Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Underrated Effortless Beauty Must-Haves

The idea of "effortless beauty" used to be something of a joke to me. It always felt like an effort (albeit an enjoyable one) to blend out my foundation and concealer, comb through my lashes, fill in my brows, perfect my lipstick, and wing my eyeliner. But as I've gotten older, tried a wider variety of looks, and experienced a whole new generation of makeup textures and finishes, I've come to realize that some products really ARE effortless. The modern beauty world is inundated with natural-looking, easy-to-apply makeup, the kind of stuff you can throw on your face in five minutes without brushes or fusses. And while some of these products, like Becca Beach Tints and Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat, are cult classics, others don't seem to get the attention they deserve.

Topping my list is the Elizabeth Arden Crystal Clear Gloss ($14, I'm not a gloss girl in the slightest, but this one is truly special. It's sticky enough to last for hours without making your lips feel gummy, and it has an unusual "blurring" effect that seems to reduce the visibility of lip lines. It looks beautiful on its own or over any lipstick. I'm also not one to bother with fancy eyeshadow looks on most days, but even if I'm in a hurry, I can find time for the Wet n' Wild Fergie eyeshadow primer ($5, drugstores) and a slick of Lancome Pink Zinc eyeshadow ($19, Nordstrom). The Fergie primer has actually replaced my Too Faced Shadow Insurance; I might cry if they discontinue it. And yes, Pink Zinc + MAC Satin Taupe is my favorite smokey eye...but Pink Zinc is gorgeous on its own. I feel like Lancome eyeshadows get zippo love.

If there's something I do love, unequivocally, it's a bright lipstick and loads of mascara. But it's difficult to smear on a red lipstick when you're sitting on a bus at 7:30 in the morning. So I go for Lipstick Queen Jean Queen ($18, Nordstrom) instead: it's a beautiful watermelon color that's bright enough to make an impact, but also sheer and creamy enough that it can be applied without a mirror. If I need a no-mess mascara that's layerable, I turn to Estee Lauder Sumptuous ($24, One coat looks quite natural, three coats is lush and full, and the brush makes it a bit easier to apply than, say, CoverGirl Clump Crusher if you're prone to poking yourself in the eye. (Guilty.)

For glowy-but-natural looking skin that takes me all of 2 minutes, I turn to three specific products: the Tarte Tinted BB Treatment in Fair ($34, Sephora), Charlotte Ronson Liquid eyeshadow in Sky (sadly discontinued), and Makeup Forever Uplight #11 ($29, Sephora). The Tarte BB is supposed to be a primer, but because it has a tint and some SPF, I just use it as an on-to-go sunscreen and tinted moisturizer, sometimes topped with a smidge of powder. The Uplight and liquid eyeshadow both have incredibly unique formulas that leave my eyes and cheeks looking soft and dewy. After I slap on these three products, I can slap on some brow pencil, mascara, and multipurpose cheek/lip products for a 5 minute makeup look. All while sitting in the back of the bus!

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