive to my other work, that relationships, travel, social issues and human emotion are what my readers love most. That being said, I get a lot of questions on my socials and in my daily life about what products I use. So here it is, the first and only post I’ll write about this subject. Because as one of my favourite bloggers Audrey Leighton once said: “Let’s not forget how useless being pretty is.” Intelligence, talent, kindness, ability to love – all far more important.
I’d love to sit here and say I’m 100% all natural. That clear skin came from drinking water, that my dark hair falls in soft, loose waves like that all the time and my eyebrows are perfect every day. But the truth is that ever since I was a little girl, I have been heavily into all things beauty. Insecure about my horrific acne in my teens, I vividly remember late nights teaching myself how to do flawless makeup through Youtube tutorials. Every spare cent I made, I spent on makeup. I loved to recreate celebrity makeup looks I’d seen – my girl crushes at the time were lead Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and Kim Kardashian West – dark haired girls unite!
I will happily admit to you that I would have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on beauty products, beauty treatments and the like. It makes me feel good! And every morning is a little therapy session for me – I sit at my vanity table in my robe, cup of coffee, do my hair and makeup and its ‘me’ time. I thoroughly enjoy it and I always feel my best when I’m made up and looking my best. Don’t get me wrong, these days, I’m just as confident being seen with zero makeup and sometimes I will show up to work looking like shit and not care! But it took me a little while to get there and I think the same can be said for most women. It’s true what they say, the older you get, the less you give a fuck!
I have committed to most beauty trends throughout the last decade. Thin brows, overlined lips, blonde highlights, blue eyeshadow, mastering the art contouring, matching foundations, laser hair removal, fake tanning – you name it, I’ve been there and bought the t-shirt. So, since I’m constantly buying products to try, posting them and being asked about them, I thought I’d wrap it all up for you and give you my complete routine.
Great skin is the ultimate must for me. I invest so much into my skin because I know how long it took to get it to this point. Hydrated, clear skin not only makes me feel more confident without makeup, but it makes my makeup look so much more flawless. I require less product, resulting in that ‘natural beauty’ look we all desire.
After years of Roaccutane medication and using medicinal skincare, my skin cleared up and I’ve been lucky to not really have to deal with acne since. The odd hormonal break out occurs, ladies you know this, but nothing confidence shattering. Heart goes out to all the men and women struggling with acne – it’s a bitch and I feel you.
My skincare routine is pretty set in stone and I rarely stray from it to try anything new. I use Cetaphil Cleanser to wash my face morning and night with my Clarisonic. I use some sort of rose water toning lotion afterwards to calm and soothe my skin – at the moment I’m using a $4.99 one from Chemist Warehouse. To keep delicate skin under my eyes bright and hydrated I use Ole Henrikson’s Banana Bright Eye Cream. In the morning after my eye cream, I’ll use Alpha-H Vitamin C serum. At night, I use Alpha-H 24 Moisture Repair Cream. Twice a week I switch it up. For exfoliation night, I will cleanse and then use Alpha-H Liquid Gold resurfacing tonic all over my face, followed by Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil or Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel. These products do sting a little but the end result is baby soft skin. Then I’ll have a mask night – My favourite! I like to use Glam Glow’s SuperMud Mask followed by a hydrating tissue mask – my favourites are from Garnier. I stock up on so many of these Garnier sheet masks and use them all the time. If my skin looks dull in the morning before makeup, I’ll pop one on while I drink my coffee and do my hair.
As for the skin on my body, again very simple. Water-based, quick-to-sink-in body lotions are my favourite, particularly from Nivea and Dove. Exfoliating gloves – must! I do like to tan so if I’m in the sun I’ll use Melanoboost sun-tanning products. To deepen my skin with a faux tan, I will now on only use the new Dark tanning mouse from Bali Body. Sensational dark colour, fades naturally and evenly and smells divine!
MAKEUP – What everyone wants to know!
Primer: My skin is on the dry side but I do get a tiny bit oily throughout the day in my t-zone. To combat this I use Bobbi Brown’s Vitamin Enriched Face Base all over my face and Tatcha’s Silk Canvas Primer on my nose, cheeks & chin (where my pores are quite visible.) The Face Base is a nourishing moisturiser/primer. My skin feels so supple and makeup glides over it like a dream. The Tatcha Silk Canvas, however, is the real hero and a product I will forever keep re-purchasing. Nothing has ever blurred my pores better, made my makeup look as flawless or last as long. I notice a huge difference to my makeup when I don’t use it – put simply, it never looks as beautiful.
Foundation: My absolute favourite foundations I always re-purchase include NARS Radiant Longwear, YSL All Hours, Huda Beauty Faux Filter and Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Stick. I love the finish each of these foundations gives – flawless while still providing luminosity. I don’t like anything too matte. I use the Morphe x Jaclyn Hill JH03 Foundation Buffing Brush and then really melt the product into my skin with a damp Morphe Beauty Sponge for the most flawless finish. Honourable mention must go to both the MAC Face and Body and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundations for those lighter, natural makeup days. Both have a lightweight, skin-like finish.
Concealer: Deep set eyes x dark circles = don’t waste my time with half-assed concealer. I never need to spot conceal on my face as my acne years are behind me and I expect my foundation to do the work there, so this is strictly for under eyes. Huda Beauty Over Achiever or Too Faced Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer. I use a small synthetic buffing brush to blend it in as I find a damp sponge soaks up too much product and takes away the coverage.
Contour: Perfecting your base with as many cream/liquid products as possible will give you the most natural finish. There’s only two for me: Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick in “Warm Almond.” When I have a deeper complexion, I use the same concealer from Too Faced that I mentioned above, but I use the colour “Chestnut”. Finding a concealer that works for you and buying a second one in a dark contour colour is one of my fave makeup hacks. Cream contouring is a great way to warm up your skin and add dimension back into your face after foundation. A small duo fibre brush is the perfect tool for blending cream contour.
Highlight: Iconic London Illuminator Drops in the colour “Original” with a damp sponge. This liquid luminizer with just about any of the Hourglass Ambient or Strobe Highlight Powders over the top is perfect for me. Glowing but not ridiculous. However, if bling highlight is your jam, the market is saturated with highlighting products. My pick? Anastasia Beverly Hills x Amrezy Highlighter is SICKENING. They’ll see you from space. Inglot 4SS is my go-to brush for powder highlight.
Powder: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish in “Fair” with any smaller natural hair face brush to set my under eye concealer. If I want my under-eyes to be extra bright or last through a night of dancing, I will ‘bake’ using Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Powder in “Pound Cake” and a damp sponge. For setting the rest of my face, I use MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural in “Medium” with a big powder brush.
Eyebrows: Benefit’s eyebrow products are hands down the best. No messing around here. Ka-Brow! in 3.5 Neutral Medium with a small, synthetic angled brush to create a full, feathered base. Then I will use Precisely, My Brow in the colour 6 Deep to softly create dark hair-like strokes I need to match my brows with my black hair. (The lighter base makes the overall dark brow look much more natural.)
Eyes: Don’t waste money on collecting lots of individual eyeshadows – buy palettes. Eyeshadow palettes are already cohesive in colour choices for easy-to-put-together looks, taking most of the guesswork out of it. Most of my eyeshadows come in palette form, these are some of my other favourites – Morphe x Jaclyn Hill, Jeffree Star Blood Sugar, Kylie Cosmetics Bronze, and MAC Warm Neutral. I love Fenty Beauty’s Flyliner for a small elegant wing, or just to line the top lid to hide the band of false lashes – I always wear a strip of false lashes. Finish with NARS Climax mascara.
Bronzer and Blush: MAC Blush in Peaches is the blush I wear almost always. It’s warm and goes with any of my looks. Sometimes if I want a more dolly pink look, I’ll take any cool toned pink blush but it’s not something I’m very particular about. As far as bronzing goes I highly recommend Soleil Tan De Chanel cream Bronzer, MAC Mineralize skin finish in “Give me Sun” and Marc Jacobs Bronzer in “Tantric.”
Lips: I’m a nude lip girl, that’s just the way it is. The only colour I ever wear is occasionally red and I use MAC “Ruby Woo” lipstick and “Cherry” lip liner. My current favourite nude lip combination is MAC “Spice” Lip Liner, MAC Liptensity lipstick in “Doe.” Dab Jeffree Star Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick in “I’m Nude” in the centre and blend with a lip brush. Voila!
This is not the blog to follow for hair advice – sorry! Makeup I can do, clearly, given my in-depth essay. Skincare, sure… but hair? I have only one hairstyle. Lots of volume at the root and loose waves. I like to spray Bumble and Bumble Blow Dry Surf Foam Spray on towel dried hair, followed by Kristin Ess Blow-Dry Mist for a shiny finish. I blow out my hair using the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer and a round brush in small sections. Getting the hair nice and hot, I set in velcro rollers to let cool. I then like to tease at the root and finish each section of hair with extra curl using my T3 Bodywaver barrel (great for loose waves on me as I have very long hair.) Finish with Kristin Ess Texture Mist, some shine serum at the ends, hairspray and then shake it all out for the “effortless mermaid” look.
So that’s it! As you can clearly tell, I use a maximum of 3 products, it’s absolute natural beauty at it’s finest and it takes no time at all. Do I do all of this every day? No. But this is my ultimate, in fine form, got a hot date beauty routine.
I leave you with this quote from one of my favourite human beings.
If you’re pretty, you’re pretty; but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise, it’s just “congratulations about your face.” – John Mayer