We’re starting a new series called 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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
Like so many of us working in the beauty realm in one capacity or another, I got here by developing a healthy obsession with makeup as soon as I was allowed to experiment with it when I was 12. It was definitely slow-going for me, as my strict private school and even stricter parents didn’t let me use more than a little blush and concealer for pimples — though I quickly found ways around that. Having been a bit of a dork for most of my childhood thanks to some unfortunate glasses, a penchant singing showtunes and reading alone during recess, my ability to transform myself with a little mascara and lip gloss felt pretty revolutionary.
I Laney Boggs-ed myself like an IRL She’s All That, and while the attention from my peers was short-lived (you cannot hide the nerd no matter how much eyeshadow you wear), my love affair with makeup continued.
These days, my love for all things beauty and skin care remains, though my reasoning has changed quite a bit. As a person who has dealt with bouts of anxiety, depression, and disordered eating throughout my adult life, the worlds of self-care and beauty are deeply intertwined. My passion for beauty stems from a deep need to care for myself, and sometimes this means devoting an evening to masks, doing my nails, and deep conditioning my hair — and other times it just means remembering to take off my mascara before bed!
Taking a few minutes a day that are devoted solely to my own comfort and care has been just as helpful to my mental health as spending an hour at the gym or going to therapy! I truly believe that self-care is a radical act, especially for a woman of color during this ridiculously awful time. And in the process, my skin gets lovingly pampered and I get to go on accepting glowing praise from aestheticians when I tell them my actual age.
Morning: 8:30 am
One of the joys of being a full-time writer is that I get to sleep in a little. Is it indulgent? Yes, but it makes me happy and I’ll take advantage of it for as long as I can! My morning routine is just about as low-maintenance as it gets because I don’t wear any makeup when I go work out. I am hopelessly devoted to Trader Joe’s Natural Facial Cleansing Pads with Tea Tree Oil, ($4.99). They act as a cleanser and toner all in one, and I am convinced they are the #1 reason I don’t get breakouts. Then I spritz my face with S.W. Basics Rosewater Spray ($13) so that my products will get properly absorbed into my skin. Also, the smell is positively divine!
Next, I rub The Ordinary Rosehip Seed Oil ($9.80) all over my skin in gentle circles, like a little massage! It’s super hydrating and absorbs really nicely into my skin. Lastly, I smash on some Glossier Priming Moisturizer ($25). I love this moisturizer because it’s super light, buildable, and really hydrating. Even my boyfriend uses it every day! After that I walk my dog and head to my workout!
Late Morning: 10 a.m.
After my workout I can finally get ready for the day! I shower and wash my face with Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, $18. I only wash my hair twice a week because I am trying to limit heat-styling and also because I have really thick hair that holds styles for a long time and doesn’t really grease up. When I do wash it, I use Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Shampoo ($25) and Conditioner ($25.) In between washes, I spray it with Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo ($22.) I am very loyal to my fave brands, guys, but that’s because they really work. I would love to marry this dry shampoo, but unfortunately I am already married to my dog.
After my shower, I start by repeating my morning routine with my Rosewater Spray, Rosehip Seed Oil, and Glossier Priming Moisturizer. After that I’ll add Suntegrity’s Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer ($45) because I’ll be damned if a ray of sunlight will ever touch my precious face skin! After letting all that marinate for a few minutes I’ll start my makeup! I use Benefit’s The Porefessional Face Primer ($31.) After that, I’ll curl my lashes with my Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler ($21) and slap on my trusty Maybelline Volum’ Express Pumped Up! Colossal Washable Mascara ($7.77.) It’s the best! I don’t use any other eye makeup during the day than that!
For my skin, I use Stowaway Cosmetics’ Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm ($26) and Creaseless Concealer ($16) in Fair. I love the coverage of the beauty balm — it’s a bit heavier than a traditional skin tint or bb cream, but still gives me that glowy skin that looks very natural. Also, I hate my under-eye circles, and I find that their concealer really stays put! After that I just dab on some RMS Lip2Cheek in Illusive ($36) on my cheekbones, and sometimes if I want a little more dimension I’ll layer some Pixie Sheer Cheek Gel in Rosy ($14) on the apples of my cheeks for a brighter look. A quick swipe of Glossier’s Boy Brow in Brown ($16), and that’s it! I’ll usually swipe on some Glossier Balm Dot Com ($12) on my lips and I’m good to go. I generally try to keep my look as natural as possible during the day, especially since most of the time I’m just writing alone.
Evening: 5 p.m.
On evenings when I’m heading out to meet friends or on a date night with mah boo, I do like to amp it up a notch. (Though by a lot of beauty junkie’s standards, even my “going out” look is relatively subdued.) I like to let my skin shine! But, I’ve got all these fun products to play with, so why not go a lil’ wild? I’ll give my face a good swipe with a Trader Joe’s wipe, re-moisturize with Rosewater Spray, Rosehip Seed Oil, and Glossier Priming Moisturizer and start with a clean slate.
I am OBSESSED with my Urban Decay Naked Palettes and will be ’til the end of all time. My go-to is NAKED3 ($54). You can’t go wrong with some pinks! After priming my skin, including my eyelids, I swipe Strange all over my entire lid and under my brow bone. Then I sweep Buzz over my eyelid, concentrating on the center of my lid. After that, I add Mugshot to the creases for a light smoky eye. Then I dab a small brush in Dust and add it directly under my brows and in the inner corners of my eyes. Voila!
I’ll use Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen ($9.99) in Black to create a thin line along my lash line. Now that I’ve got some precious lil’ crow’s feet, I have to work extra hard to make sure my winged liner doesn’t drift into my wrinkles, so I rarely do cat-eyes any more, even though I love them! Then, a quick swipe of mascara and then it’s onto the face.
I like to use my “weekend foundation” when I go out, and my go-to is Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer ($48) in Sx06. I was initially put off by this foundation because of the price tag, but once I tried it I was hooked. It’s actually an incredible deal because this makeup is incredibly thick and highly pigmented, so it’s best used when mixed with moisturizer or a lighter skin tint. I literally delicately dab my finger into the pot, mix some moisturizer in it, and get a totally full-coverage look that doesn’t budge. I also take a teeny tiny dab and use it as concealer under my eyes and around my nose. It’s magic!
Then I’ll do what I like to call a “light contour.” I swipe on a tiny bit of Stowaway Matte Bronzer in Light($17) in the hollows of my cheeks, and then use another cream or liquid blush over that, usually my Pixie Sheer Cheek Gel, but this time in Flushed for a darker, more romantic look. After that, I’ll swipe a bit of highlighter along my cheekbones and along my nose. My current fave is Glossier Haloscope Highlighter in Quartz ($22.) I usually darken my brows a bit more in the evening, and I am obsessed with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($21) in medium brown.
Then it’s my favorite part — lipstick! I love both brightly-colored and dark, dramatic lipsticks, so you’ll be unsurprised to find that I have many to choose from. Now that spring is coming, I’m extra excited about busting out my favorite hot pink — Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick ($20) in N26 Raspberry. After that I am ready to go!
Night: 11 p.m.
I love my night routine even though it takes forever, because literally nothing feels better than washing the day off my face! Especially when I’ve got my contacts in, which is basically every day, because my eyeballs just feel exhausted. So the first thing I do is take my contacts out! I’m a bit intense about having super clean skin at night without drying out my face. First I use my Trader Joe’s wipes to get the makeup off my face, though I don’t rub them on my eyes — the tea tree oil is way too harsh for eyes! Then I use One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil ($42), it just melts my eye makeup right off and cleans my face, leaving it feeling silky smooth and fresh but without giving me that squeaky clean, stripped feeling. After that I tone using Aesop’s Parsley Seed Antioxidant Face Toner ($43) by just putting some on a cotton square and sweeping it over my face. (I love Aesoph’s Parsley Seed line in general, and I do have the face wash as well, but I don’t use it on the daily.)
After that it’s time to layer on all the goodies! I alternate between two active serums in the evenings, because I find that my skin is too sensitive to layer on more than one. I either use The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% ($5.80) and The Ordinary Lactic Acid + HA 2% ($6.50). I will never get over how affordable these two are considering how incredibly powerful and effective they are. So I alternate using them every night except for on the weekend, when I’m in hydration mode and don’t use any actives. After using one of the actives, I layer on Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil ($72) — another investment, but well worth it. It balances skin out beautifully and feels super rich without getting greasy. After that it’s time for just a lil’ moisturizer, which once again comes in the form of my trusty Glossier Priming Moisturizer.
That’s it — can you believe we did it? When I look at it written out like this it kind of feels like a lot, but I promise it doesn’t feel like too much during my daily routine! And it’s so worth it to know that my skin is healthy and I feel good about myself. I can’t believe I didn’t even get into my masking routine, though TBH it can vary from time to time. I haven’t been as on top of my masking this winter as I’d like, but you gotta give yourself a little leeway sometimes, you know? TTFN!
Indulge in beauty-themed voyeurism by reading all of our past Beauty Files here.