Photos from freshman year of college usually elicit some kind of groan from me—I had black hair with chunky bangs (seriously) and painted on foundation like my life depended on it.
Now, thanks to the wisdom that comes with age (but mostly thanks to tutorials, I’m looking at you Kristin Ess and Lauren Conrad) I’ve settled on a beauty routine that doesn’t make me cringe with regret.
When it comes to your skin, my mom taught me that this is where you spend your money. Everyone’s skin is so varied—personally, I have sensitive, combination skin that can be prone to breakouts if I don’t take care of it. There is nothing worse than when you run out of all your expensive makeup at the same time…we’ve all been $150 deep in a Sephora check out cart. But it’s important to never scrimp on your skin.
FOUNDATION: I prefer a matte look with fuller coverage, which is why Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + is my go-to. It’s true that a little goes a long way, but it stands up to afternoon shininess and covers any blemish. It’s also water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your face coming off while sweating or swimming.
Sidebar: Yes, I wear foundation at the beach. A girl’s gotta live and as much as I love being barefaced around the apartment, I feel more comfortable and confident with some makeup on in public—call it a result of growing up in the South. Whatever, get at me.
BB CREAM: For those that think I’m a monster for wearing foundation everywhere, don’t you worry I also love a good BB cream. I’ve found the Prep + Prime BB beauty Balm from MAC to be the best since a) I prefer fuller coverage and b) it doesn’t slide off my face after a few hours. Pretty please remember though, that BB cream does not count as sunscreen!
POWDER: I’m obsessed with MAC, so you’ll see quite a few products featured here. The Mineralize Skinfinish is my favorite line from the brand because it achieves a natural look without failing around 3 PM and making me shiny. Brush on this powder lightly for even coverage.
CONCEALER: MAC’s Studio Finish concealer comes in a handy pot and covers more obstinate blemishes or acne scars. It’s super concentrated, contains SPF 35 and travels easily since it’s not a liquid.
BLUSH: There are 19 shades of MAC’s Mineralize Blush to choose from, but the dusty pink shade “Warm Soul” suits my skin tone exactly. The formula easily layers so you can slowly build color until you find just the right amount.
BRONZER: I use bronzer sparingly, and mostly swipe on some for light coverage on my neck. I prefer Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer—it’s waterproof and vegan-friendly if that’s your thing.
CONTOUR: I don’t always contour (because who has time for that?) but when I do I stick with the Kevyn Aucoin Contour Book. It has everything you need in one friendly palette, plus comes with handy instructions on what to apply where, so you don’t have to have Kardashian-level contouring expertise.
While you spend money on skin, the eyes are where you can stick to drugstore buys. (I blame my only non-drugstore product on Anastasia Beverly Hills’ incredible marketing.)
EYEBROWS: Who knew that eyebrows would be this important in 2018? (Thank you mom for never letting me pluck mine in the early 2000s). I like this Anastasia’s Brow Powder Duo because it ensures natural-looking brows by mixing in the light and dark shades.
MASCARA: I actually use two mascaras—CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher and L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Original Mascara. I apply the first for thickening, followed by the second directly after for darker, longer-looking lashes. I use the CoverGirl on my bottom lashes because I find it swipes on lighter and more naturally.
EYELINER: I stan the Lauren Conrad cat eye till I die. The L’Oréal Paris Lineur Intense Liquid Eyeliner allows for more control over the wing, plus it creates a super dark line and is incredibly long lasting. I’ve found the tip of this liner to be much easier to manage than other drugstore options.
Shop my favorites below!