from 0 brushes to many
At first all the steps were a little overwhelming and I didn't know enough to know if I could mix them up or skip any altogether. All I knew was that I loved Amy's final product and I didn't want to do anything that would make me look less than that. So I did all the things. I went from using 0 brushes to 10 and consulted my step list and pictures every morning for weeks. Now, I've got the steps. I've adapted my own order. I timed my full routine yesterday morning, from starting with a closed drawer and nothing out, to finished with everything put away, and without rushing it was 9 minutes, 46 seconds. I can probably shave another 90 seconds with more practice, but 10 minutes doesn't seem too bad.
All the products now in my drawer
Here's my order, with my chosen products in parentheses:
Starting with eyes (they're the area you're most likely to mess up or play with color/technique, so it's easy to clean and start again without messing up whatever efforts you've put into the rest of your face if you do them first):
1. With a clean, moisturized, and now dry face, spread a light-colored cream shadow or eye shadow primer on your eyelids up to the brow bone using your cream shadow brush or a finger (Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Ballet Pink; Sephora Precision Cream Shadow brush #80).
2. Using small dashes and a sharpened pencil, apply a thin line of eye liner as close as possible to the lash line (Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Invasion (matte dark teal) or Roach (shinnery dark copper)).
3. Apply darker color of eyeshadow along lash line, directly on top of liner (Urban Decay shadow, usually Darkhorse, Gunmetal, or Smog with $1 ELF brush I love)
4. Without adding any additional shadow, use a short bristled brush to smudge the darker eye shadow up and into eye lid, angling up as you get to outside corner (Sephora Pro Smudge Brush #11)
5. Add all over eyeshadow color that coordinates with darker color (usually Half Baked, Naked, or Sin) and blend blend BLEND darker color into light and angle up in outer corners of eyes (ELF shadow brush and/or Sephora Pro Blending Brush #27)
6. Open eyes very wide and push black liquid eyeliner under lashline all the way across upper eyelid (Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink, with Sephora Pro Lash Fan Brush #34). This really makes the whites of your eyes pop. A literally eye-opening new technique for me that makes a big impact.
All the products, inside view
7. Foundation: wipe off any fallout from eyeshadow under eyes and apply foundation with light strokes moving out from center line (IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better SPF 50 CC Cream in Light with IT Cosmetics Airbrush Blurring Foundation Brush #101). I love the IT CC Cream- half a pump on the back of my hand is enough for my whole face and I adore the brush. Sometimes I pet my face with it just because it feels so nice... which is probably really weird.
(Optional: dab on concealer under eyes, or anywhere else it's needed. I use IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Corrector under my eyes, applied with my ring finger, and it is amazing and only takes a tiny tiny bit, but have found the foundation covers so well I can usually skip what used to be an essential step.)
8. Bronzer: using an angled blush brush, brush bronzer across the hairline at the forehead and down the sides of the face, under the cheek bones, under the chin, and along the sides of the nose (NARS Laguna with ELF angled brush).
9. Blush: using smaller brush, fill in blush on apple of check blending at an angle up and straight out towards ear (NARS Orgasm; with Bare Minerals Tapered Blush Brush)
10. Setting Powder: Optional, but if you tend to get oily, press on or brush on a translucent setting powder over the T zone and anywhere else. (IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro-Powder with IT Cosmetics Airbrush Powder Wand Brush #108). I usually skip this, but it's a great thing to add if you're going back out at night and need to freshen up your look.
- pause to get dressed without smudging mascara on my clothes, then finish -
10. Brows: this was one of the highest impact new steps for me. Other than basic shaping, I'd never done anything with my brows, believing they were too blonde to bother. But no, taking 10 seconds to brush on some Gimme Brow gives them such impact and color, while still being very subtle and natural on my fair skin. It's my new favorite step and one I keep even in my super abbreviated weekend look. (Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium; Amy also highly recommend the Anastasia dipbrow pomade, but the skill level required to use it was higher than I felt I could handle.)
11. Eye lash curler: also a huge effect. I have tiny stubby (terrible) eye lashes and curling them makes them visible even before mascara! (Shu Uemura curler; you have to order it online, but it's amazing and worth every penny because it doesn't pinch your eyelids at all, something I discovered all other curlers do before just finally ordering this one).
12. Mascara: I am still looking for the magical mascara that will give me the long, lush lashes of my dreams, but until then, I just like a big fluffy brush and the promise of volume. (Currently using ELF Volume Plumping Mascara, which was $3 at Target and works better than most other mascaras I've tried; I also like They're Real by Benefit and Tarte's Lights Camera Flashes.)
And done! It sounds long, but it really isn't, and I frequently skip the black eyeliner and fancier eye shadow work, but each step is so quick and adds so much, I usually just do it all and I like the result. I don't think it looks overly done (unless I've just gotten used to it already and don't see it... but it doesn't feel heavy) and depending on the eye colors you pick, you can make it very simple or very dramatic. I've also found that with the new products I use, my makeup really does last all day. This is me at 6:30 p.m. tonight, 11 hours after putting everything on:
The lighting isn't awesome, but everything stayed pretty well in place and I don't think I look like I'm 11 hours into makeup and heels after going to bed too late and about to start dinner for a toddler who is yelling at me very loudly from the other side of the bathroom. Though admittedly the makeup isn't doing much for that last part.
Having never worn liquid foundation before I was worried it would feel thick or heavy or make my skin look fake, but I think it looks pretty natural and it doesn't feel like I'm wearing anything at all. I absolutely love it and every morning am amazed that a tiny dot of product (less than half the size of a dime; so little!) can do so much.
The other part of the routine is getting it off. The upside is wearing foundation forces me to wash my face each night, something I should be doing as a responsible grown-up person, but often skipped. I struggled initially to find a product that could get everything off- particularly the liquid eyeliner, something that still sticks around long after I've tried to remove it, but I've found a system that does the job and makes my face feel great. First, if I want the quick version I use a Neutrogena makeup removing wipe (Costco had an awesome sale on these; before that, I used the Target brand which also worked well, though honestly not as well as the Neutrogena and usually I think Target brands are awesome), then Cetaphil daily facial cleanser on my skin with warm water, and then the other side of the makeup wipe to get the extra that fell beneath my eyes after the soaping. Then I moisturize with whatever sample I'm using up that week (currently Benefit's Instant Comback Facial Serum, which I am LOVING, but that's at least 50% because of the bottle and Clinique's Moisture Surge which I also love).
My other method is to use Dermologica's PreCleanse, then Cetaphil, then moisturize. My skin feels better when I do this, but it involves splashing my face with water twice and sometimes that is simply asking too much. But I adore the PreCleanse product and highly recommend it. I'll also dab it on a cotton ball to use directly on the eyelid to remove anything particularly stubborn.
I really am pleased with my new knowledge, though I still have lots more practicing to do. I might make having Amy and my other friend over to drink wine and play with makeup a yearly tradition. Who knows what kind of magic I could create by the time I'm 40 with more training and detailed drunken note taking! Cat eyes! Waterline work! Wearing lipstick!
There's always more to learn, which is part of what has made this new foray into the world of makeup so fun. There are few rules and you can blend away almost any error. This was very uncomfortable for me at first as I would prefer a color by number palette to be superimposed over my face, but like experimenting with non-auto camera settings, I'm trying to give myself the space to experiment. You can always wash your face and start again.