Tuesday, May 27, 2014

helen loves: edition #11 featuring my makeup essentials

Since I haven't done a Helen Loves column in quite a long time, I thought it'd be fun to chat about makeup this time! I've worked in the beauty industry my entire career, but honestly only in the past year have I started really getting into makeup. My new beauty philosophy is to find my "holy grail" products that are worth the investment, instead of buying a ton of cheaper alternatives but not really being happy with them. From drugstore beauty to prestige products, here are the essential products in my makeup bag. Feel free to comment below and share your favorite makeup products!

I use Makeup Forever's HD Invisible Cover Foundation in shade 120 almost every day. It's pricey, but so worth it -- the shade matches my skin perfectly (they have 26 shades in total, so you can't go wrong!). The liquid blends in and "disappears" on my skin, taking any imperfections with it. I also like Maybelline Liquid Mousse foundation in 3.5. I'm also eyeing the Makeup Forever HD concealer -- I've actually never used concealer before, so I'm excited to try.

To set my foundation, I use Dermablend's Loose Setting powder in cool beige. This has really helped make my makeup stay put, since I tend to have oily skin that sucks up any makeup within a couple of hours. I also recently learned how to contour (thanks to this video)... it's fun to emphasize certain features, like cheekbones, and actually feel like I know what I'm doing! I use Urban Decay's Naked Flushed palette's bronzer and highlighter.

Brush set:
My friend Liz introduced me to Sigma  (their brushes are comparable to Mac's brushes) and I am so glad that I took her advice and purchased the Sigma Travel Kit! The travel set is an especially great deal (all the brushes you need!) and comes in a cute travel-ready leather container. I have the coral set and it's gorgeous.

I use Tarte's Amazonian Clay 12-hour blushes all the time (my favorites are Exposed- a nice nude/bronze shade and Blissful - a warm peach shade). I also was a sucker and recently bought the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow (a cool pink), although I'm thinking of swapping it out to Radiant Magenta. I really do believe I get a little bit of extra "glow" -- I'm a sucker.

OBSESSED with my Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay. Obsessed. From light mauves to pink gold shadows, I literally use this collection of shadows every day --I mix and match and layer different shades according to my mood and always find the overall look very natural and "me" instead of like a crazy raccoon. I also have the original Naked palette, which I find has more metallic neutrals and colors and is more suitable for evening.

Eyelash Curler and Mascara:
I've tried the "famous" eyelash curlers like Shiseido's and Kevyn Aucoin's, but I still like my Revlon Cushion-Grip Eyelash Curler the best-- it requires less grip and feels so comfortable (I know, shocking term to describe an eyelash curler!). I swear by two mascaras: Urban Decay's Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara and Lancome's L'Extrême Waterproof' Instant Extensions Lengthening Mascara.Waterproof formulas are my go-to because they stay put all day and hold curl better than non-waterproof formulas -- really important for someone who has short, straight Asian eyelashes!

I have a ton of lipsticks, but my favorite daily wear lipstick is Too Faced La Creme.... I love how creamy, light and non-scented Too Faced formulas are. My favorite daily wear pink/nude lipstick is Spice Spice Baby. I'm also addicted to Baby Lips lip balm (Cherry is my favorite).

Extras/Touch Ups:
Sometimes, if I'm feeling super fancy, I'll use an additional highlighter above my brow, on the insides of my eyes, and cheekbones, to add some extra pow. I like using this Jane Iredale eye highlighter pencil and this Borghese shimmer makeup for that added highlight. I also have combination skin, which means my T-Zone (forehead, nose, and chin) tend to get oily throughout the day, so I carry Tatcha blotting papers with me to get rid of any excess shine.

What's missing:
I used to wear eyeliner quite often, but haven't been into it lately-- it feels a little too harsh. Also, my eyeliner always slides right off (raccoon eye alert!), even if I reinforce with an eyeshadow primer and buy a waterproof formula. Any suggestions? Do you prefer liquid or pencil?

PS: Other Helen Loves collections


  1. Eye shadow is my favorite makeup products.

  2. I absolutely love Makeup Forever's HD foundation. Soooo good. Just so annoying that not many places sell it here in the UK, grrr! A big favourite of mine is the good old classic Orgasm blusher by Nars. Just love it.


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