Welcome to The Beauty Files, where HelloGiggles editors and contributors share what exactly they put on their faces, and why. We want to take you on this voyeuristic journey because we believe makeup means something different for every single person — applying makeup is a conscious, intimate decision we make almost every single day, and there’s usually a method behind the madness. Join us every week as we spill the beans on beauty products, and feel free to submit your own Beauty File. E-mail us at email@example.com!
My beauty routine is constantly evolving. I avoided makeup in the past for various reasons — the greatest being that I just didn’t have that much time to dedicate to it while I was in school. I stuck to a very simple routine of eyeliner and mascara, and when I was feeling experimental, I’d smudge a little bit of eyeshadow and hope for the best.
The routine has gotten a bit more experimental in the last couple years. I’ve learned that wearing makeup can be empowering and make me feel creative. But also, it could help me in ways that I, well, need help. As a Jewish, Southern Italian, and Irish woman, I know I’ll never have naturally straight, sleek hair — and that’s okay! But it’s great having some products that help with the frizz and volume. Rather than focusing on my face, much of my beauty experimentation has revolved around my frizzy curls (which I do love, so please stop telling me to get Keratin treatment, hairdressers!) and this is what I’ve come up with.
7:45 a.m. (okay, realistically 8:00 a.m.)
If I don’t shower in the morning, I usually end up putting my hair in a messy bun because it’s usually FUBAR, and I’m not a morning person, so I can’t put too much effort into reviving the curls that have been smothered in the night. I keep forgetting to buy a silk pillowcase, which I hear is good for maintaining curls over night but… Alas, here I am with a bird’s nest on my head. My first bit of maintenance occurs in the shower with these staples:
I’m currently using Paul Mitchell Marula Oil Shampoo ($52.96), and it’s pricey (for me), but I only shampoo every other day and once I find something that works for my hair, I covet it forever. I also love the Ouidad Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask ($30.82), which I only do about once or twice a month but I’m a fan of it because hair hydration is key for me. When I’m not using the mask, I use the Marula Oil Conditioner. Ca-ching, there goes all my money! I also love to exfoliate in the morning, though I don’t do it every day, so I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub ($12.35) in the shower as well.
Now I’ve entered what I like to call Towel Time, when I’m chilling with a towel wrapped around my newly scrubbed bod and a shirt around my head. Yep, a shirt. I’ve taken to the curl-care method known as “Plopping,” which basically entails wrapping a shirt around your head so your hair can both twist and dry thanks to good-ol’ cotton fibers.
Since I woke up 15-30 minutes late, I take the time it takes for my hair to dry (not completely) in the shirt to do my makeup, but sometimes it’s nice to just stare into space while my hair is wrapped in the shirt I wore to bed.
These are my tools (which I always lay out this delicately, of course):
For my face, I use bareMinerals Prime Time ($22), foundation primer, because it makes my skin feel silky smooth. Then I apply Tarte’s Amazonian Clay BB Cream ($26) which I like for its sheer coverage and sun-protection. I then use Glossier’s Stretch Concealer ($18) for under my eyes and any other tiny imperfections that I’m so damn good at spotting (don’t you hate it when you’re just too good at something?).
Next come my eyes, for which I often only use mascara, but I’ve been having fun with Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner which costs 20 bucks. As you can see in the above photo, I use the classic pink-and-green Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, partly because of the nostalgia factor, as I distinctly remember the bright pink tube from my childhood (it’s been around forever), and also because I’ve tried so many mascaras over the years and they all seem to do about the same thing.
Lastly, I fill in and shape my brows with Glossier’s Boy Brow ($16) and swipe on Nars’s Orgasm Blush ($30) because I am not very creative with my beauty purchases, and if something is “iconic,” or “a staple” (like Boy Brow and Orgasm) I will most likely buy it.
Hair-time again, 8:45 a.m.
By the time my makeup is on my face, my hair is ready to be un-plopped. I use Ouidad Climate Control Gel ($20) even when it’s not hot and humid outside, because a wonderful hairstylist recommended it to me, and I’ve used it ever since. Granted, she did work for Oiudad, and I am the most gullible consumer when it comes to beauty products, but it actually does work! The gel is lightweight and only makes my hair look gelly when I’ve put too much in, so I only have myself to blame for that. After applying the product to my semi-damp hair, I let it air dry while I eat my breakfast before dashing out the door.
Intermittently throughout the day: 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4:37 p.m.
My beauty maintenance routine doesn’t take much except for added moisture throughout the day. For my hair, less is more, so I actually have to put a great deal of effort into NOT TOUCHING my mane, as that will unleash a new level of frizz that only worsens by the minute and attempts to take over the world. Think The Blob:
But for my hands and lips, I use these:
While my hand lotion tends to vary, I’m currently using the Eos hand lotion ($4) and Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm ($7). My lips tend to be dry and in need of hydration (I hear that coffee is dehydrating, and I’ve had about 4 cups by now), so I love this lip balm for assuaging the dryness.
After work, pre-dinner, 6 p.m.
I have a temping day job at the moment, and by the time the day is up, I bolt out and either run home to my side-hustle (writing) or to some (free) event being held in New York to remind myself why I’m living here. I will re-apply mascara (Maybelline) and possibly swipe on a little bit more blush (Nars) to freshen up my face. If I am feeling extra bold, I might apply a red lip — I use Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick ($20), which I’m not quite valiant enough to wear during the day in the office.
I am, of course, shameless enough to take Subway selfies (they’re an art form, really) when I’m on my way home. Kat Von D doesn’t lie, the liquid lipstick is everlasting.
Deconstructing my Masterpiece, 10 p.m.
My night-time routine is super simple:
I use the Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover ($13) because who doesn’t love a 2-in-1? For nighttime moisturizer, I am currently using Aya Moisturizing Cream ($29.99), which my mom gave me the last time I saw her (okay, I asked her if I could have hers).
That’s my routine! It’s quite simple, but I imagine that within three years all of it will be different — except for Maybelline Great Lash Mascara because something about that pink and green tube just feels familiar and essential. Maybe I’m born with it, maybe it’s really good marketing!
Indulge in beauty-themed voyeurism by reading all of our past Beauty Files here.