The Art of Effortless Makeup
Makeup can be a tricky thing…life is busy and we all seem to have less and less time to spend getting ready for the day. However, with just a little creativity and quality products, makeup can actually be a beautiful form of art. When I was a little girl, I loved watching my mom as she put on her makeup. I would observe her through each step from her skillful application of eye cream to her playfully blotting her lipstick on tissue paper. Her effortless makeup routine was also purposeful and fun. As I got older and started experimenting with makeup myself, my mom took the time to share her makeup secrets with me – secrets I still use to this day to create the look of effortless makeup. My mom viewed makeup as a form of expression, much like art. It was a way for her to express her beauty with shimmery shadows, dramatic eye pencils, and creamy lipsticks. I use some of her secrets and some of my own in my personal makeup routine.
It can be very time-consuming to apply two to three shades of eyeshadow, especially when you have to use an eyelid brush, contour brush, blending brush, etc. Effortless makeup means simple and quick and many makeup lines have created “shadow sticks” to make eyeshadow application easier. I have tried many different shadow sticks and always go back to Laura Mercier Caviar Stick. The consistency is creamy, but just the right amount of shimmer. What’s great that you don’t need an eyeshadow brush to apply these (although you most definitely can use a variety of shadow brushes with the caviar sticks to create specific “looks”). For everyday looks, all you need is your finger to smudge and dab the cream shadow to your desired preference. My favorite shades are Amethyst, Cocoa, Moonlight and Rose Gold, although all the shades are gorgeous.
A similar look can be achieved with a nice quality eye pencil. Black, gray or bronze pencil “finger smudged” with either eye cream or a Vaseline type balm mimics the look of a creamy eye shadow stick. It’s amazing how chic it can look if done right. To nail this look, apply a messy line right at your lash line. Then dab your finger with some eye cream or Vaseline and gently smudge the line using the cream to create a “wash” of color on your eyelid instead of a perfectly straight line. Keep dabbing until you have your desired look. If using Vaseline, be careful not to use too much otherwise it can look and feel goopy on the eyelid. I use just a tiny amount of balm and dab it on my eyelid with my ring finger (it’s your weakest finger so it doesn’t tug at the delicate skin around the eye). I also sometimes use my eye cream – the plus about using an eye cream is that it also helps with fine lines and puffiness at the same time. Because the whole idea of this look is for it to look “thrown together” it’s super easy to do and doesn’t require the kind of time it would to draw a perfectly straight line.
My favorite eye pencils are the Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencils. They have several unique versions of the basics like black violet, black gold, and stormy gray to name a few. These pencils smudged using the method above with a few coats of a volumizing mascara create a quick and stylish look that can be made fresh simply by using a different colored pencil.
My mom always had such gorgeous skin thanks to her Greek roots and olive skin. She was a huge advocate for sunscreen and always made me wear a high SPF especially on my face from a young age. To create a more natural look she would mix foundation with her face cream. This was before the tinted moisturizer became so popular, which is what I prefer when I want to even out my skin tone. I absolutely love Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer – it is award-winning and for good reason. It truly looks so natural and radiant and never cakey. And this is so easy to apply with your fingers – in fact, it blends so much better when the heat of your fingers activate the tinted moisturizer.
One thing I simply cannot live without is blush or bronzer. A good bronzer can double as both if applied correctly. If I have enough time I like to use a mix of bronzer with a pop of blush on the apples of my cheeks. If I’m short on time, I just use my bronzer for both. My favorite bronzer? Guerlain Terracotta Original Bronzer hands down. It’s pricey but totally worth it. It doesn’t look at all muddy, gives the perfect sun-kissed look, and stays on all day long. Another plus is that it actually lasts you a very long time.
For blush I am a new fan of the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour line of blushes. With a wide variety of colors and incredible staying power you just can’t find a better blush. A few circles with a blush brush on the apples of your cheeks is all you need to create that perfect flush of color.
Hassle Free + Colorful Lips
Right now matte lips are my favorite and I keep going back to the Nars Velvet Matte Lip line. I own about six different colors and wear them all although lately, I’ve been loving a new color I bought called Sex Machine. It is the perfect pink lip color – I swear this color looks good on every skin tone. I am also a huge fan of the color Dolce Vita – I have bought it consistently the last five years and it’s still one of my go-to shades. Coincidentally my daughter always gravitates toward this shade when she rummaging through my makeup drawer. It’s such a pretty pop of color and stays on for hours. Even though it’s matte it doesn’t dry out your lips. Of course, it works best to wear a matte lip color when your lips are not dry, flaky or chapped. I avoid Chapstick because it can be habit forming – your lips get used to it and then you need it all the time. Instead, I use a good high-quality thick moisturizing cream and pat it onto my dry or chapped lips at night, which works wonders for me.
I also really love Clinique’s line of Chubby Sticks. My daughter Zoe is also a huge fan. In addition to their regular line of colors, they have an adorable set right now called Clinique Crayola designed cleverly as a box of crayons that makes for a great gift for pre-teens and teens.
Makeup can be so much fun to work and play with when it’s viewed as a form of expression, and when you experiment applying with your fingers and hands whenever possible. This is what makes it truly effortless because you just need a little creativity and your hands to add a little more beauty to your look.