my beauty top 5

i love makeup.

and i love making lists.

so this is the beginning of a series of top 5 things that i love.

let’s start with makeup.

my top 5 beauty picks – makeup edition

5. too faced chocolate soleil bronzer in milk chocolate ($30, sephora)


i’m really pale. i’ve been through a lot of bronzers. my previous favorite was sugar cosmetics tropic tan bronzer. it was perfect… and then i couldn’t find it. i used to hit pan every. time… the only thing i loved more was the pink-tipped kabuki brush that came with it.
ahh, high school.
but ANYWAY. when sephora and ulta stopped carrying sugar cosmetics (RIP), i switched to too faced chocolate soleil bronzer. it’s matte. and it smells like chocolate.
it’s awesome. i searched a very long time for a matte bronzer, and this one is my favorite. if i’m looking for shimmer, i use NARS bronzer in laguna. but for everyday, i like matte.
it also comes in a darker shade.

4. bobbi brown long-wear gel liner in black ($24, nordstrom)


it’s easy, it’s matte and it stays where you put it. unless you’re smoking it out, then it blends beautifully (as long as you’re quick, it dries pretty fast).
i’ve slept in it and it still looks good in the morning.
i also have it in ink blue which i like when i’m feeling feisty.
it’s the quickest, easiest and cleanest way to a cat eye.
i apply it with the bobbi brown liner brush, but for beginners i’d recommend a bent liner brush. a angled liner brush will also work and is best for a sharp wing.

3. NARS blush in orgasm ($30, sephora)

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 7.21.22 PM

this photo does NOT do the color justice. in real life, it’s a pink with peachy bronzey shimmery undertones.
i usually leave shimmer to the strippers, but this is shimmer done right.
it’s universally flattering and gives you a nice (post-o) glow (without the o).
it’s not my every day blush, but it’s perfect for those days when you need the extra oomph.
plus you can’t beat NARS’ cheeky blush names.
get it? cheeky?

2. yves saint laurent rouge pur couture vernis à lèvres glossy stain ($35, nordstrom)

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 7.33.13 PM

this is the definition of all-in-one.
i have it in 1 – violet edition (a dark pinky purple), 9 – rouge laque (red, above) and 16 – pourpre preview (a lighter purpley pink). i want every color. it’s easy to apply, hydrating and it lasts all day. it applies like a non-sticky gloss but it’s pretty pigmented and it’s buildable. after a few coats, it could pass for a lipstick with a gloss over the top. it feels good on your lips and once it starts to wear down, it leaves a stain. the scent is faintly floral but mostly chemical but it fades as soon as you put it on.
my biggest problem with lipstick is chapped lips. i ALWAYS have to exfoliate and hydrate before applying lipstick and 99% of the time, my lips still wind up flaky and dry after an hour or so. this “glossy stain” eliminates that problem. i’ve worn it in the coldest of chicago winters without a problem and it looks good pretty much all day. and i love the flat doe-foot applicator. it allows for even product distribution and control. i’ve never had to use a brush like i do with lipstick.

1. diorshow mascara in black 090 ($25, sephora)


as far as i’m concerned, this is the MASCARA TO END ALL MASCARAS.
it has a cult following for a very good reason… it’s amazing.
if i was stranded on a deserted island and could only bring 3 things, this mascara would be one of them.
i have long lashes even without mascara. since i started using diorshow when i was ~16, i’ve regularly been asked if i’m wearing fake lashes.
i’m open-minded, especially when it comes to makeup. i’ve tried more mascaras than i can count, but i ALWAYS come back to diorshow. it lengthens, thickens and curls like a pro. the brush is fat and the mascara itself smells like roses. i always have at LEAST two tubes on hand… in case of emergency.
it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to my lashes.
it also comes in waterproof.

HONORABLE MENTION (in no particular order)

-bobbi brown lip balm ($19, nordstrom)

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 3.53.08 PM

i’ve bared chicago winters and (now) an arizona summer so i KNOW dry lips.
i always keep a tin in my purse, one in my makeup bag and one next to my bed. it’s thick without being greasy and it’s hydrating without being shiny. i have also used it on my cuticles and my eyelids for a little hint of sheen on a bare face.
my favorite trick is to mix it with a little lipstick for a more sheer application. and it smells good.

-bobbi brown skin foundation stick ($44, nordstrom)

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 4.02.13 PM


this foundation stick is so convenient.
every day, i wear the bobbi brown long-wear even finish SPF 15 foundation ($48, nordstrom), but i don’t like to lug around a bottle in my purse. it’s glass and heavy and i really just don’t feel like scrubbing foundation off of my alexander wang wallet.
i keep one of these in my purse in case of emergency. my only problem with it is that it leaves a dewy finish and i’m all about matte, so, depending on your preference, you might want to use a powder over the top to set.
it’s also nice when i’m just running to the store and i don’t feel like doing a whole face. i just swipe on my “problem areas” and blend with my fingers, set with powder and go. it’s VERY full coverage, but could be blended out.

-dior ‘smoothing lacquer’ lip polish ($31, nordstrom)

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 4.33.17 PM

this gloss is advertised as a primer and a gloss all-in-one, which i didn’t know until i just read the description on the nordstrom website. oops.
it has a spinning applicator for easy application and it’s a nice, sheer pink that’s universally flattering. i keep it in my purse for when i’m out and just need SOMETHING on my lips. it’s smooth and not at all sticky. it’s pretty long-lasting, too. it’s supposed to smooth out the surface of your lips. i don’t know really if it does that, i just use it as my go-to basic gloss. i like it because it’s not overly shiny and there’s no glitter.
it can also be used over lipstick to add some shine to a matte finish.

what products can you not live without?

xo, a

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