you know i have a deep obsession with all things beauty (and probably spend too much time reading about it on into the gloss), and as i've said, it's quite an expensive habit. as a result, i tend to stick to drugstore products, which all work amazingly well. almay powder, maybelline mascara, and covergirl eyeliner are all i really need on a day-to-day basis....
but change is always good.
example (a): i've recently started wearing foundation. not just a dusting of powder, but legitimate foundation. it started when my mom bought the wrong shade of chanel vitalumiere foundation and suggested i try it; ever since, i can hardy leave the house without it. before discovering its dewy, ultra-light, natural-looking wonder, i would have never paid $55 for a bottle of makeup - that seems crazy! and in a way, it is. there are equally fantastic varieties out there from rimmel, maybelline, and physicians formula for a fraction of the cost, but sometimes a splurge is well worth it. especially when you're like me and have found yourself on this painstaking mission to find those few products that make your skin look absolutely perfect, yet not overly-made-up... flawless, but radiant. poreless, but undetectable. i'm close to finding my dream team of products, and i have to admit, they aren't a cheap bunch.
the story continues: to apply my liquid-gold chanel foundation, i use a foundation brush by shisheido to blend tiny amounts wherever i need a bit of coverage (not over my entire face... that's how you get a mask). this brush is my one tool that is absolutely necessary and thus totally worth the $30. not just any old foundation brush will deliver the flawless, airbrushed results you get when you use this miracle-worker; you have to invest a little, which i did (per emily's suggestion, once again).
my spree continued upon picking up my first NARS product -- the 'laguna' bronzer. i recently discovered how bronzer can completely transform your beauty routine, and not in a jersey shore type of way. matte, subtle bronzer like the 'laguna' is perfect for shading underneath your cheekbones and jawline (called "contouring") to create depth and angles on your face. my old cheapy bronzer wasn't cutting it.
you need a small, slightly-stiff brush to create those contours, though, which brings me to the too-faced kabuki brush. not only is it absurdly soft (the 100% natural bristles are made of their famous "teddy bear hair") but it makes application a breeze. i don't know what i would do without this little pink brush - i use it for bronzer, blush, highlighter, translucent powder, you name it.
and speaking of highlighter... after applying bronzer for shading, you need a glowy, light-reflecting highlighter to counteract the darkness and avoid a muddy, flat complexion. NARS illuminator in cococobana is both sheer and pearlescent, making it the ideal pop of shimmer on top of your cheekbones, over your brow bones, and in the inner corners of your eyes. i've found highlighter is the key ingredient in making your face look fresh and awake, but cheap formulas tend to get cakey and lose their sheen after a few... minutes. you've gotta get the good stuff.
and after treating your face to the best and brightest formulas and tools, the last step is concealer. i don't need to go out of my way to praise the clé de peau beauté concealer stick - it's the immediate favorite of any makeup artist or beauty fanatic all over the world. its steep price tag is a little jarring at first (...to say the least), but it's worth it. i promise. consider this:
1) it will cover ANY blemish, scar, under-eye circle, freckle, what have you. literally, anything.
2) it feels like a dream.
3) it blends perfectly into your skin tone.
4) it lasts FOREVER!!!!
...okay maybe not forever. but at least a year. mine has lasted me several years because i use it even more sparingly than your average woman. you only need a teeny tiny amount, and it virtually pays for itself.
so yes, my latest obsessions are a bit on the pricy side. but i don't feel quite so bad about it considering i'm still spending very little at the drugstore! my eye makeup, hair care and nail polish are all quite affordable, and plus: if you're going to pamper yourself, it may as well be your skin. there's no doubt these products are better for your skin than a lot of the other stuff out there, and isn't that what we're all after in this age of skin-damage-phobia? (oh yeah, and if you haven't been told already, stop going to tanning beds! they're the WORST.)