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Face full of my favorite makeup

Hello again, it's me! Welcome to Quarantine: Day 10. Time has ceased to hold any meaning.

To keep myself from going insane, I am keeping myself busy with lots of fun projects (check out my snapshot from 31 March for a run-down of all I've got on) while also continuing to work remotely, as well as reading. Lots, lots, lots of reading - my April TBR and March wrap-up can give you a good idea of what worlds I'm getting lost in while COVID-19 keeps me (and everyone RESPONSIBLE) indoors. I'm also going to do some more regular reviews, as again - projects and keeping busy is what will keep my mind from untethering.

Something fun for everyone to focus on in this post: I thought I would go through my usual makeup routine, and pick out my favorite items for each step. Maybe I'll do a face of that when I'm allowed out to see people again!

Making this list has been very enjoyable for me, because it's made me think about what my makeup actually looks like for me every day, and how little variety I actually use. I tend to do the same routine and reach for the same color combinations every day, so this has been a fun way of telling myself I need to shake things up and maybe play around a bit more. I first set out to be very strict with how I played favorites - one thing each for eyeliner, eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick, etc - but then realised that there were some categories where I just couldn't pick one, so I've broadened it out a bit. Read on if you find this entertaining - if makeup is not your thing and you pass, I will not take it personally. Normal service (books) will be resumed shortly.

My usual makeup routine goes like this: 1. cleanse; 2. prep; 3. prime; 4. eyes; 5. base; 6. sculpt and perfect; 7. eyebrows; 8. finish; 9. set. I've included cleansing and prepping because, for me, they're an integral part of my routine - I would never consider putting makeup on skin that feels dirty or not healthy, because then my makeup feels super grimy and heavy all day.

I've ended up having to broaden the categories for foundation and lipstick, so I've picked two foundations (one stick and one liquid) and multiple lipstick products: bullet lipstick; liquid lipstick; lip crayon. I have, however, stuck to the principles that I also had to pick a favorite shade of red, pink, and brown, and I've combined those so that there are only three lipsticks listed in this post.

Cleanse: You need a clean canvas before you start painting. That's just a good base rule, and that's really all I have to say on this particular subject.

  1. Lush Cosmetics 9 to 5 Cleanser. I don't like using an exfoliant in the morning because I find them too harsh on my skin first thing - I want to be kind to my skin before I layer products on it, and I certainly don't want to open up my skin to irritants by exfoliating before I put cosmetic products on it. That's why I like Lush's 9to5 cleanser - you just need a dab on a cotton swab, and it clears away all the gunk from the night and also smells nice, so it's an enjoyable, pleasant first step!

  2. Fresh Rose Floral Toner. What does toner even do, I hear you asking. Toners can help close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing, reducing the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. It can even protect and remove chlorine and minerals present in tap water, and acts as a lighter moisturiser and another layer between your skin and makeup. I like this one because it's very fresh and smells nice, and it feels good on my skin. I'm really not a difficult person to please.

  3. Lush Cosmetics Grease Lightning Spot Treatment. I get spots. I'm 25 years old and I still have acne. It's especially bad when I'm on my period, or stressed - and I'm stressed a lot. Life is so unfair. This clear witch hazel-based gel though is great at zapping spots and stopping them from spreading - it freezes them under makeup, almost, so they don't get swollen or more difficult to cover up. It's important to note that this doesn't tackle spots before they appear - it just makes the ones that have broken the skin more manageable.

Prep: This is my speedy morning skincare routine - because even though I'm wearing makeup, I still need to take care of my skin, and these products work their magic underneath any cosmetics. Everybody needs a skincare routine. Why wouldn't you take care of your skin? Your sixties-self will thank your twenties-self for getting into this habit now.

  1. Glossier Super Pure Serum. Glossier needs to restock this ASAP. It's the closest I've got to a holy grail product. It's got all the good acids you need to help calm inflamed and easily irritated skin, counter redness, and tackle spots before they have the opportunity to break the skin and become problems. It even feels good when it goes on - it feels calming and soothing and I can almost feel it working. I use it religiously daily, even if it's the only product I use that day. I'm down to the last third of my last bottle. Glossier, please. I will buy 20 as soon as it's back in stock just so I never have to be in this position again.

  2. Milk Makeup KUSH Growhouse Lash + Brow Serum. This supposedly boosts eyelashes and eyebrows so that they look fuller. Since I've started losing my eyelashes alarmingly often lately, I've been applying this twice a day to my eyebrows and my upper and lower lashlines to try and save myself from ending up as a lashless opossum and never being able to gaze seductively at anyone ever again. I don't know if it's the placebo effect or not, but I at least feel like the enormous gap in the middle of my eyelids where my lashes used to be is less noticeable - so for that reason I'm going to keep including it in my prep routine until otherwise notified.

  3. Lush Cosmetics Lip Scrub. I do this before I brush my teeth because it removes all those little gross lip flakes that show up in lipstick and look messy. The Lush ones both smell and taste yummy - but you can make your own with sugar and coconut oil. That's pretty much it.

  4. BITE Beauty Agave+ Pre-Makeup Lip Serum. You dot this along your lips and let it settle in while you do the rest of your makeup, so your lips are all smooth and prepped for primer and lipstick and it helps to smooth away lip lines - especially useful if you're wearing a matte lipstick.

  5. Lush Cosmetics Cosmetic Lad Facial Moisturiser. Moisturized skin is happy skin. You must, must, must moisturize every day. Foundation primer with moisturizing ingredients is not sufficient. You will look more tired, the bags under your eyes will be worse, your makeup will look worse if your skin is thirsty. I'm at the point where I'm actively grumpy if I can feel my skin being dry under makeup - makeup flakes, doesn't settle, peels easier. I personally recommend using a moisturizer that also has SPF in it, since you should also wear sunscreen every day (I do!), but this Lush one is great because it's light and fluffy and doesn't feel greasy or thick under makeup because of how quickly it absorbs. Plus it's also got chamomile and lavender essential oils in it, which as we all know are soothing. Seriously, I cannot emphasize this enough - fucking moisturize, people.


Priming is super important. It helps lock in your makeup so that it lasts longer, as well as creating an extra layer between your makeup and your skin, so it's got some protective qualities as well. It also creates a smoother base to begin with, and can even out skintone and minor imperfections that you'd usually use concealer to cover up, so ultimately you end up using less product. I like using eyeshadow primer underneath my eye makeup because it creates a more coherent canvas for the pigment to hold onto, making the color of the eyeshadow pop more as well as giving it more longevity. Mascara primer gives your lashes an extra keratin boost, making them longer and curlier - so that there's more hair for the mascara wand to grab onto - and, again, not to stress the point, makes mascara last longer. However, mascara primer is not for everybody - it goes on white and if you don't have the patience to let it dry down completely and comb your lashes through with a spoolie brush between primer, first coat, second coat of mascara, it probably won't be for you, as if you rush the process it'll look quite clumpy. Lastly, lipstick primer - this is really dependent on the type of lipstick you wear. Since I tend to wear mattes or really bright reds, any problem with my lips is immediately obvious (chapping, lip lines, etc.) - lipstick primer is just another way of smoothing those out, as well as helping to minimize feathering and to keep more of your lipstick on your lips than, say, your coffee cup.

  1. Eyeshadow primer: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. This is the holy grail of eyeshadow primers. I never even consider using any other product. This is a delight to use, and a little goes a long way - just make sure it goes on completely smooth on your eyelids before you apply any product.

  2. Foundation primer: Origins Pore Perfecting Cooling Primer with Willowherb. I struggled to come up with just one product, because I have a lot of primers that I like to use and that I flip back and forth between depending on the type of makeup that I'm going for. I ended up going for the Origins one though, because of my collection of foundation primers, it's the most versatile - also it's super fun to use! It comes out of the can as a cooling foam that you rub into your face with your hands, and it feels super nice as it goes on. It's also got some skincare properties while it's serving super effectively as a primer, and it's very portable. Plus, there's a surprising amount in that can, so you've got a pretty good deal on the cost-to-product ratio.

  3. Mascara primer: Milk Makeup KUSH Lash Primer. This is a recent favorite for me - I used a sample of it for my friend's wedding a few weeks ago, and it honestly was a game-changer for my mascara game. It's chock-a-block full of naturally derived, plant-based products (and some CBD oil, hence why it's part of Milk's KUSH collection), so it gives your lashes an oomph that is supposed to also help them grow (and since I lose eyelashes a disturbing amount, I'm really hoping this is true). This doesn't crease or clump, so once I let it dry down and piled mascara on top of it, my lashes were thirty miles long.

  4. Lipstick primer: BITE Beauty The Line & Define Vegan Lip Primer. My same arguments for Urban Decay's eyeshadow primer apply here - this is the one and only for me. It's packed full of good-for-your-lips oils, so it keeps your lips smooth and moisturised and happy while it's also keeping your lipstick on your mouth and not on your coffee cups and paper straws. It doesn't quite stop it from getting on the mouth of the person you're kissing, but if they're not willing to wear a little bit of your lipstick for the pleasure of kissing you then, frankly, they're not worth it and you should get rid of them. Buy this primer instead. And it smells good.

Eyes: I always do eye makeup before face makeup, because that way you can tidy up any fallout from eyeshadow and get up close and personal for your eyeliner without smudging any of your foundation. I usually do at least a bit of a wash of eyeshadow, almost every day, because I think eyeshadow palettes are fun to play with and I love making color stories on my face. I usually go for palettes that have a good mix of shimmers and mattes, because you want a shimmer to highlight and add more dimension to your look, and mattes are what pack on the pigment. After eyeshadow I do eyeliner, usually a baby wing or a cat eye - I've put a liquid felt-tip on this list because that's my usual go-to and the easiest to use; and eyeliner makes your eyes look bigger and really pull together the look. Liner in your waterline can match your color story and regular eyeliner, but I almost always use a nude because it makes you look less tired and offsets any under-eye baggage. Lastly, mascara - if you're going to wear only one thing of makeup a day, make it be mascara. It opens up your eyes and gives you a more interesting, arresting gaze right off the bat. Especially with all my eye makeup, my eyes would look tiny and naked without mascara. I usually go for two coats, but that can be a bit dramatic if you're not also wearing eyeshadow.

  1. Eyeshadow palette: Urban Decay NakedHoney Eyeshadow Palette. If I had made this list last year, this would have been the original Naked palette - but it's been discontinued (*sob*) and I may never forgive UD for that. The Honey palette, however, is a good substitute for the warmer, brown-hued neutrals that were in the Naked; and I think the Honey palette is the best in terms of quality of all the Naked variations. The pigmentation is bright, it adheres extremely well to the primer, and the fallout is minimal (you can also decrease the fallout by using a damp eyeshadow brush). None of the mattes are dusty or chalky, either, which is apparently something that's difficult to do in an eyeshadow palette (looking at you, Too Faced...).

  2. Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Mad Max Brown. Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner liquid eyeliner pens are the one product that I replenish within days of them running out, as they're both my go-to for everyday eyeliner: the fine felt-tip point is super precise, it's easy to use and very forgiving of any mistakes, and the liner does not fucking budge once it dries down. I've plumped for the brown shade rather than the black because I find brown more easy for everyday wear, as you still get the sharpness of the wing that I like without the look being as dramatic or sharp as the black wing. It's a bit more work-friendly that way. But seriously, if you take anything from this list, take this eyeliner. It's the best I've ever used.

  3. Waterline: NARS High Pigment Longwear Pencil in Rue Bonapart. One of the things I do everyday, no matter what else I take out of my makeup routine, is lining my waterline in a slightly shimmery nude color. This makes your eyes look bigger and also makes you look more awake. Ignoring the misspelling in this pencil's name, it's my favorite of the safe-for-waterline pencils that I've used: it doesn't slip, the color doesn't fade as easily as some others do, and the shimmer is subtle enough to be friendly for everyday, around-the-office wear.

  4. Mascara: This was so hard. So, so hard. Mascara was the first product I really got into when I started loving makeup, so over the years I have developed very passionate love affairs with lots of different mascaras and I have one, or a combination of two, that I go to for different uses. Ultimately, I've gone for Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara because it's got a shade more versatility than my other beloved mascaras. It works to even out your lashline so you can use it as a base coat for more layering of different mascaras - but also thickens, lengthens and curls without clumping and is dark black enough to work on its own, with just one coat or two. It gives pretty good bedroom eyes. I do, however, have my eyes on Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara and from everything I've heard about how great this mascara is, it might end up booting Better Than Sex from my list.

Base: I've got spots that I need to cover up, as well as patches of redness; and if I do full eye makeup without also matching it on the rest of my face it looks a bit, well, unbalanced. Foundation to even out the skin and create a uniform base in both texture and color; concealer on all the problem areas that need a bit more attention; and lastly, finishing powder that packs it all in and sets the foundation and your concealer (especially if it's liquid!) and creates a powder layer for other powder products to match with, before moving on to layer products on top of it.

  1. Foundation (stick): Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick. This is a surprisingly great foundation stick (foundation sticks are usually cream foundations that buff out and blend like a powder). They usually can feel very heavy and drag against skin pretty unpleasantly, but this one is quite nice - you can either do a very little coverage or really pack it on, without the foundation every feeling tacky or sticky. Plus they've got a lovely shade range and the stick packs a surprising amount of product, making the price-to-product ratio quite decent in my opinion.

  2. Foundation (liquid): Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Natural Perfection Foundation. My favorite liquid foundation. It's got a lovely second-skin feel, isn't too matte on application but does a great job at covering any oiliness, doesn't oxidize or crease, you can very easily moderate the coverage from light to full, and lasts about 8 hours before showing any signs of wear. It doesn't have an amazing shade range, which I don't love, but for me as a painfully white lady, this is my favorite foundation. It's expensive, but a little goes a long way - two pumps is enough for me to cover my full face with medium coverage.

  3. Concealer: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. Another holy grail product for me. It goes on without caking, stays for 8 hours without creasing or oxidizing, and feels really light while also packing some serious covering-up punch. I'll sometimes, if I don't feel like doing a full face, just wear this concealer on my problem areas and it will completely wipe them out. You can also blend it in with a brush if you don't want it to pack on so full a cover over foundation, and lighten it up a bit that way. I love this concealer.

  4. Finishing powder: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder. This has got light-reflecting properties, which helps to deflect attention from your problem areas, and is also delightful to use. It's translucent, so you can pack it on as heavily as you think you need without it picking up any light or getting cakey. It also blends well with other products, either liquid or powder, and applies so easily it makes a great base for other powder products on top of it.

Sculpt and perfect: Okay, I really struggled with this category - I think it was actually the most difficult one. I like to do bronzer + blusher + highlighter, because it adds color and dimension to the face (especially since my base packs on pretty heavily, I can look washed out if I don't layer color and dimension back onto it!). Blush was pretty easy for me to pick, because I like a blusher that has a lot happening in it; but bronzer + highlighter was difficult. Because I'm so pale, bronzer can very quickly overpower my cheekbones and look clownish, so I struggle to find one that is noticeable enough to actually show up on my skin while also not overpowering me. Highlighter was difficult because highlighter is my favorite step of my makeup routine and I have so many that I love, I struggled to just pick one.

  1. Bronzer: Becca Gradient Sunlit Bronzer. Unfortunately this is a limited edition so I don't think I'll be able to replace it when I pan it - but it's my pick because the multiple colors in it, and the shade range from lighter to darker with the highlight option, makes it easy to customise depending on the season. I can swill the darker shades together in summer, stick to the lighter shade in winter, and the highlight option means I can add a subtle shimmer to my bronzer which just packs more of a punch for my not-at-the-office look. The consistency of this powder is also really nice and enjoyable to use!

  2. Blush: Chanel Les Tissages de Chanel Blush Duo Tweed Effect in Tweed Beige. The Blush Duo Tweeds are great because they have multiple different colors in them, as well as a bit of a gold shimmer. I love a shimmer in a blusher because it adds some dynamism to the cheekbone. This blush is great because you can layer it up for more opaque coverage or dot it on very sheer; and it overlays all types of foundation really nicely.

  3. Highlighter: Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo in Girl Next Door/Chic Phreak. The fact that you've got two finishes, a sparkle and a shimmer, is great because you can adapt it from everyday use to going out - just layer the sparkle on top of the high points of your face and blend the shimmer down on top of your blusher. I also love this pinky-copper because it looks great on my skin in all seasons. Fenty Beauty also pretty regularly produces some great quality for a relative newcomer; and these highlighting powders are delicious to use: finely milled and super pigmented, and they get picked up really well by all brushes with next to no fallout.

Eyebrows: I had to be really strict with myself on this one, or I would have had four different products for every different finish I like to use. Finally, I've plumped for Glossier Boy Brow - it's a good enough product to be the only one you ever use, and makes your brows look very groomed and professional while still retaining their feathery, natural look.

Finish: A light dusting of powder to seal everything in, and lipstick.

  1. Powder: Makeup for ever Ultra HD Microfinishing Powder. This is a really nice finishing powder, because even though it's white in the pan, it goes on translucent and has got light-reflecting properties so that you can use it all over your face, adding another layer of subtle highlighter, or just pack it into your problem areas to really combat any shine. It also seals your makeup in really effectively prior to any setting powder, and is a nice finishing step.

  2. Lipliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil. This is I think the best of the lip pencils available - you want to line before you do lipstick, always; this is non-negotiable, this is what keeps your color from feathering and if you don't wear lipstick often it can help you keep your color application even - it doesn't slip when it goes on, and the pencil doesn't scrape across your lips the way some lipliners do. They've also got a shade range of 50 different colors, so odds are you'll find a red, pink, brown, or nude that exactly matches the lipstick you're going with. My go-to red shades are 69 and Bad Blood, but I also use Stark Naked and 1993 for nudes, Conspiracy for browns, and Double Team for pinks.

  3. Bullet lipstick (red): Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick in Elson. Pat McGrath is my favorite bullet lipstick formula. They're creamy and richly pigmented, and super easy to apply. For a bullet lipstick, they also have great staying power - I can get through a full work day on a Pat McGrath lipstick without ever needing to reapply, even when I don't wear them over lipstick primer. Elson is a great blue-based true-red, which I firmly believe looks good on everybody - red lipstick looks so good on everyone, and if I pick two things of makeup to wear on a non-makeup day, it's mascara and this red.

  4. Liquid lipstick (brown): Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Ashton. This is my favorite brown lipstick, and the ABH liquid lipstick formula is pretty decent - the applicator isn't the best, but the lipstick dries down pretty quickly and doesn't budge for a few hours, and there's minimal tackiness or slippage. This brown, however, is absolutely lovely - warm and almost nude-looking, it packs a punch while still being discreet.

  5. Lip crayon (nude): BITE Beauty Powermove Creamy Matte Lip Crayon in Glacé. When it comes to lipstick, nobody does it better than Canadian-based organic, all-natural brand BITE Beauty. I'm devastated that they're not available in the UK - I stocked up on all my BITE goodies while I was home recently. These lip crayons are amazing. They go on super smoothly, the formula is rich and creamy, there's no slippage or tackiness or feathering, they feel so smooth and hydrating on your lips to the point that you almost forget you're wearing lipstick - and the colours are absolutely stunning. Glacé is a mauve nude that looks gorgeous on everybody, and works really well to pull together a professional look. It adds a neutral pop of color that you can dress up with a dramatic eye look or keep minimal. You do need to wear these over lipstick primer, however.

Set: You gotta set. It would be a shame to spend all this time and effort on a beautiful face just to have it slip and sweat off in a few hours because you haven't set. I do a setting powder, because that way I can color-correct any blush or highlighter that I was a bit heavy-handed on, and an extra layer of setting never hurt anybody; followed by a setting spray that adheres onto all parts of my face, including my eyes and lips, and just seals everything in against the day ahead.

  1. Setting powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. The only setting powder I've ever used. It lasts forever and stops anything from moving. Even though it's colored, it doesn't show up over your makeup and functions really effectively if you need to color-correct any of your sculpting at the end of the routine.

  2. Setting spray: Urban Decay All Nighter Pollution Protection Makeup Setting Spray. The only setting spray you should ever buy. This stuff seals in your makeup to the point where nothing, NOTHING, will make it budge. I've had sex with a full face of makeup that didn't budge with this baby layered on top of it. The pollution protection version of their All-Nighter range is one that has some extra antioxidants in it specifically meant for people who want to add another layer of protection to their skin against city living. I love this makeup setting spray. It's my true soulmate.

For interest, I also compiled my runners-up into a picture:

Guys, I apologize, this post ended up being stupid long.

Happy face-painting (and stay the fuck indoors),

Amélie xx

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I’m Amélie, I love books and reading, and I also love talking about them.

I’m incredibly lucky to be bilingual, so I read books in both French and English, and will talk about both of those on here – although I will do more in English, since I know that’s probably what the majority of the people who ever find this blog will be interested in!

I also like history, traveling, Shakespeare, coffee, cheese, musicals, Italian Baroque art, the ballet, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, flowers, makeup, high heels, and baking. Yes, I’m a walking cliché. I am aware.

Please do tweet at me with any suggestions/book recommendations/thoughts.

In case you’re curious – yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time.

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