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 email@example.com!
I was raised by a mother who barely had any time for herself, let alone enough time to think about a makeup routine. Luckily for my mom, she was a young woman in the ’70s and ’80s, when you could kind of get away with bright colors and kooky looks. Such is not the case now unless you REALLY know what you’re doing with it and I, sadly, do not. I am the person who won a year’s subscription to Birchbox and still have stacks of their boxes in my bathroom closet. I am a heathen.
I didn’t start dabbling in makeup substantially until I was in my mid-twenties, and even now there are things I’m too scared to try, like lip liner and bronzer, because I’m afraid it will be too harsh. My features aren’t exactly “soft,” and I am still working on experimenting with my look in my early thirties. I also live in Florida, where it’s unbearably hot and humid roughly 10 months out of the year, which is a fun challenge.
However, I do have a tried-and-true routine that keeps my skin healthy, soft, and not too prone to breakouts (except around my period because, well, you can’t have everything), and I get lots of compliments on my skin. I thank genetics for that, but I also think it’s because I take pretty good care of my skin. Hopefully, my no-fuss, budget-friendly routine will help another minimalist gal (or guy!) who wants the same for themselves and isn’t sure where to start.
Notice the Pokémon tank top. I want to say that was a casual night, but…this is my usual aesthetic.
A semi-everyday routine for me normally goes a little something like this.
Evening, Pre-Run: 6 p.m.
I’m a runner(ish), so if I go out when it’s still daylight, I use a spray sunscreen on all exposed areas – anything at least 30 SPF, such as Equate Ultra Protection sunscreen ($4.98) and a bug spray with Deet on top of that, like Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent ($3.97). I sometimes don’t do bug spray if I run during the day, but the evenings are always bug-spray central because I’m a mosquito magnet.
I should add (surprise!) that I do NOT wear makeup when I run or go to the gym. Kudos to girls/women who do and like to, but I would sweat it off in two seconds, especially in the Florida humidity.
Evening, Post-Run: 7 p.m.
I have to make sure I splash some water my face pretty soon after a run for two reasons. One, I look like the Kool-Aid man for about an hour following a run, and I don’t want to scare anyone/myself when I look in the mirror. It’s really bad, guys. And two, I’m overheated as all hell.
After I stretch and cool down for about 15 minutes, I get in the shower and wash my face with St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub ($3.63) or, if I’m being honest, the generic Publix or Wal-Mart version, which work just as well and are cheaper. I use whatever body wash and moisturizing shampoo and conditioner were on sale last time I went grocery shopping, because I’m a total animal.
After I dry off, I apply Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer ($12.24), paying special attention to the area around and under my eyes. I’ve had under-eye bags/circles since I was a child, which is genetic. Thanks, fam!
Morning: 7 a.m.
I work from home, which means unless I have a conference call via Google Hangouts, no one will see my face except the UPS guy and neighborhood children who run past my home-office window on their days off from school to chase a football they threw in the pond. Also my cat, but she has seen my face through a lot worse than a lazy beauty routine, so we have an understanding.
The only thing I really do beauty-wise during this time is wash my face with a gentler cleanser than the nighttime scrub, Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser ($5.68), and apply moisturizer again. I’m going to the grocery store today so I’ll (probably) put on real pants.
The morning after I wash my hair and sleep on it semi-wet.
(Not pictured: the cat bothering my feet.)
Afternoon: 3:00 p.m.
My husband and I are going away for the weekend to an Air BnB in St. Augustine — a place very special to us since we got engaged there and he grew up there — and we’re going straight to dinner when we get there, so I’m taking the rest of the afternoon off to get ready before he picks me up after work and we make our way north. Because there is a city north of us, somehow. #CentralFloridaLife
It’s actually cool out today and may be the last weekend I’ll be able to say that for about eight months, so I’m going to throw caution to the wind and curl my hair. Usually, if I want a little curl and don’t feel like putting effort into it because either I’m not going to see anyone or the humidity is going to kill it anyway but there’s a chance I might see human life later in the evening, I get out of the shower, towel-dry my hair, brush it out with a paddle brush, scrunch in some Bumble and bumble. Don’t Blow It ($31), and I’m good to go.
But today, my hair is air-dried and ready for some real curl action. My favorite hair tool, aside from my flat iron, is this amazing curling machine – I can’t even call it a tool because it’s legitimately a chamber of secrets for hair — called the Infiniti Pro by Conair Curl Secret ($79.99) that is the best $80 I ever spent.
Anyway, it sucks your hair into its little chamber and does the work for you, meaning I burn myself way less. There’s definitely a learning curve and you can’t use too much hair at once, but I’ve only gotten my hair seriously caught once or twice and have never had to cut it out, so if I can do it, you can too. My hair is pretty straight, and what used to take me 45 minutes with a clamp iron or wand takes me about 20 with this bad boy.
First, I spray my hair lightly all over with Bumble and bumble. Does it All ($16) and brush through, then I separate my hair into two sides and curl each side in three layers, so I’m not tempted to use too much hair at once (I’m impatient) and it actually stays set for an acceptable amount of time. I use the highest heat level and setting time because go big or go home – plus, you can always shake out extra curl, but not doing enough means you might have to start over or pull out a wand to finish and I ain’t about that.
10 minutes in:
After I finish curling both sides, I shake it out to my liking. Then I use my Infiniti Pro by Conair flat iron ($20.99) to smooth out the top of my hair near the root, because I get frizzies bad up there and haven’t mastered products well enough to prevent that. P.S. This is the best flat iron I’ve ever owned and IT’S TWENTY DOLLARS. Then I take a little Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum ($4.94) and scrunch it around.
Finally, I spray the style all over with a little Aqua Net ($1.97) because Bb products are expensive for me and I like an ’80s-era, southern-style hold. Because you can take the girl out of Louisiana, etc.
Shaken out, flat-ironed, frizz-tamed and sprayed. In this photo, I am asking the universe to invent Jane Jetson’s two-second hair-styling machine.
For makeup, I usually start with a Bobbi Brown corrector ($25) for under my eyes, but I ran out like a month ago and haven’t bought more because, like I said, animal. I do splurge a bit (for me) on my foundation with the Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation ($40) because my amazing makeup-artist friend Danielle got me hooked on it and it feels like nothing on my skin — even when I’m elbow-to-elbow with a huge, tired, frustrated family at Walt Disney World in the middle of August. Which actually never happens, because I would not be caught dead near WDW anytime from June to early September. I apply this with my fingers, even though I own a Beauty Blender ($20). I have had it for two years and still haven’t opened the packaging, because I am that lazy. I’ve heard it is wonderful, though.
After foundation, I again use my finger (my ring finger, because I heard it’s the softest or something?) to pat MAC Pro Longwear Concealer ($22) under my eyes and over any blemishes. I actually really don’t love this concealer and have been wanting to try something new, so I may switch at some point. I set my foundation and concealer with this pressed powder (the brand has faded off of the lid so I can’t even tell you what it is), but I like it fine. I use the Real Techniques Powder Brush ($9.99) for this.
I was an eyebrow over-plucker in high school, because I went to high school in the late ‘90s/early 2000s when thick brows weren’t as “in” and I was a hairy teenager who overcompensated. So now I have to fill them in. I apply MAC Eye shadow in Charcoal Brown ($16) with the MAC 263 Small Angle Brush ($20).
I have hooded eyes and when you pair that with hellmouth-level heat and humidity, my eyeliner and shadow do not last more than a few hours at best, and way less if I’m using shimmer shadows. So I use NARS’ Smudge-Proof Eye Shadow Base ($26). It has a built-in little wand — it’s like they know me! This primer is the only one I’ve found so far that doesn’t make my eyeliner smudge off on my brow bone until the veerrrry end of the night. Jury’s still out on one magic enough to keep me going until the break of dawn.
After that, I use a combo of colors in either the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette ($49) or Urban Decay Naked2 Palette ($54), applying with the MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush ($25). I don’t really stray from golds/browns/nudes much. They complement my blue eyes and I can blend them decently, so I just go with it.
Next, I use my 263 brush to apply a thin line of Maybelline New York Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner in Black ($7.94) to my upper lash line, and my lower for an evening look, like tonight. I use the MAC 231 Small Shader brush ($20) to pat some black eye shadow over the line to try and keep it dry, and swipe a bit of translucent shadow over my brow bone for the same reason with the 239 brush. I apply Maybelline’s The Falsies mascara ($5.94), and a little NYX ombre blush ($9.99) blush to my cheekbones with an EcoTools Precision Blush Brush ($7.99) that I think I got in a variety brush pack (that’s a thing, right?) a while ago.
I honestly don’t really ~do~ intense lip color, because I bite my lips like crazy and haven’t had the patience to try to break the habit, use a lip scrub, or figure out what looks best on me. So I’ll probably swipe on a little somethin’ subtle like NARS Lip Gloss in Chelsea Girls ($26) and call it good.
Evening: 7 p.m.
We arrive at the Air BnB and I take a look at my makeup and hair. Since it’s only been two hours in an air-conditioned car and it’s in the 60s outside (BLESS!), all is mostly fine. I spray on a tiny bit more hairspray, work a little Aussie Total Miracle Dry Shampoo ($3.47) into my bangs (they get oily way faster than the rest of my hair), scrunch up my curls for good measure, reapply my lip gloss, and head out.
“Evening”: 12 a.m.
I’ve probably had a few sangrias at this point, but unless I’ve had WAY too many, I always, always take my makeup off at the end of the night. My remover of choice is the Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($4.97), because I have to use so little.
After I remove my makeup, wash my face, and moisturize, I’m out like a light in probably six seconds flat, because it does not take a lot for me to fall asleep. Tomorrow morning I will pat myself on the back for taking care of my skin, and hope I remembered to pack sunscreen. And Tylenol.