thefashionmagpie

Magpie Musts: The Beauty Cabinet Edition

In Beauty Products, Gifts!, Magpie Must on December 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

What’s in your medicine cabinet?  One of my girlfriends recently informed me that she compulsively (and, in my opinion, over-invasively!) checks out the items in her friends’ medicine cabinets while visiting with them.  This recent discovery made me scrunch up my magpie nose in the realization that I probably have a disgusting number of beauty products that are just gathering dust in my makeup drawers.  As a result, I’ve set out to scale back to just the essentials — just the Magpie Miracle Workers.  (And thanks to all of you Magpies who shared your favorite cosmetics with me over the past week — what great tips! There were so many awesome suggestions, I’ve compiled a list of your favorite items here.)

{image from garance dore}

Let’s begin in the shower because — well, that’s where my day begins, after a typically unpleasant morning work out.  (I’ve found that it’s hard for me to exercise after I’m done with work these days — I’m tired and I’d rather go home to snuggle with Mr. Magpie — so I’ve switched things up and forced myself to wake up earlier to get ‘er done in the a.m.  It’s a daily struggle.  Sigh.)  I am a firm, firm, FIRM believer in Frederic Fekkai.  I live for his volumizing shampoo and conditioner ($23 apiece, Sephora) — it works, and it smells fantastic.

(Note: Play with his other products at your own risk.  His volumizing mousse paradoxically makes my hair greasier and flatter.  I don’t understand it.  I think it weighs my fine hair down.)  When my hair needs a day-after-the-blow-out touch-up, I am beyond smitten with Oscar Blandi’s Dry Shampoo ($11 for 1 oz — Sephora).  It is a serious miracle-worker, instantly erasing any traces of limpness and grease — and I’ve even used it on clean hair when I want a bit more texture and volume.  Major Magpie Must.

The only other hair-related products I consistently use are: MoroccanOil hair treatment (OMG this stuff works — it extends your blow-out and makes your hair super.shiny for a bajillion days in a row, but a word to the wise: work.it.in unless you want to appear as though you’ve dunked your head in olive oil — $13, Amazon), hair ties ($3.50 for 8, Sephora), and bobby pins ($2.39, Target – I am constantly pinning my hair back and out of my face, and I literally have hundreds of these wonder-workers scattered in every bag and drawer I have at my disposal):

And the only other hair tool I seriously rely on is my Hot Tools 1.5″ barrel curling iron ($22, Amazon).  It works like a charm every time.

Back to the shower line up: Molton Brown body wash (all of the scents are gender-neutral, so Mr. Magpie can indulge as well — and I kind of love a slightly cologne-like scent, like Molton Brown’s Suma Ginseng — $28, Molton Brown), a Venus razor, and a fluffy loofah are my only other shower buddies.

When I get out, I have.to.have thick body lotion.  I’ve yet to find a brand I can’t live without, but the Bliss Lemon & Sage body butter cuts it for me ($28, Bliss), and I tend to blend in a little Clarins gel bronzer in the winter months ($32, Bergdorf Goodman).  A lot of you magpies favor the Clarins line for your self-tanning needs, and I’m with you — it smells far less offensive than the average self-bronzer and it leaves you…well, bronze — not orange!


I like to smooth on a little body oil for extra moisturization, and I used to own (and cherish) my bottle of Guerlain’s Huile du Voyageur (Dry Oil — $59, Sephora).

It smells phe.nom.en.al, enhances a tan, and leaves your skin positively glowing.  In a clumsy moment while frenetically getting ready for an event, I knocked over a near-full bottle and was absolutely furious at the thought of spending another $60 on body oil.  So I downgraded for awhile to Bobbi Brown’s Beach Body Oil ($28, Bobbi Brown).  It smells like the beach (sand, sunscreen, and surf), so it almost feels wrong (or out of place) to wear it in the winter.  But it’ll do until enough time passes and I feel I can spend another $60 on body oil.

And before I move on from thoughts of bronzed skin and summer, I’ll ‘fess up to my favorite tanning trick: Lorac’s TANTalizer Award Show Glow ($32, Lorac).  It comes out as a mousse, and I smooth it onto my shoulders and collar bone when I’m headed out with my shoulders exposed.  Blend well and top with body oil and you’ll look like you just stepped off the beach.

Just be sure to rinse your hands (and beware: this stuff does rub off on occasion onto lighter-colored shirts).  Back to my daily shower routine, however — with lotion, oil, and bronzer applied, my oversized waffle robe is in order — I ordered mine from Pottery Barn (on sale for $79, Pottery Barn) with my new married initials within the first few weeks of being engaged!


And then its on to putting myself together.  I know this sounds illogical, but I have two robes for getting ready: the cozy waffle robe above, which I curl up in just after my shower and while I’m lounging around, and then a much lighter-weight silk robe in a feminine color (I have more robes than I care to admit…), which I slip into for hair-blow-drying and makeup-application purposes.  (I get overheated in the waffle robe!)  I l.o.v.e these upscale, silken Matters of Leisure robes ($358, Journelle), but will admit that I’ve gotten more than my fair share of pretty little things at a fraction of the price from Victoria’s Secret.

I love a good facial scrub — I’ve been using Philosophy’s Microdelivery ($15 for 4 oz, Philosophy), but several of my most trusted Magpies swear by Origins’ Checks and Balances ($18, Origins).  One of these advocates is something of a bargainista, and — as she put it — “I never spend $18 on face wash, so you know it must be good!”

Now, I’ve tried dozens of face lotions, and while I liked the texture (light!  blends in in a hot second!) and scent of Bobbi Brown’s Hydrating Face Lotion ($50), I continue to go back to Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Moisturizer (with SPF! — $13.99, Target), which I can buy in bulk at my corner pharmacy store without breaking the bank.  And I am an eye cream fanatic — it goes on in the morning and evening, and beneath any makeup reapplication in between.  I l.o.v.e. Bobbi Brown’s hydrating eye cream ($45, Bobbi Brown), although I alternate with other, less expensive brands (Clinique has a nice version for $28.50) because I apply it so frequently and can easily go through one of those Bobbi Brown tubs in a matter of weeks.

(Note: I often blend a little of my Clarins bronzer into my facial moisturizer for a little extra color, particularly during the winter months.  So do some of the Magpies that submitted their top picks — great trick!)  And if I were on a desert island, I swear that the two cosmetic items I’d request would be mascara (we’ll get to that later) and Almay oil-free make-up removing pads.  I go through these in no time, and that’s why I’m delighted to see that Ulta is featuring a buy one, get one 50% off free dealie ($7.99, Ulta):

If you don’t use these now — I swear you’ll be hooked.  They remove everything in a single, effortless (and oil-free!) swipe.  And now for the fun stuff: the makeup.  Many of you Magpies share my love for Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer ($42, Laura Mercier) — it’s lightweight, gives you just enough coverage, and yet looks totally natural.  (I layer mine atop their primer — $30, Laura Mercier.)

Then it’s time for under-eye concealer (I have seriously dark circles under my eyes…), and — you’ll notice a theme here — I swear by another Laura Mercier product here: their secret concealer ($22, Laura Mercier).  Now, the uber-talented artist who applied my makeup for my wedding day (email me if you want his contact information!) loves Laura Mercier and uses all of her products except for the concealer.  He thinks it’s too heavy, and prefers this affordable Clinique option ($15).  I tried to switch, but am convinced that I need the heavy duty stuff to deal with the pitch-black circles under my eyes.  Seriously.  I’m a raccoon.

However, I’ve also used (and loved) another of the Magpie-voted favorites: YSL’s Touche Eclat ($40, Sephora):It not only covers — but brightens! — the pesky under-eye area.  Several of you listed this as your go-to Magpie Must, and one of you raved: “It makes you look like you’ve had eight hours of sleep!”  (And who doesn’t need that?)  Finally, I have been dy.ing to try Cle de Peau’s under-eye concealer, recommended by pretty much every famous makeup artist under the sun.  Unfortunately, it rings in at a devastating $70 at Neiman Marcus.  However, one of the chic-est little ladies I know (the type of girl who made our high school uniform look good!) claimed: “I didn’t know I needed anything under my eyes until I found this.  Amazing.”  I’ve got.to.try.it.

If I’m in a rush, the only other items I add are Laura Mercier’s eye basic in buff, which evens out any redness on the lid and just makes you look polished, though natural ($24, Laura Mercier) and bronzer (I like Nars’ Laguna — $28, Sephora):

…and, of course — MASCARA!  I can’t live without it.  I am an absolute mascara junkie.  My “fall-backs” are DiorShow ($24, Sephora) and Benefit’s BadGal lash ($19, Sephora), but I’ve gone back and forth with my love/hate for Givenchy’s PhenomenEyes ($29, Sephora):

The last one delivers some serious lash volume and length — so much so that when I wear it, people ask if I’m wearing falsies (!)  However, I hate its gummy, sticky texture; it hardens into a super-brittle finish.  Ugh.  But speaking of falsies — if I’m really going all-out-glam, I’ll apply some faux cils ($14, Mac).  Love the drama!

Back to my daily routine: if I have more time in the morning, I’ll apply a light-colored eye shadow (I like Laura Mercier’s Stellar and Guava eyecolors — $22 apiece, Laura Mercier) and some eyeliner along the top lashes (I occasionally swap out classic black for dark navy/slate, and it really makes my eyes pop — YSL, $28, Sephora):

In the summer months, I absolutely adore Dior’s “Shimmer Brick” in Amber Diamond ($44, Saks) — I sweep my brush all the way across the colors and then apply to my eyelids, and then will just pick up some of the shimmery white powder for highlighting the inner corners of my eyes and under the browbone.  You can even apply it to the cheeks as blush.  It’s the easiest, most all purpose summer tool — and it imparts a healthy, summery, bronzed glow.

In the non-summer months, I stick to the matte eye colors and then add a little luminizer as a finish — I am in.love with Benefit’s High Beam ($24, Sephora), which I apply to the apples of my cheeks and then right underneath my browbone:

As for blush (which I layer atop bronzer), I’ll either use Nars’ “Orgasm” blush ($28, Sephora) or one of Tarte’s cheek stains — and you can test drive a few different hues with the adorable mini-set of 3 (below), just out for Christmas (perfect stocking stuffer! — $28, Sephora):

For lips — and pretty much everything else under the sun — I swear by Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream ($17, Elizabeth Arden).  Serious miracle worker.  (I love it so much, I selected it as the “Magpie Must” giveaway when I asked for your input! — Thanks again to my winner, Clancy W.!)  It’s a thick, magic balm that soothes…everything.  (Caution: it smells nearly medicinal.  As a child, I used to whine whenever my mom would force it onto my chapped lips/irritated nose, but it always wound up curing all.)  I apply it religiously to my lips (like…every morning, noon, and night), but have also used it on minor cuts and abrasions, super-dry hands in the winter, and cuticles.  L.o.v.e.

I also always carry around my Fresh Sugar Rose tinted lip treatment — a recent discovery (within the last year), it tastes great and leaves lips soft ($22.50, Fresh):

I’m not huge on lip color, though I occasionally dabble.  I usually prefer a natural/nude lip, as achieved by Bobbi Brown’s pale pink lipstick (it’s also super moisturizing, so it doesn’t feel cakey and gross — $22, Bobbi Brown):

While in NYC for my bachelorette party, my amazing friends treated me to luxurious spa day, complete with makeup application.  I blacked out for a second and decided I needed to have the coral lipstick they’d applied.  To this day, I swipe it on in the bathroom, catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror of my bedroom, and wipe it off.  I dunno…it feels clownish.  But I’ve seen it executed with aplomb — so it is possible.  Before we leave the face/makeup realm, I wanted to mention that for years, I swore by an inexpensive no-name all-purpose makeup brush I’d found at CVS (a short stubby blush brush), but when I discovered Laura Mercier’s “finishing brush” ($42, Laura Mercier — I know, $42 for a brush?!), I was hooked.  I think you’re technically supposed to use it for finishing powders, but I use it to apply a diffuse, non-concentrated layer of bronzer all over and a swipe of blush on the cheeks.  I.love.it.  Worth every penny.

My mom has treated me to a couple of key Laura Mercier brushes over the past couple of Christmases, including this creme eye detail brush ($25.60, Laura Mercier), which I wet and then apply to caviar eyeliner ($22, Laura Mercier) in order to create the perfect semi-gel eye-liner for a smoky eye on big evenings out.

However, for all other brushes, I use Sonia Kushuk.  She has a line of shockingly affordable brushes at Target that the pros absolutely go nuts over — they are synthetic, but they work like a charm.  And they’re cheap!  I have had my eye on this little kit for awhile ($19 for all 6 brushes and the adorable carrying case! — Target):

(Another good gift idea…)  Another MAJOR Magpie Must is my pair of slant Tweezerman tweezers (comes in darling colors and prints — $20, Tweezerman).  I don’t know if anyone else has the same relationship with her tweezer, but I was absolutely devastated when I dropped and permanently dented/damaged a pair I’d had for years.  When you find just the right pair and then loose/destroy them, it’s a tragic loss.

Finally, it just wouldn’t be a Magpie Must: Beauty Cabinet Edition without mention of the nail situation.  I am never without a bright red manicure (except for on my wedding day and honeymoon, when I switched to a pale pink).  On occasion, I’ll give myself a touch-up job, and I’m methodical about the application.  It begins with filing, and while I like these peppily printed Tweezerman minis for the occasional fixer-uper ($4 for 12, Tweezerman), I like a super-thick, sturdy file, and I’ve been using one I got in a gift bag from one of my bachelorette party events; it’s tackily adorned with plastic gems on one side, but I swear it’s the sturdiest thing ever, and it does a bang-up job.

I use a thick hand cream, like L’Occitane’s ($10 for a mini tube, L’Occitane) and then buff with Sephora’s “Magic Buffer” ($5, Sephora):

Then it’s one coat of nail protein (I like Nailtiques — $7.60, Drugstore), two coats of Essie (I like Geranium — shown below, $8, EssieShop, Escapades, Tiny Wine-y, and Lollipop the best), and an Essie top coat ($8, Essie Shop).

(Of course, nothing beats a mani/pedi at Vicky’s in Georgetown.  I’m addicted.)  Please tell me (jennifer@thefashionmagpie.com, or leave me a note on Facebook) if you have any additions to make to this post, if I’ve missed anything glaring, or if you’d like to share any other tips.  I’m always looking for a new product!