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 Files. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hi there! I’m Allie, an L.A.-based beauty and health writer based in Los Angeles. There is literally nothing I love talking about more than my beauty routine (except for, perhaps, the benefits of using the Oxford comma), so buckle up because I’m about to take you through my entire routine. I used to joke that I could write a dissertation about it, but now I’ll be able to say that I actually have written one, so this moment is very fulfilling for me.
When I was in high school, I had really bad acne. I tried everything, but it was very persistent. I learned to do my makeup to cover my acne, and I fell in love with its transformative powers, the way it allowed me to show the world who I wanted them to see. I still love makeup, but nowadays I take a very holistic approach to my beauty routine, starting from the inside and working my way out. Ready to have some fun? Here’s my (admittedly, pretty involved) beauty routine.
5:15 a.m. — I snooze the three alarms I have set:
This is an ungodly hour to wake up. I know. I had to train myself to become a morning person, because if I don’t work out in the morning it won’t happen. And I feel so much better and more productive if I get a workout in in the morning. But, yeah, I still hit snooze.
Once I finally drag myself out of bed (and away from the snuggles of my dogs) around 5:30, it’s time to get workout ready. I make sure everything — including my skin care — is ready to go the night before. I don’t wash my face in the morning before I work out, but I do quickly wipe down my face with Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, $7. Then I apply Renee Rouleau Elderberry Soothing Toner, $34, followed by her Daily Protection SPF 30. I’m very fair-skinned and I burn easily, so I am obsessive about sunscreen. This one is SPF 30 and a moisturizer, so it’s perfect. (Yes, the sun is out, albeit just barely, when I hit the gym.)
In the car on the way to the gym, I apply a little It Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Full-Coverage Treatment Concealer, $28, and It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Correcting Powder, $38. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I wear makeup to work out at 6 a.m. Not a full face, but just some light coverage. It makes me feel more confident. Plus, I do Crossfit, and the lighting is not flattering or dark like it is at boutique studios. Plus if you’ve ever walked into a Crossfit box, you know everyone is really ripped and hot, so I like to at least make sure my skin is glowy. I then apply one coat of Eyeko Lash Alert Mascara, $26, because my lashes are actually transparent.
When my workout is done, I spray my chest and back with SLMD Acne Body Spray, $38, to help prevent chest and back breakouts.
When I get home I immediately hop in the shower. To make it feel more spa-like and to get me energized for the day ahead, I mist three to four spritzes of Organic To Green Eucalyptus Spray, $36, into my shower while it heats up. I use R+Co Sunset Blvd Blonde Shampoo, $29, and Conditioner, $29, to keep my hair color bright. I’m naturally blonde but get highlights. I only condition my ends because my hair is fine. I wash my face with Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser, $19. Immediately after getting out of the shower, I apply Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, $45. The name is silly and the price is kind of steep for a body moisturizer, but in the words of Sinead O’Connor, nothing compares to you. It smells amazing and makes my skin so soft. In fact, I used to hate body moisturizers until I tried this one.
8 a.m. — Time to prep for the day:
I’m a freelance writer and don’t go into an office, so my daily routine varies based on what I have going on that day. First off, I make myself coffee. I blend it with Vita Coco Organic Coconut Oil, $10, grassfed butter, Dr. Axe Multi Collagen Protein, $44, and Moon Juice Pearl, $48. The collagen and pearl dust are really, really good for your skin. The former helps with your gut and skin health, the latter is full of antioxidants and also helps stimulate collagen production.
After all that, it’s finally time for hair, makeup, and skin care.
I mix four drops of IGK Mixed Feelings Leave In Blonde Toning Drops, $19, into Matrix Biolage Styling BlowDry Glotion, $17, and apply it to my hair from about ear-level down. The drops are to keep brassiness at bay, and they are honestly one of the best products I’ve ever used on my hair. The Glotion is super conditioning, smoothes my hair, and has heat protection. Then I use either a volumizing spray or a texturizing spray. Right now I’m partial to Ouai Wave Spray, $26, and Sachajuan Root Lift, $32.
For skin care, I start with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, $166, which is full of antioxidants. Then I put on more of the Renee Rouleau moisturizing sunscreen from earlier. I pat on Philosophy Take A Deep Breath Oxygenating Eye Gel Cream, $42, which is my Holy Grail eye cream. It’s light and refreshing, but it makes my dark circles look so much less pronounced and a tiny bit goes a long way.
If I’m just at home writing, that’s where I typically stop (unless I have products I need to test for stories). If I have events and/or desksides, then I style my hair and do my makeup.
9/10 a.m. — Getting ready for meetings and desksides:
Some days I get to sit at home in a cozy robe and write all day; other days I’m running around Los Angeles for meetings, desksides, and product previews. If it’s the latter, I do my basic makeup routine. I always do my makeup first, because I prefer to let my hair air dry most of the way to try and mitigate some of the damage from heat styling.
I prep my skin for foundation with Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer, $44. I am legitimately obsessed with this. It smells amazing, feels so light on your skin, and helps my makeup apply so smoothly. Depending on my mood, I either reach for Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation, $43, or It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream With SPF 50, $38. They both offer amazing coverage and a lightweight feel, but the It Cosmetics gives more of a dewy look. The CC cream is the beauty product I recommend most when people ask what I like to use. I like to apply base with my fingers because one, I’m lazy about cleaning my brushes, and two, I find it applies better to my skin.
Then I tap either Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Concealer, $31, or It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer, $24, underneath my eyes in a triangle shape. After applying my liquid products, I dust on a tiny bit of the It Cosmetics Redness Powder from earlier to set my makeup and ensure that the powdery products I’m about to use don’t look patchy.
Next, I use an angled brush to apply Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer, $29, to the hollows of my cheeks, my temples, along my jawline and slightly down my neck. Then I use a blush brush to apply Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush, $26, in Fetish (a nude/pink) slightly under the apples of my cheeks for a more contoured look. To make myself extra glowy, I sweep Glamglow Glowpowder Hyaluronic Acid Infused Glow Palette, $42, onto my cheekbones, under my brows, in the inner corners of my eyes, and down my nose. This just came out, and it looks so good IRL and in photos.
Time for eyes
I cannot stress the importance of an eye primer enough. I don’t care if an eyeshadow says it’s long-lasting; I will never go sans primer. I like Lune+Aster Eyelid Primer, $22. For my eyes, I apply a blend of shades Covets and Fantasy from the Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette — Coconut Fantasy Collection, $49, using a fluffy eyeshadow brush from Cala. To define my eyes, I put on a thin line of Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner, $8, in black and lightly smudge it. Mascara is one of my all-time favorite products, so I’ve tried a ton. Right now I love Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara, $24, and Dior Diorshow Pump’N’Volume Mascara, $30.
Next, brows. (I know this seems like a lot of steps, but I can do it in about 10 minutes flat.) I normally get my brows tinted, but if they are fading I like to use a brow gel like Modelco More Brows, $18, because it’s easy to use and looks natural. I prefer a feathered brow to a super sharp one.
Finish it off with lips:
I don’t generally wear lipstick unless I’m going to an event, so lately I’ve been loving Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hydrating Lip Gloss Sticks, $28. They’re glossy without being sticky, give just the right amount of color, and make my lips look so full and amazing.
Makeup extra credit:
If I have an evening event where I need to turn things up, I build off of my daytime look by doing a thicker line of eyeliner and adding Bobbi Brown Long Wear Sparkle Stick, $30, in Rose Quartz. I just discovered this shade and I can’t live without it now. Plus the application is basically foolproof. I don’t usually like false lashes, but I also just discovered Lash Star Visionary Lashes 001, $25. They’re pricey, but you get a lot of wear out of them and they look so natural and pretty.
If it’s an occasion I will wear lipstick. I prefer liquid lipstick; I feel like they just last longer and are easier to apply. Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick, $14, is severely underrated. The colors are so good (the 01 is the perfect red), and it lasts forever. It’s also very reasonably priced compared to other brands at Sephora. I recently wore this look to a wedding, and my lipstick lasted all night (and through more glasses of champagne than I care to disclose). Here’s the look:
Back to hair:
Okay, now that my makeup is done, it’s time for hair. Doing my hair is the one step in my routine that I’m not great at, so I really rely on products to give me the beachy, tousled look I go for. Once my hair is mostly dry, I use a round brush plus Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer, $195, to smooth my hair and finish the drying process. I divide my hair into a top and bottom half, and then use a 1-inch curling iron to create messy waves.
Instead of a dry texture spray, I prefer to use a dry shampoo. I find that dry shampoo gives me the look I want minus the stick texture. I love Dove Refresh + Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo, $4, and Philosophy Amazing Grace Dry Shampoo, $24 (I didn’t even know they made a dry shampoo until recently). I kid you not, I get so many compliments on how I smell when I use the Philosophy dry shampoo combined with the brand’s Amazing Grace Eau de Toilette, $49. For scent, I’ve also been obsessed with Ojai Wild; they’re this really cool natural fragrance line out of Ojai, and their scents are sexy and unique. My fave is White Sage Leaves, $98.
The last step of my routine is to clean up any flyaways. Celeb stylist Mark Townsend once told me to spray hairspray on a toothbrush and then use that to brush down flyaways; it’s a tip I’ve used for years.
I typically spend all day staring at my computer, and all that squinting is not conducive to preventing wrinkles. Plus blue light makes my eyes really red and gives me a nasty headache. So lately I’ve taken to wearing The Book Club Harlots Bed glasses, $30, because they reduce blue light penetration (apologies for using the word penetration) by 30 percent.
8:30 p.m. — Time to get ready for bed:
Since I wake up so early, I try to get into bed by 9 p.m. so that I can read for about an hour to unwind. In fact, my nighttime routine is an important aspect of my beauty routine — but we’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s talk about my nighttime skin care routine.
I’ve been into double cleansing lately. I apply Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert, $30, to my dry skin and massage it in. I rinse with water, and then follow with the Neogen cleanser from the morning. I mist on Kat Rudu Dewy Botanical Flower Mist, $29, because it smells amazing and contains witch hazel, which helps keep my skin clear. Then I pat Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, $70, into my skin, followed by a hydrating or brightening serum. Right now I love Stacked Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum Calming Champaca, $130 and Renee Rouleau Skin Drink Concentrate, $42.50. Lastly, moisturizer. I’ve been using with Philosophy Purity Made Simple Ultra-Light Moisturizer, $25, because it’s so lightweight but incredibly hydrating.
Skin care extra credit: On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I use Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple Acid Peel Pads, $70. They are legit amazing. I would use them over my entire body, but unfortunately that would end up being incredibly expensive. So I stick to sweeping one over my face, neck, and chest. The first time you use them they feel strong, but over time it turns to a tingling sensation.
I also try to do two face masks on Sundays while I watch some sort of true crime docuseries. One that’s pore-refining, and one that’s more hydrating. My current faves are Sand & Sky Flash Perfection Exfoliation Treatment, $43, Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, $48, Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel, $87, and Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask, $22.
Before hopping into bed to read, I fire up my Vitruvi Stone Diffuser, $119, to help get me in the mood for sleep. I like using their Dusk blend, $24, which includes ho wood, lavender, frankincense, and eucalyptus and is very calming. There’s a reason they call it beauty sleep: it’s literally when your body regenerates and recharges. So I engage in practices that help me get great sleep, like aromatherapy.
I always pull hair back into a French braid, because Kat Rudu told me I should never ever sleep with my hair in my face and she’s a medical aesthetician with perfect skin, so I listen to her.
Then I set my aforementioned three alarms, turn my phone over so that the screen is down, and read for at least an hour. My functional medicine doctor told me I need to take time to do something for myself every day to reduce my stress (I realize this is like, the most L.A. thing to say), which is why I always set aside time to read before bed. Yes, it’s usually a young adult novel. Yes, that’s my favorite genre. Don’t @ me.
Indulge in beauty-themed voyeurism by reading all of our past Beauty Files, here.