I started experimenting with makeup in my early teens and by the time I was like seventeen, I had a small "collection" of makeup products. Over the years, I've went through dozens of palettes, foundations and makeup products and have found my way to make both high end and affordable drugstore products work for me.
Left to Right: Ages 16, 17 and 18
HOARDING VS ACTUAL NEEDS
It's also important to mention that while I started being "that girl" who would collect makeup and store it and find it years later, literally untouched! I am NOT that person anymore. I only buy makeup and beauty products that I really NEED and that I know I'm going to use. With that being said, it's important not to store and collect products as makeup does expire, so I often (I'd say about twice a year) purge my collection to give away or throw away products. I only keep about one drawer-sized amount of makeup products and even that is probably way more than I actually need.
TIPS TO BUILDING YOUR COLLECTION
If you're just starting out your collection, it's important to keep a few things in mind: what are you purchasing the makeup for (work, travel, leisure, etc) and do you need different color palettes or products for other events to suit your lifestyle (weekends, outings, etc.)? Say you wear light minimal makeup for work but prefer full glam for special occasions and such, then you'd need to build your collection based off of those needs. Also, think about your color palette - do you prefer nudes, color or textures? If you prefer a little bit of everything, then you'd want to look for makeup palettes that have a mix of mattes and shimmers.
All of these are good to keep in mind so you can strategize before actually purchasing something out on whim, it'll save you time, money and those impulse purchases where you later end up returning or not even using the item.
Okay, so if I were to pick my all-time favorite products and limit them to just the basics, this would be it! Here's all my eye makeup recommended products so you can start building a collection that you'll love and use all the time! I'm going to have to do face products in a different post because, otherwise, this post would be way too long!
EYE BASE & EYE PRIMER - More Vivid Eyeshadows, No Creasing or Fading
If you're looking for longwear, always begin with an eye primer! This step is essential if you have oily lids and your eyeshadows tend to crease. Also, if you're looking to increase the longevity of your makeup as well as have the shades go on more vivid then you need a good primer. I like the Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer the velvety formula glides on lids and creates a perfectly primed lid. Of course, this cult fave never fails to amaze!
If you're just looking for the shadows to go on more vividly but don't have problems with creasing or fading, then an eyeshadow base should be just fine. Tip, you can use a bit of concealer, corrector or even foundation, if you don't have an eyeshadow primer it works just as well! I like to use the ABH Pro Pencil beneath brows before applying any makeup. The tiniest amount goes a long way and if you use too much it'll patch up on the lids. This creates a nice even base and it corrects, conceals and primes all in one step!
Some people like to follow their eye base with a translucent powder to create a barrier between the shadows and primer but I actually don't. I'm all about having the pigmentation of the eyeshadows come through and feel if you add that layer of powder between, the eyeshadows tend to get dry and patchy. Remember, I have dry skin and lids, if you have oily lids, you might need to add that extra layer of powder.
BASIC EYE BRUSHES - Eyeshadow Application, Contour & Blending
Urban Decay / Morphe
Having the right tools definitely helps make application a breeze and helps with the finishing results. While I use a handful of brushes when doing eye makeup, these two are the ones I reach for most often and if I were to limit down to just two of my faves, it would be these! The Urban Decay double-ended brush that comes with the Naked palettes is legit a really good brush! The flat side packs on lid color and works great for smudging out a smoky look and the fluffier side is perfectly for blending as well as adding those dark shadows to the outer 'v.' The trick is to pat the brush to add color and use gentle 'windshield wiper' motions to blend!
My current fave blending brush to seam everything together is the Morphe M433 - it's soft, fluffy and get's the job done, effortlessly!
NUDES - The Basics
Left to Right: Naked 2 & Naked Smoky
If there's anything that needs to be in your collection - hands down, it needs to be Urban Decay Naked palettes. These will forever be my holy grail eyeshadow palettes! I own the Naked 2 and the Naked Smoky but these palettes are very similar and you most likely don't need both. I just had the Naked 2 first and then was smitten with the Naked Smoky, I just had to get it.
What I love about these is that the formula is unlike any other, it goes on smoothly, blends like a dream, never is patchy and never creases. The formulation and finish on its own gives you professional results and the shades are super pigmented with little to no fallout. Also the pans are so large (you get 12 shades!) this palette will last you years to come so it's definitely an investment and worthy every penny! I also love that there's the perfect combination of mattes and shimmers in each palette so you have your options. And of course, these neural hues are so versatile which is why I'm obsessed with them! Go from daytime to full glam with just this one palette and you can literally rock the shades everyday and no none will ever guess it's the same palette - there's so many different variations you can create!
Finally I get that everyone has their preferences and what I love is that Urban Decay has come out with so many Naked palettes - there's literally at least one to match your style and taste: from rose gold to cherry inspired hues and ambers to make you glow.
Cheaper Drugstore Alternative (but not a dupe): BH Cosmetics Carli Bybel 14 Color Eyeshadow and Highlighter Palette.
COLORS - Brights & Vivids
So, do you remember the OG Coastal Scents 88 eyeshadow palettes that literally begin a revolution? There's been numerous palettes to follow from BH Cosmetics to Morphe but in mind, they're literally all the same. Grab yourself a standard palette with unlimited shades of the rainbow if you love to stand out in statement hues! Currently, I'm lovin' the cult classic, Take Me Back To Brazil - you get intense color payoff, shades blend beautifully and the packaging is sleek enough to travel with!
TEXTURES - Glitters, Metallics & Duochromes
Left to Right: Kitten Karma, Tulip Twinkle, Smoldering Satin
Next, is probably my fave category the glitters! I always have to embellish my look with a bit of shimmer and shine when I do full glam. So you can imagine, I've been through every single glittery type of product and let's just cut straight to it. There is nothing quite like Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow.
The innovative formula combines pearl and glitter so you get a lustrous finish that has that wow factor. These come in so many stunning shades including shade-shifting duochromes which is always nice. The lightweight water-based formula makes it comfortable on the lids with a foolproof, glide on formula. This product alone will make you look expensive AF and what I love best, is there's no mess or fallout - you literally swipe and go!
EYELINERS - Creamy, Longwearing & Smudgeproof
I think eyeliners are definitely one of the most hardest to find because let's be honest, a good long wearing formula that's waterproof and doesn't budge is nearly impossible to find! My holy grail will forever be Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil. The formula is creamy so they literally "glide-on" like a dream, could they have thought of a better name? But when you think of creamy and eyeliner you immediately think "no," right?! But this unique formula glides on for ease of application and then dries for a budgeproof finish that stays put without bleeding, creasing or feathering! You can wear the blackest black and it will stay there. Finally, they have everything from jewel tones to everyday basics like brown and black so stock up on these babies and the best part, they last forever!
If you love winged eyeliner, gel eyeliner is a must! MAC Prolongwear Fluidline in Blacktrack is my fave! I prefer gel eyeliner over liquid eyeliner because it's more forgiving and easier to really draw on a line. With liquid eyeliner, you really have to have the technique down and there's not really room for mistakes. With creams and gel eyeliner you have a formula that allows you to keep going over the line until you get it right until it finally dries into place. Liquid dries way too quickly and it's a little too harsh looking in my opinion. I love the MAC formula because, one, the shade is black-black and intense but not the first thing you see on the face either. It's super creamy and easy to apply, no tugging on the lids and once it sets, it's budgeproof, longwearing and doesn't flake or move around!
MASCARA - Big, Bold Lashes
Mascaras are like lipstick and everyone is gonna like and want something different so keep that in mind when purchasing. I remember really having a moment (I mean I used this religiously for years!), I'm taking about the Mabelline Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara. It's affordable, gives you an amped up false lashes effect, for once a mascara that does what it claims to do! It's wearable and great for everyday.
Mascara is also the thing you should be buying most often as you're supposed to replace about every 3 months. A little tip is to always purchase the deluxe, travel sized version, it's cheaper, it'll last you a long time and a bonus tip, the smaller brush allows you to really get in the lashes without smudging it on your lids. Also, after a few months, you'll end up actually using it instead of having to toss it once it goes bad and trust me, I've tossed quite a few mascaras through the years!
I always am experimenting with different mascaras and am currently using and loving Guerlain Maxilash Volumizing and Curling Mascara and the Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara. The Maxilash is OMG so amazing and it takes a few swipes for sky high lashes! I love the to use the Monsieur Big mascara on the bottom lash and I go from 0 to 100 in seconds!
BROWS - From Natural To Bold & Fluffy
This is one of my newest discoveries and boy, am I in love! The ABH Brow Wiz makes creating the fluffiest brows a piece of cake! I really like to take my time when sculpting my brows and it takes effort and some work! I love that you can go from natural, everyday brows to dramatic fluffy brows with just one product! (In-depth review coming soon!).
Stay tuned for my fave face makeup essentials!