Inspired by the ever inspirational Cclarebear and her recent shout out on basic cosmetics under $100, I was rummaging though my cosmetics over the weekend and realised that of the bags and bags of make-up I own, I really only use the same ten or so things on a daily basis. Sure, if I'm going out I'll make a bit more of an effort, but those tried and true "holy grail" items seem to be the ones I come back to time and time again no matter how I try to try other things.
Here are my picks for my must have items:
Perfekt skin perfection gel: This is my HG primer. It's light and melts into the skin providing a flawless base for your foundation. I discovered it about 2 years ago in the US and nothing I have tried since compares. It claims to be a gel but it has a slight waxy feel to it (it's not unpleasant) and it's really hydrating. It lasts all day and leaves my base looking as good when I get home at night as it does in the mornings.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser: I'm not a fan of wearing foundation every day. I find it's too heavy and my skin doesn't like it. If I wear it two days in a row I start to break out. Tinted moisturiser is my best friend - light and sheer enough to let my skin breathe yet enough pigment to even out the tone it's the best case scenario for me when it comes to a base. And Laura Mercier's offering is the best of the best. For a ling time I used the Stila TM but the Laura Mercier blends a lot easier and has a softer cast than the Stila, plus it lasts longer through the day and the finish is far more superior. It's not a cheap option but I think the investment is worth it. For when I need a little more coverage I opt for Giorgio Armani's Lumionous Silk - it's more a nightime product for me or when I need to look super glam!
Perfekt eye perfection gel: In my eternal search for a concealer that doesn't cake and crack like Miss Havisham's wedding cake, or slide off my face half way through the morning, I stumbled across this amazing product. It's hydrating enough that I don't need to wear eye cream underneath and it creates a flawless base for my concealer. Some people can wear it alone as a concealer - my dark circles are too bad to be able to do that - but it's a great base for me and I'd be lost without it.
Diorskin nude skin perfecting hydrating concealer: To go with the eye perfection gel, you need a really light concealer. I find this liquid concealer from Dior to be the perfect match. It's quite highly pigmented and a little goes a long way but it's sheer and hydrating enough not to go cakey and dry half way through the day. I used to use The Balm Time Balm concealer but it's really quite thick and dry in comparison. I still use it on weekends when a polished look isn't as important as it's a more cost effective solution and it's a one step process rather than two which makes a difference!
NARS Loose Powder: this triple milled loose powder is the best on the market in my opinion and the colour match to my skin is fantastic. This powder provides sheer, ultra-natural coverage to set makeup, soften color and smooth the texture of the skin for an overall radiant complexion. The silky-smooth texture blends undetectably into the skin, absorbs excess oils and maintains fresh looking skin with an imperceptible finish thoughout the day. Perfection.
NARS highlight blush duo: So this is a bit of a cheat - it's two products in one, but most days I only use the blush not the highlighter, which I more often save for evenings or special occasions. I find NARS blushes to be the best on the market and my colour de jour is Sin. Orgasm, the colour that most people adore, is just a bit too coral on my skin. The Albatross highlighter leaves a shimmery dewy glow on my cheekbones and temples, which looks fantastic as an evening look. You have to be really light handed with it thouh or you end up looking a bit Disco Barbie.
Stila eyeshadows: Of all the eyeshadows I have tried, I prefer Stila for everyday use. I find many other brands (NARS, MAC etc.) have too much pigment in their shadows for daily use. I love them when I am doing a "going out" look but for me they can be a bit overbearing. I generally use three: a sheer shimmery base, a bronze and a plum to create my day look but have experimented with silvers and greys too which are really nice. I like that you can use them with a light hand and create a really sheer look or amp it up a little for an evening event. They are solid multi purpose shadows and a good investment. My current colours are wheat, holly golightly and barefoot contessa.
Stila Smudgepot: I don't actually wear this every single day anymore but when I do, I instantly feel more polished and refined. It's the ultimate liner for me - you need a steady hand and a good fine brush but when you master the application it's better than any pencil you can buy. It makes your lashes look thicker and fuller and frames your eyes beautifully. It's not easy to master though - a steady hand and patience are required.
Korres Deep colour mascara with rice bran oil: For a very long time I had been a devotee of Diorshow. It thickened and lengthened my lashes and didn't clump but it looked very "mascaraey" if you know what I mean. On the hunt for something a little more natural looking, Cclarebear recommended the Korres mascara to me. I have blogged about it's fantasticness before so I won't repeat myself but I love it and still use it everyday.
MAC lipstick: I have tried a lot of lipsticks and this for me is the absolute best. Great staying power, good pigment level, not too drying (well depending on what variety you get, some are better than others) and loads of different colour options. I've been using MAC for almost 15 years and have no reason to switch. Everytime I have tried a different brand I have been disappointed. My favourite colours are Twig, Craving, Captive, Viva Glam I and Brick-o-La.
Some of the ones that didn't make the top 10 are still some of my favourites but because I don't use them every day they just didn't make the cut. Case in point: NARS lipgloss. Not too sticky, great pigment, pretty colours. Talitha is my favourite colour of all time - just a ridiculously perfect pink on me. I also love Rose Gitane and All Night Long but because I wear gloss about once a week it can't go on the list.
So there you have it. My top 10 cosmetic products - the tried and tested few that make the grade time and time again.Do you have any holy grail make up products?