Today’s Nosy Beauty features someone who writes pieces that I always look forward to reading. Say hi to Gabbie! 🙂
My name is Gabbie, and I’m a reforming beauty addict. Professionally, I do a lot of things for a lot of people, but I mostly write and I have a recipe-sharing space on the interwebs called The Martha Diaries.
I think much of how I’ve preferred to do my makeup has been an immediate reflection of what occupies my time. Before I temporarily moved to New York in 2012, my days in Manila were made up of shoots, meetings, and interviews, capped off by a work event or two in the evening. So at the time, my main goal when applying makeup was flawlessness with longevity. I geared towards a lot of heavier, fuller coverage products that could resist the deep tropical humidity and withstand hours of wear. It also meant that I got to play a bit more than the average human, experimenting with a glaring pop of neon yellow eyeliner or every bold lip color under the sun. (Which brings us to this dramatic conclusion: Dear MAC Heroine, You and I just aren’t meant to be.)
I had gotten so used to facing people with my “face on” that I began to have this fear, that without makeup, people would see the traces of acne scarring, the depth and darkness of my under eye circles, or how tiny my eyes are without at least a lick of mascara. It wasn’t that I was shattering the illusion of flawlessness or anything. I just didn’t want anyone blatantly staring at my little insecurities, and so I buffed in my base like a religion. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, however, I’ve come to a place where I am infinitely more fearful of not looking like myself, or of my face being totally unrecognizable without makeup. These days, my natural preference for liking things a bit disheveled is definitely back in the driver’s seat.
The real light bulb moment came when I had discussed Mila Kunis with a guy I once dated. I told him how I basically wanted to have babies with her face. He shrugged and said, “She’s ugly without all that makeup. She doesn’t really look like that.” I was pretty sure he was exaggerating, so I Googled “Mila Kunis no makeup.” While “ugly” is obviously a total stretch, I have to admit that the difference is pretty drastic. This was a beauty revelation for me, not just how much bronzer and eyeliner can do, but how much of one’s own face makeup can really hide.
Sure, I’m aware that I will always look miles better with strategic concealing and a little something through the brows, but I’ve become disinterested in contouring to the ends of the earth or packing on loads of product. I don’t want a mask that sits over everything that gives my face character. I want my face to still be my face, albeit a smidge more polished and well-groomed.
I’m not going to be ridiculous and go as far as to say that I’ve become a low-maintenance chick, but I am proud that my tastes in beauty are far more edited than they used to be. I am constantly trying to pare down what I own to what I really, actually use (and if you’re a kindred spirit with beauty junkie problems, you know the struggle is real). I am less concerned with owning the latest formula or checking out the newest launches. I am now more interested in discovering more Holy Grail status-worthy products, so as to build a small but lean collection of items I know I can count on. Quality, not quantity, my darlings. Apparently, this is what it means to grow up, and I find that I really quite like it.
Renegade Folk All About Eve Travel Case – I don’t really tote around all my makeup with me when I’m out during the day, but when I travel, this is my MVP. It has two zip compartments—a wider one for the bulk of your products, and a narrow one underneath that’s perfect for brushes, pencils, and anything that comes in a tube. The selling point for me is that it’s see-through, so it’s the infinitely more chic alternative to traveling with a Ziploc.
Nars Pro-Prime Light Optimizing Primer – I’m not fussed about using primers in general, but this is one of the few broad spectrum SPF products my skin can tolerate. Also, it’s radiance enhancing, so total bonus.
Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Foundation in Honey Beige – You only need a pea-sized amount to do your whole face, but I only really use it where my skin needs a little evening out. It has impeccable coverage but doesn’t feel heavy in any way, and it sets really well, so you can live peacefully without the fear of being the foundation transfer monster.
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Illuminating Foundation in Beige Dore 50 – This was my daily foundation pre-Dermablend, but I still reach for this quite a bit. Allows your skin to look like skin while just evening out what needs a little help, which in my opinion, should be the job description of most foundations anyway.
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer – The most subtle, beautiful, lit-from-within highlighter I’ve ever tried, and definitely a Holy Grail product for me. It’s more of a glow than a shimmer or a pearl, which is so unique, and gives such a healthy look to the skin. (Not-so-pro tip: I dab this in the center of my lid sometimes to get that faux glossy eyelid look.)
Make Up For Ever HD Second Skin Cream Blush in 225 Peachy Pink and 335 Fawn – Blush tends to wear off my face within the first hour regardless of climate. These dry down into a comfortable sort of powdery finish, are easy to apply, and have impressive wear. Best blush ever. Ever ever.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Soft Brown – I had serious love for this product, but couldn’t quite find the perfect shade until they released Soft Brown. It’s the perfect neutral brown that’ll go with a lot of skin tones. It has just enough warmth to keep the brow from looking corpse-like and it’s just light enough to skip the dreaded Sharpie brow territory. I use this with the Anastasia #12 brow brush (which I can’t say enough good things about). It’s so friggin’ good.
Burberry Sheer Eye Shadow in No. 21 Midnight Brown – I don’t wear eye shadow on the daily like I used to, but when I do, this is the color I reach for the most. My eyelids are naturally pigmented, so I tend to blend a little bit of this in the outer corner and through the crease for a little bit of definition. It’s also beautiful as an all-over wash of color, and carries well from day to night.
Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in 10 Matte Brown/Black – I like a good, defined eye, but I find that black kohl is a bit too harsh on me for every day. This liner does well with either tightlining or actual lining by the lash line, and is just so quick and easy to work with. (I actually discovered this one through an article detailing the very specific contents of the Olsen twins’ makeup bags, and damn, this one was truly on the money.)
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black – Some days just call for a slicker eye liner game, and this one will always be a personal favorite.
DHC Double Protection Mascara – I never thought I’d really spend on a mascara (because Maybelline The Rocket, am I right), but this tubing mascara defines and lengthens quite well, doesn’t transfer, and doesn’t linger when it’s time to take it off. Repurchased and restocked, which means Holy Grail status absolutely granted.
Real Techniques Brushes – I have actually become a cavewoman and have taken to using my hands to apply my makeup on most days, but for certain tasks, these are the brushes I rely on. They’re cruelty-free, super soft, wash well, last long, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. That’s literally everything you can ask for from your makeup brushes.
Charm Blending Brush – For someone with teeny sockets and not a lot of lid space, this works better for me than your standard MAC 217. The blending is a bit more precise, in my opinion, packaged in a vegan, cruelty-free brush to boot.
Givenchy Le Rouge lipstick in 202 Rose Dressing and 203 Rose Dentelle – My most favorite lipstick formula in the known universe. It wears so well, sits so comfortably on the lips, wears off beautifully, and comes in such gorgeous, weighty (but not the Guerlain lipstick with the mirror and an invisible anvil kind of heavy) packaging. I would never say that a lipstick this expensive is a necessity, but you do get what you pay for, and it’s still considerably cheaper than say, Tom Ford.
Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense lipstick in 43 Satin – MAC’s Ruby Woo is my all-time favorite red, but I find these days that its overly drying formula is just not worth the trouble anymore. And while the blue-toned red perfection of Ruby Woo is hard to dupe, this MUFE lipstick is a perfect, true red that leans neither blue nor orange. Its satin formula applies like a dream, has the lushest hint of sheen, and endures like a matte without giving you bone-dry lips.
Dior Addict Lip Glow – Quite possibly my favorite makeup product of all time. The trick is not to use it too sparingly, as one is wont to do with expensive lip products. But seriously, whack it on, and get the full effect of that just-pink-enough glowy satiny balm. It’s what I wear most days because it’s so easy, but also because it’s just so damn pretty. As far as letting your face just be your face but a bit more polished goes, this product has it down pat.
Yay, thanks Gabbie! 🙂 I really loved reading this. For more Gabbie, check out The Martha Diaries or take a look at some of the stuff she writes for a newspaper section we’re both part of (The Philippine Star’s Supreme). For more Nosy Beauty, click here.